It's warm. I've rolled my jeans to the knees. All sorts of people go by the house. One of the people is shirtless and running. Another is crying and hugging her purse.
A crying woman once asked me for a cigarette and I felt so awful for not having cigarettes. I was holding a small box of frozen mice and the crying woman thought it was a pack of cigarettes. I explained, but the woman was already walking.
I haven't smoked a cigarette in a few weeks. The last time I smoked a cigarette, I didn't really smoke it. I just held it in my fingers and my friend told me I held it like I was rich. No one taught me to smoke. I've watched my grandmother, though, and that's where I picked up the form. It's from when smoking was part of a person's social presentation. Everyone smoked in the past.
One of my friends has a vapor cigarette. It's a long, electronic tube of metal. The tip glows green when you suck in. It looks like a dog whistle for robot dogs. The vapor is flavored, but all the flavors are crushed candy. When you breathe out, the vapor is white and thick as pot smoke.
I saw some shirtless men sitting on their front stairs giving each other haircuts. I have a list of situations I find attractive. The haircuts one is only surpassed by the one where a gap-toothed man crosses the street carrying a case of beer on his shoulder. It's been a lucky week because I've come across both of these situations. The gap-toothed man wasn't smoking, but that's the optional ingredient in the recipe.
It's been a lucky month, really. My story, "Other Sons" from SmokeLong Quarterly, made the wigleaf top 50. I got my first check for a story you'll read in June. I looked in the mirror and smiled because I've been working out and I can finally see the change. I was around at the right time to watch my snake shed her skin. It was like watching someone try to take off their shirt after a workout. I wanted to help my snake, but I have this policy about disrupting the natural order of things.
I will swat a fly, though. If it needs doing.