Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Thursday, December 02, 2004

I'd walk a mile for a Camel...

God, I want a cigarette so bad I can taste it...

It's been one hectic week at work, and next week's not looking any better. There's nothing more I'd like right now than to run downstairs, fire up a Camel, and just look at the traffic rolling by for a few minutes, undisturbed by the chimes of incoming email, the breedle-deedling of these antiquated phones, and the endless parade of people peeking in my office as they walk by. To be able to sit and blow lungful after lungful of 'a smooth Turkish and Domestic blend' of tobacco smoke up in the air and watch it dissipate would be soooo relaxing. A bit too windy for a good smoke ring, but that would be nice as well.

Problem is, I haven't smoked in almost 10 years. It'll be 10 years next April, as a matter of fact.

Every year or so, I'll get the hunger. It never really goes away, but sometimes it rattles the cage louder than usual. I'll catch myself digging my old pocket-worn engraved brass Zippo out of the back of my junk drawer just to hold it. I'll suddenly find myself staring at the rack of cigarettes in the convenience store, mentally going through the motions of tapping the pack firmly against the palm of my hand, unzipping the plastic seal, pulling out the foil wrapper, and catching that first whiff of a fresh pack of cigarettes. Man, it's almost like candy, that aroma of sweet cured tobacco.

Then, there's that perfectly shaped first cigarette, unmarred by pocket storage or reaching fingers, nestled firmly between your lips. The snap of the Zippo, the hisscrackle of the tobacco and paper meeting flame while you inhale. The first explosive exhale, tinged with the hint of burned Ronson lighter fluid.

There's an art to holding the cigarette as well, learning to do all your usual tasks, only now with a tube of burning leaf in between your fingers. The way you learn to cock your head at just the right angle so smoke just misses your eyes as you grip the butt in your teeth, 'cause you're using both hands to tighten your fan belt or load your pistol or mix your drink.

I miss it. I miss that life. I miss being able to sit out on the front porch, sipping a bourbon over ice while smoking several cigarettes in the evening, watching the sun go down. I miss that final drag, when you finally light the poor camel's feet on fire, then snap the butt away to explode in a shower of sparks against the pavement.

I tell myself I'm gonna live longer, that I can afford a new computer this year due to all the money I'm saving. I no longer smell like a diseased ashtray. My teeth are whiter, my lungs are clear.

But surely I can just have one... I promise I'll just smoke one, and throw the rest away! Just one little ciggie-butt can't hurt!!

Can it?

And then the urge passes for another year. Sometimes the hunger lasts a day, sometimes a month, but it fades back into the depths of my mind, only to be awakened on its own perverse schedule.

I really, REALLY want a cigarette right now...