It was 27 degrees on a weekday morning. I walked to a convenience store for a decent cup of drip coffee. Outside the store, a transient, a younger man, sorted through the garbage receptacle with one hand while he held up is bicycle laden with gear with his other hand. As I approached the entrance, the man looked toward me and said, “Hey, sir, do you have a smoke?”
“Don’t be sorry. It’s a bad habit.”
I eased his way and we struck up a conversation about bad habits, the cold, the high cost of cigarettes, and how most of his gear had recently been stolen.
“Hang in there,” I said, and I left to enter the store.
I poured a coffee and went up to the counter to pay. A thought bolted into my mind. I dashed outside. The transient was still sorting.
“Hey,” I said. “What’s your favorite brand of cigarettes?”
“Marlboro menthol 100s.”
A transient smoked menthols?
“Okay,” I said and returned to the store and bought him a pack. Around ten bucks.
Outside, I placed the cigarettes on a parking barrier and called out to him. “Here’s your menthols!”
“Thank you sir and God bless you.”
Well, I don’t know about that considering they were cigarettes.
I walked away carrying my coffee and reflected on the last time I bought a pack of cigarettes. It was for an evil and beautiful Jezebel and her brand was Marlboro light 100s.