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The Therapist Told Her Not to Quit Smoking–Right Now
by Astrid Schott

A Character in Short Fiction
Like this, she knew, she would not find comfort. This would not help, not bring sleep, not give her the heavy feeling, not make her eat. Does she vomit today?

Well, perhaps she does? What will she be–picking at her herpes in the corner of her cubicle. What sort of person do they see in her? She took the first tablet two days ago, and started to smoke again, like the therapist said. But like this?

Like this sedated, young, woman-like form with shaking leaves inside, whispering in a foreign language, Japanese chipmunks with excited stiff high up tails scratching her fingernails from the inside—how could she find comfort like this?

She has to move against the air to get up and walk down the aisle. She has to find her arms in the thick cloud around her middle to open the door to the bathroom. This makes her sick and oh—why does she feel so much better with her finger down her throat and in and out are one for this short moment. She opens and hurts—finally relieved a little.

In front of the mirror she washes her hands and can watch herself smile and greet and move around—so slow. She dries her hands with tissue while toilets flush. This does not make sense to her, really, these women here. She walks down again to her corner cubicle and tries to fill the space on her chair while inside her the noise starts again and the scratch and thousand tense strings pull her stiff. God—like this she will not find comfort—with tablets, that only work on the outside.


All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2014 by its authors.



Astrid Schott is a 42 year old MD and writer from Berlin, Germany, stranded in NJ to work as a cancer scientist for a pharmaceutical company. She writes short stories, poems and flash fiction. She lives with her husband and 2 children in Wayne, NJ. This year she started writing in English.

Read the interview.
Issue Five (August 15, 2004): Lovers by Karen Simpson Nikakis «» Shore by Susan Henderson «» Lovechild by Ellen Parker «» Lipstick by Claudia Smith «» Back Home by Bob Arter «» Gloves by Gary Cadwallader «» Gilda by Patricia Parkinson «» Attic by Kim Chinquee «» The Radioactive Chicken or the Egg? by Randall Brown «» Summer Swim by Pia Z. Ehrhardt «» Two Benches by Pasha Malla «» Fall by Richard Hulse «» Drop by Roy Kesey «» Galveston by Steven Gullion «» Every Pane of Weathered Glass by Ellen M. Rhudy «» I Can't Talk About Butter Because Margarine Is All I Know by C.R. Park «» Something of Value by Brian Reynolds «» The Therapist Told Her Not to Stop Smoking–Right Now by Astrid Schott «» Maintenance by Miriam N. Kotzin «» Enough by Katrina Denza «» Interviews: Karen Simpson Nikakis «» Susan Henderson «» Ellen Parker «» Claudia Smith «» Bob Arter «» Gary Cadwallader «» Patricia Parkinson «» Kim Chinquee «» Randall Brown «» Pia Z. Ehrhardt «» Pasha Malla «» Richard Hulse «» Roy Kesey «» Steven Gullion «» Ellen M. Rhudy «» C.R. Park «» Brian Reynolds «» Astrid Schott «» Miriam N. Kotzin «» Katrina Denza «» Cover Art "A Character in Short Fiction" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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