Kamal Hasanov and Samuel Gilbert are co-authors of numerous novels, poems, short stories, and plays. They went to Berea College in Kentucky, where they earned B.S. in Business Administration and B.A. in Political Science respectively. Spending a lot of time discussing history, theology and world literature, they explored the idea of combining their distinct experiences and as a result created “Columbus was a Smoker”. After graduating from college, Kamal went on to become a central banker in Azerbaijan, while Samuel pursued the dream of becoming a space lawyer, but they continue to collaborate and are currently finishing their third novel “Metaxophilia”.
Columbus was a Smoker
The throbbing of the club was powerful. It flowed through the air hitting the young men in their skulls with every beat, like an erotic bass club. The women were dressed like angels. In the smoke they were messengers of something—maybe it was peace, maybe it was something more sinister. There were red lights everywhere, their pervasive tint hiding the nicotine ring that circled about the ceiling like a dark crown. The escort was a lovely angel. She wore very little and had very little to be ashamed of, her body was a study of curves. Her eyes were brown and deep as the earth and held as many secrets. Walking across the club was a trip through a darker form of paradise. As if heaven and hell had met and had a bastard child. The throbbing beat increased as they walked across the room. The young Azeri realized it was in perfect tune with the human heart.
The couch was a velvet bath, it enveloped the friends. The pole in front of the couch was lit red by the lights, all around them the angels passed a Jacobs ladder of carnal pleasure and delight. Yet in the faded red lights and smoke it seemed that the angels were of the fallen sort. Their eyes and faces were shrouded in darkness and smoke. The hookah in front of their stage of pleasure was quickly attended to by yet another angel. The first drag of the smoke was like the velvet of the couch, smooth and luxurious. The clouds faded into shade and the first angel emerged and took her place at the pole in front of them.
Then she began to dance.
The swaying of her body matched the rhythm of the young man’s heart. Thump…Thump…Thump. The swaying, the swinging of the angel - her eyes bright with the promise of pleasure, and more excitement than a mortal man was meant to know. The sweat glistened on her toned body; the smooth smoke matched the feel of the velvet and was a pleasurable contrast to the beats of the graceful dancer, and her piercing blue eyes. They seemed to steal breath, like any good angel she could stop any man with a simple look and had almost certainly had to utter the phrase ‘fear not’ at least once in her life. The dance was more than a simple carnal display of flesh, but rather a graceful dance that would amuse gods and make the rocks stir with pleasure. It was art and it was beauty and it was sad to see this goddess shackled to this poor little world. The angel spun on her pole once more and round again and the friends were mesmerized and could do little but stare and wonder at their great luck - this was a treat. This angel was more than a stripper and this was going to be more than a simple New Year’s Eve.
“What is your name?” no one seemed to know who spoke. Still the question hung in the thick smoke and red lights and throbbing beats of the room. She gazed into the young Azeri and the words when they came seemed to resonate deeper than the bass beat and were more intimate than the warmest touch.
“Eve, my name is Eve.” There was an immense satisfaction at that moment, the universe seemed to sigh and was content as if a great question, a great riddle had suddenly been answered. The dance continued as if there had been no break and the young Azeri was lost, thinking that it had all been an illusion. Now the dance was really starting to heat up, the clothing, what there was of it, was suddenly melting away, as if they were vaporizing into the air like the smoke that drifted from the lips of the friends. And these lips were curved now in smiles of pleasure and of memory, good times had or that may have been and the paradise they were lost in now.
The spinning dancer twisted and turned, the lights dimmed and she shifted from dark to light and back, now an angel, now a demon in the dark. The halos of smoke that leaked from the mouths of the young men turned to horns of smoke as they drifted up and dissipated into the dark. Her eyes in the dark were empty and hollow, in the light they had a certain shimmer; something that made men feel at peace. Where were these eyes when men went to war? They wept and waited for the return of pine boxes. Shadow now. Where were these eyes when innocence died? They pondered the death of one more spark of life. When monks cried out on the agony of sin these eyes smiled and gave no comfort.
Eve who knew the sins and the hopes of man, Eve who saw the end and the dawn of man. Dancing, spinning, titillating, and overwhelming. It was all the young Azeri could do not to grab her and ravish her in the club right there. His hands gripped the sides of the couch and waited for the moment, the end of the world that was sure to follow this glimpse of perfection. It did not come, Eve had nearly finished her dance and it was winding down. She slowed and the friends let out a sigh, a collective relief of something that they all knew and that none of them wanted to admit.
They left, fled this place, this house of pleasure and pain where carnal knowledge walked hand in hand with innocence and hope. They left that place and walked. The streets had grown cold and the wind now seemed to have a bite to it. The roads of the winds met and seemed to move the group of friends this way and that, at its will. The roads were still filled with revelers, for, this was still New Years Eve and this was still the city of winds, but the young Azeri and his friends were solemn now. The experience at the club had left them all with the distinct impression that there was so much more out there that they did not know and that they would never know.