Some Sort Of Security

This is a prompt from the Red Dress Club. Write a flash fiction
piece 300 words or less inspired by the word Life.

This is part of Lina’s story before she went to prison. You
can read more of Lina’s story at I Never Left Her, Prison Cell From Hell,  Normal Is A Good Thing

Why did I buy that stupid pack of cigarettes? I won’t smoke them. Hopefully. They’re like some sort of security, I guess. Just in case I get nervous if my lawyer tells me something I don’t want to hear I’ll have them. Anyway I like the way a cigarette feels between my fingers, between my lips, and the taste brings back old memories. I’ll take them with me and keep the pack in the glove compartment of my sister’s Taurus.

At 15 years old my people-pleasing-self began smoking with my boyfriend. He taught me how to inhale and I sucked down the nicotine for years until I got pregnant with Ben. I wanted my first child to have a healthy start in life and somehow cigarettes just didn’t seem like the way to go.

After that it was quit, start, quit, start and the monster won almost every time. But this time I had been on the wagon over a year, yet here I sat with Lynn knowing after this meeting was over I could and probably would have a Marlboro Light to ease my nerves. I’m on my way to prison anyway what’s it gonna hurt?

What about Ben and Lacey and my dreams of happy, healthy lives for them? It began
to fade.  I pictured me blowing smoke out the window of the car while they rode in the back seat. The toxins billowing behind me up their tiny nostrils. They seemed content but how was that contributing to the dream? Actually I was helping to destroy it. Instead of giving them life I was taking it from them.

Walking out of the lawyer’s office, Lynn’s arm around me, I felt the walls closing in, literally. My lawyer  gave me heartbreaking news.

I needed some sort of security to help get me through.  The glove compartment door fell open and I was truly thankful my sister had gotten rid of the pack of Marlboros.



  1. Hooked! I’ve had this struggle, and understand what she’s going through… it truly is a monster to battle.
    Off to read the rest!!!
    **visiting from TRDC

  2. Good for that sister! Sometimes when one is going through a low point, that support system is crucial.

    Good grief, I can’t imagine anything more heartbreaking than what she’s describing with her children. Heartbreaking.

    I’m intrigued for sure.

  3. Nice piece! This makes me want to know more of the story. I like that the sister took away the cigarettes. I like the way she’s thinking about the health of her children as she’s about to go to jail. I found the switch from box to pack confusing, as I initially equated pack with carton.

  4. currently in the middle of fighting that fight … so I understand the visions of thinking “they” will make everything better. well written.

  5. I remember my dad quitting when I was young- he still craves them! Love it, good job!

  6. It’s so hard to give up a vice, especially when some piece of our brain tells us that it will provide comfort. I used to smoke socially – I’d bum a cigarrette at a bar or a party and be done. Then I started to crave them outside of those situations. I stopped. I still crave them sometimes and I didn’t even smoke regularly. I can’t imagine what it must be like for someone who smokes every day for years!

    Thanks for stopping by No. 7 and leaving your kind comment. If you are interested, I’m part of a blog called The Lightening and The Lightening Bug that has some writing prompts as well. Hope you’ll come join us! 🙂

  7. All I have to say is that if I were going to prison I would be having a cigarette! But it’s good that her sister was there to help guide her into making the right decision. I definitely would like to know what happens next.

  8. I’m addicted to Dr. Peppers…I know, it sounds like small time compared to cigarettes, but I can totally relate to the intense feeling of need you get in stressful situations. Even though she didn’t get the chance to smoke, it still seems like your narrator got the comfort she needed from the thought that the cigarettes might be there.

    • Caffeine is the worst. I have been addicted to both and when you want it, you want it. Lina really wanted it and knew if the pack had been there she would have smoked. That’s why she was thankful. So glad you stopped by.

  9. Galit Breen says:

    Oh poor girl! So much going on in her life, in her mind.

    I loved the way you went for self talk embedded within explaining the story.

    I loved this line: “feels between my fingers, between my lips,” -so visual.

  10. Great job on capturing one small moment in Lina’s life.

I really, really want to know what you're thinking so leave a comment.

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