Adam sat back against the torn leather of his worn office chair and let the scotch tumbler dangle from his fingers as he sloshed the contents around. He stared through the blinds at the rainy street below him, watching people from the bar on the first floor stumble into the street, cursing as they stepped off the sidewalk into a hidden puddle the streetlight stubbornly refused to illuminate. A smile crossed his lips as he watched a particularly well-dressed man go shin deep into the water, shaking his pant leg about as if he could shake the damp free.

Adam put the glass to his smile and let the warm liquid burn his throat on the way down. He sat for a moment, listening to the bugle waft from the bar below like cigarette smoke. Delicious cigarette smoke. Adam looked at the calendar on his desk. Eleven days. A new record. He opened his right hand desk drawer. A revolver, a box of bullets, and a pack of cigarettes. “At this point, it's one or the other.” He thought to himself as he struggled against the impulse to light up. He put his hand on the box, and rubbed his thumb along the side, as if he could relieve his craving through osmosis.

He pulled a slender, sexy cylinder from the box and rolled it between his thumb and forefinger. Adam lifted the glass on the nearby oil lamp and set it on the desk, watching the flame bathe the wick and lick at the air, distorting the area just behind it, like looking through a foggy spyglass. Adam moved the end of the cigarette through the tiny wisps of smoke, as if he was conducting the jazz ruminating beneath him. He closed his eyes a moment, belly full of warm liquor, on the verge of sleep. The smell of burning tobacco caressed his face like a familiar lover. He opened his eyes. His cigarette wafted with sweet fumes. The cigarette was alight! He surely hadn't intended that. “No sense in wasting it” Adam thought to himself, satisfied with his justification.

He put it to his lips and puffed, his brain awash in sensory overload.

“I thought you quit.” An agitated voice came from the door. Adam shot up and shoved the cigarette into a well-used ash tray. His secretary let her folded arms do the talking.

“It caught fire on the lamp!” Adam slurred, surprising even himself at how tipsy he sounded.

“And you're drunk.”

“I'm not drunk.” Adam said as he grabbed the nearly empty bottle in front of him and shoved it into the fat drawer at the base of his desk.

“Surprisingly, you have a client.”

“Well then, send her in.”