An Open Letter To That Guy At That Party With A Spare Cigarette

From the other end of the yard, I saw you, an athletically built man with cigarettes rolled up in his shirtsleeve. At first, I felt bad asking. I mean, even though we were at the same party, we had never met; I didn’t (and still don’t) know your name. A friend of a friend of yours told me your name was Karl, but a different friend of a friend told me that first guy was totally wrong.

Either way, I walked up cautiously. You were having a conversation with two girls. One had a nose piercing and wore a baggy top that made an ambiguous tent shape of every part of her torso, except her nipples. The other was a blonde who was nodding along while she rolled a joint. You were telling them about the time when you brought a surf board to Bonnaroo and “crowd surfed” in a very literal sense. It had been a key moment in your summer, and a testament to your innate sense of balance. They giggled and the blonde girl handed you the joint, because, although she rolled it, it was your weed and she found you attractive. I waited for a lull in the conversation and asked you timidly, “would you happen to have a spare cigarette-” and, not knowing what to call you, I added, “-man?”

The pause that ensued could not have been more than half a second, but I felt whole lifetimes pass before my eyes. You looked up at me—this destitute stranger—while you took an impressive hit from the joint. This moment of hesitation was just the space you had set aside to get stoned, but for me, it was all the time I needed to second guess something so foolish as asking favors without any sort of recompense. I thought about offering to turn my empty bottle of Georgi into a bong for you, but realized that was something I had neither the skill nor desire to do.

Laconic, with dank ganja-smoke still in your lungs, you calmed my nerves at the exact instant I felt like running to hide behind the Subaru parked in the driveway. “Sure thing, man,” you replied, sharing my appellation. We had bonded.

You pulled a pack of Chesterfields from the rolled sleeve of your t-shirt, fishing inside of the packet with a dexterous index finger. It was uncertain whether the two girls were now shotgunning the joint or kissing, but in either case, you hardly noticed. Perennially cool, you plucked the unfiltered cigarette from its pack. “Last one,” you said, adding, “need a light, man?” without missing a beat.

“Sure,” I could hardly stammer, forgetting to add, “man,” and feeling very rude as a result. You seemed to understand.

“I was looking for an excuse to get out of this party anyway, so I can just tell everyone I need to buy a fresh pack.” You scanned the backyard with glazed eyes, “I don’t think I know a single person here.” To think, I was of use to you without even meaning to be. A chance meeting of strangers, mutually beneficial. Symbiotic.

I leaned over the two girls, who, as if to clear up previous misconceptions, were visibly lubricating each other’s tongues in a haze of smoke and tangled bra straps. You lit my cigarette, and I thanked you and walked into the house to look for beer. I can’t begin to tell you how much I admire your generosity. There should be more people like you. More revolutionaries. More patriots.

All of a sudden, I wished we had gone to Bonnaroo together. Man. TC mark


More From Thought Catalog

  • HipsterFriend

    Fucking delicious.

  • bum your smokes

    proving once again that cigarettes = cool.

    • smokessss

      I’ve never seen what was wrong with them.

    • smokessss

      I’ve never seen what was wrong with them.

  • dip

    gay bro

    • guest

      I hope everyone realizes that this pieces is fictions. And satire. 

  • Mr Shankly

    As far as open letters go, this is one of them.

  • GunsandLace

    This is one of the best things I’ve read in awhile. I loved your imagery.

  • sren

    about time someone besides Tyler Durden made smoking look so cool

  • Anonymous

  • Chase V

    could be misread as kind of gay, but man i loved it. I’ve felt the same way in approaching somebody new  before…you nailed it. great article.

  • Joey Martino

    “Hey are u going to burning man?”

  • Joey Martino

    “Hey are u going to burning man?”

  • Klaus

    cut and pasted from Missed Connections

  • Anonymous

    • Klaus

      the fuck is this with the spam lately??

  • joecastagna

    WTF? have you never bummed a smoke from somebody before? It sounds like you wanted to S this guy’s D REAL bad. 

    I think it’s kinda rude not to give someone a cigarette if you have a decent amount or about to go buy some more. 

    The problem really starts when you one of 3 people at a party with cigarettes then it’s time to get the fuck out of there. 

    • Bryan Menegus

      The piece is satirical and completely fictitious. 

      • Briana

        Bryan, I don’t mean to be a douchebag–I enjoyed this piece, etc.–but if a reader isn’t picking up on the ‘satire’ or ‘fictitious’ element of a piece, it is not the fault of the reader but of the writer. Having to chime in (somewhat obsessively) and supplement the piece post-publication is a sign of weak writing and something you should consider if/when you do a rewrite.

        I am JUST SAYING

  • Anonymous

    I got a kick out of this but was bummed to see you cop to its fictitiousness under pressure of “gay” aspersions.

    • Bryan Menegus

      It’s meant to be a piece of satire, since I mainly write humor. That’s how it was written and how it was intended. The hyper-sentimentality of it is the joke, dry wit notwithstanding. 

      tl;dr I always buy a fresh pack before the party. 

      • Brandon De Souza

        how is this supposed to be funny at all

        spoiler: people can be completely heterosexual and enjoy the company of men and *gasp* even admire them
        and are you confirming that the situation that you wrote is ‘gay’

    • Bryan Menegus

      It’s meant to be a piece of satire, since I mainly write humor. That’s how it was written and how it was intended. The hyper-sentimentality of it is the joke, dry wit notwithstanding. 

      tl;dr I always buy a fresh pack before the party. 

  • Anonymous

  • Julian Paul Tate

    I really enjoyed this article and while I typically discourage using gay slurs in any context, I’ll stoop down for just a moment to say: Please ignore all the “faggots” (you bundle of sticks!) who claim this brilliant work of Fiction is gay.

  • extra

    Read like butter B)

  • xra

    kinda wish i hadn’t scrolled to the comments so i could’ve kept thinking this was real

  • Tayla Dam


  • Annette Iris Rivera


    Thanks for the lulz and I took a moment of silence to thank every stranger who has ever bummed me a smoke. 

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