Sunlight reigns this spring day, and a ballet is dancing outside, on the walk. Elegant forms, sinewy and without restrictions, stretch their limbs to the sky, blending slowly with the golden light around them. They dance upon cinders, they themselves the smoke issuing from the wine-red cigars, like bricks handing from the lips of old men and blossoming women. How must a wad of stone taste in one's mouth?
One such of these ladies twirls her lit cigar like a baton between her fingers, ash making desperate pirouettes toward the ground, the ballerina-like trails of smoke now spinning somersaults through the air.
And it is then that it strikes, the expected enemy of these people: the hated, and rather unflattering, cough. The distressed damsel nearly doubles over in her fit, a feeble attempt to rid her lungs of soot and ash.
In this process the cigar tumbles to the ground, released from the precarious grip of bone-thin fingers. It lands and rolls, a gesture borrowed from countless vagabonds unloading themselves from speeding trains. The embers finally find themselves on the grass, darkened and dry like the sunbathers it supports.
Her bout with the cough ended, she returns, somewhat victorious, gasping still for breath and realizing her addiction has fallen to the ground. Her stiletto-ed foot lashes out, the heel a mimicry of her fingers, a pathetic attempt to kill the life that is fire.
She utters a small cry, her compatriots now aware of the blaze in miniature, and continues to step into the flames. Joined now by other feet, the lot of them stomping about like a band of savages, whoops and whistles to complete the illusion, tongues of flame are swallowed, the catastrophe ends.
The moment is soon forgotten, a new cigar is lit, the puffing and lazy banter continues, though a few drops of sweat and witty remarks as well as the char on boots and heels alike remains to tell of the fiery incident.
Brittle fingers bring smoky symbols of sophistication to lucid lips.