Saturday, July 4, 2009

he only smokes at parties.

He wore a grey blazer. It was Monday and he drank his coffee black. When a man on the street asked him for a dollar he gave him five and let him keep the change. On his way to work he thought about his grocery list but when the receptionist asked him what he was thinking about he said, "Hemingway."

The receptionist smiled at him. "I'm sorry," she said, "that I said such silly things at the Christmas party," and smiled again. He did not respond, nodded very slightly, removed his hat, and handed it to her.

"It smells like cigarettes," he said, "so I apologize."

She smelled it and looked up at him from behind the brim. "I didn't know you smoked," she said. He didn't. "I do," he said, and left.

He walked up the stairs to avoid the ordinary elevator crowd, and when he got to his office he took off his blazer. He looked at his desk. On it was a glass mug and a typewriter. He sat down and told himself that he was happy being who he pretended to be.

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