THE CUTTERS LOUNGE
Tonight is Swinging Dicks’ Night at The Cutters Lounge cigar bar. There are to be no women. So why is The Katman’s daughter serving the ceremonial Clynelish 20-year old Scotch to Michael, Rick, David, and me?
“My dad is running late. He said to start with his recommended appetizers.” She holds out a tray of New Havana cigars.
Michael turns his head, blows a billow of smoke and converses with it. “There aren’t supposed to be any … girls tonight.”
Katie curls her lips at him, “Why? That never stops you from scratching, farting, and belching.”
Michael’s head whips back at her and he tries to give her his most foreboding stare of doom. Katie turns and sways away to the counter out front, scratching her ass at him.
Rick grins and pleads after her, “Everything out there in the world is for women.”
I add, calling out lamely, “Civilization is a feminine concept!”
Rick turns to me in seriousness, “It really is, you know. Think about it: the highest compliment paid to the most advanced invention is ‘a woman can do it’”.
Michael says “Yeah? What about France?”
“They were supposed to be the highest civilization once, and they wore powdered wigs and silk stockings!” Michael leans back in triumph.
Katie calls from the front counter, “Yeah, yeah. Without women men would just fish and drink beer.”
“And smoke cigars!” says Rick.
“How can she hear us?” I ask incredulously.
“She’s young,” says David, laughing at me.
Michael persists, saying loudly, “All real men used to hunt, …seek, …endure…
Rick interrupts him at his own peril, “Men hunt, women nest”, quoting from the old Seinfeld show.
“…and all real women, yes, tended the campfire and the children,” Michael finishes, glaring at Rick.
Katie shoots back, unseen from the front counter, “And women made damn sure the Men stayed away from the children. They’ll fuck anything.”
David bursts out with mock indignation, “How dare you insult my better half?” He grabs my hand.
I say wryly, “Not tonight, dear, I’m constipated.”
“Maybe I can help?” he whispers.
Michael makes a retching sound. Rick chimes in, “A little too civilized, gentlemen.”
The Katman enters. We stand.
I bow. Rick curtsies. Michael salutes smartly. David flings his right arm out with a “Heil, mein Meister”.
The Katman seats himself upon the massage recliner Throne and proceeds to hold court, allowing the obvious question from David, “How did the meeting go?”
The Katman lowers his eyes and warms the foot of his cigar, revealing, “This is a Fausto.”
I ask humbly, “Is it as good as the Avion?”
“Better,” says The Katman as he savors the ignition. “You’ll all try one.”
“What about the meeting?” insists David irreverently.
The Katman states matter-of-factly, “It’s going to be a fight. The government is hell-bent on regulating cigar blends.”
“Why?” asks Rick rhetorically, “This isn’t cigarettes. This is wine tasting.”
Michael says, “It’s what bureaucrats do. The government can only grow.”
“Until the revolution!” I conclude, trying to be weighty.
David shakes his head, “The German government strictly regulates beer. They sure haven’t ruined that.”
“A Cigar Czar?” Rick contemplates out loud, “Quality control for blending? Now that’s a government job I’d like to have!”
The Katman watches and listens as his court debates, his eyes pulsing red with the glow of the Fausto cigar tip.
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