Tag Archives: Cigar Shack

From there to here

Today is/are the Ides of March. Here is what I wrote for the cigar shack’s blog last year, names and certain items have been changed to protect the idiots and not to promote things that I have no affinity for, nor affection towards.

And a good morning to you, or perhaps it’s a good afternoon or a good evening. No matter where you are, greetings to you and yours from the Cigar Shack at Magellan Trapezoid. Here we are at yet another entry and I have to admit I am glad to have made it to my fifth entry. So far so good I suppose. I got a good and encouraging review from Calvin Exactly, our fearless leader and general manager of our Magellan Trapezoid store.

He enjoyed the previous entries and since I seem to write on Thursdays and Saturdays (and since it is Thursday) here I am writing once again. The Shopping Mall at Magellan Trapezoid is slowly coming to life, stores are getting busy, our cigar lounge is filling up nicely. Two of my favorite customers, Tony & Vinnie are in as is the legendary Glenzel. Not his real name but a name by which he is known.

And some new gents that I had never seen before, maybe since I am in earlier than usual today or it could be the fact that they usually go to our redheaded stepsister store on Madison Street. Tony & Vinnie are enjoying the Tauaje Unico, a fine cigar. The whole Tatuaje line is one of my go to cigar lines. Always good, always dependable with a great flavor and smooth smoke.

Rabbi Manes Koganovonovich who usually goes to the Fort Greene store is enjoying a Padron 5000 natural, one of the cigars I started out smoking all those years ago. A great smoke at a great price.

Adam Syllabus is having the creme de la creme, a Threatening Maduro Toro and you know that can’t be bad.
The legendary Glenzel is enjoying a La Flor Dominicana Digger, natural. He expects to be here for a few hours. It’s a good cigar, on the large end and definitely requires a time commitment. Glenzel declined to be photographed today since he is in his leisurewear.

Yesterday would have been the day when he was dressed to the nines. And Andrew the K is enjoying an LFD Churchill Oscuro as he helps Glenzel out with his laptop.

It’s a good group of guys in the lounge right now, as there usually is. Of course you are more than welcome to join them, join us here at Magellan Trapezoid. We are on the first floor, street level- next to Bidets-R-Us, across from BeBe’s Kids & L’Oreal. Lounge hours are 1AM to 11:59PM, Monday through Saturday, Sundays from 1AM to 11:55PM. Cigar Shack at Magellan Trapezoid is open Monday through Saturday 12AM to 11:59PM, Sundays 11:59PM to 11:58PM.
Enjoy a cigar, enjoy the company, enjoy yourself. Once again a reminder that March is AVO Month, special deals are going on so hurry on down.

And a quick mention of the Stupid Selection #72. A favorite of one of my favorite customers, Jimmy Seltzer. He greatly enjoys his little smokes and could usually be found once a week in the lounge at the end of the day, reading and happily puffing away. The Stupid Selection starts off medium and ends up full bodied with what some say a roast turkey flavor, or perhaps a little paprika. Of course it’s all subjective and I invite you to give it a go and let me know what you think.

See you soon! Beware the Ides of March!

Not bad. Perhaps Calvin ‘Zack’ Exactly was right when he said this here blog, johnozed.com was much funnier than the Cigar Shack blog. More people read this than that anyhow, or they did before I killed the other blog.

3.15.2013 Various 001





Smartphone pics 093


Four of the chaps I wrote about:
SmartPhone Pics 112

SmartPhone Pics 113

SmartPhone Pics 108

SmartPhone Pics 116

You’ve Made Me So Very Happy

I Need You- The Beatles

A lovely Saturday. For the first day of autumn it isn’t so bad. Quite agreeable actually. Last night was mellow and quiet with Bill driving down to Atlantic City. I stayed home of course, watched Bill Maher and had two pints of Guinness. They’ve been in the fridge since early thi year and for some reason I had a hankerin’ for it. Took me a couple of hours to finish them. It’s not like hanging out with friends when they go down like water. A limited supply means to hold back on drinking in a hurry I suppose. And that’s what I did.

Probably because of the Guinness I slept quite soundly and since I only had 2 pints there was no hangover this morning. I was grateful for that. There was a certain reluctance to get out of bed, but I managed. Coffee was made and I stepped into the shower. Bill arrived as I was lathering up and soon he was going to bed. Driving back down to Atlantic City you see. He was fast asleep and I had some breakfast and after that the running of the errands to the nearby supermarket. Soon I was home in front of the computer again.

While in front of the computer I sent an email to my former boss, the one I had written about as Zack. I had a request to ask of him. When I go on interviews they always ask what happened to my job at the cigar shack. I tell them that I was let go due to slow sales. I heard from some customers that when they asked about me, they were told I went off to do office type things which is fine. The truth is too muddled (though a very good story I found).

My request was that if some calls about my employment at the cigar shack were made, would it be possible for Zack to tell them I was let go because of slow sales. I sent that out earlier this afternoon and I hadn’t heard anything from Zack yet. I would hope he does this for me, it’s a simple, yet minor request. I was sincere in telling him that I hoped all was well with his wife and kids and I also mentioned that how on the Facebook page for the cigar shack I posted the text to the spread about Zack being a black entrepreneur, underneath his photos.

I was surprised no one else had done that. After that I just chilled out around the apartment while Bill slept. I was feeling antsy and decided to take the guitar out and do some busking. It was more productive than yesterday and I won over a toddler who tried mimicking my playing. The boy’s dad gave him a dollar to put in the guitar case. There were a lot more people out and there was also a scavenger hunt going on. I sold a guitar pick for a dollar to a group of guys following a list.

I Love You More Today Than Yesterday

I Miss You- Bjork

It’s been quite an interesting day. First off I went to bed earlier and slept later than I intended. It was alright, I didn’t miss anything really. Bill had off to deal with the play from heck this afternoon and he also had to go to the department of motor vehicles since his wallet was stolen while in Philadelphia and needed to get a new license. He kissed me good bye and I stayed in bed, trying to hide from the sun for a few minutes longer. It worked for a little while then my body asked, ‘Who was I kidding?’

So I got out of bed and showered, made some coffee and had some cereal. No plans for busking today since I was going to be on the other side of the Hudson River. I don’t think I am good enough to play on the streets of Manhattan, I don’t even think I am good enough to play on the streets of Hoboken which is why I usually stick to the waterfront promenade. Less money, less guts, more stamina. No I had people to see in Manhattan and I also wanted to pick up some good cigars while I was there.

I took the Path train since I had my foot path all planned out. And NJ Transit bus schedules between rush hours are screwed up. You show up for the scheduled 1:15 bus and finally a bus shows up at 1:50. No point in asking the driver since they are generally ignorant and more often than not they are the ones who are late and don’t want to be reminded of that fact. Believe me I have asked and got no definite answer in return just the general patented belligerence of most NJ Transit drivers, except for Chief.

I walked down Washington Street to the Path train, not seeing anyone I knew. Found a nice seat on the train, nice and air conditioned and not crowded at all. I read some more of the James Wolcott book and soon enough I was in Herald Square. From there I called my friend Jesse who was unavailable so I walked over to JR Cigar on Fifth Avenue. Found some very good and nicely priced cigars and snagged a few. As I exited the store Jesse called and I met up with him for a few minutes before jetting further uptown.

Yes, Columbus Circle was my destination. The scene of the crime as it were. A few weeks before I was emancipated from the cigar shack courtesy of the bruised ego of Zack, the manager who professed to be so spiritual as to not have an ego, I lent a customer my copy of Luis Bunuel’s memoir, My Last Sigh. I’ve had a few copies of the book and lent them to friends or even gave them to friends and since this was the last copy I had and unable to get it again since it is out of print, I wanted it back.

So with some schedule coordination I was able to meet ace customer Lou Moreno who handed the book over. Lou is busy running a theater company and was juggling phone calls. He apologized for being unavailable to hang out and I totally understood. Lou went his way and I started to go mine when I ran into Jerrode, a former cigar shack employee who still works in the area. He was interested in hanging out so I happily obliged. We had a good talk. He’s turning 47 next week and new management at the store where he works is making a once happy work environment a bit hellish.

As we sat and talked outside the cigar shack area, another former employee of the cigar shack popped up. It was Sean who was interested in talking to me so once Jerrode went back to work, I met up with Sean. We walked over to the salad bar where I used to eat and had a nice lunch. Sean got married and has a baby on the way. He swore he told me he was getting married but I’m quite sure he didn’t. I congratulated him between bites of salad.

We swapped tales of the cigar shack. It turns out something I didn’t believe about him was true. He owned up to it and he regrets it, but what’s done is done. Steve Gray was right apparently (posted for those cigar shack employees who might read this). He also told me that I had been replaced by a nice guy, a former customer named Ryan who is now working part time. Ryan looks like I used to look like if I was a few inches shorter and about 50 pounds heavier minus 25 years. It was good to see Sean cleaning up his act. He is happy and doing well and living with his wife in Brooklyn. Sean went back to work and I started to head towards the bus terminal. But I had to pee.

