It was 1974. The Marlboro Man® knew only two things. He had lung cancer and he was going to die alone. He only cared about the latter. He coughed up a gob of black mucous, presumably with pieces of his lungs, into his hand. He looked at it curiously before casually wiping it on the back pocket of his jeans.
He tamped a pack of cigarettes before opening it. He laughed to himself as he meditated, I will never have a better friend than these smokes: always dependable when I need comfort. It was this sort of thinking that made him so self-reliant and lonely. He swore to himself that he would be less of an asshole each new day, but so far, that was not working. You can’t teach an old asshole anything.
He recognized that the changing world around him had no room for a cowboy. In fact, the only job for a cowboy in this modern era was selling cigarettes. He didn’t want to be the telegram, or the big band era, or a washboard as a musical instrument, or the American Indian. But extinction is inevitable, especially when you have the lung cancer.
He watched the sunset with great interest. It was a red skyline. He tried to recall that sailor’s expression about red skies at night, but came up with nothing. After all, he was merely a cowboy, and not a sailor. He pulled the cowboy hat down over his eyes so no one could see him weeping.