"We waitin' for cabs or cars here, guys?" I asked, standing in a driving rain, trying for all I was worth to get them all to go away. Hours of my life I'll never, ever get back.
"I gotta limo comin'," replied an older, bejeweled, charcoal-suited gentleman. "I'm a friend a' Christian's."
"So are half the people in here, dude," I said, cynically, uncertain of the purpose of this 4:30 AM declaration of friendship, typically incapable of resisting comment.
"Hey, can you do me a favor?"
"Come on, man. We been closed for half an hour. I'm not doin' any favors anymore."
"Listen," he said. "I'm a good friend of Christian's. We do a lotta business together, an' I was on 'iz list tonight. You could check."
"I just want me an' my wife and the other people in our group to stand in the lobby waitin', instead of out here gettin' soaked. My limo guy's gonna be here in a couple minutes."
"You realize," I said, angling for the payoff, "that we're trying to get everyone out of the club at this point, right?"
"Don' worry about it. You ain't gonna get in no trouble wit' Christian. We'll be outta here in five minutes, tops. I just don' wanna get wet."
"Fine. Stand over there by the coatcheck so you can see through the door." Nothing. Why the fuck do I ever bother?
Thirty seconds later:
"What's up, Kevin?"
"Did you let that old guy back in? The guy over in the corner?"
"He just lit up a fuckin' cigar." In a strictly non-smoking area plastered with signs denoting it as such.
"Hey!" I shouted, quickly making my way over. "Guy! What the fuck are you lightin' a cigar in here? You tryin' t' get us all fired?"
"What's a' matter?"
"Dude, either put the fuckin' cigar out, or wait outside. You gotta be kiddin' me. You can't read the fuckin' signs?"
"This," he said, horizontally displaying the freshly lit cigar, "is a high quality Dominican. Best in the world. I can't put it out. You're killin' me!"
"Hey Rob," interjected Boy-O, the club's primary Saturday night promoter, steering me aside by the shoulder. "You know who that guy is?"
"Hell yeah. That's fuckin' Rocco, man. He'll hook you up wit' anything. You ever go to Miami?"
"He runs like five clubs down in South Beach. You go down there, he'll totally fuckin' hook you up."
"Hook me up with what?" I asked.
"Y'know, like comps an' VIP an' shit. Yo, dat guy like owns the strip down there."
"Dude, I've never even been there, and even if I did go, you think I'd go to this guy's fuckin' club?"
"I'm just sayin'," said Boy-O, the reality of conversing with yours truly slowly and uncomfortably settling in.
"Get the fuck away from me, Boy-O. I wanna go home."
"Ayyy, our limo's here!" shouted Rocco. "You believe dis fuckin' guy, askin' me to put out the best cigar in da fuckin' world?"
"I thought Cubans were the best," I offered, thinking the better of escalating the situation to levels of open hostility. Boy-O's not the worst bullshitter I know, so the guy was likely connected somehow -- my signature last word better left unsaid.
"Bullshit! Garbage. Cubans are garbage. It's a myt'. Nothin' but a fuckin myt'."
"I had a Cuban once. Montechristo, I think. Smoked it in Ireland. Pretty fuckin' good if you ask me."
"You ever tried a Dominican?" asked Rocco. "Much higher quality. You wanna try one?"
"Fuck dat. Come out to my limo."
Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk.
"Here," said Rocco. "Here's three of 'em. AF Churchills. My favorite Dominican cigars. How you gonna carry 'em?"
"I dunno. You gotta bag or somethin'?"
"You got a humidor at home? You can't leave these fuckin' babies out long."
"No," I replied. "No humidor."
"Here. Take dis one. Dis is my travel humidor, but I'm givin' it t' you for not lettin' my wife get wet. Merry Christmas, kid."
"Aw, c'mon. I can't..."
"Ayy, y'know what happens to bouncers who turn down Christmas gifts, right?"
"I s'pose," I replied, "you're not gonna let me be rude enough to find out."
"You got it. Enjoy 'em in good healt'."
"Thanks, man. Happy New Year!"
"Same t'you kid."