The Last Cigarette by J.G. Chayko

The afternoon heat bounced off the faded brick building. Air conditioners dangled from shallow windows shielded by grizzled blinds. He sat on a bench, twirling a cigarette between his fingers, watching tourists ooze along the street. The tangy scent of sunscreen tainted with baked rubbish drifted on the air.

A young kid approached him. “Hey, can I bum a cigarette off you?”

“Sorry kid. This is my last.”

“Yeah, whatever.” The kid flipped him the bird and sauntered off.

He tucked the cigarette inside his shirt pocket, his fingers grazing the hard steel of his gun. It might be a while before Charlene returned. He went to a small bistro and sat on the patio with a cold beer. The liquid soothed his throat, chasing away the desire for a smoke. He watched a slim woman in red stroll by – something about the way she moved looked familiar. Charlene’s face replaced her image reminding him he still had some business to finish.

It was close to sunset when she appeared, strutting down the narrow sidewalk, smoking a cigarette, the scent of stale wine trailing behind her. He spotted a satisfied smile on her face and pitied the poor schmuck whose bank account was now empty in the wake of her existence.