Sad thing is, I knew this was coming. I’d watched the movies, read the books. Got an apartment on the top floor. Collected cans of food, bottles of water. Perfected my head shot at the range. Did everything… except the most important thing.

Mom used to ask why I smoked three packs of cigs a day. I’d tell her, Imagine the worst itch you’ve ever had. Now imagine that itch is way down deep in your lungs and the only thing that can scratch that itch is an unfiltered Marlboro. That’s what smoking is. An itch that only cigs can scratch.

About five hundred Z’s are in the streets below. The 7/11 is two blocks away. I’ve laid a path out in my mind. One hard sprint and I’m there. Figure I’ll have less than a minute before they break through the glass doors. Time enough to find my brand, tear open a pack, light up. I’m hoping for at least three full drags, four if I’m lucky. No need to worry about getting out— too many Z’s to even think it.

Mom always said that smoking would kill me. Guess she was right after all.

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