John sat at the bar. He took a long drag of his cigarette and inhaled the smoke so he felt it in his lungs. A second later, he exhaled and watched as the smoke disappear into the bar room ceiling. He let his gaze fall down back to the countertop where he discovered a startling impurity in the dark mahogany wood. In his left hand, John swished his drink. A whiskey sour. His classic order. It would be placed in front of his usual seat before John even entered the bar. However, in his right hand, John ran his long and plump fingers over the mistake in the wood. John sat intrigued. He suddenly relaxed his long and fixed stare. The tension that had been in his eyes moved further down and rested upon his shoulders. He stiffened and took one more deep drag from his cigarette before putting it out on the ashtray beside him. He stood up, put on his hat and overcoat, pulled a 5 dollar bill from his pocket, barely enough to be considered a tip, and left it on the counter under his empty glass. John, for a second, locked eyes with the disgruntled employee but quickly turned his neck afraid that the man might read any further into his emotion. Stepping outside, John took a breath of fresh air. John was tired. He looked at his right hand, it was shaking, he stiffened. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his packet of cigarettes. Marlboro his favorite brand and the only one he smoked. John had tried to quit before, but the hours spent in the smoky bar room spiraled him back into addiction. He shook the pack, the final cigarette came out. Holding it in his mouth with his left hand. His right hand, still shaking grabbed the lighter. He struggled at first. Then a second later successfully lit his cigarette, taking his first long puff. He watched the smoke float up into the air then let his gaze fall. He stood and smoked. A man, homeless, limped to him. John was always approached by the homeless. They were drawn by his clean shave and his pressed pants. They believed he had money to spare, yet John believed that no one had money to spare. The man asked for a cigarette and John motioned with his head to the empty box laying lifeless on the ground by his feet. The man picked it up. It was empty, so he walked over to the trash and tossed it in before heading on his way. John shrugged, took a drag, looked up at the lights of the city, then again let his gaze fall to the dirty ground. He took his left hand out of his pocket and pulled the cigarette out of his mouth. He threw it on the ground, then with his foot, stepped on it to kill the last of the ignited embers. John started to walk North. Yet, on his last step before turning West, John stepped on an uneven surface. He walked this way every day. He had memorized his pathway home. He had never stepped on an uneven surface. Slowly moving his foot, looking down at the ground. John noticed a piece of lustrous metal. A piece of lustrous gold metal. John taking his right arm out of his pocket reached down and grabbed the gold. Holding it in his bare hand, he rubbed his thumb over the top to wipe off any dirt. He slipped it into his pocket, his hand to cold to last another minute in the chilly air and he continued on his way home. John arrived at the gate. Being sure to alternate his hands, John took his left hand out of his pocket, reached into his breast pocket and took out a silver key. John placed his overcoat and hat on the hanger and floated into his study. He moved behind the bar to pour himself a cup of whiskey. He needed to be warmed from the frigid air outside. After lighting a small life, he sat it in his velvet armchair and put his feet up on the rest. He looked outside and watched the trees. They were still, he moved his neck and positioned his eyes so they rested upon the fire, it was not still. And  John looked down at his right hand. John stiffened and reached in his pocket for a cigarette but there was nothing there. He remembered that he had smoked his last one outside the bar and cursed at himself for not buying more. John remembered he was tired and moved upstairs to bed. He changed and slipped into his satin sheets.


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