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I was in Willie T's and we were all smoking. They hadn't yet knocked down the street-side walls, and the smoking ban was new. I had walked in and while still sunblind, ordered a Ketel, rocks. I lit up a cigarette and before I could even down that first drink, the bartender and the other two people in the place were shouting at me to put my cigarette out. Gesturing at me, waving their hands with their palms down.

Now I'd been through this routine before. First on Cape Cod. Then Providence, New York, and so many others that I can't be bothered to remember them all. But this. This was Key West. The fucking Conch Republic! They Seceded where so many others had failed, after all. I was taken aback, but just before I actually snubbed out the camel, the bartendrix told me: Fuck it. I need a smoke too. She put out four plastic cups. a quarter full of water. All three of them lit up.

It's not that we care. I'm sure it won't last, the bartendirx told me: It's just that it's a new law and the gecko got fined just a couple of days ago. The bar and the staff. All of 'em got fined.

And one of the dudes piped up that Yeah, but that was the Gecko. This is Willy T's.

Well, that's why I say fuck it. Fuck 'em. He's not from here (she turned to me) you're from out of state right? We can just blame him, right?

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saltdawg

February 2011

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