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One minute or thirty years didn't really matter. Jerry felt itching on his face, and as he tried scratching it off, he realized to have grown a full beard and mustache, his hair was also longer than usual.

Jerry had returned in the middle of the circle, facing the twenty-seven doors, which slammed, reproducing a drum sound tribal ritual, inviting Jerry toward an oversized poker card made of white velvet, featuring the three of clubs on the spot where Door Number 3 used to be, while unidentified voices replaced the voodoo rhythm.

The traditional black clubs turned green, and the card slid on both sides like a stage curtain, welcoming Jerry in.

He recognized the smell of cigars, just like those his grandfather used to smoke.

"Hey Champ, I got a surprise for you. Just don't tell your mother or your father. Promised?" His grandfather told Jerry on the day of his eighteenth birthday.

"My mouth is sealed. Jerry responded, "What is it?"

"I sneaked in one of my cigars."

"What'd the doctors say?" Jerry asked, concerned.

"Screw the doctors. What do they know? They couldn't save your grandmother, and it doesn't look they are doing a better job in figuring a way to put you out of this damn machine."

"Still, I don't think I could handle a cigar. But I'd love to try one," Jerry said, wisely.

"Don't worry, I didn't go crazy overnight. I brought a small butt, I already smoked. I'll roll it over your lips, this way you can get a little taste of it, and we don't risk it."

"Go for it."

His grandfather took a cigar butt off a box and gently passed it on Jerry's mouth.

"What do you think?"

"It smells of you," he laughed. "I can recognize this smell every time you walk in our apartment, and I know you arrived, before I see you."

"Are you telling me I should quit these things?"

"I am just saying the smell helps me to recognize you, when you get here."

"Another good reason to continue smoking them," he took a new cigar out of the same box, and put it in his mouth, without lighting it up.

"I can taste it. It's bitter, but I like it. I like it a lot," Jerry said.

"Of course, when it's lit, the tobacco burns, and the smoke enters in your mouth picking up all the flavor in the process. You let it settle in for a few seconds, but you never inhale it, it's not a stupid cigarette."

"Who makes them?"

"They are from Tampa, Florida. Ybor City, to be exact. There is a large community of Cuban immigrants down there, with cigar factories, and all. They do a fairly decent job, if you ask me," the grandfather sat down with his unlit cigar, pretending he was actually smoking it.


"Tell me."

"This kind of things make my day. Normal things."

"Let's make it our secret smoking time, then. But, if I bring the cigars, what do you bring?" He joked.

"I won't tell mom you still enjoy a glass of cognac to go along with those cigars."

"How do you know about that?"

"Jeff told me," he smiled.

"My only two grandsons, talking behind my back," the old man teased.

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