I remembered that I did tell some neighbors of the cigar shack that I wouldn’t be back unless I had to use the bathroom and sure enough that is what I did. It’s a public restroom and to my chagrin it was definitely cruise central. I recognized the vibe from 30 years ago, a bunch of guys standing around waiting for the odd man out (me) to leave so they could get back into whatever it was they were doing before I relieved myself.

After washing my hands and making my way through about 6 guys standing around, I headed out to the street, walking what felt like being a floor above the cigar shack. It was a nice day and after stopping by Boots and Belts, a nearby S&M store I was out on the street, relighting a cigar that I had let extinguish earlier. I was glad to have made the jaunt to the area and saw some good people. Too bad the cigar shack puts out a strange vibe, but that could have been because Zack and or the Possum might have been working. I was happy not to see either one of them.

Still Looking for song lists readers…help a blogga out!

According to Stephen N via Twitter and Facebook, Songfacts are having difficulty. Maybe they’re under attack, rendering them as ‘unsafe’.
And at 8:05PM, Stephen N commented that Songfacts is/are up and running. Thank you Stephen N, whomever you are!

“what fresh hell is this?” Dorothy Parker


07 I Miss You

I Miss You- Blink 182

Yesterday was such a nice day. Nice enough that I don’t feel like writing today, but here I am writing again. If Truman Capote were around and reading blogs he might have said ‘That’s not writing, that’s typing’. That is what Truman supposedly said about Jack Kerouac. I can’t fill Kerouac shoes, he was a 10.5 and I am a 12. It would be painful and awkward and I would be in dire need of an orthopedic shoe. I just returned from busking again, not too busy a day though my guitar playing has improved somewhat. I hadn’t busked since last Thursday.

Like I wrote, yesterday was nice, really a top day. Pleasant weather, nary a cloud in the sky. I did some filing, my nails have gotten back to where they should be. I strolled the waterfront promenade once again, enjoying a cigar. I found a spot and sat and read Lucking Out by James Wolcott. I’m enjoying reading about his exploits with Pauline Kael, hanging out at CBGB’s and a fixation on porn. When I finished reading yesterday, AIDS was beginning to make its appearance. The grim reaper and it’s scythe taking out a generation of gay men and soon to spread to non-gay men.

I remember hearing about GRID- Gay Related Immune Deficiency, or the gay cancer as it was first known. It was the beginning of the paranoia of the pandemic and I was still deep in the closet, living the two lives that I led back in the day. One of the symptoms was a loss of appetite, a wasting away. I told someone that in the future, overweight men will be the desirable set following the death of the clones. It didn’t take into consideration that there would be two sets, the gym bunnies constantly fixated on chiseled abs and toned bodies and the other group being the bears, the hirsute, stocky men.

Having never set foot in a gym I lean towards the bear contingent though I consider myself to be a wolf, and a lone wolf at that. When smoking was permissible in Central Park, when I would have the time to check out the disco skate circle I would be either opposite the bears on Bear Hill or above the bears at the top of the hill enjoying a cigar and enjoying the tunes. Since the smoking ban I haven’t been in Central Park. In fact since I was dismissed from the cigar shack I haven’t gone north of 47th Street.

While sitting and reading I got a phone call from Billie in DC. It had been a while since we last spoke and we kept missing each other on various phone calls. He’s doing well, working and in good health thanks to the government of Washington DC. I told him the story about my dismissal, how the guy who claimed to have no ego was pissed off and his ego bruised by what I wrote exactly. Billie was great and laughed several times at my tale. He knew I was unhappy there and claimed it was god’s doing that got me out of there.

He mentioned that he was thinking about taking a Bolt Bus from Washington DC and having a day trip to Manhattan. That would be great and since I have the time it seems likely that it would happen. It would be easier for Billie to come up here than for me to get to DC since in DC we would need a car to get around where in Manhattan no car would be needed. Billie’s visit is something to look forward to and hopefully we will get together soon enough.

I walked around Hoboken afterwards, talking on the phone with Lois and running into my friend Roger with his wife Dina and their 3 month old son Kennedy. What a happy chubby baby. Dina looked great as did Roger. It was fun catching up with Roger for a while and I walked them back to their car before heading home. Bill was home when I came home, so happy to see me. He was in better spirits than he was earlier. He had gone to Philadelphia on Saturday and while there his wallet was stolen, pickpocketed.

He had enough to get to Manhattan but had to borrow some cash from the producer of the play he is working on. We watched the closing of the Olympics, annoyed with Bob Costas and Ryan Seacrest endlessly talking over whatever as going on. We surmised it was because Americans needed to have things spelt out for them, instead of just showing the images without comment. They cut out Ray Davies singing Waterloo Sunset, and also Muse while postponing the Who, who were mediocre. And still no Elton. What was that about?

And I am DJ’ing from home again at the local tavern right now…


The Nick Colas haircut!

Jimmy Roselli

05 All Night Long

I Like- Guy

It’s Tuesday, and a super Tuesday at that. It started out a bit awry, a bit drizzly as I walked to the bus stop. I listened to Robert Owens ‘I’ll be Your Friend’ a club song from back in the day. I heard it in a porno the other day and sought it out, and uploaded it. It mixed well with the Dopestyle cut, “I’ll Bass You”. I know I heard it in the East Village and it may have been at the Pyramid or the World. Classic cut. Can’t find Dopestyle anywhere though (I just did). As I waited for the bus, I ran into Richard Castro once again. He was headed home and waiting for his bus. We chatted for a while until my bus showed up, with Chief behind the wheel.

At the next stop, downstairs neighbor Deborah got on board the bus and I filled her in on what’s been going on the past week or so with regards to the cigar shack. It was several giggles worth as we headed into the tunnel where we were quite delayed by a major traffic accident. If it weren’t for each other’s company we probably would have been climbing the walls. We discussed this here blog, how I followed a lawyer friend’s advice seven years ago when I started. To protect myself then as well as now, the job is never mentioned by name or address and the names have been changed to protect the idiots.

Deborah thought that was good advice. I know Bill thinks so as well since he has discussed this with his boss, a pro bono lawyer at one of Manhattan’s largest law firms. So my ass is covered by the first amendment. As I walked up to the cigar shack I played a David Bowie playlist. I’ve been playing it a lot lately. So many great songs by David, I ended with Repetition from the Lodger album, which was actually the first Bowie album I ever bought for myself. I always had access to my brother’s and sister’s albums but this one was mine and it wasn’t the Bowie they had remembered.

I made it into the cigar shack later than expected but I did have the foresight to inform Bradley about the accident and my being tardy. He replied ‘No worries’ and I figured that was that. It was Thomas and Bradley today, Zack was off and Jerry Vale was out as well. Since the cigar lounge, man cave has been shut down things have crawled considerably. Not much foot traffic at all coming through the door and it reflected in the sales.

Most of the regulars have stopped coming in, they stopped coming in before the man cave shut down. They’re visiting other cigar places throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and even Hoboken. Perhaps word got out about how Zack talks shit about them, how Zack says that the cigar shack doesn’t need their business.

That’s how Zack does it. He talks shit about everyone. Which makes it all the more surprising that when shit gets spoken about him he doesn’t necessarily handle it well. And the customers do talk shit about Zack as well. I just paid witness to it, occasionally stepping in to defend Zack but overall I would let them spew forth. No harm no foul, like GZA would say.

I had lunch and a free cigar that a salesman gave me when stopping by earlier in the day. I came back and it was Thomas’ turn to go. I kept myself busy once again, heeding Zack’s axiom- ‘If you’re leaning, you ain’t cleaning’. So witty and yet so clichéd.

To my surprise Zack came in, looking so damn hot in his cigar shack polo shirt. Woof! And then after Zack made his appearance, the next walk in was the inhumane resources person Aaron Burr. Aaron Burr busied himself while in the cigar shack by calling the cigar shack, not realizing he was in the cigar shack it seemed.

A trip to the loo was in order for me and in the loo I could hear the man cave doors opening and closing. I came out and Bradley mentioned that Zack and Aaron Burr wanted to see me in the man cave. I knew a three way wasn’t in order, especially since I used the condoms I usually carry with me on Ruben and Albert Ross last week. I walked in and Aaron Burr stood up while Zack sat there looking fly in his cigar shack polo shirt.

Thanks to former genital massager Marcus telling Zack about this here blog, and sexy Zack with his betrayed ego informed the inhumane resources person- Aaron Burr. Aaron Burr said words to the effect that my blog reflected poorly on the cigar shack and they weren’t having it. They couldn’t very well tell me not to write it, especially since the actual company name has never been used since I started doing time at the cigar shack and the names had been changed to protect the idiots. I actually thought they might have been talking about the other cigar shack blog that I write, that Zack felt wasn’t as witty as this here blog.

