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Thread: The Smoker's Dilemma

  1. #1
    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    The Smoker's Dilemma

    While Eddie played The Best of the Animals softly in the background on the turntable, lazy blue circles of smoke corkscrewed in the air and were illuminated by a dozen bars of golden light. I figured they were created by the partially open blinds and late afternoon sun. It all seemed a little too idyllic. Maybe it was the smoke.

    “Nothing like Levi’s in quality,” I replied. “And another thing too. They’re a sign of the West and capitalism. It’s a rebellion against a repressive society thing, a Slavic Yuppie kind of fashion statement. It shows an outward lack of respect for the current administration and the way things are now that the Russians are in charge. My mom sends me letters all the time.”

    I passed the joint to Eddie.

    “It sounds like a backwards country to me,” said Eddie, took a hit, and passed the joint back to Pamela. She took a puff and held her breath, pressing her hit. So I spoke again.

    “They’re so far behind the times it’s not funny. That’s what the Iron Curtain is designed to do, keep them in, and everything and everyone else out. People, ideas, you name it. Out.”

    Pam passed me what was left of the joint using an award-winning roach pass with fingers that could only be described as slender and artistic if they were described in a short story by Maupassant. She was deft with her hands and would have taken a gold medal in the Dope Passer’s Olympic with the way she handled a roach.

    “This stuff is pretty good,” said Eddie, “I’ve copped a buzz.”

    “It’s Acapulco Gold,” reported Pamela, “It ought to be good.”

    “Wish I had a boatload,” I said, “and the money that goes along with it. The regular Mexican commercial smoke we usually get tastes like wet cardboard.”

    “I agree, like ****, but Reynaldo, my connection, isn’t so well off, money-wise,” said Eddie.

    “That’s because he’s only a middle man,” Pamela observed, “Not an importer.”

    “Smugglers always make good dough. That’s where the real money is,” I said.

    “That’s where all the risk is too,” replied Eddie, thoughtfully, which was out of character. His wheels were turning for a change. God only knew where they would stop.

    “Yeah,” I agreed. “That’s it. The risk is where the big money is and the real mark-up too.”

    The next hour or so we listened to music and ate cherry-vanilla ice cream like, as Eddie put it, “It was going out of style.” Then we watched the Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason and after that I took my leave. Pamela decided to go to bed early. Eddie couldn’t sleep, something was bothering him. It gave him a look she read like a book. She couldn’t see that look on his mug for long and not respond.

    “It’s true what he said, Eddie, That’s where the cash is, not on your end of it. The consumer end of it only costs money.”

    “I wouldn’t know much about that.”

    “That’s because you’re a consumer, Eddie. You’ve got no imagination.”

    “That’s a cruel remark. I got plenty of imagination.”

    “Eddie, let’s get real. All your imagination comes from the smoke.”

    She fluffed her pillow, turned towards the wall, and went to sleep.

    Later that night, Eddie listened to the rest of the album. He sat in the kitchen, looking out the window at nothing, troubled and out of sorts. To remedy the situation he decided to dig the roach out of the ashtray. It was heavily stained with her Revlon Hot Kiss.

    The refrigerator hummed and sputtered on and off. Other than the place was quiet, so Eddie, to provide a little amusement, turned the turntable and amp back on. It was the Animal’s Don’t Bring me Down. It hit him right in the stomach.

    Well you complain and criticize
    I feel I’m nothing in your eyes
    It makes me feel like giving up
    Because my best just ain’t good enough....

    Eddie had one of those strange connections to music and the notion it guided his life. This was the example, his lesson for today. He was nothing, he was nobody, and could never hope to please his woman. If Eddie wasn’t exactly blue, he was azure to the extreme. The weed only magnified his problems and fed his exaggerated inner insecurities. Poor stoned Eddie, had, in his own way, too much imagination for his own good. Inevitably, it would lead them both across the Atlantic, far from things they knew, on a dangerous risk-filled scam, behind an Iron Curtain where nothing and no one is allowed to slip through. And not for a search for the Holy Grail mind you, but on a quest for the Root of all Evil.

    ©2013 Steven Hunley Don't Bring Me Down

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, The Middle East, UK, The Philippines & Papua New Guinea.
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    Short punchy dialogue.

    Loved especially the bit about Pam's fingers.

    The last paragraph was a gem in its perception.

    Your style buddy is getting a bit more incisive & its appreciated.

    Take care.

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