Bertrand was stood too close. Too fucking close and Luc found it very annoying. He grabbed his own fingers and squeezed them. Then his hand was around his wrist and he was giving himself a Chinese burn. His glasses were sliding down his nose because he was sweating despite it being pretty chilly.

Bertrand, whose bag kept hitting Luc, was telling Eric about a boeuf bourguignon he’d made. Eric responded by saying he’d made a chicken chasseur. It was pretty tense.

You’re an idiot, Luc thought. A clown. This thought was not directed at either of his table-mates. No, Luc was thinking about Fonzy there, about to light a cigarette. The guy he was staring at. The guy who was literally committing suicide while nobody intervened, if he found a lighter, that is. The guy was shifting his weight from side to side as he went through his pockets.

I hope you don’t find it, Luc thought. For your sake. They’re disgusting and cause cancer. Although, it had to be said mainly in people with a history of cancer in the family. Luc didn’t have that. Such a dirty habit, though. Luc should know. He’d smoked for forty years before quitting. The man found his lighter and lit the death-stick and took a long, nonchalant French draw.

A plume of dirty grey smoke was heading for them. Didn’t Johnny Be-Cool there know that the smoke had arsenic in it? What an asshole.

Luc closed his eyes and held his breath but the smoke still penetrated his nostrils. Mon dieu! The stench… it was… it was the best fucking smell in the world! Luc pressed his spectacles hard onto his face. His eyes still screwed shut. He stayed like that for a few seconds then came back to life and did a little drum solo on the table with his fingers and told Eric he was going to get some cigarettes.

“Thought you were giving up?” replied Eric.

“Tomorrow,” replied Luc.