So Zack and Aaron Burr asked for the keys to the cigar shack, the drawers. Not a problem. I removed them and handed them over. I was dismissed after getting told I would be paid for the rest of the day. I wonder if my commission will be sent with my final paycheck, since I technically did not do anything wrong so I suppose I will have to wait and see. I saw Thomas and told him goodbye. He was shocked but also had an idea. Bradley once again did his best possum imitation, hiding in plain sight. I shook Thomas’ hand and said ‘cheers’ to everyone else and walked out the door shoulders back, head held high.

I called Bill and told him the news. Chatted with Annemarie and told her the news. Posted on Facebook, and immediately messages of support and dismay came pouring in from friends, family and cigar shack customers. Most everyone knew how unhappy I was working at the cigar shack. And I was unhappy, yet willing to give Zack my support. I remember May 12, 2011 when it was announced that Zack was going to be the manager. I congratulated him and wished him well and shaking his hand while the possum turned beet red and did nothing of the sort.

I also prevented a couple of attempts at what may have been an inside job of someone trying to steal boxes of cigars that were placed with the empty cigar boxes that we give away. Perhaps I told the wrong person, perhaps the person I told was the person who was attempting to steal the cigars following in the former genital massager’s pigeon toed footsteps. I mean, there was no investigation and since I told the manager, you would think they would actively look into who is attempting to steal from the cigar shack. It couldn’t have been a customer since we are on them like white on rice.

True- I wrote things here, but once I would write them I would move on since I had gotten it out of my system. Among the customers, Mr. Seltzer was saddened, Mr. Arbus was shocked and former co-workers Sean and Raymond were surprised. Haven’t heard from Don but I’m sure I will soon enough. Cigar shack neighbor, Mr. Partant wasn’t that surprised at all though. He’s seen them come and go.

And by the way, I was asked at last Friday’s training charade- I was asked what the Spanish word ‘Ligero’ meant, I said it meant ‘light’ and was told I was wrong. Guess who wasn’t wrong?

It was great walking down the avenue with the sun out, and with the bus waiting at the gate I was home in no time. A nice meal after work was had which was a big change from the past two years. Bill is home, proud of me, reminding me of where he works and how the guy he works for despises smoking. I don’t think I will need assistance since once again like I wrote- I did not do anything wrong. It’s not like I was working drunk or giving out Xanax, or stealing cigars etc. like Zack told me how the former genital massager had.

I am also quite happy I do not have to be at the cigar shack at 8AM tomorrow for the ‘new manager assimilation overview’ which sounds like something from the Borg. They want honesty and candor and I was more than willing to lie on Zack’s behalf, but now I don’t have to. There were a lot of things that I had done that weren’t asked of me, and somethings that were set up, will be delivered soon enough. Ah it’s not my thing anymore, I’m sure someone will figure it all out. Someday?

I can sleep in! A new day, a new beginning and already a new lead.

May 22, 2012 was not such a bad day after all.

this will probably the last of this series of this image.

1-02 That’s Him Over There

I Left My Wallet In El Segundo

An interesting day. I had to come in to the cigar shack an hour early which wasn’t so bad, the commute is geared to end at 10:00 so I had smooth sailing since I was on the 9:30 bus. Tomorrow is going to be a pain in the tuchis since I will have to be at the cigar shack at 8:00 so Bradley can train us on things we need to be trained on.

It has been quite an interesting day to say the least. I did the bank run this morning and while walking and chatting with Bill on the phone, I spotted Steve Martin walking by. He was trying to be invisible and as he passed me I said ‘Hi Steve’ and he nodded and kept on moving. I have to admit, it was a thrill to see him. He looked good and dapper in an LA style while walking down Broadway.

I did the bank run and headed back to the cigar shack where I was working with Thomas and Jerry Vale. Bradley was out today as was the possum and Zack was out somewhere in New Jersey. It was a good day, not as busy as the head Jesus would have liked, but relatively OK. The three of us made for a good team, only stepping on each others toes occasionally and usually apologizing if and when that happened.

Lunch came quickly and went quickly. I sat on a bench by the park and smoked a cigar, joined in the last few minutes by an older gentleman who shops at the cigar shack. He lives across the street from my bench and his wife spotted me and told the older gent who came down to smoke with me. I only had about 10 minutes left to spend with him and we had a good chat about the cigar shack.

As I headed back to the cigar shack, I had a few extra minutes and sat down. Then I spotted George Takei and his husband Brad walking down the street. I asked George takei if I could have a picture and he said sure so I handed Brad the camera and he took a lovely snapshot. I showed it to Thomas once I got back to the cigar shack and he was quite thrilled.

He almost went out to see if George Takei was still around but I talked him out of it, telling him that he had probably moved on. Earlier in the day we received an email from Zack saying that the email servers would be down for a few hours starting around 6:00. AT around 6:30 I get a text from Zack, telling me to check my email when I get a chance.

I reply, telling him that the servers were down (much like he predicted earlier in the day), and then a minute later, asking him if there was something I should know. It weighed on my mind and I asked Thomas and Jerry Vale if they got the same message but they hadn’t. An hour or so later I checked again to see if the server was up.

It was then that I received word that Zack has discovered this blog. Apparently former genital massager Markos hipped Zack to this here blog and Zack emailed me in turn. It surprised me but I had a feeling that someone would have figured it out eventually. I mean, the Martini Basher incident a couple of years ago should have been a tip off but it went unnoticed. Most everyone knew about it, even Bradley knew about it. He’ll probably deny it but he has quoted things from this here blog. Some customers read this here blog and they enjoy it.

And to my credit, Zack did say it was witty, much more witty than the other blog that I unofficially write for the cigar shack. I say unofficially since I do not get paid for it and there’s really no credit for it. Zack did carbon copy Bradley on the email, saying ‘I guess GZA was right’. What does Wu Tang Clan have to say about the blog? Such a cryptic poet that Zack can be.

My writing was called Beckett-like the other day which I took as high praise and now this! Samuel Beckett, one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century…

So I guess tomorrow could very well be my last day. Today did have an air of finality to it and also felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Word is now officially out that I am unhappy working at the cigar shack and with my sales this month being subpar he might just get what he wanted, or at least what Bradley wanted.

Nevertheless I have to attend Bradley’s training session tomorrow at 8:00AM. That should be very interesting. Is the writing on the wall or merely on this here blog? You know I will keep you posted whatever happens. I think things are getting quite interesting, wouldn’t you agree?

George Takei and me

04 The Last Time

I Hear You Now

I woke up this morning with Bill hovering over me and kissing me goodbye as he was off to the gym. He took off from work again to clean up his stuff in the apartment again. I went back to sleep for a little while, getting out after hitting the snooze bar twice, before the third hit.

I shuffled about getting my own shit together. A bowl of cereal after a shower and a shave and soon I suited up and headed to the bus stop. Once again I find myself comfortable in my role at the cigar shack and once again something happens which basically is a ‘Not so fast Kowalski’ moment from Mad Magazine in the 1960’s.

I know about that since my brother Frank had it hanging on his bedroom wall for a long time when I was growing up. I met Bill at the bus stop after he was done with the gym and I was waiting. It was the highpoint of my day, being able to spend fleeting, quality time with Bill.

After a kiss I got on the bus as Bill said hello to Shirley, the surly bus driver who seemed a bit nicer after seeing Bill & I kiss. At the next stop was neighbor Deborah and we chatted about the usual things with me adding the fact that I am somewhat comfortable at the cigar shack, and how my writing a blog for the cigar shack seems to be progressing nicely.

A beautiful spring in winter morning as I walked up to the cigar shack, right on time as usual. Everything seemed alright most of the day, it was Zack, Bradley, Thomas and myself. Some work is being done overnight so Jerry Vale was coming in later to stay the night and over see the workers doing whatever it is they are scheduled to do.

Zack mentioned that Thomas and I might have to stay late, which of course we were willing to do albeit reluctantly. Some eye rolling was done which upset Zack greatly. Of course in his time, he would have gladly done whatever was asked of him, as would Thomas and myself. Sure we might bitch but the job will get done regardless.

So there was bad feelings this afternoon which fulfilled my feeling that things would get weird at some point today. Things cleared up but it did leave a bad feeling in my mouth. Zack felt we were taking advantage of Jerry Vale, since he is the new guy, or maybe newish. Funny, he doesn’t look newish. But we’re not taking advantage.

Jerry Vale needs the money, he just moved to a new apartment and mentioned to me, and perhaps anyone else who would listen that he will be working for the rest of the year, no vacation plans in the immediate future. I just talked about it with Jerry Vale and he mentioned that he brought it up and volunteered for the overnight shift.

So no, no one is taking advantage of Jerry Vale.

Don’t get too comfortable.

Shepard's Pi 3.14159265

Angels and Devils

I Have The Touch

Finally back at home after a long day. I suppose the long day started last night when I was going to bed. As I was getting into the bed, a small voice in the back of my head said ‘you should check to see if you are opening the cigar shack tomorrow’. I didn’t pay any attention to it and soon was fast asleep.

Bill was above me a few hours later giving me a kiss goodbye and I went back to sleep. The alarm was set for 8:00 and I figured that it was a normal day with me headed in to the cigar shack at the usual time of 11:30. But the small voice was a bit larger this morning and I was compelled to listen to it, so I got out of bed, walked over to computer and pulled up the schedule.

