So I was in the corner store looking for soda and cigarettes and the guy at the counter ("cashier" would've been a stretch) sent his brother, who had been busy making an adjustment to his hearing aid with a tiny screwdriver, into the back to get my brand from the stock. You'd think it was a oops-we're-out kinda thing if it weren't for the fact that they went through this every time. They weren't licensed to sell and were avoiding trouble. I like rituals like that.

So we're standing there, talking, not understanding a word the other is saying. He's speaking in an odd mix of Arabic and street slang and I'm speaking White Boy Trying To Be Cool In The Ghetto, Brooklyn Dialect, and somewhere in the middle of this he pulls two packs of smokes from a hidden compartment tucked away behind the plexiglass somewhere, and holds them up in confusion. Marlboro lights, and Marlboro light menthols.

"What is different?"

And I thought about it, and realized that he was right.