A Morning Smoke
As the sun crawled out of the ocean, and slunk across the sky attempting to avoid the walk of shame, one solitary fisherman waved from his stoop. Smoke rising from his pipe, and the morning fog rolling through his beard Brendan felt alive, more alive than he ever had before. This was of course saying something because Brendan was most certainly dead, at least as far as the islanders were concerned. They had held a funeral, and a wake all in this tiny house and not a single soul realized that Brendan was just on holiday. When he returned from walking the plank at Pirate’s Harbor and trudging the full length of the Great Wall from Hushan to the Jiayuguan Pass in Gansu; all eight thousand eight hundred and fifty-one point eight kilometers. His feet were tired and there was little money left in his pocket but he was quite happy indeed, besides the islanders hadn’t drunk all of his spirits. His father, the great whaleman of wonderous tales, had built this house with his own bare hands (and his nose apparently) each room delicately put together; every inch and knook could hold a secret compartment. So far Brendan had found two hundred and thrity-nine compartments, in his bedroom alone, and all of them had been put to good use. So, with plenty of drink, and rooms full of pipe tobacco Brendan was able to live quietly on the edge of his cliff, and watch the sun waltz back to her home in the sky every morning. That naughty, naughty girl Brendan often chuckled to himself as she blushed through the morning air, her hair sending rainbows dancing across the dew spotted garden.
This was unlike every other day though, today there was a small vessel, a raft of sorts, floating gently across the sea. This raft held in it’s hand the life and body of a dainty red-headed woman of about eighteen, Adrianna is what we’ll learn is her name. But! What is really surprising about her, isn’t the fire that burns in her deep blue eyes or her songs as they softly sing lullabies of years ago or how she can knock a giant on his plump behind with a flick of her finger; no, what is surprising about her is that she…
Well, I don’t want to spoil the surprise.
When In Doubt, Burn Shit
“Is it truly better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all?” We had been drinking for quite a while at this point and I was just beginning to believe he wouldn’t get all depressed on me. I should have known better.
“I mean wouldn’t it have been better to not have loved?” Justin was talking mostly to the smoke rising from his cigarette but I knew he expected an answer. I am to drunk for this I wanted to say but I had signed up to be the compassionate, cry on my shoulder kind of friend, nobody else wanted to do it anyway. He looked over at me as I leaned against the post, the one that holds up the small over hang in front of the bar’s stoop, the one that is supposed to keep rain off but now, tonight, is acting as my soul means for balance. My head was swimming, Justin was always a heavy drinker, add in the fact that he’d just caught his fiancée cheating on him, in his own bed and you know that I had a champion alcoholic on my hands. Watching me, he continued “Seriously though, what is it about love that makes the gut wrenching, burn-your-soul-at-the-stake kind of pain even worth it? Why do we, as humans, feel the need for love, when we know, deep down, it is inevitably going to hurt us?”
“I dunno Jusin” I slurred “we need” (ironically) holding back a powerful urge to vomit “lub.” I stumbled forward, the pole no longer doing its job. Justin swooped in and helped me prop myself up against the red brick wall. I fumbled for my cigarettes, he took it from me, placed it in between my lips and lit it for me. “Thank” I swallowed “thank you…buddy. I lub you.”
“Shut up dumbass” he said patting me on the head “you always were a lightweight.”
“Yeah?” I countered, for some reason I was angry now “well, you drink to goddamn much!”
“Brilliant, that was brilliant” Justin chuckled and pulled the smoke out of my mouth to let me exhale and flicked the ash of the end. Taking a drag himself, he looked like something out of Quentin Tarrentino film. Big, broad shouldered, his waist length pea coat had seen many years of hard winters and he now held in his hands, two burning cigarettes as he towered over a small, scrawny figure that lay prostrate on the ground at his feet. The street lights seemed to surround us, giving him a halo, at least from my angle.
“But in the end, I don’t think we actually fall “in love” with anyone, not really. I think we love people, a lot of people but I don’t think we ever actually fall “in love.” We try and we try, we take the time to sit and talk, listen to each other’s stories or let them cry on our shoulders but in the end, we just want someone to listen to our shit.” He paused to give me a quick kick in stomach, making sure I’m still listening.
“Fug you….” breathe, breathe and “you bitdch.”
“I think that, as humans, we don’t really need, per se, to love but we are taught, from a young age that it is wrong to be alone. We believe that if we are alone and don’t have any one to call our own, then something must be wrong with us. But, whaddya do if you have spent the past seven years of your life, giving that to someone and they throw it back in your face?”
“Ya pizonem” I mumbled from my slump, the smoke poured up from my cigarette, how it got back in my mouth I have no clue, and the smoke burned my eyes. I don’t care.
“Yeah, sure, you could do that. Or for spite, you stay alone, forever. You show them that they were the fucked up one, they broke you. They turned you into something wrong. You could make them believe that you despise them and will never forgive them. But” he lit another cigarette and gave me another quick kick “what if, they don’t care? What then?”
“Sounds good. You still have that kerosene in the back your jeep?”