FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

War in the Smoking Room

by ADAM ENGEL

Friday midtown. Friday payday.

Plantman at “CEO Cigars Accessories.” Quality, overpriced tobacconist. Walk-in humidor. Air-conditioned smoking room. Customers relax. Smoke. Wide-screen TV.

Recite the smoker’s ode:

green gone
brown dead
resurrection fire
leaf life
bloom tumors
like tulips
or teeth
oh pink lungs

Musty humidor. Fat, sticky Maduro. Smoking room television tuned to War.

Cigar store crowd: executives young, middle-aged, old. Suits.

Plantman in denim and Topiary Techniques t-shirt smoking darkest, most potent, not largest cigar.

Television: Siren Air Strike Air Strike

Older men their war. Middle-aged their own. Younger men had not war, cognizant men their age in combat even as young executives cigars. Senior Executives. Executives. Junior Executives. Vice-presidents. Directors.

Older wars superior to new, according to geezers. More skill more man-to-man hand-to-hand. None this push-button never see the hell you are, play it like video arcade, fish a barrel, no thrill glory, no hunt no blood, you see.

Middle-aged nightmares recalled guerilla warfare, jungle rot, defoliants, lack moral such such such.

Arguments went so. Young men red-eared silent.

Plantman watched through War haze cigar smoke planes devastating missiles blasting righteous cities hammered eerie jigsaw puzzles of indignity, confusion, pain.

Young Executives known no war but painful anecdotes old warriors. Bosses, Mentors.

Television commentators microphones steady thick of mayhem slaughter. Prime action folks back home. Gory talk. The Old Executive/Warriors explicit, baleful, tedious.

Discussion shifted where it should have been: cigars. Smoking Executives Smoking Room. CEO Cigars. Members several companies gathering informally. Enemies after all. Smoking. Sharing life histories, same room. Cigar ritual. Initiation. Not afraid to stink. Hah-hah-hah to up-turned noses trim health-loving wives.

Not afraid among men. “Straight talk.” But what if…the office…reveal what’s hidden…known among the women…at the office?

“Won’t get laid that way,” said one Senior Executive. “Women like a strong man with a strong cigar. We’ve got nothing to hide here. Not in this room, at any rate.”

Laughter.

Great Ceremony. Pause. Executive Light-Up. Sucking flames wood matchsticks. Bad light, uneven burn. Catastrophic waste. Cigar. Bad show.

“Cigar, gift of the Indian,” one waxed poetic, “cylinder of mellowness and virtue.”

Cigarette not cigar like shot of rye not snifter fine cognac. Life ripened goes to smoke. Lifts spirits. Anguish up in smoke of stink leaf. Process: green origins ripen smokeless under sun. Natural processes. Living systems. Green embalmed brown. Curing thought. Tumors like mushroom caps exploded lungs of the unfortunate. Up in smoke.

Bombs felled Enemy cities. Commentators explained: significance, explosions; shock, desire, fear, attack.

Fire of Plantman’s fat Maduro like an eye wept ashes. Smoke everywhere, everywhere smoke and talk.

This is an excerpt of a longer work, “Topiary,” by ADAM ENGEL, bartleby.samsa@verizon.net

 

Adam Engel is editor of bluddlefilth.org. Submit your soul to bluddlefilth@yahoo.com. Human units, both foreign and domestic, are encouraged to send text, video, graphic, and audio art(ifacts), so long as they’re bluddlefilthy and from The Depths.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
Robert Koehler
Stop the Killing
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: Of Dog Legs and “Debates”
Yves Engler
The Media’s Biased Perspective
Victor Grossman
Omens From Berlin
Christopher Brauchli
Wells Fargo as Metaphor for the Trump Campaign
Nyla Ali Khan
War of Words Between India and Pakistan at the United Nations
Tom Barnard
Block the Bunker! Historic Victory Against Police Boondoggle in Seattle
James Rothenberg
Bullshit Recognition as Survival Tactic
Ed Rampell
A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits
Kristine Mattis
Persnickety Publishing Pet-Peeves
Charles R. Larson
Review: Helen Dewitt’s “The Last Samurai”
David Yearsley
Torture Chamber Music
September 22, 2016
Dave Lindorff
Wells Fargo’s Stumpf Leads the Way
Stan Cox
If There’s a World War II-Style Climate Mobilization, It has to Go All the Way—and Then Some
Binoy Kampmark
Source Betrayed: the Washington Post and Edward Snowden
John W. Whitehead
Wards of the Nanny State
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail