Hey, look at this, two blog postings in a row without missing a week! I arrived this Saturday at The Tobacco Hut around 12:30 and filled the Stanwell freehand that I had gotten from Lou a year or two ago with some Frog Morton and shortly after I lit up, Tom L arrived. Good to see him twice in as many weeks. He gave Lou an Opus X from stock that he had purchased from the store in 1996. Fortunately, he hadn't stored them in his glove compartment and they both enjoyed a perfectly aged and mellowed cigar.
Close to 1:00 Joe K and his entourage came in: his son James K, his brother Jimmy from Tennessee, and his son-in-law Laith from Texas. It didn't take long for James to make fun of my affliction with jokes about being minus a kidney, but no worries - I could take it. I had some ammunition of my own to share with the group, like reminding James about being routinely over the limit on his father's credit card while at college, having to pour vodka in his ear after swimming across a sewage-infested retention pond, and of course - the coup de grâce - James calling his father collect from Mexico after having a cigar stolen from him by a monkey. You just can't make this stuff up.
We were all enjoying our respective smokes when a disheveled, smelly wayfarer appeared at the store's open door. James, apparently overcome with the spirit of the season, welcomed the man in and he (the vagabond) proceeded to stumble and mumble around the store creating a bit of a scene.
Without wanting to appear rude, but still mindful of the group's desires to be free of this miscreant, Joe announced that we all..."played for the other team". Everyone snickered (except Tom, who I don't think appreciated being "outed") but the man didn't seem to mind. Laith had gotten up momentarily and the hobo took the opportunity to plant himself in the now vacant chair. He proceeded to make even more inane comments than James was capable of making and proved himself most irritating.
Finally, when he asked Lou to buy a soda and protested the asking price of $1, Lou finally advised the man to leave. Incredulous, the man exclaimed, "I'm getting kicked out of a smoke shop?!" Yes, Mr. Tramp, you are. And with that, and a few choice words mumbled under his breath, he exited the store. Phew!
We went back to the general frivolity of the day, mostly poking fun at James (there's so much material!) and listening to tall tales from one another.
A little while later the vagrant walked past the shop's open door. He looked in, but we all made a conscious effort just to be quiet. Even when the man yelled in something about the "Homo Hut". Except Joe. Joe just couldn't leave well enough alone. The guy had stepped off the curb, but Joe yelled out, "I love you man!" And that brought Mr. Tramp back in, incredulous again that he had been kicked out of a smoke shop. We assured him that he had, but he could come back tomorrow. We neglected to tell him that the store is closed on Sundays.
You know, something just occurred to me...Lou said that Mike G was in town from Tennessee. I wonder if Mr. Smelly Pants was actually - no, it couldn't be. Never mind.
Happy Holidays everyone!