SMOKING MAN

     Outside Deering Library, a lanky man clutches a book under his arm and a cigarette between his nimble fingers. He fumbles around in his pocket and pulls out a jet black lighter. Flicking the roller with his thumb, he holds the cigarette to the lighter.  A flame sparks and sizzles like lightning.  He sighs. Three more tries and the cigarette illuminates.  Pursing his lips, he inhales and releases a smoke cloud.  His hollow eyes survey the intricate wooden door. He puffs the cigarette and taps his right foot.  The sharp strikes echo under the balcony.  He paces, glaring at the ground. After another drag of the cigarette, he runs his fingers through his graying hair. Dropping the cigarette, he grinds it into the pavement and strides away.