the last cigarette

the last cigarette

The Last Cigarette

Contains two additional short stories

Release Date: January 22nd, 2014

Series: N/A

Volume: N/A

Available formats: ebook, paperback

Walter Regin is sitting on his couch, thinking about his estranged wife and young son. An emergency broadcast snaps him out of his reverie and forces him into action.

From the Flap

This is not a test.

The life of sportswriter Walter Regin is thrown into chaos when a nuclear war breaks out, leaving him with little time to make amends with his estranged family before the bombs arrive.

As he looks out at the panicked streets of St. Louis, he grapples with feelings of helplessness and the looming possibility of facing nuclear destruction alone and afraid.

With the clock ticking down, Walter must confront his past mistakes and find a glimmer of hope amidst the impending doom.

Will he be able to reconcile with his loved ones or will he be doomed to face the end alone?

Also contains the short stories Broken Reel and The Cleaner Comes at Midnight.


The Last Cigarette

Walter's son
Jim Sykes
Building superintendent
Mrs. Anderson
Lives in Walter's apartment building
Scruffy Beard
Driven mad by terror
Tight Shirt
Bar tough guy
Tim Behr
Walter's friend
Walter's wife
Walter Regin
Depressed sports writer

Broken Reel

Andy Solomon
Out for a night drive
Jim Alexander
Sheriff's Deputy
Joe Foreman
Police officer
Thomas Solomon
Andy's son
Veronica Solomon
Andy's wife

The Cleaner Comes at Midnight

The last man in Philadelphia?

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the last cigarette

the last cigarette


Walter Regin sat on the edge of his tattered couch, staring through a thick haze of smoke at the flat panel Sony that was mounted neatly on the wall. He had no idea how long he had been transfixed, though the numbness in his ass suggested that it had been a considerable amount of time. Moving to stand, a burning pain seared into the webbing between his left middle and forefinger. Uttering a semi-conscious groan, Walter looked down to see a cigarette burning down to the filter. Reacting with a sort of waking over-awareness, he jumped up and emphatically stamped out the butt.

“Jesus,” Walter moaned, almost as though the lord and savior had appeared and proposed an evening of drunken charades at a retirement home.

As he ran his fingers through his graying hair, he was struck by a surge of self-awareness about what had just happened. Nervous laughter spilled out of him in rivulets. The image of the smoldering carpet resurfaced in his mind, which opened the floodgates between his gut and his mouth. A torrent of laughter, nearly hysterical in both cadence and in pitch, exploded outward, echoing off of the walls in his humble apartment. Walter raised a hand to wipe away the tears of mirth that had welled in his eyes. Instead, he knocked his glasses off with enough force to launch them over the coffee table, which stood halfway between his couch and the television.

Slowly inching his way towards the TV, wondering what the probability that he would crush his glasses was, a fresh wave of laughter engulfed him. Shuffling awkwardly to the side, Walter reached a hand out for the wall to steady himself.

Get a grip, Walt. Do you really want to spend your last moments on earth braying like a jackass?

This thought served as a swift backhand across the rosy cheeks of a drunk. Last moments? Where the hell did that come from? He thought back, but could only remember getting snapped out of a daze by his own burning flesh, anything prior to that was lost. He knelt down, feeling around for his glasses, the question of just what the hell ‘last moments’ meant, rattling around his head like the final Camel in a pack. While the question ticked over and over in his mind, he found his spectacles and returned them to their proper perch.

Cancer? Is it cancer?

Walter’s mind was throwing out answers to satiate the question, which continued to eat at him.

No, it’s not cancer. I just had a checkup two weeks ago and, aside from some chronic back pain, everything was fine. Definitely not cancer, no sir.

There was a strengthening thunder inside his head, running from the top of his spine and tracking all the way around to his temples. Rubbing his neck, Walter stood up slowly from his crouch, grimacing as his knees protested. He still felt dazed, like he had taken a solid blow to the head. The same head which had not only spawned the ‘last moments’ comment, but was working tirelessly at driving Walter insane trying to figure out just what the fuck it meant.

Think, Walter. Focus. You came home and turned on the TV. You were looking for the Blues game, wondering why the hell they were playing at 5 o’clock on a Sunday.

His eyes drifted to the coffee table. Sitting neatly on top like a Sherpa perched on high was a bottle of Elijah Craig. This discovery sparked a quick internal debate over whether or not he should imbibe and how it might affect his already clouded mind. Apparently Walter’s good little angel had taken the day off, as Walter was already walking toward the freezer.

He opened the door, gathered four ice cubes, and dropped them into his glass. A smile had crept across his face, temporarily displacing the increasing unease he had been feeling. He swung the freezer door shut, and was greeted by a picture of his four-year-old son, James. Presto. Shazam. Walter’s heart sank into his stomach, his small smile slowly melting into a quivering shape of despair.