The Smell of Cigarettes

Bazin has always been a faithful friend to Gustav. One night, however, something unimaginable happens, and Bazin is left to pick up the pieces. He must come to terms with the event, as well as the stranger caught up in the aftermath.

Bazin sat on the edge of his bed. His wife, pregnant, lay sleeping. 

Everything was building inside him, but he knew his wife would not oblige him. She was in her third trimester. Just as he was considering the selection that the internet had to offer, his phone rang. 

His wife stirred. 

"Oui, allo?" he breathed, taking the call in the hallway. 

Gustav's speech was slurred and halting. 

"D'accord. I'll be there in a few minutes." Bazin pulled on his jeans and glanced at the clock. It was just after 3. Métro's closed, he thought with a sigh. 

Last month, he had gotten into an accident on his scooter. His wife, fearing their unborn child would have no father, had made him promise to leave it in the garage. 

He considered waking her, apologizing for breaking that promise, but something stopped him.

He turned out the light and closed the door behind him. 

Once outside, he noticed the afternoon's rain had made the temperature drop quite a bit. Still, he couldn't risk going back inside, for fear of waking her up. The cold stung his nose, like the smell of cigarettes outside a humid bar. He buttoned his shirt all the way. 

Well, wasn't this just like Gustav? he fumed. Goes and gets himself piss drunk and then calls ol' Bazin to come get him. The bar was threatening to call the police. "Hell, let 'em!" he said aloud. They said he was scaring other customers, and anyway, it was closing time. 

There was no one on the streets. It was Tuesday night, and the weekend's hangovers were still humming. 

Gustav was waiting on the sidewalk, covered in his own sick, his back against the window. 

"Hey!" Bazin called, hitting his palm against the window. "Hey, you want him to get pneumonia? Hein? He's not going to hurt anyone! You got 'em--" One look at his friend, and he knew he would never be able to stay on the scooter. He put his hands in the pockets of his jeans. "Aw, putain! I left my wallet. You have money for a taxi?"

Gustav shook his head slowly, heavily. 

"Guess it's a nuit blanche, mon pote. " Bazin helped Gustav stand. 

Gustav threw his arm around Bazin's shoulder. 

"I've written the Pope. You're a saint."

"I'm an agnostic." Bazin winced at the smell of his friend's breath. 

The End

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