Tobacco Outlet


I resist myself almost successfully for about an hour, have a strong beer to reward my discipline, then, the alcohol helping (if that is the word), stop resisting the urge to, hop in the car, and drive a mile or so up to where the interstate exits are to buy some cigarettes.

I am not disappointed in myself for doing this.

The ride over itself is worth it: the wind is warm, sustained; it pushes the trees’ limbs into weird symmetries, flips their leaves’ up so they flash pale against the evening.

Earlier a storm passed so fallen branches litter the fields and in the parking lot of the tobacco outlet, a downed wire hangs low across a row of poorly outlined spaces.

With the windshield of my car, I hit the wire, gently, accidentally, not seeing it even though someone has tied a few white paper bags around the wire as a warning (a job I would have declined).

I back my car up and park over.

I’m embarrassed when I enter the store, and a little light-headed from the beer.

Marlboro Lights, I say.

Box? asks the cashier.

A bored man behind her warns me about the wire. I can’t tell if he’s already seen me hit it. I thank him. I drive home with my windows down and the soft wind.

Home, I get out a folding chair, set it down in the middle of the lawn, and smoke.

The chair is sturdy. The cigarette smells like high school.

Three skunks—a mother and two babies—waddle onto a patch of grass bordering the woods. I do not want to be, but I’m afraid of them, so I put out my cigarette in the grass, and go back in.

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