Cigarette smoke clung to the air like a visitor from the other. Her cigarette smoke.
Even the smoke she blew was beautiful; men would kiss it if no one was there. Through the smoke, I could see her eyes. Black like her Mascara. Her hair was black too. Long, curled and black. Her short dress, her clutch on the table, her heels. Black.
She was seated at the far end of the bar desk, sipping on something bright red. Deliberately. And smoking too – with a purpose.
That mystical smoke. It just hung there. It looked like a wise man’s thoughts if one could ever visualize them. Latent. Powerful. Enigmatic.
He studied the cigarette stick. It was white, extra long and extra slender. He must have studied it for two hours and gotten curious when it didn’t burn out.
He must have been curious as to where she got her drink from. It wasn’t any cocktail that they offered and apart from the extra bright glow of it, he would have noticed that despite her periodic sipping, the cocktail hadn’t diminished.
He served other customers and continued to observe her. A high profile gentlemen’s club like this usually didn’t entertain that many comers so he wasn’t really busy. She would pout, drag and blow every few minutes. Take a sip too. And then just be.
He wouldn’t really be able to comprehend her being because he couldn’t really study her features; he would perceive no details. Just a lady, a cocktail, a cigarette and forever smoke. She was there like she wasn’t.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before his curiosity peaked and his started towards the lady in black. Then the phone rang.
By the time he was done answering my diversion she was gone and I was sitting in her place. He looked mildly puzzled but quickly exchanged the look for a pretend smile. I smiled back and ordered for a whisky.
People couldn’t really tell the difference between a laser hologram and a real image till they got close enough to notice the absence of details in the rendering. I was field testing this technology for the SSS. It would help keep important government officials from high exposure situations while also eliminating the need for look-alikes. Rumors in the bureau speculated that the final versions of these hologram projections would talk, run around, feel and be felt. Way more detail.
Now I was to report that those details had to include the holograms finishing their cigarettes, emptying their drinks and not covering themselves with so much dream smoke. Maybe using an ashtray too.
As I finished my drink, I checked my mental list of other test spots I had been assigned for the night. My next stop would be an all night prayer service. Somewhere with just enough people and space for us to blend right in without attracting attention.
Forty five minutes later, we were part of an open crusade. I shook my head at the sight of her in an oversize sweater, sweeping skirt and a non-matching scarf, praying just like everyone else.
I’d love to know what she was telling God. But then, I’m sure he would be mad at her because in a few seconds, she began to smoke her bible.