Posts Tagged ‘cigarettes’

Interesting Things

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May 26th, 2010 Posted 8:31 am

Foster got into his car. We got into ours. Then we just sat there. “Is he waiting for us to leave first?” Bernie said. I had no idea. “If he is, why should we cooperate?” Bernie started fishing around in the glove box and under his seat, finally coming up with a bent cigarette. Poor Bernie. He never bought cigarettes anymore, was trying so hard to quit. Bernie didn’t glance at Foster, but I watched him. He was watching us. Bernie took his time lighting up, took a deep drag, blew the smoke out slow. Foster’s lips moved; I couldn’t hear him, but was pretty sure he’d spoken some short, angry word. He drove off.

Bernie smiled. “You know what’s interesting, Chet?” Of course I did. It’s a long long list, starting with treats of various kinds, such as bacon bits and milk bones – and don’t forget ribs, especially from Max’s Memphis Ribs – and what about balls? Baseballs, tennis balls, golf balls, lacrosse balls – what’s more interesting than a lacrosse ball, especially the way it –

“What’s interesting is that he left four grand on the table, didn’t make the slightest attempt to negotiate. What are we going to do about that?”

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Re-Introducing Colonel Bob, Part 3: From Thereby Hangs A Tail

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March 8th, 2010 Posted 8:04 am

Bernie searched the cabin, went over it on his hands and knees. Something about Bernie – or any human – on hands and knees always got me going so I had to wait outside with Colonel Bob. We walked around the pond. The sun was hot on my back. I paused for a drink.

“Taste good?” said Colonel Bob.

It did. We walked some more. “This PI gig pay at all?” the colonel said. “That car of his looks pretty beat up.” Huh? He was talking about our car, the Porsche? I glanced up at him, saw the faraway look in his eyes. Sometimes humans got that look when they were talking to themselves inside; I was pretty sure of that. And if no other humans were around, sometimes bits of that talk leaked out. Like now, when he stopped and said, “Saved my goddamn life.” He took out a pack of cigarettes and lit up. I loved the smell of cigarette smoke, but Bernie was trying to quit so I didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I’d want. Colonel Bob tossed the match into the pond. “Hell on earth,” the colonel said. The match sizzled. What a sound! The things it did to my ears! Do it again, Colonel Bob!

But he didn’t, just stood by the pond with that inward look, taking deep drags off the cigarette, and soon Bernie came out of the cabin, tucking away the surgical gloves.

“Find anything?” said Colonel Bob.

“Just the spotlessness,” Bernie said.

“Meaning?”

“Don’t know yet,” said Bernie. He glanced at me. “But something not good.”

Colonel Bob held out the cigarette pack like he knew Bernie would take one, and Bernie did. The colonel flipped him the matches. Bernie lit up. I got ready for another sizzle, but it didn’t happen. Instead Bernie blew out the match, shook it a bit, then put it in his pocket.

“Pack in, pack out?” said the colonel.

Bernie shrugged.

“It’s the way to go,” the colonel said. “Wish I had your discipline.”

“Me?” said Bernie. “Discipline?” Was that a new word to Bernie? Sure was to me.

“Yeah,” said Colonel Bob. “You.”

Bernie was silent. They smoked by the side of the pond.

“How’s the leg?” said the colonel.

“Perfect,” said Bernie.

“No ill effects?”

“I was lucky.”

“Sure looked bad that night,” the colonel said. Bernie stayed silent again. “That fuckin’ night,” said the colonel.

“Yeah,” Bernie said.

“Think about it much?”

“Nope,” said Bernie. And then: “Some.”

There was a long silence. The smoke from their cigarettes rose in the still air and slowly mingled. The  colonel said, “Life is pretty good.”

“Yeah,” said Bernie.

Pretty good? Life was great! How could anyone miss that? It was right out there every day.

“We done here?” said the colonel.

“For now,” said Bernie.

“Want to fly us back?”

Huh? Bernie could fly the chopper? He looked at the colonel, a funny expression on his face, and started laughing. The colonel laughed, too. They laughed and laughed, doubled over, laughed till tears came.

“Hey, Chet, down boy. Easy.”

That laughing till tears came thing: always too much for me, but I tried my hardest to stay down.

Bernie wants to follow the Iditarod Race. Any suggestions on how?

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Meeting in Smoky Places

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July 19th, 2009 Posted 12:14 pm

“Let’s start with Erich von Stroheim,” said Muriel Breit. By that time her office was nice and smoky from the cigarettes she and Bernie were smoking; also a bottle of bourbon had appeared. “He came from Vienna where he claimed to be from the Austrian nobility. In fact, his background was Jewish and middle class.” Jewish? What was that again? Wasn’t quite able to come up with it, but for some reason I found myself thinking of the Berkowitz divorce case, one of our very worst. We hate divorce work, me and Bernie, and we hated the Berkowitz divorce the worst. “He was one of the best directors of the silent era, and was also an actor,” Muriel said. “Ever seen Sunset Boulevard?”

“The pictures got smaller,” Bernie said.

Muriel gazed at him for a moment, then started laughing, don’t ask me why. Laughing turned to hacking. Bernie pounded on her back. “Oh, Bernie,” she said, gasping for breath – always scary when humans did that. “You’re full of surprises.”

“That’s been my downfall,” Bernie said. That made Muriel laugh again. And then more hacking. Enough. I went into another room, which turned out to be the kitchen. And what did I see on the counter?

Plus: What day is it? Elvis Gospel day!

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Von Stroheim, Mayer, Murder

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July 18th, 2009 Posted 7:56 am

“Know much about the movie Greed?” said Muriel Breit. She’s our go-to guy when it comes to movies, same as Otis DeWayne is our go-to guy when it comes to weapons. I always like visiting Otis, mostly on account of my buddy General Beauregard who lives there, too. We’ve had some fun times chasing rabbits, me and the General. Is that in Dog On It?

“Not as much as I’d like,” Bernie said. Or something like that. I was missing a bit of what was going on, my mind more on rabbits at the moment.

“It’s a famous silent movie,” Muriel said, offering a cigarette to Bernie. Oh, no. He was trying so hard to quit. He reached out, hesitated, then took the cigarette. Muriel struck a match and lit it for him, then lit one for herself. I liked watching all that, no idea why. But Bernie wasn’t going to be happy about this later. We’d probably go for a run in the canyon to make up for it. Love the canyon of course, but it’s not much fun watching Bernie run, on account of his wound.

He sucked in smoke, breathed it out. “Tell me all about it,” he said.

“Okay,” Muriel said. She breathed out smoke, too. Their smoke clouds met in the air.

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The Books



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