One vice I used to indulge in long ago was the occasional cigar. Occasionally, I would go to Mt. Lookout’s Private Smoking Club and light up a nice Cuban-seed Honduran Churchill (those long-ass things Britain’s most famous PM used to chomp on regularly.) A nasty habit? Not at all. Cigars are expensive. Well, the good ones are. That ensured I could smoke without developing a habit. Well, that and you don’t really inhale cigar smoke.
I smoked a cigar when my first short story was published. I smoked one when I signed the deal for Northcoast Shakedown. Brian Thornton, a Seattle writer, and I smoked Cubans when we met at Bouchercon in Toronto way back in 2004. I’ve since lit one up with Gary Phillips and with a few friends in New York on one of my jaunts to see Ken Bruen. I love a good cigar, especially with a shot and a beer.
Just to be cute one fall, I filled out my non-smoking waiver, which said I’d used no tobacco products the previous year, and turned it into BigHugeCo. I then left work early, walked down Walnut Street to Strauss Tobacconist, picked out a really long one, and fired one up, enjoying the sweet, sweet taste of irony.
The last time I smoked one, though, was shortly after I bought my condo. The former spousal unit despised cigars, but I’d just become a home owner for the first time in my life. And I had a back deck. And goddammit, I was going to celebrate with a nice, long dark-leaf stogie. So I did.
Nita is not much a fan of smoking in any form, either, and that stogie on my back deck back in 2007 was my last cigar. Too bad, because I’ve had a lot to celebrate since then. Just getting a first date with Nita should have had me stopping at Strauss on my way home from work. My divorce (amicable, but glad it was over), and of course, marrying Nita. All those are reasons to celebrate.
There’s a dark-leaf Cuban seed Honduran in my desk drawer right now, waiting for a special occasion. Since leaving BigHugeCo, I’ve been trying to move to the programming side of IT. It’s a long, hard climb out of the infrastructure hole, but I’ll get there.
And that day, I will sit on my back patio with a Bass Ale and a shot of Jameson smoking that Honduran.