The Cigar Store


He’s not coming home.

What do you mean by walking in here and saying that?

It has been a tough day. I said he is not coming home. I had a visit by two 1st Sergeants.

You mean he isn’t coming home? Not ever?

Not ever.

Go get a Double Corona out of the humidor. Bring it here so I can clip it.


His mother always knew that you brought him here to smoke. Carlos started him on Panatelas. We both knew he was too young to drink coffee but he was with you… the Cuban rhythms, the trumpet, why he played bass through high school, before he went in. He said he was going to be Mr. Salsa. Mr. Latin Jazz.

I know.

I remember how I laughed when he told me the Afghan General wanted more Rubustos- not Double Coronas. Maybe he was like an ambassador between the US Army and the Afghan Army all because of how I taught him how to be Cubano. It made me so proud- like I myself was a real part of something big.

You were.

How are you, my friend?


Umberto, get a cup of coffee!

Sylvia, get him a seat. No a chair. No go to the sofa!

Carlos, light his cigar. Carlos, light me a cigar!

Let’s sit together.

Sylvia put the closed sign out!

Umberto, turn off the lights…

Some day we will all sit together again.



Gold Star Father, Joseph Drakulich, honors his son, Army Sgt. David J. Drakulich, whose gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom of expression.

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