It turned out that I was opening the cigar shack this morning after all, meaning I had to be there by 9:30 to open at 10:00. I got myself together, quick shower and shave, fast bowl of cereal, one cup of really good coffee that Bill made and after putting on a suit & tie with shoes & socks I was out the door, headed down the stairs.

Much to my surprise there was a line of people waiting for the bus. The 9:15 bus. I knew I wasn’t going to make it at 9:30 and hoped I would be there by 10:00. The bus filled up and we flew through the tunnel, a slight delay underground, someone tapped someone else’s bumper. Nothing major but slowed things down enough for me to send a text to Zack that I was stuck in the tunnel.

The schedule said he was going to be in as well so I wasn’t worried as I hustled through the bus terminal and out on the street. I wisely decided to hoof it up to the cigar shack since the subway is so undependable and I did not need that stress. I made it to the cigar shack at 9:55 which wasn’t that bad. A regular customer was waiting outside and I let him in, glad to have some company.

Zack phoned a bit frantic. Apparently he was not coming in at his usual time, he was at the doctor’s office and worried that I was going to be very late. I reassured him that it was all good, no worries and set about starting and opening the cigar shack and counting the registers.

Bradley soon made it in about an hour later and like I’d written before, he’s been alright now that he is the assistant manager and he was pretty funny once again. Thomas came in a little while after that and he wasn’t too happy. He had gone out the night before with a customer, had a few drinks and was feeling angry since his commission check wasn’t all that he had hoped it would be.

I was satisfied with mine but then again I did have top sales in February. He didn’t do so bad either and I did remind him that the numbers he adds up in his head aren’t necessarily the numbers they crunch at the headquarters. The day was busy enough, Zack eventually made it in and was hidden away in his office.

The man cave was bustling as usual. It was a nice day, warm enough to sit on a bench near the park and enjoy life going by as I enjoyed a small cigar. I was back at the shack and made it through the day unscathed. Glad to be home and happy to know that my hours will be back to normal tomorrow.

bus queue

02 Wax And Wane

I Hate The Way

A Thursday at the cigar shack. It’s me and Zack right now, Jerry Vale was in earlier but went off to represent at a cigar function somewhere in midtown. It’s been a slow day, not many customers coming in. Certainly no Saudi royalty, at least not yet.

I’ve been busy doing extracurricular things, taking photographs and doing some writing on behalf of the cigar shack. I am the official blogger for the cigar shack and will be maintaining a blog for the shack as well as photographing events all while selling cigars and accessories.

I just achieved my daily bread, I mean daily goal, so that’s a relief. With Zack in the cigar lounge, having a smoke I’ve decided to play some reggae in honor of Mr. Winston Rodney’s birthday, that’s Burning Spear for those playing at home.

I’m sure I’ve seen Burning Spear somewhere, but with red eyes back then, the memories today are somewhat cloudy. One specific memory I do have involved Burning SPear at the late, lamented Wetlands, a club in Tribeca. My friend Miriam and I along with her friend Andre went to see Burning Spear and we got there early enough to be 2 feet from the stage.

It was perfect, none of us had been that close to see a reggae legend like that before. Unfortunately Andre got himself smoked out causing us to abandon the show before it even began since homeboy couldn’t hang.

So we went from being thisclose to the stage to being out on the street making sure Andre had something to eat. Now Black Uhuru is playing and I certainly remember an excellent show with Black Uhuru and King Sunny Ade at the Dr. Pepper Festival on the Pier at 42nd Street, in the shadow of the USS Intrepid.

That show seemed to go on forever, maybe 3 or 4 hours, with quite a few friends hanging out and sharing things that get passed around. It is a little blurry, the memory that is, but I do recall being there with Andrew Feldman and Rand Hoppe and possibly the one and only Jose Blackorby as well as other friends I am sure.

Now there is 45 minutes left in the day and I am off tomorrow and that makes me happy. Bill was up early, doing his volunteer work for WBAI, getting up at 4AM. I could not be roused when he left, he told me he tried kissing me a few times but I would not be moved. I did sleep a lot better than I did the night before so it was probably me making up for lost sleep the night before.

So I am off tomorrow and I have no plans whatsoever. Maybe some laundry but that could wait until next week. No art galleries to go to and the weather might be crappy so staying in might be the thing to do. I do have the movie Beginners which won Christopher Plummer the Academy Award last week, so that might be the highlight of the day.

And the last customer of the cigar shack this evening dropped quite a pretty penny, causing my high tide to lift all boats. Nice start for the month of March.

Burning Spear – The Sun

I Gave You My Heart (Didn’t I)

And it’s back at the cigar shack today. Christmas Eve came as a crawl, busy enough but not many customers as previous nights. A lot of people do their shopping after work and like me, once they are out of the city it takes a lot to have them come in again, especially for shopping.

So there was a considerable drop off in numbers but nothing worth crying over. I did quite well by the way. After the cigar shack closed, Zack and Jerry Vale sat in the man cave and two former employees came in for some scotch and cigars. I thought Bill would be outside when I finished but when I called him, he was still in Hoboken so that allowed me to have a cigar and a glass of scotch with this rogue’s gallery.

I did some organizing of the photographs and put them all in decent gift bags before heading out where I met Bill waiting for me. We drove up the West Side Highway to the George Washington Bridge, both of us exchanging stories- Bill having driven to Philly and back from Atlantic City and me weary from eleven hour days.

I didn’t know it, but the ride from the cigar shack to my brother’s house was probably the highlight of the night. We got there and everything seemed to be alright but of course just below the surface there was drama. This one was upset with that one who made noises about heading back to Connecticut. And when the rest of the family showed up the stress intensified.

I seem to always forget that my brother is not who he used to be and tends to get heated quite quickly. And of course he did, berating my other brother and I for not visiting the grave of our parents and maintaining it. Yes it was bullshit and yes it was Christmas Eve. And arguing with my brothers about British rock guitarists wasn’t as much fun as it used to be. Tiresome really.

Other than that, it was good to see the nieces and nephews, I don’t see them that often. They’re good kids. Bill and I rode home listening to the Beatles Christmas Messages which we were entertained by. And once we got home we exchanged presents, Bill got me a very nice external hard drive for my computer and I got him a nice glass topped box for his cuff links as well as engraved collar stays, upon which were phrases that Bill and I say to each other every day.
He loved them and I was happy.

Now at the cigar shack, there is a little over an hour to get through, Thomas being a stand up gent once again is closing. I get to catch a train about 10 minutes earlier than I usually would. Still I will take what I could get.

Now Thomas and Jerry Vale are discussing the career of Rod Stewart. Jerry Vale keeps mentioning the Small Faces when he really means the Faces. Big (or small) difference. It’s all the same to Thomas.

I remarked that I sometimes listen to the music my parents listen to and then Thomas remarked that both Jerry Vale and I are old enough to be his parents.

Ouch! He was right.

03 Dance This Mess Around

I Follow Rivers

Well it’s a day off and I am killing time before heading into the city to visit Bill’s office party. It’s been a weird day to say the least. First off I burned my finger trying to get the heater to work properly. It’s blistered and I am relying on the present day old wives tales and remedies, in other words, I am using the internet.

Finger running under cold water. Aloe, actually sunblock lotion- as well as apple cider vinegar and now it is under a bandage. It’s not as painful as it was earlier. Initially it wasn’t painful at all but within minutes I started to feel it. Luckily I’m not playing guitar in Bill’s combo, just shooting video.

According to Bill’s Facebook update, he is readying himself and his ensemble SmoothnFusion for their first gig. It promises to be a fun evening, and instead of cutting out to let Bill have his fun with his work mates, I will be hanging and eating and perhaps drinking. It’s likely to be the only holiday work party that I will be attending since you can bet that the cigar shack won’t be having anything like that.

In fact, I made the mistake of opening an email from the cigar shack. Apparently numbers are down and the new head cheese is unhappy with that fact. In turn he is coming down on Zack and Zack is coming down on Bradley, Thomas and Jerry Vale as well as myself.

Of course the head cheese whizzes do not seem to take into consideration that sales are down nearly everywhere, and in a store such as the cigar shack, a lot of people that had the money to buy pricey items in the previous months and years don’t have it this year.

Thomas, Bradley and myself have spent hours emailing our customers reminding them that we are still in business and ready to sell and ship cigars and accessories whenever they would like, but the cigar shack offers no sales, no two for one deals, no discounts. It’s merely business as usual.

And since it is business as usual people have been buying the cigars and accessories elsewhere at other cigar stores in the city or online where it is even cheaper. All over the country, bricks and mortar stores are in difficult positions due to it being cheaper to buy cigars online. And reading the email I am reminded once again that shit truly runs downhill.

Can’t sell a $5,000 humidor every day, which I proved the next day when my sales as well as Bradley and Jerry Vale’s sales all took a nosedive. My problem is that I should not have read that email on my day off, my own time.

