The flick of his lighter caught side glances and a couple scrunched noses; the slow starting drag pulled the ring of orange on his cigarette seductively towards his face. Smoke flirted upward in the nonexistent breeze.
They stood in clusters in collared shirts and slacks—he still in his polo shirt—displaying their pedigree and his position amongst them. At the building’s entry, a ribbon between two stanchions hung above zigzag ipe decking. Midday sun rained relentless and the posse stood under the awning’s shade—their leader holding scissors as he spoke “a few words.”
He stood in the sun, per his role, heat building under his baseball cap.
“Six months’ work in three.” From behind.
“Long nights,” he replied still facing the speech.
“’Nights are just hours the weak refuse to use.’”
“Did I say that?” A smile.
“Definitely wasn’t me.”
“Oops.” Another drag brought the cigarette to half-length.
This land, once proudly held by his father’s ancestors, was recently purchased by a man of excessive wealth—their client. Though they’d built the first school of its type in the town, something rumbled in his breast.
“We should hit the mountain before our flight back.” The ribbon fell in two pieces. They clapped.
The night sky was oppressive and immense with the stars so clear. He’d forgotten how it was.
“6-pack or so.”
Normally, he’d toss his cigarette in the bin. Today, on the way to the truck, he flicked the butt back into property limits.