InsideMature

To die would be an awfully big adventure.

"May I?

I glance up into rainwashed eyes and a rakish smile. He nods towards the cigarette box held in my loose fingers. I hesitate before taking one out and lighting it for him. Waspishly, I toss it to him. He catches it smoothly, but hisses when the cherry burns him.

"Shit bugger," he curses, his southern accent turning the words round in his mouth. He doesn't blame me. "Damn thing would be even better if it weren't so firy, wouldn't it?"

"No fucking nicotine in the hospital," says someone else. We both look towards him. "Jesus Christ, y'all have death wishes, don't ya."

The rainwashed guy nods. "Yep. Tryna' give my cancer some cancer. Let 'er see how it feels, right?"

"Why'd y'name it a her?" I ask, before inhaling a perfumed breath of smoke.

He grins, once more rakish. "Never gives me a break, doesn't give me a choice. A force to not be reckoned with. Sounds a hell of a lot like a woman, don't it. Although you don't seem too bad," he adds, the paper rolling in his mouth like pencils on a desk.

I snort. The other person speaks up once more. "I don't know about y'all, but I plan on getting out of this motherfucking hell hole. Would y'please stop smoking those goddamn cigarettes?"

"What's it to you?" I ask, scratching absently at the bandage over my needle punctures. Should've smoked the damn heroin instead of injecting it, I realize. No one told me that.

He zeros in on me, as if being female and under-dressed makes me less intimidating. Clearly, he did not just hear the speaking of cancer as female - a force to not be reckoned with. "You're gonna set the damn place on fire."

I shake my head at how ridiculous that is, and the rainwashed guy snorts along with me. He tucks his cigarette behind his ear briefly (I silently marvel at how he does that - but having no hair after chemo must definitely help), adjusting his IV stand, before popping the paper back in his mouth. The tiny amount of stars visible from the window sputter out.

"So what's your name?" I ask the other guy suddenly. His head is bound in clean cloth.

"Reynold," he says shortly, and sneezes.

"Jesus, man," says the rainwashed guy, "Don't tell me you're allergic to this shit too."

"Nah, 's just me," says Reynold, and smiles.

"This is all very sweet," I butt in, "But the nurses are gon' be coming for a lookie-round here in about two minutes. Pack it up."

The rainwashed boy sighs pitifully, and screws his cigarette into the wall. He draws an X with the ash. "How'd you know the routine anyway? You sit here all the time?"

I smile in response, and inhale the last drafts of drug before dropping the paper and crushing it.

The End

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