So tomorrow when I return I will send even more emails to my customers who if they don’t ignore the email, could likely be sending them to their spam folders. I myself get plenty of cigar offers from various cigar distributors, back from when I used to work at the cigar shack, and I do take a cursory look before deleting them, so I can’t really fault any of my customers for doing the same.

I guess I will also have to change my tactics and stop treating people the way I like to be treated when I go shopping or rather when I used to go shopping. I too, shop online you see. When I would go to a store where there were sales people on the floor (bookstores and record stores generally leave you alone) I wasn’t too keen on having a sales person hover around me, or in my face pushing high end items that I couldn’t afford nor was I much interested in.

That will have to change and I will have to be all over them like white on rice. I’ll just do the opposite of how I like to be treated when I shop.

And now, enough of that infernal place. Time to get ready for Bill’s office party. I am looking forward to it totally and I know Bill is as well. It is going to be a fun time for all concerned and you know what? I deserve a fun time I think.

Dave Stewart – Its My Party

I Feel the Earth Move

OK, so the computers that we use at the cigar shack are so decrepit that I often make jokes about how we bought them at a garage sale that was had when the Soviet Union collapsed. All tubes and wires and little or no upkeep. Several layers of dust coat the inside of the computers which more than likely hinders any process that they go through hour after hour, day after day.

The home office had been notified and sent the cigar shack a new computer which remained in it’s boxes for weeks, if not a month or two. Finally yesterday the IT guy came in and was all set to hook up the new computer and take away the old one. Well as luck would have it (just as we had the computer in a box for a few months) the new computer was too large for a spot under the register.

A plan was made to get a jigsaw and saw some space under the counter to make room but that was decided against. Now the new computer is back in the box and ready to be sent back to wherever it was that it came from. Lithuania I believe. The humorous part of it all was the computer was laying in the box for so long and no one had the sense to take a look at it. Foibles I believe is what they’re called.

So today Thomas is back from his vacation and he’s back to being the cocky 25 year old he is. I have to keep in mind that if you treat someone with kindness and equanimity that does not necessarily mean you will be treated in the same way. And that’s how Thomas operates. A lesson learned I suppose.

And today like every other day, my beloved Bill has been outstanding. Really great and supportive and I certainly look forward to shooting the set that his jazz combo will perform at the holiday party his company is having at a hot nightspot somewhere in midtown. I’m also looking forward to some excellent food and perhaps a pint or two.

I am also glad that Bill won’t be moving his equipment out of there until next week so that will be once less thing my beloved Bill will have to contend with tomorrow night. After his combo plays he can relax but knowing Bill he will be a flippin’ and a floppin’ on the dance floor as he is known to do.

I attended the party a few years ago thanks to Bill sneaking me in and he was so well known that people kept asking him when he was going to hit the dance floor. Since I work the next day (first day of four eleven hour shifts) I might just split and let Bill get his groove on. He wouldn’t mind and I could just go home and upload the video. Either way who knows what will happen.

I do know that it will be grand to spend quality time with Bill and it’s always a pleasure to watch him play his keyboards. I am so glad I am married to him. And he is so glad to be married to me.

One last thing, I am running another blog concurrently since certain people have wondered where the pathos is, why are names changed. So the names won’t be changed and the whole blog will be as is. So send me an email with bloggo deux in the header and I will send you the link. Some of you already get bloggo deux so there’s no need to send me the email.

02 No Fine Lines 1

I Feel So

Cookie’s email. Claire’s return.
Shooting video of Bill’s jazz combo Thursday night

Just some reminders of what I could write about tonight. I could also write about how Jerry Vale and I have stopped communicating after his hissy fit on Sunday morning. An apology is what is expected and an apology is not forthcoming. So I guess for the next two and a half hours we won’t be speaking.

I will be busying myself with various mundane tasks and he will stand there with his hands in his pockets, staring out the window like a dog in a puppy mill. It’s funny since the night before, Saturday night, Jerry Vale and I were talking about work and Thomas and Bradley. I told him that when I’ve butted heads with Thomas I would always apologize for being a bitch and Thomas would generally apologize for being a bitch as well.

But like I wrote, no apology seems to be forthcoming and that’s cool. That means I do not have to listen to him talking about how excited he is for the upcoming ski season, or how he is getting a secured credit card and best of all I do not have to lend him money anymore when he is skint.

So, Cookie’s email. I have a cousin whom I’ll call Cookie. She’s sweet and her family and mine were once really close. But with the passing of time and life interfering we’ve gone our separate ways. I have to admit that I think she is a member of the tea party and every now and then she sends out emails about this and that, how “they’re” taking away the right to say the Pledge of Allegiance or some sort of nonsense.

The most recent alarming email from Cookie was how the new dollar coins wil not have In God We Trust on it and how that is a sure sign about how things in this country are going down the toilet. I almost always read her email, check with snopes.com and send her what I find, which is generally telling her that she’s been hoodwinked.

And once again I did that with regards to the dollar coins. She did respond in kind, thanking me for the information as well as explaining that snopes.com is blocked where she works so she just sends out the email rumors and whatnot regardless if it’s true or false. And like I said, they’re almost always (99.9%) false. Still I love Cookie very much and don’t mind letting her know what’s what.

Last night after a run to the grocery store I ran into neighbor Claire. She seems to be back, things did not work out out in Montauk where it is perhaps too cold for surfing. We ran into each other on the street, both of us expressing our hopes that 2012 simply has to be better than 2011. I guess we’ve both had bad years but I am not holding out much hope for the new year. I sense more stress and strife and lately being hopeful has only sunk me into deep depths of depression.

One good thing I have to look forward to is the fact that I am shooting a video for my beloved Bill when he plays with his combo on Thursday night. It should be fun and there will be food and drink and I will be able to spend time with the one I love as well as his band. It’s a good thing that I am off on Thursday. Oh I forgot about the cigar shack computer…I guess I will write about that tomorrow.

Electronic – Idiot Country

I Feel My Stuff

Whereas Saturday was a stellar day at the cigar shack, yesterday was a bit like a black hole. Day 3 of 11 hour shifts had taken their toll, closing u the cigar shack and getting home after 11:00 and then getting up the next day to be there to open up was taxing enough.

I did not remember that NJ Transit’s Sunday schedule was flawed, buses running every hour until 9:00AM so that didn’t help me as I waited for what the automated schedule announced that an 8:29 bus would be appearing. At about 8:35 I made my way to the Path train where I descended the stairs to the platform where I saw onscreen that the next train to 33rd street would be at 9:15.

Since I needed to be at the cigar shack at 9:30, the 9:15 train would not help me at all. So forfeiting my fare (no arrival/departure screens before the turnstiles) I went back up to the street and felt it would be better to wait for the 9:00 bus and take my chances. I got to the city and walked through the bus terminal at 9:25.

Because the bus terminal is closer to the cigar shack than the Path station and since it was also the weekend and the subways were on crazy schedules and outages I once again walked up the avenue to the shack. I stopped and got my egg sandwich and hustled on up the street.

A block away from the cigar shack I got my iced coffee and while waiting for that I got a phone call from Jerry Vale. He was near the cigar shack and inside where it was nice and warm where I was out on the street in 32 degree weather and already tired from the hustling with the bus and Path train schedules. I told Jerry Vale that I too was outside and would be there soon enough.

When I got to the cigar shack the lights were on and no Jerry Vale in sight. I figured Bradley let him in since Bradley was sitting in the man cave when I came in. I asked Bradley where Jerry Vale was and he didn’t know. I ate my sandwich quite fast and got a few things ready for opening.

A minute or two before 10:00 I walked up to the door where I saw Jerry Vale calling me. He saw me so he did not complete the call. But he was angry with me. I asked him why didn’t he call Bradley but he didn’t know that Bradley was working with us. No- Jerry Vale doesn’t check the schedule to see who he is working with.

He started snapping at me and I of course snapped back and even Bradley chimed in against Jerry Vale. I asked Jerry Vale what time he was due in and he said 10:00. I told him since it was 10:00 then maybe he should punch in. He was upset about having to wait in relative comfort while I was busting my ass to get to the cigar shack.

The day was spent mainly with Bradley and I ignoring Jerry Vale and Jerry Vale sensing this, spent most of his time staying away from both of us. It certainly was a long day and I was quite glad to be home again where I crashed. A day off today was not nearly enough to recover and it’s back to work again tomorrow.

I think of what Jimmy Seltzer said, that I am a good worker, showing up to work day after day at a job I don’t really like, but it’s a job and reluctantly I am happy to have at least that.

07 Moon Rocks

Thanks to Deborah for her advice, no more car wreck viewing of the Santorum sculptor.

I Feel Love

Well it’s been a very long day for me and for Jerry Vale as well as Bradley. I just found out that our Jerry works seven days a week bless his heart. He’s been struggling and striving for a long time and still he gets up and does his thing.

I have to take into account what Jimmy Seltzer said to me months ago, that while it’s true I don’t like the job, I still come in and do my job and I do it well. I mean there is no tolerance for a job done half assed so I am glad to have passed the tests.

