A Story by Dev Mason

This is something I hope to turn into a short film soon.




A couple sits at a park.

They are breaking up.

One says they can change.

The other says they needed to change months ago.

The other says they have changed from paranoia and isolation from the relationship, they cannot change quick enough to catch up to their new self.

Old interests are mentioned, they are no longer mutual interests; one keeps them close to their heart and feels that the films, music, books, and activities make them who they are

The other used them as stepping-stones to find their own films, music, books, and activities.

Any attempt made to enjoy these previous things merely fills them with a violent sense of melancholic passion to grow up, discover, and leave the past behind.

They sit in silence watching the trees move.

Their breathe has become in unison.
One notices this and tries to stop.

Putting all their focus on breathing.

It has become a task, rather than a natural mechanism.

To stop this, one brings out a cigarette.

Offers the other one.

The other tells them they have stopped smoking.
They want to say that they should know that, that is a part of the problem.

The unlit cigarette stays still in their mouth as they search for a lighter in their pockets.

They are given a lighter from their ex-lover.

The last physical thing they will have of theirs,

The memories still belong to them.
Until they decide to replace them with others.

Before there is time for the cigarette to be ashed out, but just enough time for their departure to be sincere and without any negative emotions attached to their final moments together, one leaves.

The other sits finishing their cancer.











Act 2

At a bus stop.

They need a car.

They need a license.

They need to grow up.

They need to do something with their life.

No they don’t.

They were happy before another told them they should be happy.

They need to focus on what they want; no one else is of worth.

Everyone else can leave and never be seen again.

Why adjust to them.

Would they rather others like them, or they like themself.

Surely there is a middle ground.

In an act of what they view as self-improvement, they decide to have only half a cigarette.

Rationing the fluid of the departed’s final gift, their shoulders relax and drop as they exhale.

A dog, it’s owner, and it’s owner’s child walks past.

They notice a tension between the owner.

A familiar feel.

One that they have always felt between strangers, but a feel that they have never bothered studying.

As the red ash reaches somewhere closer to the end than the middle, they take their first step of self-improvement.

Tapping out the cigarette on the bus stops tags, they put cancer back into it’s home.

A cardboard box now covered in teeth, or eyes, or kidneys, or brains, or lungs of dead smokers.

They must smell.

When did they stop noticing the smell of cigarette on their clothes.

They notice there has been another body at the stop this whole time.

As they spaced out and reconsidered their whole life, another sat.

Were they watching?

What type of person do they think they are?

Does the smell of smoke anger them?

Is their a future were they are a friend?

Noticing themselves staring at each other, they are asked if they are okay.

They reply that they are fine; they apologize if they were staring.

They also see their chance to apologize if the smoke did annoy them.

It didn’t.

They smoke themself and ask if they could have a spare one.

Looking at their fifteen dollar box of closer-to-death, they give them the whole deck.

Or at least what is left of it.
They explain they just decided to stop smoking.

A sickening feeling of not being able to undo what they have just done flows through them, they swallow in confidence that they have decided to make a change.

The new owner of eight and a half cigarettes is shocked.

There is questioning about paying for them.

It is denied.

Better they are used then not they say, followed by an anxious instinct to put their hands in their pockets, and laugh falsely.

Noticing they have given away an aspect of who they are, they decide its best to also give away the lighter.

Not as a symbol of leaving memories behind, they haven’t even had time to let their previous other stop being important.

But because eight and a half cigarettes are pretty useless without a flame.

They’ve always hated the word “dude” but it doesn’t take away the value of the thank you.

Now hungry with the idea of change, and filled with the power of doing so, they explain they are going to walk, but it was nice meeting them.

























Act 3

They should of given them their number.

They seemed like someone they want to know.

Not for the free cigarettes and lighter, but because someone with a mind like that is rare.
They wouldn’t give away eight and a half cigarettes to a stranger at a bus stop.

They think that they should be more like that.

The bus smells like piss.

