Fag ash

It is the funniest thing I’ve seen all week. She was rocking and laughing to herself in her seat next to the aisle. High on something, out of it, in her happy place. I envied her. In her hand, the crumpled dog end of a roll-up and a battered plastic lighter. Whatever the joke was, it tickled her. Then suddenly, as the bus set off, she ducked down across the empty seat between her and the window. She was too far down for me to see, but I imagine she was cupping that precious dog end. The sound of metal against flint sparking up rose from beneath her tousled head, followed by clouds of white smoke as though a new pope had been chosen. She sucked and sucked. The lighter scraped and scraped. The clouds plumed. The woman in the seat in front turned around and tutted. I had to duck my own head, I was laughing so much. The sparking stopped and the smoke dissipated. The smoker glanced behind at me so I turned my face to the window, still laughing. As funny as she was, I didn’t want to get drawn in. My nutter magnet is strong enough.