Viceby Matthew P. Gallant
There are no cigar cutters in St. Paul, MN. I know this because I scoured the downtown that week looking to replace the one airport security confiscated before flying there. What a wondrous city! I heard it compared that week to Boston, Epcot and to the models of upstart architecture firms that sour general contractors with blueprints too dreamy for their hard-hats. The first cigar I smoked here, I borrowed scissors from the concierge to clip the tip, and was left with piece-leaf on lips that rapidly unraveled as it burned, a gritty flower. So for the second, I sawed off the end with a white plastic baby-teeth serrated butter knife, truly meant only for soggy vegetables. Desperate now, I lopped off the end of the third with my teeth and learned the reason why that only works on TV. St. Paul is an old fashioned city of elegance and selfless reserve. I have never known lovelier wind, but their downtown shop-keeps need to learn that a cigar cutter is the mechanism that cuts the cigar and not the cigar itself! It is opposed razor blades held in a finger-looped sleeve that guillotines tight-rolled tobacco leaves from both ends. St. Paul, I was just a man seeking circumcision for a vice. I wanted to make a dirty habit as neat as it could be. Keep the smoke white and the ashes grey and smell it more on the hand that held it than the mouth that invited it in and then kicked it out, that week's most indecisive party, my one-man cipher that kept falling apart. St. Paul, when I first saw your skywalks, I felt a twinge in my step. Evening cigar meditations were not even on my mind. Just movieplex notions of traversing the soil without ever touching it.