A man stood outside the gym smoking. He was waiting for his son to leave Ballet. He smoked four cigarettes, much more than he usually did, as he looked through the large windows at his son, pirouetting and bounding with the other young boys. He smoked a pack as his son reached between his legs and removed the sleek, pink tights from his small buttocks, shyly. He smoked a carton as his son giggled and ran with another boy to the instructor with arms flailing happily. The man put in a large hunk of chewing tobacco and lit three cigars simultaneously as the two young boys pranced off to the locker room.
An hour passed, and the man had developed cancer. His eyes sank, navy and raw-rimmed. His fingers and teeth, yellow.
Finally, the gym’s door opened. “Hey Daddy,” the boy said.
The man opened the button to the pocket to his leather jacket and removed a voice aid.
“Hello. Son.” he replied.
“Did you like the way I danced?” the boy asked.
The two walked to the truck and got in. The man started it and pulled out quickly. In his sleek, pink tights, the young boy slid right off the leather seat, into the glove department, hitting his head, drawing a consider amount of blood.
“Ouch, Daddy.” He said.
The man pulled the truck to the side of the highway and got out. He opened the door and grabbed his son my the neck.
“Here. Son.” The man said, holding a fresh pack of Marlboro Menthols.
“I don’t want to do that, Daddy.” the boy said, holding his mother’s red handkerchief to his scalp.
The man shoved the pack back in his leather jacket.
“Do all boys dance?” He asked his father.
“No. No. No.” The man said.
“Do all boys smoke?”
“Then I will now.”
The man proudly flipped open the jacket pocket and explained, over the course of ten minutes, how to pack cigarettes; how to smoke them; and why smoking is important to little boys.
“Like this?” the boy asked.
“You’re. Holding. It. The. Wrong. Way.”
“Where’s Mommy?” the boy asked.
“She’s. Home. Cook. Ing. Din. Ner.”
“What are we having tonight?”
”I don’t,” the boy rubbed his shoulder, “think I’d like that.”
“Too. God. Damn. Bad.”
“What about peas?”
A few seconds passed and the boy scratched the nonexistent stubble on his chin, “My girlfriend likes peas.”
“Yeah. Ashley. She’s a cheerleader.”
The man stopped the truck again, even harder than before. The boy smacked his head off the windshield.
“Give. Me. That!” The man shouted, ripping the bloody cigarette from the cheek of his son. “And. Put. Your. God. Damn. Seat. Belt. On.”