Samantha and the cigarette

Thursday, May 21, 2009 | |


I was enjoying the sun from our lounge's day bed when Samantha slunk in the room, treading heavily and scuffing her heels on the floor. Startling me as she slumped into my armchair and lit up a cigarette, she cocked her head and gave me a forced smile, neglecting to remove the fag from between her lips. This was the kind of belligerence that I had come to expect from this youthful wiseacre who had been hanging around our home of late. Samantha had recently started sleeping with my housemate Ben, who was currently asleep. This morning was no different to every other time she stayed – she would awake two hours before Ben to perform her usual routine, which consisted of her eating our food, smoking his cigarettes and walking around our house in a blouse and underwear.

She was a pig around the home, and thought nothing of leaving empty soda cans, half drunk coffee and clothes, clothes, clothes all over the house. She never seemed to wear shoes, probably on account of the large stash of them that was accumulating around our bookshelf and coffee table – beautiful leather boots from Italy, open toe high heels and strappy sandals littered the floor. In spite of her nonchalant attitude towards footwear and bottom half attire, Samantha always took great pride in brushing her hair – I would often walk past the bathroom to find her combing out the wiry mess at the back of her head – knotted up from all the vigorous fucking I could hear through the walls at night and in the early morning.

As she sat across from me, I remembered how this vociferous little nymph got to be here, sitting in my late grandfather's most prized piece of furniture, smoking and rubbing her dirty heels into the velvet. She and Ben had met at a film school party – he assumed that she attended the school he had graduated from; she hadn't assured him otherwise. It turned out from the few snide encounters we'd had since she all but moved in three months ago, that she was unemployed and uneducated – she was a very well-read young lady but had dropped out of school at the tender age of 14. She had been kicking around smoky bars with literary types for years – smoking cigarettes and drinking liquor long before her age permitted her to, but speaking in a way that allowed her to pretend she was ten years her senior for quite some time. She was pretentious, arrogant and oh-so-self assured, and me? I wanted her gone.

On this particular morning, as she sat in my grandfather's armchair, I decided to forgo my own routine, which involved awkwardly offering her a coffee just as the kettle's whistle broke the silence of our now-regular meetings. This time I just let her sit there and wait, choosing to continue reading rather than even acknowledge her. I got the feeling that this guttersnipe was used to being looked after, and I didn't want to make a habit of waiting on her.

"Aren't you having coffee this morning?" she chided.
"No actually," I replied with eyes still firming attached to the page, "Today I don't feel like making it."
"Have you got a problem with me?" she offered. Now was my chance.
"Well Samantha-" I faltered. If I turned to her and told her exactly what I thought of her, I could be certain that me and my beautiful chair would be out on the street, and I would be without Ben in my life.
"Well Samantha," I continued smugly. "It just seems like we spend an awful lot of time together, but we don't really know each other. Who is Samantha, eh?"

"Well, what do you want to know?" she said.

Truth be told, I wanted to know anything I could about her – anything that would make me hate her even more than I already did; anything I could use as evidence in the court of Ben. This woman had such a hold on him – appearing so free-spirited to him and yet so methodical and calculating in her dealings with me. I hoped that she was jealous of me, but someone who clearly thought as highly of herself a Samantha did would probably never give me a second thought. I gave myself a few seconds to compose myself by looking out onto the street and taking a deep breath, but was again startled by loud footsteps. Ben stormed in, carrying his bank statement.

“Two thousand and fifty dollars!?” he bellowed, thrusting the statement under her nose. “How long have you been using my card?” Samantha pulled her knees to her chin and buried her face between them, then started to stutter “I… I… Ben, I’m sorry.” Grabbing her shirt violently, he pulled her to her feet. He held her by her shoulders, then pulled her in close. Staring intently into her eyes, he calmed his breathing and spat out three words very slowly. “Get. Out. Now.” Samantha started sobbing and wiping her nose. Pleading with him she cried, “Ben, I can explain.” Ben was silent as he spun her around and lead her downstairs to the front door. “Just, get out.”

I looked down at a pair of boots on the ground. Italian. Leather. Size 40. I heard her at the base of the stairwell, crying and pleading for her belongings. Ben screamed back at her – “They belong to me now, you fucking bitch!” Just as Ben slammed the door, the kettle in the kitchen started to whistle. Chuckling to myself, I scooped the boots up from under my grandfather’s armchair, then rocked onto my lower back and slung them on. Samantha was on the lawn, staring up at the window. I looked down at her. I smiled and waved with my fingers. Shocked at the sight of me in her boots, she made two fists, closed her eyes tightly and began to shriek. I kicked my feet gleefully, then sat up on my knees. Holding a curtain in each hand as the sun streamed down on my face, I mouthed “Goodbye”, and swept the drapes closed.


Unknown said...

More please.

Anonymous said...

LOL, boot-revenged. I want to spend someone's money, but I don't think I know anyone who has any. The lesson is 'being like Samantha is awesome,' right?

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed reading this... Keep up the good work !

Joe Dude said...

Brilliant and wonderful.

Hannah JV said...

Many thanks Joe and mrf, nice to meet your acquaintance!


COngratulations! Great pictures! They inspire me for writing a story...

Maddie said...

ha! that's an amazing story! you have such a way of pulling the reader in quickly and making them hope the story doesn't end. that was great! and i loved the picture you chose, perfect with the vision.
is this by chance a true story? hehe
i'll just secretly think it is, because it makes me so happy.

Hannah JV said...

I wish it were a true story, those boots sound awesome right?! I sourced the picture and wrote the story from there. Glad you like it!

miss noma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
miss noma said...

wow this is awesome. I am an English teacher and I use photos as starters for my students. Nothing like this ever eventuates :)