Where the Smokers Roam Free

It’s been way too long since I made a post. Due to a couple of factors I haven’t written much for a little while, but I’m settling into a new schedule, which should force me to write at least twice daily (one time as an exercise, one time “for real”), and I picked finishing this as my first “for real” writing.

I started this quite a while ago, actually, I think around the time I made my last post. I forgot about it for a while but was recently transferring a lot documents around and rediscovered it, and had a lot of fun finishing it up.

I’ve listened to a lot of good music recently, so it’s hard to pick an album for this post. This has got to be one of the most stand-out albums I’ve listened to in the past week, though, so I’ll go with this. I used to listen to a lot of lofi hiphop/beattapes, but hadn’t listened to any in a while until hearing this, and it’s fantastic.

~

They stand or squat or lean there, behind the Wal-Mart. One brushes a few flakes of freshly-fallen snow off its sleeve. In unison, they pull out their packs, thumb open the flap, and tap out a fag. The squatting one fumbles for its lighter momentarily, but the others continue on without it, actions mirroring each other out of well-learned muscle memory.

They lift the pack and grab the exposed filter with their teeth, a the metal top of a lighter glinting in their hands as it escapes their pockets. One hand cups and the other is on the sparker – the squatting one has caught up by now – and a “ckksch” sound, followed by the faintly-perceptible whooshing sound of kerosene lighting and staying lit, adds a warm glow to the other end of the cig.

Wal-Mart hid them behind itself, near the dumpsters and loading bays. The area where a black film lies over the whole ground, unknown in origin but ever-present. The place companies dump those that they think would soil its “good image”. In front they are all glinting signs and lighted logos, in back they are grime and cold and shivering and smoke. They’re a whore, putting on makeup and enticing clothing for appearance’s sake, and hiding the infected cunt. Whatever gives you customers, right?

They inhale and exhale a plume, partially smoke, partially water vapor condensing in the cold. One of them could just be sucking on an unlit cigarette and there would be nearly no visual difference. They think this to themselves and look at the others, not with their heads but their eyes, glinting in the stark, white light filtered through the unbroken cover of clouds. They look at each other, suspecting a traitor, someone sent from the outside – or inside, truly – world to spy on them, someone from The Doctor, someone from the FDA or the CDC or the ATF, someone from the commercials, the anti-commercials, someone who doesn’t understand but just understands enough to secretly, secret even from themself, envy them, envy turning into hatred because of the lack of understanding.

Their vision snows, though that could just be the actual snow, snow coming down from the cloud cover, snow of water filtered through its cycle, purified from the pollutants they breathed out into it as it came down. Their mind races as nicotine hits its mark, but races in a comforting way, a way that makes them aware of just what their mind is capable of, then it slows a bit and their fingers shake. Their cigarette’s white ash, disrupted by the shake, falls in a clump on the white snow and turns black. They glimpse this and, for a moment, wonder why, why does white plus white equal black, but they stop thinking about this because they have more important things to think about. If you asked them what those things were, they wouldn’t be able to tell you, and wouldn’t tell you even if they could, but their attention turns and turns and turns towards those things, jumping out at something else for a moment but always returning.

A loose little secret society of people that don’t even know they’re in it, their icon not a cross or a compass or a moon, but a little white stick, a little white stick on fire, being waved in the air and leaving a dark trail, millions and millions of them, unconsciously waving together like lighters at a concert.

Only some are aware of their membership, and those know the signs and the messages, they know how to discreetly ask if someone else is a member, they know the signs and the words and the tone of voice. They need to be aware and wary of those who are members yet don’t know they are, because they are the first ones to fall, they are the ones that the outside-inside world is going after, because they are weak and unaware and only look outward, not inward. They do not yet feel the eye of The Doctor on them, that many-eyed beast. That beast, as well, only looks outward, not inward, for if it had eyes on the inside it would see the rotten cancerous core, the selfsame thing that it lived on and attacked.

With a flick, they send their butts, still creating a hint of smoke, maybe not enough to see or feel but enough to smell, tumbling to their deaths of freshly-fallen snow, which itself dies and is reborn as cold water, mixing with the white sticks to create black stains. The water will freeze, again, once the heat of the fag has dissipated into the universe, the cold watery eye engulfing their remains until it, itself, dies.

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