I woke up in time today and got myself together. I was able to see Bill for a few minutes, he was so tired when he came home and I was heading out the door moments later. Bill is driving once again to Atlantic City tonight so I will more than likely see him tomorrow night. I was running a bit late today, not through anything I did but rather from Lincoln Tunnel traffic.

I was happy to see the Atheist billboard above the tunnel as we rolled in under the river. I made my way up the avenue, getting my egg sandwich and all in all I wasn’t that late, only about 10 minutes. I did not listen to any music on my stroll up the avenue since I couldn’t decide on what I should listen to.

So I went the John Cage route and took in the sounds that happened all around me. My very own 4:33. And here I am hours later unable to remember anything that I heard. And at the cigar shack it was busy busy busy. I hit the ground running and to my surprise sold a $5000 humidor which put me in the lead for sales and my high tide lifted all boats. So it was good for the store as well as Bradley and Jerry Vale (& Thomas) since we all get a piece of that pie.

I was also surprised to find out that I am off on Monday. It’s been so hectic lately that I haven’t a clue 3what day it is until I check my schedule. And that is where Jerry Vale comes in with his seven day schedule. If he’s not working here, then he’s working elsewhere. And once again working with Bradley was a pleasure.

It could be from a talk Jerry Vale had with him, or he could very well be coming into his own. And it could also be from me telling him that he is the assistant manager not me and he does a damn good job at it.

I couldn’t really have a talk with Annemarie today which was a bit of a drag but tomorrow I should be able to. It promises to be a shorter day, getting out at 8:30 after coming in at 9:30. Having written that I realize that it’s not really shorter but I will be getting out earlier and you know that can’t be bad.

It is 11:22 and I just got home after riding the Path train with a crowd of Santa Claus’ and helpers singing the 12 Days of Christmas. It was a fun ride and I chuckled as they sang while I read all about Ahmet Ertegun & Atlantic Records.

No writing tomorrow. Enjoy yourselves and be excellent to each other.

08 Sail Away

I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag

“It’s been a long day.” That’s what Jerry Vale has to say. And for him it was and still is. He was scheduled to come in before noon but got a call to come in even earlier. So he wound up coming in a little before noon. Can’t fault him for that. It’s been a long day for me as well.

Last night was pretty good, Bill came home and drove me crazy (in a good way) like he always does before turning in around 10:30. I stayed up until abut 12:30 before I went to bed. I awoke once again to Bill kissing me goodbye. He said he would see me tomorrow which meant he was driving a bus again tonight to Atlantic City. I wished him well, told him to be careful before getting out of bed and giving him an extra special hug since I love him so.

I then puttered about taking a shower, making coffee and pouring ceral. Yes it’s quite mundane but it beats being an invisible sculptor which is even more mundane. Soon I was on the street walking to the bus stop. It was a nice morning, quite cool. In stood in the sun and enjoyed a nice cigar. It wasn’t too crowded and not too many Hoboken residents roaming around.

The bus ride was uneventful of course and instead of looking at my smartphone I read The Last Sultan, a biography on Ahmet Ertegun. I am enjoying it much more than I expected to though looking at the index I have to say I was bothered by the fact that there is no mention of Arif Mardin in the book, or at least no mention worthy of a listing in the index.

Perhaps there was bad blood in the end between the two Turks though I doubt it. Still I made a point to walk by the first (or one of the first) offices and studios of Atlantic Records at 23456, that is 234 west 56th Street, right next to Patsy’s.

It’s been a long day nonetheless and even though there is less than half an hour left it feels longer than that. That’s probably because I won’t be getting home until after 11:00. Such is life I gather.I have decided that the best way to go to work is with no expectations. When I seem to have a grip on things (or at least that is what I tell myself) things generally go awry. And if I have a bad attitude then that doesn’t work out either.

So tabula rasa seems to be the ‘proper’ way to go. Hopefully there won’t be any problems getting home since the trains were all screwy due to a police officer shooting a groper at the 125th Street station. That happened this afternoon and caused a lot of headaches for the patrons of the cigar shack. At least that was the excuse for them staying here from 10:00AM until 7:00PM.


06 Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue

I Feel Home

Well today was an interesting day. Last night was as well. The bus ride home with neighbor Deborah was filled with insight. She offered some wisdom that I imparted years ago to a dear friend of mine that I have written about before. Basically don’t pay attention to the angry, lonely crank. Instead, pay attention to those that are positive and support you.

There’s so much negativity in the world, who needs it from some unknown thing? It is almost word for word, what I told that dear friend back in the early days of the Internet. So many positive and supportive things were said, but all it took was one crank to be such a douche bag that my dear friend was upset despite my dear friend’s wife and I told him, to focus on the positive.

That is the angle I am working and so far so good. No pestilence in my life today. Today was started off with my dear love Bill kissing me goodbye and me sleepy eyed telling him I loved him so. Such a wonderful way to start the day. I soon got out of bed, did my thing.

The coffee, the cereal, the shower and then after checking some email, I felt tired. I still had an hour to get the bus so I decided to take a quick nap. Man did that do the trick. Reset my body clock it did. I should do that more often. I was refreshed and energized and ready to face the world.

Cobwebs blown away, I headed to the bus stop where I finished a cigar and waited for my second favorite bus driver. And he was on time as usual. The bus wasn’t too crowded and soon I found myself traipsing through the bus terminal, headed to the subway. That was where the wait was, on the platform.

No performers, the a capella group that usually does so well were absent as was the over emoting female singer who sings along to a CD, doing her best Whitney/Mariah imitations. I was a half hour early so I chatted with Bill for a few minutes before I headed in.

The day progressed nicely and sales were very good. Zack wound up babysitting for a group of jewelry makers who had reserved the man cave for an hour. They sat and drank and talked diamonds for a while. Then they left, Zack went home and another group of men came in, talking computers. It was all arranged by Zack and it fell to me to babysit this crew.

They were a nice bunch from upstate New York, a bit catty with each other and respectful to me. They stayed for an hour before they all departed to catch their MetroNorth trains home. I cleaned up the man cave while Thomas manned the front of the store. All in all it was a good time, I got to sit and smoke a cigar while watching the crew.

Thomas was understandably antsy since he is flying to the Virgin Islands tomorrow. At the stroke of 10:00 Thomas was out the door. I finished up, closed everything and headed to the subway. My beloved was in midtown and said that he would be taking the Path train home.

I told him if the train that gets me to the bus terminal shows up first, then that is the train I will take. If the other train that goes to the Path train shows up, then I will be on that one. I had hoped to ride home with my love but he was not on the train. Still I sat and read Uncut magazine.

The train took about the same amount of time as the bus would have so it really made no difference. It would have been nice to ride with my Bill again but he just boarded the Path train so he should be home soon enough. I hope you had a good day today, I know I did.

Butthole Surfers – 03 – American Women

I Feel For You

Well I just got home from work and like I wrote yesterday it wasn’t so bad. Sure it was difficult waking up this morning. Not that I had anything to drink, and actually that was the problem. I awoke at 6:45 with a throbbing headache due to dehydration. I got out of bed, drank some water and took 2 gelcaps. Of course they did not do the trick until about 45 minutes later when I actually had to get up.

I did the usual thing, making the coffee, pouring the cereal and taking a shower. The coffee of course got my engines going and I looked at my phone. 2 texts from Bill, he was waiting at the bus stop for me. My man, my baby after spending the night at the sleep clinic, wanted to see me off in the morning.

I hurried myself after checking the weather. It was cold out, in the upper 30 degree range and knowing Bill not liking the cold I did not want to keep my spouse waiting. I walked up the street to the main drag and sure enough there was my man waiting for me.

I could see his smile from half a block away and I returned his smile with my own. A hug and a kiss and we stood chatting in the brisk December air. Of course Bill soon became the 12 year old boy that he is and soon my coffee energy was depleted. But I held up my end as Bill held up his end.

The bus was late as usual and one last kiss for the day before I boarded. I waved to Bill as the bus rolled up the avenue. Being late meant the bus was going to fill up rather quickly. And being late also meant the next bus soon passed us as we approached the Lincoln Tunnel.

I walked through the terminal and headed to the avenue where I walked up, stopping to get my egg sandwich. I was opening the store so I would have to eat on the run. Jerry Vale came in at 10:00 on the dot, after I counted the drawers and the safe.

Thomas was next, followed by Bradley. Initially I was clobbered by Thomas and Jerry Vale, both of them raking up decent numbers in their first hour while I worked on Excel spreadsheets for a separate project. Bradley then took the lead, selling quite an expensive box of cigars which took all of us by surprise. But I was not to remain in the basement for long.

An attractive woman who looked like my sister in law Elaine came in and bought a few items which put me in second place, where I would remain for the rest of the day behind Bradley. The day was alright. No phone call with my sister since she didn’t tell me she would be out. I did have a good call with Bill as he was preparing to drive down to Atlantic City once again.

