One-Hitter Quitter

 “Fuck you, pal,” the old boy spits. His spectacles as wide as his face, accentuating his other frog-like qualities. I bogart my cigarette. Just the three of us. Nothing to stop it getting further out of hand.

 “You sit yourself down in a smoking area and then tell me it’s rude to smoke when other people are eating?” I cloud. “Do you go into doctor’s waiting rooms and demand the sick people leave?”

 “When to smoke is a choice,” he continues, putting his wife’s coat on her shoulders. She glares an old woman glare. I throw her a wink and drink in the disgust. 

 “So is your being here,” I say. “And in the cosmic order of things, I was here first.” A deep drag. Maintain the eye contact.  

 But he doesn’t bite. They leave, throwing curses and middle fingers over their shoulders. I sigh. Put another tally on the notepad. Count the number of tabs left in the box. If someone doesn’t take the bait and swing a punch at me before long, I am never going to get to claim self-defence if the police come calling. A bet is a bet, and this one is going to expire soon. Then I’ll really be in trouble.

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