Believe only half of what you see

The first thing that struck him was the air, thick and heavy with cigarette smoke. Through the haze, he could make out the counter and a few swivel stools in front of it. The stools’ few occupants were all cut from the same cloth. Long, greasy hair, dirty-looking clothes and a dense plume of smoke rising to join the rest of cloud.

With the exaggerated carefulness of someone who knew he was too drunk to be vertical, he shuffled off toward the counter, his feet alternately sticking to and slipping on whatever unidentifiable gunk covered the floor. Finally gaining the relative safety of a stool, he looked around.

“Coffee” he said. “Black”.

As he plunked some change on the counter, he pulled a cigarette from his pack and slipped it between his lips. He lit it, took a hard drag and exhaled slowly and deliberately. Beside him on the counter was an old hubcap, filled to overflowing with ashes, cigarette butts, used chewing gum and if his eyes were to be believed, a dead squirrel.

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