Chain Smoking At Bus Stops

​  Garry lit a cigarette.

  The man standing next to Garry wrinkled his nose and gave him a sideways glance.

  Garry lit another cigarette. Now holding two in one hand, he took a slow drag from the cancerous twins. The smoke executed a tactical/surgical/preemptive strike deep within the nasal passage of the stranger, engorging his ire. This was war.

  The stranger’s hand ascended, as if in slow motion or some inebriated gypsy’s wild premonition. The hand shook, nearly vibrating with the telltale sign of incipient alcoholism. Withdrawal tremors masquerading as adrenaline shakes. 

  Garry lit two cigarettes and added them to the party. The four coffin nails dangled from his moistened lips, taunting the stranger.

  Spider-like, the hand climbed until it reached the razor-burned jowls of the stranger’s horrifyingly mundane face. The face attached itself to the head, that in turn attached itself to the neck, that attached to the body, that attached to the arm, that attached to that quaking fucking hand, that attached to five dainty little digits. Fat digits. Like a big baby. 

  The baby digits cup the mouth, and so began the great spiral of hand to mouth to hand again. Forever into infinity. One could become lost in that spiral. One could go mad.

  Then came the cough. That annoyingly rude “I don’t really need to cough, but I’m going to anyways to teach you that smoking is bad for you, because you obviously must not be in on this ubiquitous little factoid, are you? Are you, Billy? Huh? Well are you??” -kind of cough. You know the one. That fucking judgmental non-smoker cough.

  Garry lit up three more cigarettes. Now seven little cherries burned brightly from between long piano fingers. Bluish smoke hung in the air between the two men, thick enough to cut with a knife. Thick like marmalade. 

  The stranger turned a frowning, pinkish face to stare directly at Garry. Garry and his seven repugnant cigarettes. 

  Garry lit up another five cigarettes. Now he had to use both hands to smoke them all, like some kind of burning pan flute out of  a meth-induced feverdream. 

  The stranger quirked a caterpillar eyebrow at Garry. He was flabbergasted. Flabbergasted!

  Garry watched the stranger take a picture and post it to instagram without even looking at his iPhone. It was an action of habit. A rote gesture of the self delusion that people actually gave a shit. It was a lie.

 Garry zealously supported artistic expression, so he struck an interpretive pose just in time for the flash. The stranger didn’t seem to notice, too busy aggressively hash-tagging his disapproval all over the interweb.

  Garry lit up another eight cigarettes. His manly fists looked like birthday cakes made of meat and knuckles. 

  Understanding dawned on the stranger’s face. Epiphany made flesh.

  “Are you..” The stranger hesitated.

  “Are you smoking the Fibonacci sequence?” The stranger asked.

  Garry turned once more to the stranger and their eyes met. Tears of joy shimmered in the stranger’s eyes. Tears of love. 

  The stranger reached slowly into his trendy 90’s messenger bag and pulled a worn copy of the latest Fibonacci Quarterly, a mathematical journal of some prestige. The stranger’s face stared back at Garry from the cover art.

  The resemblance was uncanny. It was too good to be true. It was the ghost of the great Leonardo of Pisa!

  Before either of them had a chance to consider the repercussions to the space/time continuum, they were wrapped tightly in each others arms. Cigarettes tumbled to the ground beneath their feet, like smoldering confetti. It was an embrace written in the spiraling cosmos above and below.

  Garry awoke in a cold sweat. The uncomfortable erection-tent in his lap would have been embarrassing if he hadn’t been alone. Always alone.

  Garry cried himself back to sleep, the plushy Funko Pop Fibonacci doll clutched tightly between his muscular thighs. 

  Garry dreamt of spirals.
Previously published on Three Minute Plastic. 

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