tagNon-EroticKicking the Habit Ch. 01

Kicking the Habit Ch. 01


...It isn't chaotic, really; golden hues of polished wooden ballroom, and glistening soft lights of flame and bulb light reflected in glistening starlets about the room. A small strings quintuplet plays in harmony, contemporaries, and classical as though they were written in the same era. There is a thick body of celebration in the ambiance of the room, absorbing into the lights, and the sounds; the gentle murmur of the people as they dance across the ballroom floor, twirling, dipping and Waltzing in this, a black tie affair. The men are dressed traditionally, though there are a few set apart from the penguins. Mostly it is young men and old men alike, dressed in all of the grandeur of a police interceptor. The women are somewhat more splendid, but not by much, while many look as though they shopped in the same department stores... at the same time... for the same thing; there appears to be no sense of disappointment in the atmosphere.

Soft. Glistening. Reflective.

I feel someone, among the crowded room, put their hand into the small of my back. It slides up carefully--gently--to the nape of my neck and ushers me forward. I am caught in a moment of memory, my mind whirring back to a time I was a child, where my father would usher me along the same; the small of my back, or the nape of my neck as if to say, "Run along now, go play with your friends.".

This isn't my father though, but as I try to turn and see who it is, a hand swiftly pushes my face forward. Not so much as a glimpse of the stranger behind me. Suddenly I feel the muzzle of a gun in the small of my back.

"Don't turn around. Keep walking." A gentle, remorseful man's voice sighs.

Suddenly, the world becomes colorless to me. The room is as black and white as the tuxedos and gowns that fill it, and everything in my pockets feels ten times too heavy. I reach for my cigarette case, feeling the cool metal of sterling silver. I can feel the etched design, and I can even see it in my mind. A heart with my name in it; a gift from my lover.

"Hands out of the pockets."

I do as I'm told, trying to find a way to stall any way I can--to get anyone's attention before this man with the sad voice gets his way. My hands are out of my pockets, and the silver of my cigarette case reflects the light of the room across the crowd, but no one notices. No one notices how stiff I am, or how upset I look.

"What are you going to do?" I ask him, trying to buy time. Time. Anything to steal a moment. A waiter walks past with a tray of hors d'oeuvres, ignoring me as though I do not exist.

"I am going to kill you." He says as we push out of the doors, and into a small hallway.

I feel my eyes go blurry as tears fill over the brims. In moments, there is cool air on my face; cold air where the tears streaked, and finally the lump in my throat deflates enough to talk. "Why--why kill me?"

I feel his hand leave my neck as we stop. He pulls the silver case from me, and it makes a jingling clatter on the sidewalk as it breaks into halves, spilling cigarettes over the sidewalk. The sprinklers are on. The smell of freshly cut, wet grass is overpowering, but the world is just a blurry, shaky eight millimeter film to me, complete with sepia and scratches. I know this feeling. My mind is beginning to blank. The fear drowning in numbness, but the tears don't stop. I'm not sobbing, but I wish I were. I feel his hand on my shoulder, pushing me to my knees, and my legs betray me as they thank him for the respite from standing.

"Don't worry," He soothes. "It will be entirely painless, and very quick."

"I--I don't want to die." I hear my voice echo in my head as the muzzle of the gun rests at the back of my skull.

"Well, you're a smoker. You're dying anyway. I just thought I'd help you do it sooner."

I hear him cock the trigger, as I take a deep breath. I know I won't hear it; feel it. I know I won't feel anything ever again. My head is heavy, and I feel it dropping forward; finally, I'm sobbing. Took long enough.

The wind whips through my hair as the man puts a comforting hand on my shoulder. It will all be over soon.

What a lousy way to kick the habit.

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