A Sunset and a Cigar

A sunset is the ultimate partner. She demands nothing. Only gives. That may sound misogynistic. But what the hell? We’re talking about a sunset here.

I take my single-blade guillotine, give me a break; I’m old school and ready the stick. I light my Ashton as I take in the lake, the sky, and the merging of the two.

This is my daily routine.

Years ago, therapists helped me with the booze, the drugs, the pills. But a guy’s gotta have at least one vice.

I pull my left hand through my thick grey beard as my right holds the cigar up to my mouth. I wrap my lips around it and take a deep inhale. Yes, I do inhale. I told ya’, I’m old school. I settle into my Adirondack chair. I made this thing ‘bout twenty years ago, maybe more. Time often isn’t kind to the memory.

The deck creaks. Maggie May’s paws scrape the weathered planks. She plops down next to me. I rub her thinning fur. We have a lot in common, Maggie May and me—both gettin’ up there in years.

My exhale sepias the sky’s canvas of orange, yellow, and purple. A great blue heron nose dives into the water leaving behind a rippling effect. She emerges with her dinner. What looks like a decent-sized Large-Mouthed Bass. “You go girl!” I shout.

The last Bass I caught was months ago. Getting harder and harder to get the boat out. So much damn work. But that last one. She was a fighter. Measured in at around fifteen inches. Legal to keep. Last I checked. Damn rules change far too fast to keep up with. But, as much as I love me some cornmeal fried Bass, I let her go. Swollen belly. ‘Bout to populate my lake with more.

I oust Ashton’s fire in my ashtray. Janice would’ve been appalled at the whole scene. Wasn’t allowed to have a cigar anywhere within a hundred feet of our home. Back then, my Adirondack sat near the lake’s edge. But Janice was gone. I could smoke anywhere I damn well please. Truth be told, I’d rather hear her bitchin’ about where I’m smokin’ than wonder if there is some afterlife in which we meet again.

The hues blend. The sky’s dark. The magic’s over. “Come on, girl.” Maggie May and I groan and shuffle into the house.

If you enjoyed this one, you might also enjoy The Osprey. I think this old man is starting to grow on me.

4 responses to “A Sunset and a Cigar”

  1. Keith E Yocum Avatar
    Keith E Yocum

    Very well done.


    1. Awe thanks! He’s kinda the same old man from The Osprey which if you liked this one you might enjoy it. It’s also in short stories. I sincerely appreciate the comment!:)


  2. Michael Goodwin Hilton Avatar
    Michael Goodwin Hilton

    I really love the sense of place in this story – very vivid and specific. Even the rhythm of the sentences, meditative and spare. I felt like I was looking at the lake through his eyes, inhaling the cigar smoke with him. I really felt this story, and was curiously melancholy at the end, the way he seemed to be. Very well done!


    1. Thank you, Michael! This is literally the nicest compliment I think I’ve ever received on any of my writing. I so appreciate you taking the time to say this. It’s the writers lift I needed today!


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