An old lady looks at them, quickly looking away as they notice.

They were on this bus before the lady.

Apart from these two, and the driver, it’s an empty vehicle.

Looking at the holes in their shirt, messy hair, and tired eyes, they realize they are the number one suspect in the eyes of this lady.

Making sure they haven’t let any bodily fluids flow freely, they put headphones in and try to ignore the judging elder.

They wonder what percentage of buses smell like urine.

Fifty six percent is not an unreasonable suggestion.


Arriving at their stop.

They get their bag and stand up from their seat.

Waiting patiently for the door to open as they hold their breath, they begin to make eye contact with the driver through their mirror.

They prepare themselves to say thank you.

Why do we thank bus drivers?

We don’t thank other working people.
Well, we kind of do.

Like, at a drive through.

Thank you, have a nice day.

Thank you, you too.

The door opens quicker than they expected

As they wave, they accidentally inform the driver that they didn’t piss themself.

Oh god.

Just get off the bus.

They will probably never see eachother again.



Yellow Sponge Man is on TV.

Their roommate’s favorite show.

It’s definitely not their favorite show, but they can understand why one could enjoy it.

Each episode is structured, and finishes with a moral.

A pretty solid cast of characters.

Fairly easy to digest.

Bright colors.

The nostalgia is the main reason they can enjoy it.
But the room mate enjoys it in the now, not as something they enjoyed in the past, something they grew out of, but a children’s show they can sit down and study


As they make toast, they watch their roommate watch a yellow square and pink star.

What age did they stop watching Yellow Sponge Man ?

What did they watch instead?

Probably a softcore tween drama about surfing, or another cartoon that used the sponge as inspiration to be edgier, funnier, and try to steal the sponge’s fans.

Sitting down on the couch with their overcooked toast.

They take a bite.

Put the plate down on their coffee table.

Then they study the yellow sponge for a few minutes.

It’s not doing anything for them.
They pack their bong.
Using their newly acquired lighter, they inhale.

They Exhale.

They put the instruments down on the table.
Sink into the couch.
And begin to tell their roommate about the original owner of the eight and a half cigarettes.


Act 4

They check if they have everything.





Their “durries”.






What’s the opposite of check?

Running back inside so they don’t miss their bus, they look around the loungeroom.





This music is okay.
They stand in what they hope is a line to the bar.
People are talking more than ordering.

They take out their phone.

Swipe the yellow sponge to the right.

And begins aimlessly looking through some social media.

At this stage in life.

After school.

The people only matter if you let them.

They double tap the people they still see and care about.

The ultimate compliment.


A Sunset.

More Cats.

A news story that will be forgotten in a week.

A supposed theory about a beloved cartoon.

More cats.


They wonder if they should talk to them.

They clearly have been crying.

The blue light of their phone exposes all the signs.

Puffy face.

Red eyes.

But they too have red eyes, they haven’t been crying though.

A breath that appears to be calming down.

To calm down, something needs a reason to calm down.

Walking over now.

A sickening feeling of not being able to undo what they have just started flows through them.

They love this feel.

A mood that can only come before meeting a new person.

All the, actual, endless possibilities that can come through a decision to say hello.

In their most approachable, calming voice, they ask if the owner of the hidden tears is okay.

They are.

For a moment.

They aren’t.

They are sorry to be crying.

They went through a break up today.
Could this have been any better? They think to themselves.

They smile.
It’s okay.

They offer them a smoke.

They accept, but follow by explaining they stopped smoking months ago.
They feel like a hypocrite.

One of the reasons they broke up is because they were smoking even after they stopped.

They comfort them, saying it doesn’t matter; we are all hypocrites by nature.

They ask if they have a lighter.

Glad they grabbed their roommates lighter; they let their new friend use it.

Recognizing it, they stutter.

What’s wrong?






© 2016 Dev Mason

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Added on February 15, 2016
Last Updated on February 15, 2016
Tags: pronouns, lighter, journey