Cigarettes and Alcohol

Leaning back in his unfathomably expensive recliner, visage drenched in shadow, his hollow laugh rang out in the lavishly decorated room. His finely tailored Italian silk suit creased in just the right spots as he reached for an ashtray and tapped the ash from the tip of his cigarette. His other hand cradled a crystal snifter of hors d'age brandy.

In this day and age, he thought to himself, cigarettes are a luxury few can afford. This was primarily because they had been discontinued several years back, after succumbing to decades of cancer-fighters and healthcare lobbyists working against big tobacco. The consortiums behind the tobacco companies had quietly packed up shop and moved on to what was now considered bigger fish: designer drugs. They had no qualms about leaving the industry they had built their empires on, so long as something new was fashionable enough to replace it... and profitable.

His black market sources had gone to extreme lengths to dig him up a couple of cartons of his old favourites, Rothmans. They'd cost a pretty penny, several thousand credits for a carton, but damn it all, they were worth it. As was his current endeavour.

Still, he thought as he considered the cost of both the cigarettes and his present situation. They do relax these middle-aged bones after a... traumatic... kind of day.

The newssheet had flickered before his eyes moments ago, as the latest in retinal implants caught the updated headline. Bloody bodybroker got what was coming to him. Less of a mess in his trail, and once this Brozek character was eliminated, he'd be home free. Trust them to tie up loose ends. They always get their man.

All of the fine craftsmanship, expensive suits, and lavish office apparel in the world couldn't get him out of his current situation, mind you. As free as he felt of his previous life, he was still trapped by circumstances... and his would-be captors. For the time being, he was at their mercy. They wanted something only he could provide — he was but a means to an end. And he knew it.

He had one trick left up his sleeve, though, and if it came down to it, it may prove to be his only way out. But for the time being, he was happy enough to bide his time. Wait for the right moment. He'd know it when it came.

Cigarette in hand, Eli Trammel leaned back in his leather chair, puffed a ring of smoke, took a sip of brandy, and considered his options.

The End

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