Smokin' New Life


By daviek

In a little over a week, the university had lost nine geeks and gained nine heartbreakers. Whatever it was about the mystical black cigars that turned smokers into stunningly handsome alpha males also seemed to have a way of making the rest of society oblivious to the changes. Which was good, because at the rate guys were being converted, there wouldn't be many more non-convertees left.

The four latest initiates to the brotherhood were as excited by their new identities as they could be, looking themselves over in the mirror for hours that first morning. Tom, once black and now Arab, abandoned his name in favor of one more suited to his heritage, Ahmed. Kevin and Kyle opted to keep their names, while Bobby went with an alternate form in Rob.

Kyle spit a gob of tobacco juice into a Gatorade bottle as he flexed his grapefruit-sized biceps. "Fuckin' amazing, man, just fuckin' amazing. Can't wait to get in the cages and take some swings with these motherfuckers."

The rest of the boys were similarly eager to get on with their new lives. Nick and DeShaun, now seemingly the den mothers to each successive set of new studs, took them to the tattoo parlor to get their black cigars on their shoulders. DeShaun took the liberty of getting a handful of other work done, including his name in an old English font across his sprawling back. He also traded in his modestly-sized earrings for an excessively large--and excessively priced--set of diamond studs set in platinum. Ahmed and Rob also got their ears pierced, while Kyle and Kevin knew their futures in pro sports would make keeping piercings difficult.

Several weeks passed with no new boys taking part in the ritual that had changed the lives of so many outcasts thus far. Each of the guys, all 30-some of them, made their way quickly through the ranks of the hottest girls (and, in some cases, guys) on campus, and fielded more than a handful of questions about their cigar smoking habits and the curious, large tattoos on their meaty shoulders. It seemed the fascination with cigars was catching on all over campus, as completely random guys could suddenly be seen walking around the grounds with cigars of varying shapes and sizes. It would seem stogie smoking was quickly becoming the next big thing.

About a month after his change, Kyle was leaving baseball practice when a thought struck him. He had walked onto the team with ridiculous ease thanks to strength that made him among the most feared hitters in the NCAA. He stuffed about a half a pouch's worth of Red Man chew into his cheek and began to juice it up when it occurred to him: this baseball team was TERRIBLE.

But nothing a little more muscle couldn't fix.

"Oh fuck yeah," he said, unleashing a stream of brownish spit onto the sidewalk below. "This is gonna be fuckin' awesome." All it would take would be a few IMs to his buddies on the team and there'd be a party at the cigar house tonight.

Sure enough, later that evening, about 15 of the baseball players showed up to the house, pausing at the door, not sure to make of the thick white cloud of cigar smoke that hung ominously from the ceiling. Kyle was waiting for them at the door, holding an old wooden box full of big black stogies. He passed one out to each guy and helped them light them. It was clear a few of them had smoked their fair share of cigars in the past, but it was just as clear that many of them had not.

After a hard night of boozing and smoking, the baseball team dispersed to their various rooms across campus. Kyle knew he'd be seeing them at practice the next day, and he was sure they wouldn't be the same.

Evening came and morning followed, the next day.

Kyle was lacing up his cleats in the locker room, working on his third dip of the day. Spitting every minute or so into a water bottle, he anxiously awaited the rest of the team's arrival. He had gotten there way early so he could be sure he'd get to see them all walk in.

"DUDE!" came the shout from the back door. Kyle turned around to see a 6'5" hunk of Italian meat, complete with a full-on Jersey shore blowout. "What HAPPENED to us?" Kyle just smiled and spittled away.

One by one the rest of the players came into the locker room. The compact, nimble shortstop now had the build of a Greek powerlifter. One of the pitchers, just yesterday lanky and tall, was just as tall but about three times as wide, with blacker than midnight skin and an Afro that would have made John Shaft jealous. The catcher, once pudgy and slow, was now a Finnish Olympic-caliber swimmer.

"What's up, bros? You guys have fun last night?" Kyle said, still smiling, still spitting. All 15 of them encircled him, barraging him with questions, like school children gone to meet Santa Claus.

"Yo, guys, calm down. Let's just go out and practice, and then we'll take a little field trip on the way home."

The tattoo parlor was expecting good business that night. •

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