I found myself in Santa Clarita, California the other day. Just having delivered a car, I hung up from a long call with my angry boss Riff and started the hike for the nearest city bus stop. I would take the bus to the train station, and then head for San Jose where my next car was waiting.
As I neared the bus stop on the street carrying my heavy bag, I saw the bus come and go. I knew it would be another hour until the next bus came, and wondered what I could do to kill the time. That's when the sky opened up and the hard rain fell. I ran for a nearby shopping center and stood in front of a store.
An odd looking gent stared at me and said "What do you think?"
Oh no, I thought, it's another one of "Bill's people", my name for the strange people who find me wherever I go. "About what?" I asked.
"What do you think? Vape vs. smoke?"
"I beg your pardon?"
Another man walked out of the store, and he was asked the same question by the nervous man. "What about you, sir? Vape or smoke?"
"Why? Can you explain it to me?"
"Sure, easy. Vape has less chemicals, its less harmful to your lungs, less harmful to your body. You can get it with or without nicotine. You can get tobacco flavored or pineapple or Cinnabon or any number of delcious flavors."
"But what are the benefits? Explain it to me."
"I believe I just did," said the more rational man.
"You explained nothing."
The calm man let out a sigh. "You seem agitated."
"You are damn right I am, I am a lifelong smoker and I want to know what all this vaping
nonsense is all about. I refuse to give up my nasty habit."
"If it makes any difference to you, I used to smoke and got very winded when I climbed a lot of stairs."
The odd man was taken aback. "Me too. That's a coincidence."
"It's no coincidence at all."
"Look, I don't care what you say, I will always be a smoker, and that's not gonna change. That is one constitutional right that no government is going to take away from me. I will smoke till I die."
The other man nodded. "And you will die a lot sooner if you continue to smoke. If you vape you will live longer, feel better, have more energy, be less tired. And so many wonderful flavors."
The strange man pondered this for a few seconds. "OK I'm sold! No more smoking for me, I'm a
reformed man. Only vaping for me from now on. Where can I get started?"
"Right here at Awesometown Vapors." He pointed at the sign above the door, and sure enough I realized I had been standing in front of a store selling vaping products.
"OK, well I think I may have found a new friend, and I'd like to reward you. Buddy butt slap?" He tried to spank the other man, who quickly jumped out of the way.
"No thank you," said the other guy.
"Knuckle balls?" the odd fellow said as he tried to pop his new friend in the crotch with his knuckles.
Again, the other guy side stepped him and said "No, no."
Then the quirky man jumped behind the other guy and did something I've never seen. In the blink of an eye, he slid the tips of all fingers on one hand up and through the other man's butt crack and yelled "Credit card."
The new friend suddenly smiled and said "I'll accept that transaction. But Mastercard and Visa only, you're not going to discover anything up there with a Discover card." They both laughed, but I felt a little queasy.
"Can I buy you a Coke or a cup of coffee?"
The other guy got a warm glow about him. "Why I think that would be lovely." They walked away together. And I went inside Awesometown Vapors and had a wonderful time. I was educated all about vaping and even sampled the Cinnabon flavor at the Juice bar. If you happen to go anywhere near Santa Clarita, California, stop in and say hello to the owners, Guy Casablanca and his charming wife Karen. They will make you feel right at home.