Fiction Drama


TW // Suicide

1st Cigarette:

You do laundry on Tuesdays. You do laundry on Tuesday mornings at the Happy Bubble before your 8 o'clock shift. 15 dollars. Two loads. A $1.50 in change. A diet coke is $1.19. You drop what's left into the little cancer box above the cash register. You drain the coke and light your first cigarette of the day. Twenty cigarettes in a pack. Three cigarettes a weekday. You buy a new pack every Monday, $4.45 a pack. About 18 bucks a month. That's the plan. You're trying to quit. Well, maybe. 7:45 you walk to work. It takes five minutes if you use the back allies. The shortcut increases your likelihood of being brutally stabbed to death for your coupon-filled wallet, but you like being early. It keeps you in control. At 7:50 you are standing outside Target's automatic doors. Their walls, painted a charismatic red, welcome you. You read somewhere red energizes people, gets them high on gossip magazines and child labor T-shirts. You spit your cigarette into the ashtray. If you look closer, though, you can smell the piss and liquor. You can see the dent in the concrete, the police tape around the corner. You put on your friendly face and swallow your rage.

2nd Cigarette:

2:00 is your lunch break. You used to have 1:00, but you traded with Jeremy so he could bring his kid lunch. You could have 1:00 back, of course. You'd been the one to find him there, crumbled on the concrete. Jackie had offered you the week off, but you’d refused, told her it didn’t bother you. The truth was you couldn’t leave. There was nowhere to go. Leaving would swallow you whole. You gave her your friendly smile. 

She didn’t push. 

You release a breath you didn’t know you’d been holding and spit drily to the pavement. 

Poor kid. 

You wonder who brought her lunch that day, and all of the sudden the half-foot sub you devoured feels like stones in your stomach. No. You shake the thoughts from your head, closing your eyes tight as you take another puff. The sub was $3.00, ham and cheese, with complimentary chips. You alternate it with the overpriced $4.00 caesar salad so that's… His broken outline burns the backs of your eyelids. You drop the half-smoked cigarette into the ashtray and don't blink once as you return inside.

3rd Cigarette:

Jeremy was going to be a writer. A couple books, a series, an autobiography, and some tv deals. He was going to show his ex he wasn’t useless. He was going to get his daughter back and be famous. That's what he had told you, his accent thick from the cheap beer he'd stolen from the drink aisle. You smooth a tattered copy of his unfinished manuscript against your thigh. He was going to get the hell out.

4th Cigarette:

He could have done it, too. He had the plot ready, the characters fleshed out… It was gonna be beautiful, he told you, handing you the newest chapters to look over, handwritten on paper from the break room. You handed them back, the paper dotted with edits. 

It was gonna be beautiful.

The world swirls around you. It feels very, very wrong. You take a deep breath and focus on the ticking of the clock. 


You should go to bed. If you go now, you might be able to squeeze in 6 hours of sleep, with 2 before work. An hour for breakfast, and an hour for… You squeeze your eyes shut to clear the fuzz. 

7th Cigarette:

Just one more.

9th Cigarette:

He had chosen your painting of the seasick farm for the cover. The one with the windflowers and cattle blowing in the wind, stretched unnaturally and curved towards the center. Your favorite. 

You stumble up and down the stairs, knuckles white against the banister. It's 15 steps.




14th Cigarette:





15th Cigarette:

Monday, he handed you the half-finished copy, crisp and still warm from the printer. Tuesday he lost the custody battle. Wednesday he

16th Cigarette:

went ahead and died.

17th Cigarette:

You had been looking forward to work that morning. You never looked forward to work. But that day, you were eager. Eager to show him the inky black and white chapter headers you had drawn. Eager to propose your crumpled list of title ideas. You were desperate to be a part of it.

18th Cigarette

He wasn't there when you arrived. You knew he liked to sit outside after his morning shift to watch the sunrise over the highway. It was nice back there. Quiet except for the occasional truck and the clatter that came with unloading them. You knew he probably wasn't there. The sun had risen hours ago.

But there he was, sprawled on the curb, his head turned to watch the fading glow of morning.

19th Cigarette

You count by sevens now. One is not enough.




You cannot stop. If you stop, you're afraid you may never get back up. You will be a skeleton crumpled on the halfpace.

It is all lost now. The momentum. The reason.

If he made it out, maybe you could too.

It was going to be beautiful. You both knew it. You would become an illustrator, a real one. Your parents might have been proud.

Now there were just numbers. You shake the thoughts from your head.

Twenty four



1st Cigarette:

You glance at the clock, peeling yourself from the base of the stairs, still sticky with blood and drink. It's 8:13. You are late. You stare at that clock for a long time. Decidedly, you'll be late tomorrow as well. You pick up the manuscript and gaze at it for a while. With a sigh, you limp into your bedroom and sit cross-legged on the carpet. You tape together the frayed edges and torn pages and pull the pad of paper off your desk, a pen in hand.

June 12, 2021 00:29

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19:04 Jun 12, 2021

Nice story!! I like how you used second point of view to enhance the emotion and make it more personal. Very well written!


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Shea West
18:39 Jun 12, 2021

I'm a super fan of 2nd POV, and love getting a chance to read a story written as such whenever I can. The way that you used the cigarette count as a way to move through the story. Quitting smoking brings an extra level of anxiety and abruptness, I think knowing that really adds to some of the way you convey the story. As a reader I love trying to guess what happens in between the lines that isn't written, and the skipping of cigarettes gave me that feeling too. This was a unique and cool read! Am I missing something obvious in what the na...


B.T Beauregard
18:59 Jun 12, 2021

Thank you so much for reading!! 2nd pov is always really tricky for me, so i'm glad you liked it! The title is a work in progress, but its the chemical formula of nicotine (unfortunately, you can't use subscript on this dang site, so it looks like a jumble of random characters)


Shea West
20:39 Jun 12, 2021

Oh that makes it even more clever!


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Jon R. Miller
00:13 Jun 19, 2021

I love 2nd person POV stories. This one worked really well. So immediate. Like what others have said, the balance of what you know and what you don't know explicitly from the text is really great.


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H L McQuaid
10:01 Jun 14, 2021

Really good, immersive storytelling and great use of Second person POV. The narrator's voice is authentic, raw and burned down to a smouldering stub. One typo I think..'wildflowers' here?: "The one with the windflowers" Great stuff, I really enjoyed it.


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Matt P
02:57 Jun 14, 2021

Hey, I said I would comment so here I am. I too like the 2nd pov, it's how Chuck Palahniuk writes so I love it when anyone else does this too. The pacing is really good. I like the rhythm of this story. The story is very indicative of how depression feels, in terms of time. You wake up, same day, with small tidbits of what you're actually trying not to think about coming out in jumbled pieces. I truly dig. Good work.


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