Every Thursday, Akashic Books presents Thursdaze: a writer’s fictional experience with marijuana, speed, heroin, cocaine, or any other drug, real or imagined, controlled or prescribed, illegal or soon-to-be legalized.
There are rules. Stories in this series must adhere to a 750-word limit. Plus, there’s an emphasis placed on stories that stylistically emulate the drug of choice, allowing readers to indulge risk-free.
It’s pretty easy to spot my vice: cigarettes. Today,Thursdaze presents my rhythmic short, “No Smoking.” Inhale … exhale …
by Sara Dobie Bauer
She wondered what his skin felt like. There was little of it to see, wrapped in all black, like a Bedouin woman in the desert. It was a nice suit but so much fabric. Layers. His neck and face had somehow escaped. He had fingers like long, unsharpened pencils.
“May I borrow one of those?”
“Will you give it back once you’ve finished?”
There weren’t many smokers. Smoking was passé, like opium. There were laws against it. No smoking inside. No smoking within twenty-five feet of this door. People never walked down sidewalks smoking for fear of offense.
“Why is it only bad guys smoke in films?”
He looked like neither. She’d seen him before, of course, dozens of times. The bigger the city, the smaller it felt. The smokers—bad guys, whores—were relegated to a side alley. There were a few folding chairs and a gate at the end to keep the party private. The night was warm. Her legs felt sticky and wet where they crossed. She regretted using lotion earlier. She feared at any moment she would slide off herself and into his trousers.
Read the rest of my homage to smoke at Akashic Books.