"Don't Smoke Kid, Smoking Will Kill Ya."

by Addison Donati

Listen ladies, I aint got many minutes left in my day but if you wanna give me a call me when yous are lonely tonight, Ill make pretty damn sure to be available.

Aye, Billy you outta just leave em alone, they aint gots no interest in us. Dont go bein a hell lot of disrespectful to em.

Shut it bud. Jimmy Boy you dont get it...they want you to speak to em this way. It gets em goin, you gotta show em youll fool around on your time and aint nothin else about it, ladies like a man who takes charge. Dammit Jimmy, I gotta teach you everythin?

He sparked a cigarette and jammed it between his lips, putting a cork to his mouth before he gave Billy another reason to teach him something new. Jameson Kruck, formally known as Jimmy Boy, constantly pulled smoke into his lungs leaving little room for oxygen. They never got used to it, his lungs. He allowed himself to rationalize the habit with an unmerited explanation: With each following drag his lungs were building up endurance, the sticky tar stockpile lining his insides would eventually lighten the load, painting his puffers a frightening black that would somehow protect him from the urge to cough. It wasnt the smoke that was the problem, it was the cough that followed. Coughin aint cute and a girl aint gunna wanna boy who cant handle a little smoke. If this cig didnt do the job, the next one would. Patience is a virtue, Billy always said.

William Tudwell, 52, 103 pounds of cat calls and warm beer. Call him Billy. Mrs. Anderson down the post office can call him William, damn she could call him sweet baby Jesus if she wanted, but you can call him Billy. He takes on the role of being Krucks guidance in the town of Wiggins and in life in general; Jimmy never asked for Billys guidance, never told him to shut up either, frankly. William and Jameson met in grade school in the principals office. Billy poured glue on Emmie Judds hair and Jimmy Boy laughed, so the two naturally shared the blame and were as stuck together as Ms. Judds sandy brown bob to her ears once that glue dried.

In Wiggins, Mississippi, you went to Mommas Diner for the best omelet in Stone county, Chucks Grab N Go sold a six pack for 3.50$ on Saturdays, and Melody Park meant ladies in swimsuits looking to catch a fella staring at her so she could complain and rant about no good skeeves as she loosened the strings to her top. You will not hear, Hey man, its a hot one today; It was yesterday, is today and will be tomorrow, aint no use in saying Rosie Landers is a looker, she was yesterday, is today, and will be tomorrow Jimmy Boy, dont ya know shes as predictable as the weather. I could make me my own weather channel just predicting the sights of Ms. Landers and Id have me a real job man, Id be right every time. And today, look-ie here, Rosies damn fine. And for tomorrow fellas you heard it here first, shes gunna look just as nice but with much more of her daisy dukes missin above the knee. Ha! Now back to you Jimmy Boy, with todays news.

Jimmy Boys mother worked in Wiggins, no where specific, she just worked in Wiggins, sort of worked for Wiggins. She lived in the house where Jimmy slept. He always wanted a home, Jimmy Boy, but he got stuck with a house and a mom that worked for the entire town of Wiggins. You dont need no momma to love you Jimbo, thats what ladies like Becky Clark are for, you give her a ring, give her some love and she sure as hell will love you back. Ya know what Im saying Jimmy Boy, thats the only lovin a man needs. The last time Billy Tudwell saw his mother was in Officer Welchs office when she was bailing her son out for theft. Chuck told me I could take the can of pop and pay him back later, sonofabitch is a no good liar. Through the glass window of Welchs office Billy watched as his momma laughed, Officer Welch kept doing this odd wink with his left eye, they went out to dinner that night and then moved to a house in Jackson once dinner was over. Billy is sure it must be a house and not a home, his momma wasnt the type to live in a home.

No matter how much Jimmy Boy wanted to challenge what Billy would say about the weather and Rosie Landers and his momma and patience being some sort of virtue and coughing being so damn unattractive and the fact that neither of them could ever live in a home, he just couldnt. He had nothing to argue against. Life was the way Billy explained it, so naturally it was the way Jimmy understood it.

That Sunday morning, the beads of sweat tickling him on the rear of his neck forced Jimmy to feel amongst company on his walk to the house he slept in. The dented aluminum screen door was the only thing separating him from the inside of the house, the wooden front door being wide open behind it. His mom worked in Wiggins on Saturday nights and never made it to the house this early in the morning. The spring of the screen door reluctantly allowed Jimmy to open it and it screeched and screamed in a hopeless manner.

Pipsqueek, wheres your whore of a mother.

It was ironic. Jimmy had never seen someone else sitting on his couch so comfortably before. It was the first time his house looked this much like a home in his entire time spent there. The scrawny man was shaking from withdrawal of whatever drug he was feigning for at the moment. He asked another five questions in a row, something along the lines of tell me where your momma is, I aint gunna get dogged around, where is my money, why you keep staring at me son. Jimmy could not answer. It wasnt because he didnt know the answer, he couldve easily made something up, but he did not want this man to move. Hed get up and it would just be a house, never again would it look like a home. He had ground beef in the refrigerator, maybe this addict was hungry and would stay seated for dinner.

Your momma owes me money, alotta money kid so if I were you Id stop starin at my like a looney and find her stash.

My momma aint here sir, she works in Wiggins, she might be home later, are you hungry?

Son, your momma aint coming home anytime soon I can tell. And I bet ya she aint got my money either, damn woman aint gunna give me my money, how longs it gunna take me to realize these women aint nuthin but cheaters and liars? Dammit.

Warmth. Jamesons body was covered in the beautiful warmth of a blanket woven from blood. Two shots into his chest. They remained within him, he never felt closer to anything in his life than these two bullets in his chest. Hasnt he ever heard of that saying patience is a virtue? He must not have been lucky enough to know Billy Tudwell. Either not lucky enough or one of the luckiest men I know, in that case. Patience aint a virtue, patience dont exist. Damn you William Tudwell, you were the most impatient man Id ever come across in my life.

The thick walls of nicotine gunk were not thick enough to protect his lungs from the penetrating bullets, yet breathing had never come so easy to him. It was as if all of the oxygen he had deprived his lungs of for so long was finally blessing his puffers, each molecule filling his body where the blood uncontrollably drained. Looking over him from up above was the sickly skinny man with a cigarette in his mouth. Jameson tried to open his mouth to push words out, only to realize it was not going to happen due to the pools of blood drowning his trachea. He didnt even realize it at first because he was breathing so purely, so naturally, blood in his throat seemed impossible. Thank you, God dammit Im trying to say thank you fella, just look at my eyes and listen to them. Ive never lived a day where it has been this easy to breath. Thank you.

Nuttin personal kid, your momma screwed this one up. He took a long drag and hurled a pain inflicting, honest cough.

Ive been smoking for decades and you think itd get easier, huh? Dont smoke kid, smoking will kill ya.

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