Sacrificing for art

So I have this short story idea in which my protagonist comes across an old box of cigars that his father had smoked. Let’s say they’re ten years old and not stored under ideal conditions. And because he is wistful about his father, he decides to smoke one of the cigars.

I am unable to imagine what that experience would be like. Would the cigar taste nasty? Would it burn down quickly? Would the thing even hold itself together? Yet I think it is the kind of thing that a cigar smoker would know about should he (or she) read the story.

I am, therefore, going to conduct a bit of research. I’ve mentioned my research obligations here before, of course. We must do such things for our art. Anyway, I went to a local cigar store and asked for their cheapest variety. It cost me less than $2, and I only bought one. (Yes, I could have gotten ten cigars for $2 at a filling station somewhere, but my protagonist’s father had better taste than that.)

I’ve put the cigar in a place where it will not have humidity controls. It will experience the extremes of temperature. It will age, at leasts some. And when I feel it has done so sufficiently, I will attempt to smoke it and thus have first-hand experience that will lend credibility to my story.

As I said, the son finds the cigars after they are ten years old. I don’t intend to wait that long to finish the story, but I do plan to give it six months. Perhaps I’ll even remember to report back here on the experience.

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One Comment on “Sacrificing for art”

  1. Pete Says:

    Instead of smoking cheap cigars (something I never did, not even when I still smoked cigars and was poor, and don’t recommend doing), why not just ask the guy at the cigar store? He should be able to tell you what an old, poorly-stored cigar tastes like. And besides, that cheap cigar you bought probably already tastes nasty now.


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