381. While asleep, the dry of his lips had finally cracked cut, lower lip at least, soft of a soon-to-scab split right down the middle, thick of brown-black over his top two front teeth, water slushed in his mouth spitting brackish time after time after time, eyes with impatience from the sink basin to the cigarette he’d meant to have after a perfunctory pasteless brush, same as always.

382. Entire wrinkled night was just a shook sheet, corners fitting at first fold but every fold laying wrong after that, so many cigarettes he was tasting them, uninhaled, more with his eyes than with anything.

383. All while Gerry and Brent had their cigarettes, Octavio wanted to call the bread-lover who’d gotten the job instead of him a douche baguette, deliver the line glibly, underbreath but loud enough, offhand but not meant to be ignored, but got a glum twist of he wasn’t sure had he really just thought this up, heard it somewhere, was it a phrase in common usage, his cleverness unnecessary?

384. Vanessa had long since lost interest in books, long suffered at the insistences of everyone she knew (book mongers, the lot) that she get back on the horse, find a new heartthrob, lovesongs from them that this novel would awaken her, this poet wow her, this essayist show her something new—she’d taken to cigarettes just to have something to do while she ignored recommendations of pits she didn’t have any heart to die down.

385. My uncle’s forehead had the rectangular firmness of a fresh cigarette pack and his chin the off kilter sag of a coin purse, he was a man who gambled all night and who whores had learned to ignore as the dawn scooped him to curb penniless, where he’d wait for a ride along home with my day’s first fare.

386. Nothing but no cigarettes to show for a night of writing a love letter—there was the love letter, sure, but the no cigarettes were the more recognizable out of the two.

387. The cash from a picked pocket spends most calmly on cigarettes, like the two were anatomically structured for each other.

388. The umpteen televisions on display in the pawnshop rear showed the same Robert Deniro smoking the same cigarette, Herbert watching the ass of some dumpy cheap girl, waiting for her head to turn to confirm ethnicity.

389. Skyline was a bunch of off-angled squished cigarettes, such a bastard little sort of civilized, road dirt and buildings just piles of the road.

390. Such a treat to be in the antique shop, finally, everything seemed so well kept, cherished, place seemed to even still be holding on to the scent from cigarettes smoked hundred and ten years ago.

391. Sun stuck in the winter sky like a coin that couldn’t pay for a damn thing, cigarette stuck in his dehydrated lip crease like the wrong snap of a wishbone.

392. Every time Barbara made up her mind to pull in to a station for gas, there would be something to make her leave without filling—the pumps weren’t taking cards, lot suddenly filled too much, made her antsy, whatever—and her phone kept ringing in her purse, she kept having to touch the cigarettes she wanted to avoid to dig it out, see what number (always work work work never a call promising even a quick hump-hump-done of play).

393. Her lips were flame, his cigarette, that’s how the pet names were doled out between them, and it’d been her who’d said it first though she could care less, let him always tell the story it’d been his thing he’d said and how lovely of him for it.

394. The painter Dexter Prim never painted the smoke of the cigarettes in his scenes, though it was clear they were always lit, an aspect of his work he admitted was lack of talent but that, ignoring him, all walks of people had their theories about the import of.

395. His fever had him sweating as much cigarette stink out into the already drenched back of his undershirt as he’d blown out when actually smoking the things.

396. Nigel just sneered, said he’d go without, that making a cigarette taste like cherry was just the same things as making a cunt taste like there was no way you’re fucking it.

397. The traschcans all down the street had gotten spilled empty by the wind last night, contents splashed all ways, cans themselves having rolled down the dip of the middle of neighborhood road, sat packed there all snuggly like squat cigarettes.

398. The old ring was gold, a very unique tone to it, nice old nicotine yellow—somewhere there was a finger stained entirely that color from a marriage worth of cigarettes, one loop of pristine baby white cut out.

399. Her closed lids did nothing to hide the look in her eyes and Paul watched her in his own obvious hidey hole, cigarette smoke hardly enough to out color his gaze.

400. On the evening of April eleventh, they allowed the prisoner they had avoided eye contact and any verbal communication with for eight month his first cigarette in just as long, tossing it in to the cell with one match, the sort that could be struck lit by the rough of the cement—the prisoner stared at the two sticks like a madman, began trembling like cats were tussling in him when he moved to strike the match, cigarette still on the ground by his knee.


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