At the end of the first week of our last semester of college, Calvin and I sat on the roof of my apartment on Main Street, smoking victory cigars.
“We won,” we said, in between catcalling the ladies and gentlemen who passed below on the sidewalk. Headlights zipped past all night. Cars without mufflers rattled our beer bottles. We toasted to victory. We had won.
Early September tickled more than it pinched and, Cal and I, our lungs often strained from all the giddy chuckles of self-righteousness and accomplishment. The culmination of our undergrad years flashed before us. August had been a frolic through a meadow of poppies, as the oyster of summer slid down our gullets and came to rest in the digestive soup around the time of the last midterm; the last knee-jerk; the last failure; withdrawal.
But all that was to come. For those initial weeks in late August and early September, we remained unfazed, for the future was a great big bulbous nest egg vibrating beneath us, certain to hatch in four months, its contents flinging us in grand fashion toward the horizon. I had my sights on New York (or Chicago). Cal spun the wheel towards any damned place but Kent, OH.
He drained the last of his Molson and lofted it gently into the middle of the sidewalk. No animals or scantily clad freshmen were harmed.
Cal drew on his cigar. Smoke billowed out of his nose and mouth and ears and eyes. His head was a jack-o-lantern, a pumpkin raw and gutted, completely empty of any slop and seeds. Raw. Gutted.
Working title: Victory Cigars