John's computer freezes again and his shoulders unconsciously rise up to meet his ears. His teeth start to slow dance with each other, grinding and pushing top against bottom.
John takes a deep breath, squuezes his eyes shut and cracks his knuckles. He gets up and walks from his office, downstairs, through the aggresively beige reception area, and outside. The air doesn't smell like dust cleaner or freshly xeroxed paper and for that, John is grateful.
Turning the corner he comes upon a coworker, slumped against the wall, eyes to the ground. "Hello Susan," John says, a sigh resting over the tops of every syllable.
"Hello, John," the same bland exasperation makes her tongue heavy and her words thick.
"Fancy a cigarette, Susan?" John plucks the box from his breast pocket with more enthusiasm than even his daily masturbation.
"God, yes, you're a life saver." Susan's eyes shift from concrete gray to the bright hazel she was born with.
John hands Susan the white cylinder, and retrieves one for himself. Before either of them says another word, they both take near-holy, reverent, utterly satisfying bites out of their cigarettes. They chew thoughtfully, but quickly. Appreciatively, but desperately.
They chew, they swallow.
"The operating system is acting up again. I think I might just slit my wrists over the keyboard and be done with it," John takes a slow lick up the length of his cigarette and rips another section into his mouth with eager teeth.
"You wouldn't believe what Jackson had to say to me this morning..." Susan makes quick little nibbles at her cigarette, impatient but not reckless. She holds her left hand underneath her right, to catch any falling tobacco.
Having exhausted all of their work-place griping, John and Susan rest in the fleeting glow of a satiated addiction. Plant matter and bleached paper swirling around in their stomachs, soothing, enticing, gripping them with the future need for more hidden in the satisfaction of the present.
John rubs the filter of the cigarette along his gums and teeth without conscious thought. Susan does the same, her eyes fading back to that dismal concrete gray. His shoulders sneak back up towards his earlobes. Hers reach for the ground, as if they would like to lie down.
Neither of them will see each other until another cigarette is between their teeth.