Mind Caviar Fiction

Christopher Buecheler  is a twenty-four year-old writer. In addition to his first published work, "Kim," he has written several short stories, and has recently finished the first draft of a novel. Christopher lives in Southern California, where he spends most of his time working, writing, and wishing he lived somewhere with seasons. Mind Caviar is pleased to announce Mr. Buecheler's erotic fiction debut.

E-mail Christopher Buecheler. Visit Christopher Buecheler online or at his experimental fiction site.


Cigarette Smoke. The bar's full of it, and I breathe it in with something like lust, something like greed. I wonder if people who've never been addicted to anything really understand. I understand. I'm not one of those people. But I'm not a smoker anymore, either. Not me. I quit. It's been almost a year since I quit. Pack a day. I did it all very systematically. Set it all up on paper, the exact times I could have each cigarette. Twelve smokes on Monday. Ten on Tuesday. Eight on Wednesday. Six on Thursday. Four on Friday. Done.

Not a day goes by that I don't want one. Every fucking day. Sometimes it's bad, and it takes an actual effort not to give up, go buy a pack. Sometimes it's just a small craving, like when you're hungry, but too busy to really worry about it. I quit for two and a half years before. It never really goes away.

She's smoking a cigarette. Great. 

Tight jeans, midriff shirt, her lipstick smears red on the filter, on the glass of Killian's. It was always Killian's. Kim's not hard to look at. The bar she's leaning on is all amber glow, polished by years of booze and salt and sweat. She smiles when she sees me. I feel sick. It was a bar that did it the last time. Two and a half years and the first bar I walk into, by the end of the night I've got a smoke between my lips and honest to God, it was better than a woman. Christ, It was better than winning the lottery. Fucking bliss.


She smiles again, wider this time, pretty green eyes picking up the low lighting, reflecting like sparks. "It's been a long time." It has. Three years.

And then she's kissing me, and it's all wrong. Smoke on her lips. Smoke on her tongue. Jesus fucking Christ I'm getting what every guy in this shithole has been wanting all night and I'm not even paying attention to it. I push her away. Hurt in her eyes. Christ, Kim, what do you want from me?


I'm beginning to wonder if I'm going to be able to speak in anything other than single syllables. It was always like that. She plays it off like she doesn't care. I saw those eyes, Kim. Another drag on the cigarette, a casual flick of her head to clear the strands of her hair out of her eyes, a sip from the beer. "Okay."

The bar stool is shaped like someone else's ass. Cracked plaster, yellow wallpaper, puke stains in the corner. Kim picked these places, never said why. I think it was ego. There's no competition in a place like this. The girls here don't match up. She'll get hit on all night, drag it all down with her smoke, laugh at the worst ones, go home with the best. Every night I picked to stay home was an exercise in paranoia. She always said she loved me, but that was the problem. Kim loved everyone.

She's smoking Camels. My eyes keep trying to lock on the pack. I stare at her bellybutton instead. She's used to that. There's a gold hoop there that wasn't, three years ago. Otherwise it looks the same. I try to remember the sex. All I can think of is smoking, after.

"Why'd you call?" I manage all three words without stumbling. I feel like a hero.

"I miss you. I still love you." I can look at her eyes now. It's easy when I know she's lying.

"Cut the shit."

She looks hurt, again. What does she expect? Three fucking years. Last time I saw Kim, she was lighting up a cigarette, telling me she'd call me the next day. I waited through the next day. The day after that. On the third day, I called her number. Disconnected. Gone. Kim.

"Don't be like this."

"Three years, Kim. What do you want?" I'm angry now. I like being angry with Kim. It's much easier than being in love with her, and I can speak in complete sentences.

"It was a mistake." She stubs out the cigarette, lights another. Sweet, pretty, chainsmoking Kim. Lying to me like always. It took over a year just to get the courage to see a doctor, to find out if Kim had given me anything as a souvenir of our relationship.

"You want a cigarette?" She catches me eyeing the pack again.



"I quit."

"Oh." Noncommittal. "Good."

"What do you want, Kim?"

"I want you to sit down and have a beer and talk with me. I want to catch up."

You know how you're not supposed to hit girls? Sometimes I hate that rule. Catch up? You got three years, baby? You got the fucking time? Wanna tell me where you went?

"I'm not really interested in catching up, Kim."

"You don't care what happened?"

"I don't."

And then it hits me. I don't. I honestly don't. No shit. Three years of anger, gone in a flash. I don't care. I don't care at all, and I wait for Kim to look up and say "Fine, okay. Let's go home, and we can fuck, and then we can sit on your roof in our underwear and smoke like we did in college. You can tell me stories about your stupid job, and make me laugh at all the wrong times so that the smoke makes me cough, and then we can go in and fuck again, like we did in college." And if she does, I'll take it.

I'll take it. 

When Kim tells me to go fuck myself, I smile at her. Three years. The bar smells like smoke, and Kim's lips taste like smoke when I kiss her goodbye, and goodbye, and goodbye, and it's been almost a year since I've had a cigarette, and tomorrow it'll be one day more. And it'll be some other guy that goes home with Kim tonight and puts his tongue on that little gold loop in her bellybutton and smokes with her in his underwear and tells stupid jokes that make her cough. And I don't care.

Outside the bar, it smells like November. Kim used to dance in the fallen leaves in the quad. Down the street is a convenience store. Marlboro signs in the window. I walk by it, because I don't want it that bad. I don't need it that bad. It itches at the back of my mind like a mosquito bite, and maybe it'll always be there, but for today, and tomorrow, and the day after, I'm okay without it. One year. Three years.

I always wonder if people who've never been addicted to anything really understand. 

Copyright © 2001 Chris Buecheler. All rights reserved. Do not copy or post.

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