Me and Mr. Cigar
by Gibby Haynes
Every so often I take a look at young adult fiction, and this item caught my eye as it was penned by Gibby Haynes, front man of the infamous Butthole Surfers. The book has its charms, not the least of which is its surreal tone and intimate knowledge of current club drugs and their multitudinous side effects. We meet a young man G. Oscar Lester III, lost on the edge of puberty and very lonely. Mom and dad are wealthy but distant, and the big kids hassle him at school. This is what big kids have done since Cain messed with Abel. G Oscar adopts a mysterious dog he names “Mr. Cigar,” and the two stick to together well into his “old enough to know better” years. Mr. Cigar is no ordinary dog, he seems to have a psychic knowledge of where and when his master is in trouble or lost. The story fast-forwards to Oscar’s college days. Mom and Dad are still distant and uninvolved, but Oscar finds a cool side gig hosting raves and taking a cut of the MDMA concession. Mr. Cigar has picked up a few tricks as well, he now appears with a light show projector built in o his fur. Is he real or robot? Hard to say but the light show is AMAZING. This is clearly a dog with a future. When the rave deal finally gets busted Oscar and his friends decide to rob a bank, a task which rarely goes well. It’s not so much a cautionary tale, but it certainly goes into odd corners of the human condition and explores them with relish.
The book reads fast once we pass though the childhood trauma. Most chapters occupy a mere one or two pages. This gives the story a film treatment feel, and I’m sold. If this ever became a film, I’m there opening night. Interesting and unexpected turns pop up constantly and keep a jittery tension in the story. It may take a few chapters to sort out your opinion about where reality divorces fantasy, but it’s a split that’s clearly waiting to happen quickly. Depending on your age and your position on raves you will gladly gift this story a young person trying to fit in, or you will set your own hair on fire. It’s that sort of book: challenging and well written, and controversial as all get out.