John Tang

Ashtray and Jamba Juice Girl

Posted in Sketchbook by Jt's Item Roster on May 5, 2010


The iron on which I was writing was black as the plastic ashtray across. Eight cigarette holders, ashy lips to the round base, where lying were three butts stubbed to the filter, side by side another as if they were just packaged. Bits of tobacco sat like cushions.  I used to smoke on occasions (only cigars), in small groups at the bars and backyards, hotel terraces and their stone benches, with strangers more than friends—yet always through a friend in the circle. I never knew how to enjoy the drug alone. The smell of ash in smoke was rough in my nose. Smell was the microscopic view of space, as it would create an enclosing-feel in the mind with only a hint of ash.

Maybe because I never grew accustomed to my parents’ smoking habits did I find the trend appealing. Or maybe I have a sensitive nose like the rest of the Garcia lineage—something clearly found in my mother. Even when ash was known to deteriorate the sense of smell, my mother falls in love with aromas from scented candles to vapor rubs, always asking if the item itself smelled something similar, in example, if the “Lime Blossoms” smelled similar to “Cranberry Cake.”


Jamba Juice Girl in a White-T

There was table at corner of the building. By the brick column was a girl playing her music openly through ear-bud headphones. It was heard in the parking lot, as the middle aged woman in a satin skirt turned to the girl before entering the bank. The guy across, who sat in the same table and chair ensemble—iron and wicker—looked up from his laptop at her, which incited her to turn down the volume.  Her phone rang through the earphones:

“Still here.” She said. “I know…You’re trippin… You’re mean, how do you not know… I don’t think I have my lighter either. I wish I had fucking matches. Yep. I don’t. I just don’t feel like working today, shit. I just hope next week schedule—they put up this week and next week’s schedule—so I’ll be able to tell when I’m free. So slow. Everyone has them. Everyone who works there knows how to put in scoops. Some fucking think sixteen isn’t the original. Sixteen is the original. Power is the super. One of the guys that work there…in some places the training isn’t that much. I don’t know. I only work with three or four people. I can’t you almost got a tattoo. Does she have any tats? Isn’t it fucking addicting. I gotta get my star-faced, then I’m probably done for awhile. Maybe about a centimeter. I can’t talk because I’m like holding my breath.”

She listened to music openly, again. Some Hiphop. Quickly into RnB. Then a guitar riff, acoustic. Each genre moved seamlessly, as she sat with her feet propped on a chair through underneath the table. Fifteen minutes later she put her neon-orange visor and stood up, walked across the street, re-lacing the black and pillow Coach purse over her right shoulder, not catching the silver car pulling up before her.



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