Draper flicks his Zippo lighter to life with a little flair of his thumb, enabling him to open and spin the wheel with barely a pause between, passing the flame like a gentle kiss to the end of the Lucky Strike held from his lips like the yardarm on a rich client’s yacht.

When he lifts his hand to take the cigarette out of his mouth he notices he already has a lit cigarette in his hand. Now he has two cigarettes going, one in each hand, their smoke wafting unhindered into the ambient cloud of smoke in the lounge where the waiters wear miners’ helmets to see as they distribute drinks.

One such waiter is named Sam.

“Can I get you something else Mr. Draper?” Sam asks while placing a fresh drink on the table

”Another pack of Luckies,” Draper says.

Sam disappears into the smoke, returns a few seconds later with a fresh pack. But Draper’s attention is taken by a Pall Mall sticking out of the lips of a woman who has sat down across from him, unnoticed until now.

She is attractive in the way women of that age are, although Draper has no idea what that means, but he likes the sound of his voice in his head. “Don, isn’t it?” She asks, blowing a stream of white smoke at Draper’s handsome profile.

“Yes. Do I know you?

“We met.”

“You’re probably right.”

Draper reaches into his shirt pocket for the new pack of Lucky Strikes, which he maneuvers in such a way that three cigarettes pop out of the open top. She smiles, very red lips part to show very white teeth.

“You just lit mine, but thanks.”

“Sometimes I lose track,” he says, slipping the pack back into his shirt pocket. ”I like to have two, three going at the same time.”

He blows a perfect smoke ring across the table.

“So where did we meet?” he asks, “Seems we’re both in the ad biz.”

“At last year’s Ad Circle. You were doing a presentation on the future of pantyhose. It was a very impressive presentation,” she says, lowering her head and fluttering her eyelashes. “Especially at the end when you dropped your pants to show the audience you were wearing pantyhose. Clever.”

Draper smiles, allows a nostalgic sigh to escape. “Yes, I’ll miss the garter belt, but we must go along with progress. Since you brought the subject up, what’s holding up your stockings?”

She glances at her watch. “Too late to show you. How about you give me a call?” She hands him a business card with her name and phone number on it.

“I’m having a tryst in 15 minutes with an account exec from General Electric. How about after that, say 1:30?”

“Can’t. I’m scheduled for foreplay with a copywriter from Burnett. How about later this afternoon?”

Draper takes out his pocket calendar.

“At three my wife is having sex with our gardener. I pick up the kids at school, bring them home. Then she takes the kids to her mother’s house while I have sex with the gardener.”

“Sounds like a busy schedule,” the woman says.

He stands, lights his Lucky, lights the woman’s Pall Mall and while he’s up he lights a passing Pall Mall on its way to the men’s room.

“Crazy advertising business,” he says, and takes a deep drag on his Lucky.

Bob Kalish observes life from a placid place on the island of Arrowsic (motto: You’re not in Georgetown yet). You can reach him at [email protected].


Comments are not available on this story.