The white cylinder soared through the air.
Thin, white, veined. A hand bearing long, jagged fingernails snatched the cellulose cylinder from its trajectory. Another hand flicked a small sheet of paper onto the table. Brown flakes soon covered the paper, clumped together in a line down its length. The cylinder landed at the end. Two flicks of a hand, and the paper had become a cylinder itself, enveloping the cellulose cylinder within it. A flame burst into radiance suddenly, and rested on one end of the new cylinder.
The man raised the cigarette to his mouth, and inhaled.
A look of bliss crossed his face, followed by one of relaxation. Grey plumes of smoke burst from his mouth and wafted on the breeze.
"Thank you," he said to the man opposite.
"We all have our vices, sir," said the man he’d asked, his greasy hair limp and dangling. He smiled slightly, revealing a mouth full of rotten teeth. He drummed his fingers on the table top.
"I’m quite… aware," replied the smoker. He inhaled again, burning away at more of the rolled cigarette. His bloodshot eyes simply stared at his opposition, who simply smiled back. "Yours is… sugars, obviously. Don’t you ever visit the dentist?"
The man chuckled. "Don’t you ever go to a rehab clinic, so’s that they can look at this little… habit of yours?" He gestured at the cigarette, grinning. He pointed at the tin of tobacco flakes that lay open on the table.
"Doctors, eh? What’ll they tell me? That it’ll kill me, so I should stop? Hah!" The smoker jammed the rolled cigarette into his mouth and inhaled angrily. The smoked item was half-gone by now. "Time’ll kill me, but I don’t stop counting the minutes."
As if on cue, the clock on the white wall gave a single note. The man with the rotten teeth grinned, and leaned over. "Yanno, sir, it would’ve been half a day without a fag if you’d just held it in a little longer."
"Shut up, I know," snarled the smoker. A tower of furious smoke escaped his mouth. He stuck the cylinder into his mouth again, and inhaled deeply. "I don’t care. I’m not stopping."
"Oh, I know, sir, but that don’t mean I can’t try. This is what I do for a livin’, sir; for me, see, this is the show that never ends. People wanna get better, but they don’t wanna do it the hard way, see?"
"This is the hard way."
"Oh, you may think it is, sir, you may think it is, but it ain’t."
The smoker sighed; more grey tendrils blew in front of his eyes. He lifted the cigarette to his mouth, inhaled – felt heat rising in his fingers. His eyes opened wide, and he threw the cigarette to the floor. The fires flickered out in moments.
"Now, sir, are you ready to try again?" The man with the rotten teeth grinned, and he pushed a glass of water towards the smoker opposite, who placed a hand on it before pouring it down his throat.
The smoker’s eyes flickered around the room. It had been… two hours. No, the clock said two minutes. He looked at the man opposite with bloodshot eyes, and started counting the minutes.