Back To School

My flight landed an hour early. I had nodded in and out of sleep throughout the whole flight and felt like I hadn’t slept at all. So I took cab over to the building where I was going to be staying and had to wait an hour to check in since me early arrival meant the people who had to check me in weren’t set up yet. I checked in. Set my bags next to my desk signed some papers and left. I decided to unpack later. There was a 7-Eleven I used to go to a lot in previous school years. Usually drunk and in search of food at three in the morning. So I went there because it was the only place open at the time during a holiday that sold cigarettes and I bought a pack of Pall Mall. They didn’t have Lucky Strike. Then I went over to an alley that leads to a food-court. My school is on one side and some bar and grill on the other. I leaned against a wall and lit a cigarette. I was the only one in the alley till a guy passed by in a bike. I didn’t pay much attention to him till he asked me for a cigarette. Terrific. I hadn’t been in town for more than an hour, had just bought a pack, and someone was already asking for one. I’m very generous with my vice, I tend to give one to whoever asks, it just seemed a bit too soon. I warned him that they were unfiltered and he didn’t mind so I gave him one. He then thanks me and says he hates asking but he had no choice since he can’t get a job, is living on the street, and just got out of jail – that’s mostly why he couldn’t get a job. He had pulled two bank jobs and gotten caught on the last one. For that he got seven years in prison. And still everything was going wrong for him. No job. No home. Had to pan-handle to buy a doughnut and a bottle of milk. He had also stolen the bike because he just couldn’t handle walking around town anymore. But the bike had a flat tire, to which he said, “What kind of an idiot steals a bike with a flat tire.” The guy seemed full of regret but never said if he did regret any of it or not. He picked up a flattened cigarette butt and said “This is what I do with the non-filters,” he rolled it back into shape, flicked out what little tobacco was left in the unsmoked part and stuck the Pall Mall in it. After lighting it he got on the stolen bike and rode up the alley towards the end that leads to the street. He looked awkward and defeated with that flat rear tire. Welcome back to school I suppose.


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