• Looking for the stinger

    The following events are true...

    We’ve known each other for over a year. Her friends think we are a couple. My friends think we are, too. I prefer to think of her as an intimate acquaintance.

    She looks at me over our wine glasses in a dim Italian restaurant while we wait for the waiter to bring me linguini with white clam sauce, and to bring her penne alla puttenesca. “When are you going to show me how to break in my pipe?” she asks me.

    I’ve got a Rhodesian bulldog in my pocket. I finger it through my gabardine as I consider my response. There is a cake in the briar, just enough to provide a smooth, cool smoke. I put my hand in my pocket and rub the lip of my pipe. We’ve been through a lot of uncomfortable moments, this pipe and I, and my trusty companion has always served me well.

    “I’ll show you after dinner,” I say.

    Carrying two styrofoam takeout boxes out of the restaurant, as soon as we enter the glare of the streetlight, my companion asks me, “When are you going to show me how to break in my pipe?”

    It is an awkward situation. I pull out my bulldog for her to see. “Nobody showed me how to break in my pipe,” I say. “People gave advice. I asked a lot of questions that were obvious in hindsight. I tried a lot of techniques that I read about on the internet.”

    I tap my bulldog against the bottom of one the styrofoam boxes. “People gave me plenty of advice. Some of it was good, some of it was something else, but I am sure it was good for somebody, otherwise they wouldn’t give it. Pipe smoking is a conversation that never ends. Every new pipe is a challenge. There is no single way to break a pipe in right.”

    She shook her shoulder-length hair under the halogen glow of the street light. “All I know is that I need my pipe broken in. It's a virgin and I don’t know how to do it, myself. I’ve only smoked estates and corn cobs.” She looks beautiful holding tomorrow’s breakfast. She smells like linguini with clam sauce and penne alla puttenesca. The hair behind my neck is standing on end.

    “There is only one way to break in a pipe,” I tell her, regretfully. “Look at my bulldog. There are years of experience in that seasoned cake.”

    She pulls a Kaywoodie out of her pocket. “Can you show me where my stinger is, at least?” She points the bowl at me so that I can see straight to the bottom. I spend all night trying to find it without success.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Looking for the stinger started by Whalehead King View original post