blowing smoke

(It might be magic, and it might be true,
but to this day, snow melts a circle where
Gina and I huddled in that cold black alley
back in Helena circa 1977)

At 15, Gina Lencioni and I crouched in a winter dark alley
two houses down from her backyard,
hunkered by some garbage cans
behind her neighbor’s garage.

Lighting a joint
our hands cupped around each match.
The wind kept taking them and we laughed.
Two matches remained.
Two matches, one joint.
Me and Gina.
Hiding in an alley.
First timers.

Gina reminded me to hold it in.
“Watch,” she said.
The first match blew out before it even lit.
The second one blazed
and Gina drew in,
holding her breath she mustered, “eere…”
and handed me the joint. But,
before I got it to my mouth
the cherry blew off –
I drew in anyway – a waft of smoke
A big bomb of disappointment
exploded between us
when a gust of wind sparked the joint’s end
like a beacon in a storm.
Gina hooted
and I pulled in a long hard toke,
handed it back to her,
then blew my smoke in rings.
“It’s freaky magic,” I said.

At that instant cottony flakes started swirling
and our laughter melted dry a globe that circled
where we sat.

Brenda Warren 2012

Shout out to Trifecta!  They bestowed a huge honor upon my work by awarding Third Tim’s a Charm first place in last weekend’s challenge.  Thank you so much for offering these challenges.  Be sure to check out Trifecta‘s site for some excellent reading, and creative prompts.

This prompt asked that we use the word “alley.”  Specifically the definition of alley that means: a narrow street; especially : a thoroughfare through the middle of a block giving access to the rear of lots or buildings.  My hometown had alleys running through every block…this is just one alley story from my youth. Thanks for reading.

15 thoughts on “blowing smoke

  1. Thanks for linking up this week. I like how you dealt with your subject here, the way you reference the ineptitude of your characters but don’t dwell on it. A clever response to the prompt. Hope to see you back for the weekend challenge.


  2. I’ve never smoked a joint, but I can relate to the silly giggling that happens when two friends hang out. I especially liked “A big bomb of disappointment exploded between us”.


  3. Love this Brenda, vivid images of a place/event/memory. I sometimes think it is a shame that part of my life seems so far away… But then I think of my kids… Very conflicting. Great piece!

    And congrats on the Trifecta win!


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