"2-Cigarettes"

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
a broke guy needing a friend...

Submitted: January 08, 2017

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Submitted: January 08, 2017

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“2-Cigarettes”

 

 

 

I was living in a rat-hole of an apartment with 2-roommates that hated me as much as I hated them. Life was slowly crushing me like a vise, each day brought another turn of the handle, and a little bit more of my soul squeezed out.

I had to get out, for a few hours, a night, a couple of days-something. I couldn't remember the last time I had a good Day...

I had no car and only 2-dollars and some change in my pocket, but I had to go. I grabbed my Ray-bans and keys and just started walking. I must have walked for over an hour before I decided that I needed some place to walk towards. I went through a mental list of people that I had had hung out with and the 2 or 3 people I called friends, but nobody lived near-by or was someone I felt I could just drop in on, especially when I was broke.

Then I thought “What about Rick”, Rick was kind of quiet, smart and if he let you in you could stay as long as you wanted, if he felt like crashing he'd just say keep the volume down and lock the door if you leave. If he didn't trust you, you never would have got through the front door.

But it was also not uncommon to be left knocking at the front door even though you could hear the T.V. Or the sounds of him moving around inside. If Rick didn't want any company he might not even take the time to open up the door and tell you.

So it was decided, I cut through an alley, hopped a couple of fences and started to head towards Rick's. Walking up to Rick’s apartment building you can see his living room window 3-flights up from the street. The white blinds always closed and a faded upside down KMET 94.7 bumper sticker in the upper right corner of the window.

Once Rick and I talked late into the night about which was LA’s best radio station, 94.7 KMET or 95.5 KLOS, while watching MTV video’s on the TV with the sound off and playing lots of well-worn records. We had augured our sides back and forth till one of us took so long to respond to the other’s statement that we both just passed out from lack of sleep or too much drink, I don’t remember which.

It took a while for Rick to answer the door. After a minute of me knocking, then listening for some tell of life, then back to knocking again. I so needed that door to open, looking back now I’m not sure what I would have done if it didn’t. Finally I could hear the sounds of Rick making his way towards the door. As the door opened there was a rush of stale air pushing past me as if it was leaving in a panic. Rick looked at me with a dull gaze. “I don’t have any beer and only 2-cigaretts”, was all he said while standing in the doorway, not really inviting me in or turning me away. After a few real long and awkward beats Rick just turns away from the door and walks over and sits down on a sagging and well used couch. On the coffee table were a few empty beer bottles and an  open box of Marlboro 100’s with only 2 cigarettes left in the pack and a pack of matches tucked neatly in between the clear foil wrapper and the box. Rick is the only person I know that always uses matches. He says they burn hotter than a lighter, though he never said why that would matter.

I walked in and sat on what once was a very nice overstuffed leather chair. But now it’s ripped and stained and has quite a few burn marks on the left side arm rest, probably from Rick passing out with a lite cigarette in his left hand, even though Rick was right handed he always held his cigarette in his left hand. I never thought to ask him why. The couch sat 5-feet in front of a nice TV, the leather chair was off to the side, you could see the TV from the chair buy it was pointed at the large window that had a great view of the street below, but in all the years I’ve known Rick I’ve never once seen even a glimmer of light shine in or out of that window. The white blinds are always down, the thick casino looking type shades are always drawn tightly shut with 2 miss-matching bed sheets tacked and taped over all that. 

I sat in the leather chair for a bit, not really looking at the TV, not really looking at Rick, not really looking at anything. I can’t remember how long we sat there, both of us just slumped in our chairs.

Rick got up and walked over to the record player, pulled out a record from a bookcase Rick used to hold them and put it on the record player and carefully laid the needle at the beginning of the 1st song on the 1st side of Neil Young’s “Decade” record, I could tell by the cover art what record he was putting on even before it started to play.

Just as the music begins to play Rick turns towards me and says, This is what KMET played during my lunch hour as I sat in my car at work, side 1 and side 2 of Neil Young’s “Decade” album, both sides back to back, no commercials, off 1 of the few 3-record albums ever released. Just 1 more reason why KMET is the best L.A. radio station ever.

As I began to formulate my reply, Rick walks back over to the sagging couch sits down, leans forward to grab his box of Marlboro 100’s, pulls out the 2nd to the last cigarette, takes out the matches and lights it. Holding the cigarette in his left hand, Rick tucks the matches back in between the clear foil and the box, closes the top and still caught up in his thoughts, he flips me the box with his last cigarette. Then without missing a beat Rick begins to list all the songs from sides 1 & 2 of Neil Young’s Decade album.

As I strike a match and light the last of the 2-cigarettes, I glance up and look around the room. First, the covered up windows, then at Rick, then at the silent TV with a Duran Duran video filling the screen. Tonight is going to be a “Good Night”, I think to myself, as I take a long drag off the cigarette and begin my defense of KLOS…Tom Allen…


© Copyright 2017 Tom Allen714. All rights reserved.

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