“I need a cigarette,” she screamed. She tore through her purse searching for her pack of Marlboro Lights and her lighter. Her frustration mounting with every second spent digging through all the crap that had found its way into her purse. Finally, she had had enough and just dumped her purse upside down onto the passenger seat. There they were right on top. “Thank God,” she said as she relaxed a little in her seat. She grabbed the box, pulled out a cigarette, and lit it all in one smooth motion.

Inhale. Exhale.

Her muscles began to ease.

Inhale. Exhale.

Her eyes closed.

Inhale. Exhale.

Her heart stopped racing.

Inhale. Exhale.

Finally, the day was over. And then she heard the sound of Darth Vader breathing. Her teeth began to clench. She picked up her cell phone and looked at the message. It was from her boss.

Did you forget the deposit?

She stared at the tiny little screen. No, she hadn’t forgotten the deposit. She looked at all the stuff from her purse sitting on the seat next to her and found the receipt from the bank. She took a picture of the receipt making sure to get the time and date and texted it back to her boss. She was too tired to actually try to form words for a real text.

Inhale. Exhale.

Was he ever going to trust her to do her job? She’d been working for him for 15 years and still he double checked her work even after hours. Couldn’t she at least get in a whole Ciggy before he started in on her.

Inhale. Exhale.

The sound of Darth Vader breathing came again.

Did you take my shirts to the dry cleaner?

She found the dry cleaning check amongst the crap on the seat, took a pic, and sent that too. She flicked her cigarette to the ground and walked into the 7-11. As she walked past the counter, she got a tingle up her spine. It was her there’s a lucky scratcher ready to be picked tingle. She only felt this tingle every now and then, but every time she bought a ticket when she felt the tingle she won money. It could be just $1 though usually it was more. She hoped it would be enough to get her some more cigarettes, a pineapple Fanta, and some HoHo’s. She really wanted some HoHo’s. She went back to the counter and got in line. Darth Vader sounded from her pocket. She took the phone out and looked to see what her boss wanted now. “Did you schedule my appointment for the dentist?” Really!?! He is texting me after hours about a dentist appointment. She searched through her e-mails, found the e-mail from the dentist confirming the appointment and forwarded it to him.

“What can I get for you,” the cashier asked.

“Oh, sorry. Can I get one of those Million Dollar Scratchers whatever they’re called please,” she replied.

“Just one?” he asked.

She felt the tingle again, but this time it was strong and made her shiver. “No, I think I will take 3,” she said.

Whenever the tingle was strong, she always bought 3. She paid the cashier and stepped outside to smoke another cigarette and scratch her tickets. The first ticket was worth one dollar. She smiled. The tingle had come through again. Now let’s hope there’s more on the next one. She slowly scratched and saw that this one won her another dollar. Her smile grew. She could get the Hoho’s. One more ticket left.

Inhale. Exhale.

She closed her eyes and wished herself luck.

Inhale. Exhale.

She began to scratch and her hands started to shake as her brain registered what her eyes were seeing. Her eyes started to tear up and she could feel a scream building in her chest. She scratched the last space and there it was. The million dollar winner. THE MILLION DOLLAR WINNER!!!! She took a deep drag from her cigarette and tried to calm down. She was shaking like mad. The cashier knocked on the window and asked if she was OK. She nodded and ran for her car. She drove home as quickly as she could. She ran into her house, shut the door and locked it. She slowly turned around and then began to dance and scream. Then she stopped abruptly to check the ticket again. Maybe she had read it wrong. She started to panic. She looked at the ticket. She read it carefully comparing the picture in the directions with the outcome of her ticket. Three treasure chests equals One Million Dollars. She read it 10 times to make sure. She was sure. She was a winner. She started dancing and screaming again holding onto the ticket for dear life. Then that dreaded sound. Darth Vadar breathing.

Did you send the documents to the lawyer?

She wanted to call him and scream. He was ruining her moment. How dare he? Then it hit her. She didn’t need to work for him anymore. Never ever again. She looked at the ticket in her hand and smiled. She took a pic of the ticket, added the words, “I quit” and hit send. She grabbed another cigarette, lit it and took a long drag.

Inhale. Exhale.

She felt a profound sense of relief.

This was the best day of her life.

 

 

(Also written in response to the writing prompt – “I need a cigarette.”)

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