And a very special guest appearance was made at the cigar shack by the dear, sweet vagabond- Harpy who was looking very good.

Back to the cigar shack after lunch where doppelganger Elaine was buying duplicates of what she purchased earlier in the day. Then I sold a box of cigars as well as filling out an order for a client of mine from Los Angeles who called when I was out to lunch. Many giggles were had between me and a few customers as I rode that manic high.

And soon enough it was time to go home. No closing the drawers, no cleaning up the man cave, just an easy punch out and then a ride back to the bus terminal where I lucked out, being in the last 3 of a standing room only bus.

It’s not a perfect evening since Bill is headed to Atlantic City, but we’ll have that tomorrow I hope, and if not tomorrow then for the rest of our lives, my sweetheart and me.

09 Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes)

I Fall to Pieces

Well the later hours have begun, meaning that I go in to the cigar shack later and get home later. It works out in a topsy turvy kind of way, I do get to sleep in a little bit later, but then again I do not get home until after 11:00. Too late for a decent meal so I take what I can get.

Yesterday was a Sunday, hence my non posting of an entry. I worked alongside Thomas and Jerry Vale and it wasn’t that bad. The day before was better what with Bradley included and many laughs were had. Yesterday a few laughs were had but sales wise it went all pear shaped. The weather has been unseasonably and unreasonably gorgeous. somewhat disturbing, here we are on the cusp of December and it’s bloody 70 degrees outside.

Bill has been quite the rock lately, so loving and caring and I certainly appreciate it. Yesterday he stopped by the cigar shack to say hello and it truly made my day. That’s what love is, just showing up and making someones day, you can’t beat it. I am fortunate to have someone like Bill, actually I am fortunate to have Bill. A long life filled with love lay ahead no doubt.

And yesterday’s call with Annemarie was really great too. My sister is so great, she is like my right arm, with sage like advice and she laughs at my jokes and comments so you know that can’t be bad. Even if she didn’t laugh at my jokes or comments she would still be great. It certainly helps though. I do enjoy making women laugh.

Heard from Bobby Risotto and the news wasn’t as favorable as I had hoped but he and his partner will be having a child in a few months, surrogate style so to them I say ‘mazel tov’.

Tonight at the cigar shop it’s wrestling night. Don’t ask me who is play or what is what. The last time I watched wrestling was in the 1970’s and the top wrestlers were Bruno Sammartino and Mil Mascaras. WOR channel 9 was the station and one night it was a repeat so while watching TV with my brother Brian, we changed the channel and caught George Carlin on the telly hosting a new show called Saturday Night Live, with musical guests Janis Ian and Billy Preston. I wasn’t 17 so I never learned the truth.

Less than 90 minutes to go, still it is closer to 90 minutes than it is to 0 minutes. The Wynton Marsalis crew is on loop playing the same New Orleans Dixieland holiday classics. I guess they only know 3 songs and those songs are played ad infinitum. Still it beats having sleepy breasts I suppose.

Bradley is less than 3 feet away from me, he clears his throat as he looks out the window, checking out the girls as they stroll by. I check out the guys of course. Just because I am on a diet, it doesn’t mean I can’t look at the menu.

03 Move on

I Drove All Night

I knew I am dictating tonight entry into my smartphone. I am not sure whether not I will continue to correct whatever ari’s might happen. but it should be an interesting a car and then.

I am in the cigar shop once again after 2 day that’s about all I can do right now I don’t wanna be distracted I have to count money to have a problem if you knows off and it has not been so bad. I work with thomas bradley and sheri cell we all got along quite nicely and have quite a few laughs. of course I would rather spend the day with bill said he is driving to atlantic city tonight a late start for him finale thanks for me.

right now I am counting the face in the back a k a h e math games. send mail proposition to be using the microphone to translate what I am saying into text. hopefully you will be as soon as I am. who knows how to make more sense now that sounds amazing right I fingers. so now its me and thomas in about looking at the week ahead.

certainly doable however unpleasant at my page. less than 45 minutes to go getting out at 10 o’clock tonight or rather a little after 10. thomas and I both agree that bradley was in top form and easy to work with today which is different for a change. I certainly hope to hear from body rizoto this week it would be nice to hear something from him.

It’s almost like a Burroughs cut up.

Well I just got home and thought I wouldn’t have to write after dictating what came out as gobbledygook. It’s 11:05PM and I closed the cigar shack at 10:15. Easy getting home though the later hours truly suck. I got in at 12:30 and did the usual 10 hour shift.

I could complain but then again the wankers would respond saying whine whine whine. You don’t see the comments, they go right into the spam folder. Thomas and I had a lengthy discussion about art. I had no idea of his interest and he mentioned that he enjoyed my photos and would consider them worthy of the pantheon that I call ‘Art’.

It was definitely a good thing to hear. We disagreed about R. Mutt and the Fountain. He didn’t see the humor and most definitely does not enjoy conceptual art and really does not like surrealism. And I am all about surrealism. True I edit myself greatly and so a lot of surreal things don’t make the cut.

Perhaps I am too bourgeois, too middle class. That maybe so but I am fine with it. I do what I do and if you like it, that’s fine and if you don’t that’s fine too. Why anyone would go back to something they don’t like time after time, day after day is beyond me.

I am not holding my breath but really don’t mind if they do. They might look good in blue anyhow.

04 Sound And Vision

I Don’t Want Your Love

Well it certainly has been a strange day. It started out with a very good night’s sleep, had two dreams which involved Pedro. Good dreams he was alright, it was like being back in the old days.

We seemed to be hanging out in River Edge where the old Disc-O-Mat was on Route 4. Also a fleeting dream featuring Takashi Moriuchi, a nice guy I used to work with bank in Wanker Banker days and the Takashi dream took place near Wright’s Village in Lodi or South Hackensack.

Bill was up and out and I was sleeping so well I barely noticed. After a five day shift of 10 hour days, having at least one day off was quite nice. It was not so bad getting up this morning and I slept a few minutes later than I usually do. I got myself together and headed out to the bus stop.

Pedro did phone me but that was because I texted him before I headed out. We have a great bond, the two of us. Truly one of my dearest friends.

Right now in the cigar the usual crap holiday songs are on repeat, and it adds to the hellish situation.And in the cigar shack, things have taken a turn for the worse. The neighbors a really big bank, started complaining about the smell of cigars and they’ve been doing that since way before I started working here.

There was an agreement to talk to us before going to the landlord, but tha has fallen by the wayside and now lawyers are involved. So at 12:30 the man cave was shut down, costing us quite a bit of business since it’s too cold to go outside and smoke (though I did just that at lunch time).

Certain trolls won’t be around so that’s not so bad but this is a crippling blow to the store on the brink of the holiday saeason which is beaucoup bucks for most retailers. A lot of regulars came in looking forward to a smoke and a smile and they left crestfallen. Even Jimmy Seltzer who is driving with his wife to Nashville for the holiday was dismayed.

What can you do? Now the lawyers are involved. The cigar shack lawyers, the big bank laywers and the landlord’s lawyers. I am a Cassandra in this, meaning I knew this was going to happen and even told Calvin that back in January. Our days may be numbered oddly enough and even then who knows?

I am sick of Christmas and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. These horrible New Orleans Dixieland songs probably picked by Wynton Marsalis are terrible. Perhaps once in a while they would be fine, but this loop that is playing is wearing me down. This is more than likely a violation of the Geneva convention.

Now I am home and surprisingly met Bill while on line for the bus. A nice ride home with the man I love. And now we are home watching part two of the American Masters series, this time all about Woody Allen. Quite insightful and worth watching.

08 Hey, Snow White

I Don’t Want To Talk About It

“Excuse me, I have a question. What is that bullet shaped gadget?” The bullet shaped gadget is a cigar punch. “Oh that is excellent” It’s been a big nothing kind of day. Not much interesting, not much going on, not much of anything.

I slept incredibly well, and I think Bill did too even though I had to tell him as he slept that he was snoring. Through the sleep apnea mask again. He is now officially scheduled to spend the night at a sleep clinic in a week or two.

I feel bad for him since it is a problem and the mask does not seem to be doing it’s job, but then again some weight loss might help. I don’t have the healthiest diet and I feel a bit hypocritical telling him that he should eat better, but I also do not want to come across as a nag.

Bill woke up later than he had hoped and kissed me goodbye as I lay there sleeping the sleep of what felt like someone who just smoked a tremendous joint. Not a bad way to start the day despite feeling sluggish. I shuffled about the apartment, turning things on, turning things off.

Coffee and cereal were my morning companions as I heard all about Occupy Wall Street and their plans to take over the world. Last night on the TV Bill and I watched some cointelpro yelling about how he was going to toss a Molotov cocktail into Macy’s.

Today was spent working with Frank Burns and he was in his element. Complaining of his bad back and how he was going to have to go to a cigar lounge somewhere and hang out since his boy toy is hosting it. No sign of Zack lately.

In the land of the cigar shack, no information on what is going on downtown. Just the usual customers sitting around talking shit which they do so well. And it’s definitely the luck of the draw today, Jerry Vale is kicking ass leaving Frank Burns and myself in the ashtray.

