Dollar for Dollar


The fire and brimstone dropped from the tip of his cigarette. He stares at the red glow as it slowly eats away at the cylindrical paper filled with shreds of brown cancer. He lifts the coffin nail up to his dry lips and takes in the sweet treat and breaths out a bit of his soul into the night sky. He watches it drift away into the oblivion of the star speckled night sky, like a ghost finally finding it’s way to heaven.He looks down to see a pair of raccoons raiding the neighbor’s bird feeder like thieves in the night. He watches the furry felons flipping around as they dangle and hang from the feeder, shaking the seeds out like a four year old shaking the coins from their piggy bank. He smiles at the though how mad his neighbor would be at finding the mess in the morning, he might stomp his bunny slippered feet with his varicose vein stripped legs bobbing in and out of his acrid bathrobe.

He sucked the thick death into his body and held it there and slowly let it flare from his nostrils like a darkened face of an old Chinese dragon, left to smolder in an alleyway after a festival. He had seen the darkest part of his days drift through his mind and he tried to burn them away with fire and drown them with malt liquor. The taste of the beer was bitter as the golden liquid slid past what was left of his working taste buds before traversing the torched remains of his throat.

His phone shook around on the ground, he knew the number, he knew what she wanted and he simply didn’t care. Setting the 40 ounces of freedom on the ground with a glass grinding clink he tapped another cigarette out of the pack as he held it’s predecessor in his lips. He pulls the dying cigarette out from his lips and it sticks to his top lip for a moment before releasing it’s death grip. He lays the fresh smoke between his puckered lips and uses the old to spark the new. He dragged deep and the end flared with life. He sent the glowing butt through the air with a mighty flick towards the criminals on the bird feeder, they quickly dropped down as it hit and sparked on the ground, disappearing into the shadows.

A smile parted his lips at the sight of the dashing neerdowells and pulled his smag from his lips and lifted the bottled up and took a mighty swig. The night air started to get a chill but he didn’t mind. He liked a good chill, made him feel alive. The phone shook again on the ground, the dull glow of the screen lit up his right side. He didn’t dare glance at it, it would be giving her power over the moment that was his. It was his moment. Dollars for dollars he wasn’t giving in again. He wasn’t going to look. The bottles hit the ground hard but unflinching. He took another heavy drag of the cigarette, heavy enough that his lungs gave a little scream, then he blew out the fury inside into a massive mushroom cloud erupting from his mouth. This was his death, his life, his eternity and he was done letting anyone tell him how to live his sad existence. 

His emotions betrayed him as the first tears fought it’s way out of his eye against his will. It traversed the stubble and made it’s way to his shirt, disappearing into an off colored splotch. Within seconds it had many friends joining it, painting his chest a darker color, drop by drop.

The cigarette bobbed in his fingers while his body shook. The beer sat still as placid in the it’s safe little world. When he finally stopped, he lifted his head, his cheeks flushes and shined in the moonlight. He saw the cigarette had died along with his spirit. So in a fight for his soul, he shook another one out of the pack and grabbed the lighter from inside the pack. He dragged his finger across the flint, the flame illuminated his wet face that was soon shrouded in a cloud of grey smoke. He smiled behind his safe veil, the chill of the night bit his wet cheeks, he felt alive and a now a little more free.
“Dollar for Dollar” by Rio Martin

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