The last time

Unwrap it, slowly, crinkling off the plastic, watch the reflected light slide across the lid as it opens. Gingerly lift the first one from the paper, feel its crumbliness between my fingers, casually pop it into my mouth.

I look at the others, nestled in calm disarray. I wait until it’s half-dissolved, then I take another, with a little more glow in my eye, a little more energy in my hands. It is almost too much, but I grab a third seconds later and cram it right next to the second, feeling the terrible potency, and then, shaking, two more, and it is overwhelming, then two more, and I begin to lose myself in a blinding sea, and then, with a tremor, I summon my last reserves, lift the tin and tilt it backwards, slowly, slowly backwards, and a hail cascades toward my lips.

They find me the next day. I am slumped in a corner, the tin open and on its side inches from my outstretched hand.

Time of death: 1:25 AM. Cause: Altoids.

The officer lowers his pencil and sighs.

“Altoids. When will people learn.”

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