I posted the first version of this a couple of days back. I guess this is the final version. I’m trying to write dry stuff for our dry summer. It’s like living in a Tom Petty song

Here’s a kind of dry piece for our dried up, tired old world

“Been away a long time,” said the old man, as he rolled himself up a cigarette with tobacco dry as the small town he had just returned to. 

A silent summer inferno of a dead downtown, sitting on the sidewalk with the last of the bad guys. No place for a beer because there is no more beer and the good folks of the world that might be driving or walking by on their way to the shops, are all shuttered up in their suburban air con, clicking for a home delivery. 

There ain’t no more shops. There ain’t no more cars.  There ain’t no more of anything.  There’s just plenty of nothing, because that’s the way that the good guys made it, because they like nothing.

The old man rolled his cigarette thin and tight, like a sign of the times. A lean, dry one strand  summer smoke . He growled up saliva from the parched recesses of his mouth and licked the gum strip to glue the paper down. He cracked a match and lit his sad smoke, breathing in with relish knowing that it would be gone in only a few puffs. Just enough for a hit on the back of the throat, just enough for one unfiltered lungful, just enough to vaguely remember the pleasure of a real smoke, back when the whole world smoked, and he had more packets than he knew what to do with. 

Packets in the glove box of his car, a packet in the kitchen drawer, another in his jacket, more packets on his workbench in the garage …  There were so many cigarettes everywhere, that he never bothered taking them anywhere and when he was out and he wanted a cigarette, he would beat about and fumble round, searching deep down into all his pockets for a spare pack of smokes. “Hey, buddy, you got a cigarette? I’ve left my packet at home.” He’d say. And  his buddies would pull smokes from  everywhere like they were gunfighters pulling pistols.  And WTF, if no one has a spare smoke? Cigarettes were cheap and you’d just find a cigarette machine and buy one, or (to be on the safe side) two packets.

And some days you’d sit at the bar and knock back a few beers drinking the night down to the very last dregs and smoking away into the unfiltered dawn

Ain’t no more smoking anymore. The good guys stopped that to stop us bad guys dying out.

Ain’t no more drinking anymore. The good guys stopped that to stop us bad guys dying out

And anything else bad that we did that, they stopped that as well.

“It’s for your own good” said the good guys.

I was kinda happy when we could do all the bad stuff and when the bad stuff wasn’t considered as bad and the good guys were considered as mad

I kinda think that the good guys should just have let all the bad guys die. Mind you, they wouldn’t have been happy that way. If you really wanna feel good as a good guy, you wanna see just how much all your good shit is making bad shit for the bad guys, the old guys, the guys that should know better, the guys that were just too old to grow up and just too entrenched to get out of their rut.The guys who were too far beyond range for you to change.

Now all the bad guys are slowly dying out and the good guys are turning on each other, accusing each other of not being good enough. So the good guys now have to be really good and even that is not good enough sometimes. I guess the old good guys are the new bad guys.