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  You could have a big dipper   

Smoke Break by Niles Reddick

Gail knew she’d have a lucky day when she found a penny on heads. She’d opened her red car door on her Impala that was financed for seven years, and there was the penny glistening in the sun. She was prompt to the office and had coffee, but after an hour of work, she went outside for her first smoke break. She inhaled the smoke, and it tasted good to her, even better than the tequila she knocked back the night before watching a rerun of Family Feud. Sometimes, if she’d had too many shots, she jumped up and down with family contestants, shouted, and slurred answers to the television those “dumb asses couldn’t hear”, and she was usually right. Occasionally, she even leaned to the side and turned her cheek for a pretend kiss from Richard Dawson or Steve Harvey, depending on who the rerun host was.

She saw something far above in the sky, took her phone, and asked Siri, “What’s flying over our office right now?”

“Between Tuesday and Wednesday, the International Space Station can be visible in the evening sky at times if weather conditions are clear,” Siri responded.

“Oh my God. I can’t believe it,” she said, flicking her cigarette butt on the sidewalk and grinding it with her pump. Gail took her phone, pressed record, looked at the screen to make sure it worked, and recorded. “I’m so excited I have something to post to Facebook today.”

When Gail came back inside the building, she told co-workers about the ISS. Some said, “That’s great” and kept working while others said, “In the daytime?” She showed them the phone screen and said she was so excited she captured it and could post it, but one employee who had a degree in Astronomy and had a side hobby of studying stars and the space station said, “I think that’s a plane.”

“No, it’s not. See? It’s a tube, not a plane.” Gail got closer to Tammy who began to sneeze from smelling the lingering smoke.

“Well, but the space station doesn’t have blinking lights.”

“The one I’ve seen does,” said Gail, figuring Tammy was just jealous she hadn’t seen it.

“You’re probably right. Good for you. Congratulations. That’s awesome.” Tammy walked off, and Gail did a quick two step back to her cube to upload her video to Facebook. She wanted to stay on the social media app all day to see what her friends and family said, all ninety of them, but she knew her boss was policing her and might write her up, so she minimized it, and when her supervisor was in the restroom, she maximized the screen, liked and loved posts, and commented: “Amazing”, “Phenomenal”, “Fascinating”, “Post-modern”, “Serendipitous”, and other adjectives she found in her thesaurus.


Niles Reddick is author of a novel, two collections, and a novella. His work has been featured in nineteen anthologies, twenty-one countries, and in over four hundred publications including The Saturday Evening Post, PIF, BlazeVox, New Reader Magazine, Forth Magazine, Citron Review, and The Boston Literary Magazine. Website: Twitter: @niles_reddick

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