BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE
Joe F. Stierheim
Sadie pulled the collar of her coat more closely around her neck. The day wasn’t warming as it progressed but instead was growing colder; there would probably be snow before evening. The odor of frying peppers and onions came drifting down the street and she followed its lure to the eatery and stood examining the menu posted by the door. She fingered the lone coin in one pocket of her coat. There wasn’t even enough money for food now. At first she had made do by cutting back on the medicine until finally there wasn’t enough for either. She shrugged and shuffled down the street. It wasn’t that important.
She reached in her other coat pocket and extracted the crinkled pack containing her last cigarette. She took the slightly bent cylinder out, straightened it to an acceptable shape, and then placed it to her lips. The pack of matches slipped into the cigarette pack’s cellophane contained only one match. That was fitting, she thought. Carefully, she lighted the cigarette then drew the smoke in, feeling satisfaction as it filled her lungs. She crossed her arms and leisurely expelled the smoke into the chill air.
Idly, she studied the buildings on the street. Her gaze fell on the fire station and she thought of the men that she knew were on duty inside. She pictured them cleaning and polishing equipment or perhaps dozing, reading or watching TV. She wondered if they would be called out for her; she didn’t know what the procedure was. It really didn’t matter. Perhaps no one would even notice.
She finished the cigarette, let it fall to the sidewalk and ground it out with the sole of her shoe. Then she turned and headed for the street that led to the river.
SNAPSHOT ENCOUNTERS: Brief Meetings with People #4 October 21, 2008