It’s pretty funny, I have some guy dripping in gold, nice suit and shoes and he buys the least expensive. Neck bone walks in looking like crap and proceeds to drop hundreds of dollars. I mean there is really nothing I can do about it, but I have never in all my life decided to kill some time browsing in a cigar shack and not buy anything like the fucktard that just came in while Jerry Vale sells ice cubes to Eskimos.

Less than an hour to go and it certainly cannot end fast enough for me. Just a dreadful day, cold and rainy and just dismal overall. Still both Jerry Vale and I are glad that Frank Burns is not here. He could be anywhere but we know he is at a cigar lounge with his boy toy.

So it’s win win for all concerned. Some Eire fan just came in and bought 2 cigars and paid in Sacajewea dollars which will be fun to count tonight and even more fun to deliver to the bank tomorrow for a deposit.

I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party

A dismal and wet Wednesday. The day started out with Bill leaving a few hours later than usual, and I got up out of bed as he kissed me goodbye and headed out the door with his words of encouragement.

He’s a very good man and I am quite lucky to have him. I made some coffee, poured some cereal and jumped into the shower as usual. Not an exciting life but at least it’s a life.

I walked up to Washington Street, stopping by Hoboken Daily News and said hello to Andy and his grumpy brother. Then it was a wait for the bus.

At the next stop I expected to see neighbor Deborah and saw a woman with her hairstyle but this woman was a bit on the heavy side which was a surprise when I saw her board the bus.

I’ve been listening to Bjork a lot lately so I had that all cued up as I walked from the bus to the subway. The usual creeps and cops were around, some of the cops are regulars at the cigar shack and they generally give me a nod as I walk by.

By the time I got to the vicinity of the cigar shack it was starting to rain and even though I was early, I preferred to wait outside rather than deal with Frank Burns who has gone back to being a real schmuck again, all goodwill from last week seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Thomas was in already and he mentioned that it was his turn to close tonight. I told him that it didn’t matter, that I would close. It really doesn’t matter since even if I do leave early I spent my time exasperated on the subway platform waiting for a downtown train which gets there just at almost the exact same time it would be if I was closing the cigar shack.

Frank Burns certainly didn’t care, or didn’t even know since he was sequestered in the humidor rearranging things which is what a faux assistant manager is supposed to do. Zack was out today which gave Frank Burns the nerve to play it as he was in charge.

I suppose Thomas and I humor him as much as we could but we spent a lot more time and energy just trying to avoid him. If he’s in the humidor- we’re on the floor. If he’s on the floor we’re not.

It’s been about a year since Ron flew the coop, just in time to avoid the extra hours that accompany holiday drama. Already in the cigar shack neighborhood, stars and holiday decorations are up already. The giant crystal was hung at 57th and Fifth Avenue yesterday and will probably still be hanging until February.

Now there is an hour left in the work day or thereabouts. The cigar shack closes at 9:00 but since I will be closing I probably won’t be out until 9:15 if all the numbers match up and so far they do.

12 I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party

I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing

Well today was not as bad as I anticipated. I had gotten some reports from Frank Burns of all people, that Zack was none too happy about things on Sunday. I didn’t know what Frank Burns was texting about since he didn’t get into much detail but it was more than likely a red herring from a possum.

I did not dwell on it last night and thanks to some melatonin I slept really well, making waking up a bit of a drag but easily overcome. Bill was as usual up and out an hour and a half before I roused myself out of slumber. Some breakfast, a shower and a nice suit & tie all lined up, I was ready for whatever lay ahead.

Still- after having two days off in a row probably contributed my foot dragging. No neighbor Deborah on the bus but her boyfriend Kevin made the scene, riding a few block to a management meeting at the Wine Bar on 14th and Washington Street. After he got off the bus after some quick chat I stared out the window, looking at the red and yellow leaves on the once green trees covering the lower half of the Palisades.

We were in the city in no time thanks to the excellent bus driver who calls me ‘chief’. A walk through the terminal which was pandemonium on Saturday evening. I was surprised to not hear or read any reports on the mayhem of 500 people running about the terminal as if looking for a great big “W” or being chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

No this was a much quieter terminal this morning. I walked down to the subway and just missed an express train but did not fret too much since a local had just appeared soon after and I boarded that. It was a balmy autumn morning and once I was above ground once again I got myself an iced coffee and headed to work.

Zack was in and didn’t seem as upset as Frank Burns led me to believe. Jerry Vale soon came in so it was going to be us three for the rest of the day. At least half the day since Zack had a Parent Teacher thing that needed attending. Jerry’s been distant lately but opened quite a bit when he started talking about how much he too hates Frank Burns. So that makes me, Thomas and now Jerry Vale who loathe Frank Burns. I guess it’s true, it’s easy to unite when you have a common enemy.

I did wake up to hear that The NYPD moved in last night/early morning an evicted the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccoti Park. Not much news about it since the NYPD arrested reporters who tried to do their job, Conflicting reports throughout the day, judge says they can stay, higher court says they have to move. I suppose more info will come out eventually via the internets.

And for me there is about a half hour left for me at the cigar shack.

03 Another Day

I Don’t Want to Know

Another Saturday night in the cigar shack. It has been a long day, working alongside Thomas and Frank Burns nee Bradley. Bradley reverted back to Frank Burns today, more than likely because he was hung over. I wasn’t hungover since I really do not drink anymore, but I did not sleep so well.

Too many thoughts coming into my head as I tried to sleep and the majority of the thoughts were regarding the cigar shack. Zack’s girlfriend got a haircut and he told me about it so I thought about that for way too long. And then Bill was up and out at around 2:45 this morning so I wasn’t sleeping too much as he kissed me goodbye, in fact I was awake enough to tell him to be careful.

Tonight will be a melatonin night that’s for sure. I woke up before the alarm clock though I don’t think ‘woke up’ is the proper phrase since I didn’t feel like I was sleeping anyhow. I got myself together and headed to the bus stop, catching an earlier bus so I could get my egg sandwich.

Then a walk up to the cigar shack where Frank Burns was holding down the fort. I sat in the office and was about to take a bite when all of a sudden it got fairly busy. I put down the sandwich and helped a customer even before I punched in.

Once I made sure they were relatively happy with their purchase and Frank Burns was secure enough in his insecurities I was able to eat the sandwich and then finally punch in. Thomas was in soon enough and it made for an uneasy day.

Nothing bad between Thomas and myself but both of us are ill at ease with Frank Burns most of the time. Frank Burns does like to play the role of little Hitler when Zack isn’t around. And he was at his most alter kocker today. Whatever good feeling he presented the other night had dissipated but that was more than likely from the hangover.

Had a few phone chats with Bill as well as sister Annemarie and Bobby Risotto. Good talks all around, some food for thought. Now less than an hour to go at the cigar shack and of course it is bound to drag.

Thomas was supposed to close but since getting back to Coney Island is going to be a nightmare, he asked if I could close and I said sure. In return he gave me three of his cigars from his stash which was awfully kind and though he did not have to do it, I gladly accepted.

The area around the cigar shack has slowed considerably which will add to the crawling of time. I myself should be home by 10:00 if all goes well, Bill expects to be home by 11:00. We both have off tomorrow which seems to get rarer and rarer these days. Must do something about it.

And now I am home a few hours later than I should. I closed the cigar shack and walked down to the subway. Lucky me, the downtown train pulls in as I descend onto the platform. I think that everything is going well, and take a seat. I get to the bus terminal and climb the escalators and approaching the gate where I catch my bus and see a very long line. I decide I don’t want to wait, that I would rather be in motion so I go and head down the escalators and start walking to the Path train.

Lot’s of young couples enjoying the end of sabbath as I walk down Broadway to the Path train. I get downstairs to the Path and see that it’s very crowded down there. No one knows whats going on and then the police move everyone out after putting police tape over the turnstiles. Strange but no one did anything about the 30 people on the Path platform, beyond the police tapes.

I make my way to the bus terminal where the lines for both Jersey City and Hoboken have merged into one and is now stretched towards the bowling alley. Some NJ Transit personnel separates Hoboken from Jersey City and I am that much closer to the gate, about 50 yards away.

I then notice that the people way ahead of me on line are turning around and heading to the third level of the bus terminal. I figured out that they were going to the ‘after 10PM gate’. They start to run and I do too, following a guy up the staircase, avoiding the crowds running to the escalators.

Me and the guy make it and we are now like 20th in line. The PA blares that Hoboken bus 126 will be at gate 325 (usually 323). We’re all happy, hundreds of us, or at least the ones I can see. Then the information guy says Hoboken 126 bus is at gate 204.

We wonder whats going on and then it is announced again that Hoboken bus 126 will be at gate 204. We panic and run, I head to the staircase again, most everyone else goes to the escalators.

It was sort of like Jurassic Park meets It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. But now I am home after all that and I am tired of writing. Good night. No post tomorrow.

Green Manalishi