Prompt: Character: Inspector | Item: The smell that brings it all back.
The Paradise Cigar Lounge
Clouseau is my name. Jacques Clouseau. Inspector Jacques Clouseau. The famous Inspector Jacques Clouseau.
I’m here at ... I don’t know where I am. I do not know this place. No matter. This must be a crime scene that needs investigating — a high profile crime, no doubt, to warrant the attention of the famous Jacques Clouseau.
I will enter carefully. Hard to say what awaits me inside. Possibly my arch enemy Sir Charles Lytton, the infamous jewel thief I’ve been hunting for years.
It is very dark in here; the lights must be off. But a good detective uses all his senses, and right now, my nose is bringing me a familiar scent. Could it be the perfume of my secret love Maria Gambrelli? No, this is the smell of a fine cigar — a familiar one. Yes, that mixture of honey, nuts, bread, spice, and pepper can only come from a Cohiba Lancero — the favorite cigar of my dear friend Ernest Hemingway.
That reminds me of our time in Spain together, when we drove the ambulance. But that is a tale for another time.
There he is, sitting in a corner chatting with William Shakespeare and smoking a Cohiba Lancero, of course.
“Ernest! Ernest Hemingway!”
Strange. He cannot hear me. And why is he talking to Shakespeare? I’ll deal with that later, right now I have a crime to solve. I must keep moving. Here is a corner. I must turn it carefully. Who knows what danger lurks there?
The smell of another cigar. Most detectives don't have an olfactory capability as refined as mine. This nose of mine has solved many crimes, and right now, it smells a Partagas Aristocrat. That aroma of a mixture of earth, cedar, and spice is unique to the Partagas Aristocrat.
I recall my days on the Mississippi riverboat with Sam Clemens. Those were the days before he became Mark Twain. We smoked many of those Aristocrats and did we have fun in those river towns. I remember ...
Nobody else smoked those cigars. Clemens liked them because they were cheap. So, Sam must be around here somewhere. There he is, leaning against a hearth, deep in conversation with Geoffrey Chaucer. How can that be? They don’t know each other.
“Sam Clemens! Mark Twain!”
He’s ignoring me too. What is it with these buggers? Stay focused; crime to solve.
Yet another cigar. I’m beginning to detect a pattern here. This one is La Aroma de Cuba. I’d recognize that blend of woody, spicy, molasses anywhere. It was the favorite of my dear friend Winston Churchill. He smoked them like cigarettes.
That time at Yalta, while we were waiting for Roosevelt and Stalin. No, I’ll not go there.
He must be around here somewhere. Over there, in the corner, sitting by himself reading the Times.
“Clouseau! Jacques Clouseau!”
At last. Some signs of life. The fellow looks odd — a long white robe.
“Monsieur, my name is Inspector Jacques Clouseau, and I’m here to investigate ...”
“I know who you are Jacq. We’ve been expecting you. I’m sorry I wasn’t here to greet you. You arrived during my break.”
“Who are you? What is this place? Why won’t these people talk to me?”
"First off, I'm St Peter. You may call me Pete if you like. Second: This is the Paradise Cigar Lounge, where spirits come to enjoy a smoke and talk of all things happening in the universe. Third: They didn't answer you because they couldn't hear you. They can't hear you because I haven't checked you in yet."
“Checked me in?”
“Yes, Jacq. You’re dead.”
Word Count: 601