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The Cigarette Butt.

The cigarette butt fell quietly to the ground. Some ash spilt on the marble floor. Its dying embers made no impact on that floor, marble being invulnerable to fire. For some time it lay undisturbed, deaf to the sound of the footsteps as the leader of the free world walked away back into the company of his Secret Service Agents; sickened by the apparent vindictiveness of a god who chose to take away his closest mentor and friend, at a time like this; facing re-election with the public confession of an illness he had lied about when he ran for office.

Lying there on the floor, it noticed not the deserted state of the cathedral it resided in. It had no impression of the funeral which had just taken place, even though it had rested with nineteen others of its kind in a pocket of its smoker's jacket. It had no knowledge of the decision which that smoker had just made, nor the impact it would have on the country who some citizens of which had made him and countless others of his kind.

The cigarette butt couldn't vote. It didn't know the difference between Hoynes and Bartlet. The politics of Republicans verses Democrats. The consequences of a promise made by a husband to his wife concerning how long he would remain President of the United States. It had no knowledge of an illness called multiple sclerosis, or the difference between relapsing remitting and progressive. Nor of the chaos that would envelope America for the next six months as it held campaigns for a general election.

It didn't hear the change of weather; the rain pouring, pounding down as the tropical storm reared its ugly head and made itself felt in the District. It didn't see the man who had smoked him return to the White House or his Senior Staff debate over which answer he would give, not sure which one they wanted themselves.

It didn't see its smoker have a debate in the Oval Office with thin air and a voice inside his head. It didn't see him change his mind on as decision he had made in the cathedral as he dropped the butt to the floor.

The cigarette but remained undisturbed as the lights and sirens began to sound outside; the motorcade of the commander in chief driving past. It was picked up by a black man who wondered at who would smoke in a holy place, and who watched the motorcade go by, with little idea of what was about to happen on live television as the smoker put his hands in his pockets, turned and smiled. As he said the answer which would surprise his staff and the fourth estate alike.

The butt was dropped into a trashcan; its ashes swept away. It had no knowledge of this strange similarity which be drawn between its ashes and the traditional words of a psalm said aloud as a body is laid to rest. Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. It had no faith or religion, no belief that it would be reborn to be smoked again. Just one life, one moment, one breath.

It lay in the trashcan undisturbed until municipal waste came to take it away. Its passing unmourned, unloved and unblessed. Its grave a dump site beneath the stars and sky.
Forgotten like all the rest.

The End.