Breaking news, south of the border at 9 degrees latitude.
(Rated R: Parental supervision advised due to adult content with sexual innuendo.)
This news flash was just received from your friend and mine, Guy Noir-wannabe, as he traveled with another Gringo private eye on a surreptitious sojourn south of the border. The purpose? To validate an item reported to be worth perhaps millions of dollars on the auction block.
No one is fessing up as to who is the deep pockets behind this momentous investigation, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the finding of a stolen Renoir painting that has been recently discovered at a neighborhood flea market in West Virginia will pale beside the value that a slender cylindrical specimen will likely fetch at Christie’s of New York. As your trustworthy searcher of “answers to life’s persistent questions,” believe me when I say that Renoir's “On the shore of the Seine” is nada compared to what has been found just off the shore of a Costa Rican town.
Shift the scene to Quepos, a sleepy town where tourists come to go deep-sea fishing and the road out of town leads to the very popular national park, Manuel Antonio. But we are not interested in the typical destinations of the vacationing crowds. Rather, we have a singular focus to follow-up on an anonymous tip that there is a part of American history, a complementary part to a famous blue dress, that lies in wait in a small shop.
Fully aware that the genre-appropriate attire that is usually worn by Guy Noir-wannabe would stick out like a sore thumb and blow his undercover cover, a new disguise was deemed necessary. One that would be guaranteed to not draw any attention to the snooping that was about to be undertaken.
Directions that we were given by our “Deep Throat” were simple and concise: “Cross the bridge into Quepos, and after going about 50 meters, look directly to your left, and you will see an unassuming shop that advertises stogies. The proprietor will know what you are looking for when you mention the code-word ‘cigarro apestoso.’”
Sure enough, our source was right on target, and we went into the store with bated breath.
Within a short time, I fully understood why my companion had been selected for this assignment to ferret out this highly valued piece of American political memorabilia. He brought with him no scientific apparatus to do DNA testing. The only equipment that he carried was that with which he was born; his obviously highly developed sense of scent.
Our Gringo’s response was one of certainty: this was the real deal. His proboscis, having been prepped with the aroma of a certain portion of a blue dress prior to leaving the States, was unwavering in his assessment: “With absolute certainty; there is no question whatsoever in my cerebral hemisphere’s olfactory lobe. This is the selfsame object of Bill & Monica’s delight from many years ago. Some things just never lose their pungent fragrance, and once the fine tobacco is ensconced in its premium binder and outer wrapping, all odors that seep into the long filler leaves will be intact for essesntially time immomorial.
The most exquisite? We’ll leave that for others to judge.
Case solved in record time. Cigar was purchased for a nominal fee, and this national treasure was carefully stowed into our Gringo’s carry-on bag, en route for delivery to a source unknown. And one final note of irony that goes along with the cigar: part of the outer wrapping reads, “Made in Cuba!”