Hazard To Myself
by Amatia

She started smoking right after the breakup, buying a pack of Camel Lights at a gas station while wearing a cap and sunglasses, and praying that the attendant wouldn't ID her. It was bad enough that she couldn't get served alcohol no matter how much fucking money she flashed and even worse that the bartenders ratted her out to US magazine and Entertainment Weekly at least twice a month. Britney was fully prepared to lean across the counter and hiss something about a lawsuit in the attendant's ear should she have to flash her license. That or walk out of the gas station with a burning face and without her cigarettes. But the attendant simply handed her the pack and named the price.

She lit the first one in her car, with the lighter that had been in the glove compartment for ages. Britney knew enough not to be driving while she did it, and she thanked the Lord that the windows on the car were tinted. The first drag didn't even make it all the way to her throat before she was coughing, her eyes watering and smearing her mascara. The second didn't go any better, but on the third she forced herself to think that it was just air, just air, and the smoke went all the way to her lungs before she started coughing again.

Britney lowered the window just enough to flick the cigarette out, but then she remembered where she was and swore under her breath. Fuck it. Fuck the gas station, fuck Justin, fuck everything. She ground the cigarette out in the car's unused ashtray instead. She'd just have to remember to clean it out when she got home, and leave the window cracked an inch.

Halfway to her house she thought fuck it again, and lit another with one hand. Took it from her mouth and looked at it between her fingers for a split second. Then she raised it back to her lips, sucked the smoke in with determination, and pressed her sandaled foot hard to the gas pedal.


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