Three Cigarettes: Sneak Peek

Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?

Okay, first, don’t call me pussycat, darlings, it’s undignified and childish.

And second, in answer to your question, I’ve been busy. Someone has to keep Jessica in line, and since she started writing this story a couple of weeks ago, she’s been restless and unruly. I tried thumbscrews, but that was counterproductive — it just made it difficult for her to write.

The Countess Penelope of Arcadia (you remember Penny, darlings — ever changing hair colour, propensity for profanity, particularly the perturbing piece predominantly associated with pornography, or perhaps procreation) suggested the scourge — a sort of cat o’ nine tails-type motivation tool, and I must say, my young apprentice was quite right — that did the trick whenever Jessica  seemed to lose focus.

And so, to whet your appetite and to let you know that I haven’t just been moping around my apartment watching Breaking Bad, here’s a brief preview of Three Cigarettes, which Jessica swears she’s wrapping up as we speak. The rest of the tale will be forthcoming, once I’ve had a chance to edit it and transcribe Jessica’s horrible handwriting (sometimes the blood smears and it’s nigh impossible to make out, darlings — but I do my best.)

———-

Three Cigarettes

Beth sat on an expensive-looking sofa and fingered the corner of the business card, fraying the edge with one ragged, chewed fingernail. A nervous habit, and not the only one she indulged in. She was gasping for a cigarette, but considering why she’d come, she thought it might be bad form to step out for a quick one.

“It’s not just the smoking,” her husband sighed after the shouting about her habit had finally died down the night before. “Though I can’t say it makes me happy to have you smelling like a fireplace when you crawl into bed.”

“I smoked when you met me, Paul,” she reminded him. “And you never complained then — you thought it was sexy.”

“God, we’re not kids anymore, Beth!” Paul argued. “And as hard as it was for you, you quit for a reason, remember!”

Of course she remembered. Her mother had been diagnosed with lung cancer, and Beth had spent the next year kicking a pack-a-day habit. She tried and failed a number of times, but kept at it until she had finally prevailed. She’d been hell to live with during that time, but Paul had helped her by going for walks with her every morning and every night to give them both something to do rather than just sit around stuffing their faces to replace the oral fixation.

She hadn’t had a cigarette in just over three years. But then her mother died.

“Are you punishing yourself?” Paul asked, concerned, and not at all unkindly. “Is that it? Beth, you know it wasn’t your fault…”

A tear trickled down Beth’s face and she reached her hand up to wipe it away. She didn’t want strangers to see her cry. She hadn’t even shed any tears in front of Paul, and that, he insisted, was the problem. He’d handed her a business card with beautiful script on it and told her that he’d made an appointment for her; practically begged her to go.

Eumenides Consulting,” Beth read, and looked at Paul skeptically. “What is this? Some sort of counselor? I don’t need a counsellor, Paul; I’m fine.”

———-

READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE

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14 responses to “Three Cigarettes: Sneak Peek

  1. I looked up “Eumenides” and now I’m wondering if that’s going to factor in, or if it’s just a cool name for the consulting company.
    Either way I’m looking forward to reading more!

  2. Yeah I know quitting smoking. Luckily I made it permanently but for years no excuse too small. Once I rewarded myself for not smoking all day with a Tanqueray on the rocks and (you guessed it) a bunch of smokes. In fact, the smokes lead to more Tanqueray which lead to more smokes and on and on till I woke up in South Korea.

  3. This is a great tease! I love where you’re going with this story. And I can totally relate to Beth’s see-saw relationship with smoking. I never was a heavy smoker, unless I was drinking of course, but it still took me several years to finally stop smoking. I never say I quit. Tell me I can’t ever do something and I’ll run out and do it. I just take one day at a time and say I’m not smoking today. I’m at the point where I don’t even miss smoking … unless I’m drinking of course. Sigh.

    • It’s so easy to pick up again even after having quit for years. I did the whole ‘occasional smoker’ thing for years, kidding myself that I’d quit — but here I am, trying once again to cut it out completely. One day at a time! The whole time I was writing this story I was positively begging for a smoke. No more smoking stories for me for a while!

      • Indeed. Probably my only saving grace is no one around me smokes. When my best girlfriend picked up smoking again a few years ago, it was hard going to be with her while she smoked. Fortunately she didn’t smoke my brand so when I did bum off of her (which I did), it was fairly awful. Still, I’m awfully glad she quit again.

  4. Pingback: Three Cigarettes – By Jessica B. Bell – E-Book Now Available | Being the Memoirs of Helena Hann-Basquiat, Dilettante.·

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