Smoke rings

She blew perfect smoke rings . deftly rolling another joint in her slender fingers. And it hurts me to know that those same fingers once made beautiful music , dancing over ivory white keys. She rolls her eyes smiling wickedly and puffs a little 'O' my way.

"What's wrong Nat?" She drags herself up , this time making the effort to regain some composure before starting in on me again. "You used to be cool with this, come on just one hit , for old times sake?"

I can hear the plea in her voice , trying not to look like the crazy on in a room full of strangers only she can see.

"Listen hun , that kind of stuff was ok when we were kids but I have a job to get to in the morning. If you want to finish that thing take it outside." I say trying to sound uninterested, trying to resist the simultaneous urge to light the joint myself and draw until my chest explodes , or grab her by the hair and smash her face against the counter until she passes out , but it didn't work last timeā€¦ So I just shrug her off , now she is the crazy one, ranting about people the world has long turned its back on. Most of them I remember, the majority from some holding carrel at the police station where they tried to scare us straight. Just two punk teens getting into what we couldn't handle, not knowing how much their tales of dejection and hardship molded us into the hard asses we pretended to be.

" ..and I just couldn't believe how much he was putting out just for a hit , it was unbelievable!" she continued hands fluttering around her head like two helpless birds as she stumbles around the living room crossing from chair to chair , using coasters as ash trays for the cigarette she's lit.

"Listen hun, I really gotta get some work done, go make me some tea or something." I set her loose on my kitchen knowing she would clean away all the week-old left-overs and take out plates from my fridge. I hear the microwave beep several minutes later and she appears with a plate steaming with lo mein french fries and browning salad. In her condition I am surprised she can still keep up her vegetarian diet .

"All natural !" she declares digging in with a chop stick, when I mention it. " so what are you doing there anyway?"

"Trying to get the Johnson commission in order," I mumble and then judging from the silence I hastily added " Carey and Lina, they twins with the lawsuit."

"Oh yeah! " she chuckled shoveling fries and lettuce into her mouth. " If I had someone who looked exactly like me I'd sue them too!"

"This is serious , I really need to get this done! And where's my tea?"

"You know I couldn't find any so I got you a Mountain Dew ." she points to the can beaded with condensation .

"I cant drink that this time of night, and how could you not find tea! You used to call my place the Green Tea House!" I huff saving and closing out the file then dragging my self into the kitchen. Five minutes later the water was boiling and I was half asleep with a one sided conversation streaming through my head.

She poured a big cup of water then carefully selected a special calming brew for me and a spicy rejuvenator for herself.