Soda and Cigarette

Soda and Cigarette


“Photography isn’t really my thing,” Alison explained. “I mean, I think I’m decent at it. I just wish I could show them what I’m best at.”

Chris handed Alison the camera and bent down to tie her shoe. “Yeah, I get that. But the review is coming up in, what, two weeks? There’s no way you’re getting ten paintings done by then.” She sighed. “And you won’t use old work, so…”

“I’ve improved recently,” Alison asserted. “My old work is pretty awful by my standards now.”

“And that’s why I’m telling you to take pictures instead. The outside world’s art style doesn’t change.”

“Right, but…”

“Would you just admit that you’ve been too ambitious? You thought you could get a perfect portfolio done in a couple months, and you couldn’t. We’re going to take some photos whether you like it or not because you’ve got to have something to present.”

“I’ve already agreed to this. You don’t have to convince me.”

“Then quit arguing and get some shoes on.”

Chris had finished tying her sneakers. Alison slipped on a pair of sandals.

“I invite you into my home, and you thank me for my hospitality by dragging me outside with a camera,” she quipped.

“Shut up. I’m being a good friend.”

Chris and Alison stepped outside. The lighting wasn’t ideal, but Chris insisted that everything could be fixed using Photoshop. Alison photographed flowers and trees and streetlamps and anything that looked even mildly interesting. Worried that her parents wouldn’t want her going too far, she insisted that they remain on the same street.

Chris, three years older than Alison, lit a cigarette. Ali tried not to stand downwind of her friend, but the smoke always seemed to follow her. She gave up her attempts to evade the foul-smelling clouds and continued scouting for an acceptable composition.

Tink. She felt herself kick the aluminum can and heard the metallic noise it made before she saw that it was there: an undamaged can of Mountain Dew by the edge of the sidewalk.

“That really says something,” Chris pointed out. “Something about climate change or trash or whatever.”

Alison shrugged. “Stuff like this is always by the side of the road.”

“Isn’t that kinda the point?”

Chris bent down, put out her cigarette, and set it on the ground a few inches from the can. She got up, took a few steps, and bent over again, this time to pick up a pile of dead leaves. She placed them near the can and the cigarette, straightened up, and then gestured to her work with her right foot. “Voilà. Art.”

Squatting, Ali brought the camera up to her face and adjusted the focus before taking a snapshot.

“Should we throw that stuff away?”


Soda and Cigarette.jpg
Our addictions are harmful not only to ourselves but also to the Earth that has so generously offered us a place to call home.

What are your addictions? Mine are food, attention, and sugary drinks. 🙂


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