He blew a perfect smoke ring that circled my face before arcing into the air. This was back when people could still smoke in restaurants. If you didn’t like it you went somewhere else, that’s the hope for my future. I’m leaving next week for sure this time, to where is immaterial.
The waitress came over and warmed our coffees, an ashy cigarette dangling precariously from her red lips over the table.
“This coffee here is fresh, I don’t want to hear no complaining.” her smoky voice emoting feelings long lost, “That damn war has got me so depressed, I’m turning angery, it’s a long time coming… Revelations. Might as well not look anywhere for anythin’, it’s all evaporating, might as well lose all hope now so as to not lose it later. The plagues are returnin’ and I have to heat up people’s coffee. Don’t look too close but that man at the bar has the sickness, I can tell by the way he spits silver when he talks. This is when everything of value loses itself and this country of ours… you know? It’s all about oil. Everything. Even your life ‘n mine, they’ll sacrifice us for that stuff… I… goddamn it, he’s lookin’ around tryin’ to get my attention but trying to disguise it.” And she was off.
It’s sometimes worth it to be a regular, somewhere.
The first Gulf War was shitting all over the television. Looking back it was a simple time, as all of the past seems under the microscope, or telescope actually, of the present.
When he stumped out his cig I wasn’t aware that it would be the second to last time I’d ever see him smoke.
He struck a match. Some hotel he stayed at. I’d be gone next week. The man with the sickness ate uneasily.
As we all should have.