Mauled at the Mall Makes It All the More Merry

I’m writing this blog on Saturday because I knew that I’d be out of circulation on Monday. But I also thought it was a good idea to write this with the horror still freshly lodged into my fertile brain. What horror might I be speaking of? Why the horror of shopping at the local mall on the Saturday before Christmas. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

madmax copyYes, for making the attempt, I am a true rubber helmet wearing tard of the first order. As the line up of cars was a quarter mile deep from the entrance, I told my daughter we should head back home, but of course keeping a teenage girl from the mall would be a cruel torture indeed, and of course, we trekked on towards the holiday madness that awaited. Parking several hundred miles from the entrance of JC Penny’s was the only option as the lot resembled a scene from Mad Max, with overturned burning cars and leather clad, mohawk sporting hooligans on motorbikes. The mall was our personal Thunderdome and the mission was to not only shop, but to get out alive.

user1833_1157039308As we entered the flaming barbed wire doors, I pushed my way through the gaggle of misfits and freaks, realizing I needed to head to Sears, which was at the exact opposite end of the mall. Then my daughter wished me well as she broke off on her own, shopping for her boyfriend in Penny’s, as I began my journey across the tiled floor tundra. Exiting the store onto the second floor, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels smelled mighty tempting, but the 30 person deep line assured me that the carbohydrates would have to wait for another time. Embarking upon the Verizon kiosk, I wanted to inquire about the truth of the arrival of the iphone for this coming January, but the 45 minute wait time to santa-angry2speak with a fresh-face 22 year old kid on college break kept my feet moving forward.

As I hit the mall’s epicenter, it was clear that the disgruntled Santa had just about enough of the stinking little yard apes. The thought of quenching my thirst with an iced Starbucks had me salivating, but the half hour long wait filled with crazed Frappachin-ites had me growing weary, tired and hungry. The food court was not far off, but the throng of idiot shoppers like me made it seem like an eternity until I could receive some fast food really fast.  But at that moment while passing one of the mall’s side entrances, I remembered that I had a Punch Champion tucked away in a remote zippered jacket pocket. Sure it was cold out, but I was in survival mode and in severe need of tasty tobacco nourishment.

punch_classic_champion“That smells so good,” said the Friendly’s fry cook who was sucking down a Marlboro on his 5-minute break, as I toasted the end of this luscious chubby Honduran plumbob. Ah, the deep rich flavor of that full-bodied little smoke made my brief detour an enjoyable one, as two big-haired hotties from the salon huddled around me for warmth and a respite from the mayhem taking place on the opposite side of the glass doors just ten feet away. But alas, rest time was over as I headed to the food court, yearning for free samples of bourbon chicken dangling from a wooden toothpick.

“Rike to try bur-bun cheeken,” asked the Asian dude, as I yanked it from his hand as if I hadn’t eaten in a month. And as he turned his head to hand a sample to some elderly sow, I swiped five or six more from his plate, then booked towards the fruit smoothie joint for an uplifting ginseng filled yogurt shake.

Picture 5“Yo-gut ma-cheen bro-keen,” said the hispanic woman in her bro-keen English, as again I was thwarted in this holiday house of doom. But as I turned my head, the sign for Sears was close by, and my mission was almost complete. As I made my way past the table with someone begging for money, I headed towards men’s work clothes in hunt for the elusive Carhardt jacket that my 15 year-old son has asked for. Seems as if this rugged outerwear is now the fashion rage with teen boys this year, and wouldn’t you know it, that the section was picked clean by moms who were piled 6 deep, scrambling to make a last minute score. Damn, this is the one thing my kid really wanted, and I couldn’t believe after the hellacious journey through the mall of death, that my trek would end empty handed. But alas, some grandma placed one of the hooded canvas jackets back on the rack and eureka, it was a large, on sale for $69! Yes, I did it, thought as I headed towards the register, only to see the line of crazed-faced shoppers some 30 cretins deep. The wait was long, but I traveled far and accomplish my goal.

A half hour later I made rendezvous with my daughter in the middle of the mall as she awaited with an iced Starbucks coffee and a big hug for her frazzled dad.

“Thanks for taking me dad, I really appreciate it!” she said with sincerity. “And just for that, I’ll shop with you in any of the stores that you like.”

“Any store?” I asked with my eyebrows raised and a smirk at the corner of my mouth.

WezFaceoff“Sure dad, any store.”

So, we hoped in the car and drove ten minutes up state highway route 10 in Whippany, New Jersey to JR Cigars…my one true home away from home.

“You don’t mind if I wait in the car, dad?” she asked like the good kid she is.

And of course I had no problem as I picked out some much-needed smokes for the Christmas, New Year’s week. Like the infamous Audie Murphy, I had made it to hell and back, but the payoff was oh so sweet and oh so flavorful.

Check out some of the singles I picked out that I recommend you check out for yourself!


Handmade HON
Wrapper: ECSU/CTBL    Binder: CT    Filler: DR/HON/NIC
Medium-Full Bodied

PUNCHThe world-famous Punch brand is handcrafted with all-Cuban-seed black tobaccos. This blend is the benchmark against which all other Honduran cigars are judged, and has been satisfying experienced smokers for decades.


Handmade HON
Wrapper: NIC    Binder: NIC    Filler: NIC/HON
Medium-Full Bodied

ROMEO Y JULIETA HABANA RESERVEIntroducing Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve cigars…unlike any other Romeo you’ve experienced before. Handmade in Honduras at the Flor de Copán factory, these full-bodied beauties will captivate your senses with the distinguished smoothness of a Romeo intermingled with the rich, hearty flavors of the finest, hand-selected Honduran and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos. Attractive deep-brown, silky wrapper leaves top off the cigars resulting in a more seasoned version of an old favorite!


Handmade HON
Wrapper: NIC    Binder: MEX    Filler: NIC/PAN
Full Bodied

OMAR ORTEZ HONDURAN MADUROThe new maduro version of the Omar Ortez brand is handmade in Honduras with an aged robust blend of Nicaraguan and Panamanian long filler tobaccos, a peppery Mexican binder and a dark, rich Nicaraguan maduro wrapper. These rustic looking babies are loaded with flavor and spice and are sure to satisfy the full-bodied cigar lover. They are packed in unique wooden boxes of 60.


Handmade DR
Wrapper: ECSU    Binder: NIC    Filler: NIC/DR
Medium-Full Bodied

E.P. CARRILLO CORE LINEThe creator of the original La Gloria Cubana cigars, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, had created yet another winning blend – this one reminiscent of the La Glorias from the 90s. Handmade at Tabacalera la Alianza in Santiago, these medium to full bodied smokes are created with aged, complex long filler Piloto Cubano tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, two spicy Nicaraguan binder leaves, and an eye-catching, toothy Ecuador Habano wrapper. The rich, creamy flavors accompanied by notes of cedar, coffee, and spice along with the lasting finish will not disappoint you.

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