I needed petrol, 5 litres to get me there, and the rest for the process. A small price to pay, running on empty, the urine, already cold on my winter jeans, stinking on my frozen legs, a trembling fear.

The hard stench of black tobacco fills my nostrils, my last few cigarettes, another dirty inhale, the burn on my throat already raw from the excessive smoking. I crumple the packet, the time hurtling by, and I turn the key, starting the engine, Classic FM on the radio, the 1812 overture with cannons.

The acrid smell, the union of carbon monoxide, the pffft sound as the cigarette leaves my lips, the smoke hovering around in the winter mist, in my small compartment, the gear lever in neutral, my windows closed, a length of hose.

The outside remains outside, the gap between the hose and window frame, stuffed up by a green jumper, an empty half jack of vodka on the floor, the cigarettes all done, and the end of days, almost done, the point of no return.

I blow smoke rings on the dashboard; they bounce and break up. Monoxide, Dioxide and the black tobacco in unison, a concoction of inevitableness, the unavoidable, the hard road to a farmer’s field, alone and out of sight, the engine ticking over nicely, 1200 rpm.

ninety-five octane,
dizziness and confusion,
family photos.