chapter 30. The Pipe. fiction, “The Cigar,” by Sam Mills.

The Cigar

[Based on Chapter 30: The Pipe]



Abe paced the weathered cedar deck behind his house, big shot of bourbon in hand and a big cigar nestled in his robe’s breast pocket.

“Hon, where’s my deck chair?”

Rose answered from the kitchen, through the open glass door.

“Right where you left it last fall, shithead–in the shed.”

Abe shuffled to the shed, unlocked it, and entered its musty darkness. Behind the wheelbarrow and next to the shovels he found the folding deck chair; dusty, worn teak. It had been expensive when he bought it, but it went with the deck. The chair completed him at the time; successful, wealthy, the owner of several Cadillac dealerships in the northwest, and the only dealer that sold the Cadillac Leviathan–an insanely huge, luxurious and expensive automobile that was a hot commodity in its time, for those who could afford it. When the economy tanked years later, so did sales, and his dealerships folded one after another in its wake.

Abe took hold of the deck chair, yanked it up and dragged it out to the deck. He could still unfold it with one flip, but it was heavier than he remembered. It was as weathered as the deck; he’d left it out for two winters, and it showed.

Settling into the chair’s worn curve, he took another sip of the four fingers of bourbon he’d poured earlier, set the glass on the deck and lit his cigar. He took a big drag from it, exhaled—and the wind blew it back into his face, stinging his eyes.

“Shit,” he said to himself. “I used to face the other way. Those sales parties, all the salespeople on the deck and me in this chair, a cigar and a drink….” He looked at the cigar. “It’s not the same anymore.”

He crushed the cigar out on the arm of the chair and picked up his drink. He looked at the amber fluid, paused, then threw his drink across the lawn.

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