FFfAW : The half-smoked cigarette of joy

Busy airport lounge

Image : Dawn Miller

Every direction


moves the economy


As EconiSlogans went, it was more subtle than




the ones Dale remembered from his childhood.

He and the kids from the block had taken up those Slogs, as people jokingly called them, acting out the screen ads that went with the campaign. They’d ape the gravel drive voice of the man in the ad, puffing their chests in a pantomime of his boxy frame, pulling their brows down so low they went cross-eyed.

The joke was, no one in the neighbourhood had money to buy meat – their parents had already lost their jobs.

Now the man from the ad was President – he was paler now, less boxy – and Dale had a job picking litter in the airport lounge. On a good day he’d find a half-smoked cigarette and savour it over his MacCheese dinner.


Written for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. See the pic and pic a tale. See here to join in and to read the other stories.



35 thoughts on “FFfAW : The half-smoked cigarette of joy

    1. Thanks Joy. I see it a lot, people scuffling round bins for part smoked cigarettes. Cigarettes are very expensive here … Thanks for reading 🙂


      1. Me neither. Which I guess was the government’s point 🙂 Now they just have to do the same to unhealthy food and we’ll be laughing 🙂


      2. Same here. But then, cases of diabetes are almost destroying our national health service, so something has to be doen before we break it entirely. A shame we can’t police ourselves and need the government to do it for us.


      3. I know what you mean and all it might do it earn money for the government while we become more and more unhealthy. Something has to be done to change our ways – diabetes has become an epidemic here and hurts so many people


  1. Not so unbelievable that an additional actor could become president of a country. The cigarette is half used or half left to smoke – a new take on the pessimist/optimist saying!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Is Slogs your own coinage? If so, brilliant, one of a kind with Air Guitar and Lip Sync battles! Otherwise a bleak post, in keeping with the times, and a bit reminiscent of the world of Nineteen Eight-Four — into which we seem to have been stumbling without realising it for the past few years and which no longer seems like an impossibility.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very true, Chris, sadly. Amazing what restrictions and the level of observation a state can introduce when the populace is scared enough – all for our own safety, of course. Yes, I made Slogs up – made myself smile too, which is probably a tad sad 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. We’re not that far away, really. A widespread famine or two, the further computerisation of jobs, further change in global temperatures, a celebrity in the White House … Thanks Joy 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Always happy to be optimistic, and it’s an exciting discovery! But depending on how much like Earth they are, they may not be any better for us than the Earth-like planet we’re turning this one into.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You said a lot with this, Lynn, well done. Took me a second read to connect the opening text with the sign in the picture because I am dense and didn’t pick up on it at first glance, but that’s a great jumping off point for this super-short story, and the last paragraph is the best, spins it off into the unknown and makes it relevant (unfortunately) at the same time. And ‘slogs’, that rings true, not cheesy (which is always the risk). Good work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah agreed. But you have to tell me, as a Brit, what SLAGS means. I could look it up of course, but more fun to hear it from you. (Context is a song by The Fall, Slags [Slates and Tapes]…male slates, etc.) I think SLAG sounds bad, like demeaning female. Slogs sounds ominous too. Hard to imagine a time one couldn’t buy meat, that’s how removed I feel now, in this suburban (air quote) paradise.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Bill. Meat’s been a luxury in the past – perhaps it will be again as the population continues to expand. ‘Slag’ is definitely a derogatory name for a woman. Basically someone who sleeps around, someone easy, though not for money. You do not want a reputation as a slag, trust me. 🙂 Funny, though how this is often applied to girls who have fewer partners than their male counterparts – but then blokes have always been allowed to be freer with these their favours than we are.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you Walt! Yes, being nosy, I zoomed in to try to read what the poster said and felt it had a Big Brother tone to it. I liked the idea of Slogs, the kind of thing that might ne invented organically. Might extend this for a flash comp coming up. Thanks for reading


  4. Loved this story as it is the reality projected rightly.. At least he has a job to look forward for. I met a girl in Copenhagen few years back who had a similar state of life – she used to scramble the bins outside food marts for thrown veggies and fruits to be taken home every few days. She says, the things they throw is useful for me, morever it is not wasted completely… This reminded me of her though… Good one…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some people do live at subsistence level, barely scraping by. Still a tragedy that – here at least – a lot of food is wasted instead of being sold cheap or given away. Thanks veyr much for reading and your lovely comment

      Liked by 1 person

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