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  1. 1:53 a.m. Eastern Standard Time

    70 empty flip-top boxes to my left.

    1400 cigarettes burnt to ash.

    Streams of smoke weaving, ascending in front of my eyes as fingers clasp fourteen-hundred and one.

    Yet, so quickly, seemingly, another one bites the dust. I will be satisfied for twelve or so minutes until the dancing begins again. I am voyeur to its inhibition, active participant only in that I light the match and start the fire. Who am I kidding, though, as it cannot be denied.

    The other day, as I sat in the passenger's seat, my arm was draped along the open window and I watched it, the billowing smoke. A tinge of purple, like sunwashed grapes, seemed to coat the dirty spiraling fumes.

    Each one tastes different. I even swear some of them contain random ingredients of either a non-specific or illegal nature (example - the occasional aftertaste of sawdust or marijuana, respectively). Apparently they also contain urine, which I imagine must have occurred not after much researching but after serious heavy drinking.

    Picture this:

    A group of tobacco executives go out for a round. Eventually the conversation turns to something like, "Gee, the consumer sure doesn't seem to mind the taste of all the crap we put in these things. Obviously, they seem to love it!" This, after much goading and more drinking, leads to an idea. "Well how about this! What say we piss in it, too!" So they head to the manufacturing plant and piss away. Then they laughed and laughed.

    This, in effect, became a tradition. So, every now and again, there's just a hint of piss in there for extra comfort. I can at least attest to its presence within cigarettes as I can actually taste it on my lips sometimes, like bitter seasalt (and yes, I have a vague childhood experience of tasting piss, so I have some personal basis of comparison).

    Anyway, time for a dance.

    2:34 a.m. EST