SECONDHAND

Illustration by Bob AulI was the quiet customer inside the hickory-scented humidifier, scanning the racks of Partagas, Cohibas, H. Uppmans and Don Diegos for a few choice corona-sized cigars and a box of miniaturas. You were the crazy bitch with red hair and a frazzled expression on your face, babbling frenetically at the store manager about your colicky niece. Apparently, you had to drive the toddler to Riverside, back to her parents' house. Not having a pacifier handy, you figured that what the noisy tyke needed to stay quiet was nothing short of a cloud of cigar smoke in the car. That's why you asked for the biggest, most fragrant gordaon the shelf. Perhaps knowing how nutty your notion sounded to anyone within earshot, you loudly proclaimed that when you were an inconsolable little girl, the only thing that could pacify you was your daddy's cigar smoke. My guess is your memory is as impaired as your judgment—a predictable byproduct of the brain damage you must have suffered from so much secondhand smoke—and that pappy was a pothead, not a stogie-chomper. Here's to you and your novel form of child abuse. I just hope that your niece's bluish face and tobacco-stained clothing won you a nice bitch-slapping from her parents.

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