I went into the cigar store to get my husband a cigar for his birthday. Men sprawled in comfy red leather chairs, smoking pungent cigars, watched me navigate my uncertain way inside. I cringed at the smell and then reminded myself, “Act cool, you’re in a cigar store.” The store clerk, a young man wearing an apron of all things, offered to help my obvious cluelessness, by which I mean I stated my absolute ignorance on the subject in a loud and unabashed voice. The men on red leather chairs eyed me with the kind of smugness you feel when you’re in a comfy chair, know more than someone else, and are puffing on a symbolic phallus.
I paid for the cigar—going for the one the store clerk offered me as it looked to be about the right size, and it was the quickest way out of the store. He put the cigar in a bag and asked me if I needed anything else. I said, “Nope. It’s my husband’s birthday, and I was on a mission to get him chili dogs, beer, and a cigar. Mission accomplished.”
As I left, I heard the men in the chairs repeating what I had just told the store clerk, “chili dogs, beer, and a cigar” with the kind of reverence men usually reserve for a sportsbook or their mom’s lasagna. If only it was that easy to raise the value of a stock portfolio.
- Diana Munoz Stewart
- Bucks County, PA, United States
- In addition to her award-winning young adult fiction, Diana Muñoz Stewart runs her own company providing content for websites and blogs on health, writing, and family. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Rowan University and a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast, University of Southern Maine. When she’s not writing, she can be found kayaking in her backyard or hiking with her kids and the man who’s made her heart race and palms sweat since their devoted teen years.