Auggie Wren
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Auggie Wren

Smoke

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About Him

Living… in Brooklyn, where he was born and raised, and he’s never leaving. He hasn’t spent a night out of Brooklyn in 14 years, and he’s not about to break his record now. Besides, he’s got to be on his corner at 8 sharp tomorrow morning.

Profession… managing his cigar store, Brooklyn Cigar Co. He’s got pictures of all his heroes on the walls, smoking: Groucho Marx, George Burns, Clint Eastwood, Edward G. Robinson, Orson Welles, Charles Laughton, Frankenstein's monster, Leslie Caron, and Ernie Kovacs. Most of the time, you can find Auggie sweeping the sidewalk.

Interests… taking pictures of the intersection outside of his store. Every day he takes the same picture, in the same spot, and every day it's different. It doesn't take him more than about five minutes a day to do it, but he does it every day. Rain or shine, sleet or snow. Sometimes it feels like his hobby is his real job, and his job is just a way to support his hobby.

Relationship Status… in the past. He was in love once, but she up and married some other guy after Auggie joined the Navy. By the time he got his discharge, though, she was divorced. Her husband poked out her eye in a domestic quarrel. She made a play for Auggie after he got back, but her glass eye stuck in his head, and he couldn’t take it.

Challenge… coping with the guilt that comes with age. All Auggie can ever think about are the worst moments in his life, when he felt lowest, when he lied or stole. He loves cameras but he can only ever think about the first camera he stole. He loves women but he can only think of the women who loved him and how he didn't reciprocate. Still, he believes one must remember, in the immortal words of Rudyard Kipling: "A woman is just a woman, but a cigar is a smoke."

Personality… guilty. A few years back a woman walked right out of his store and was shot by a stray bullet. It really tore him up inside. He sometimes thinks that if she hadn't given him exact change that day, or if the store had been a little more crowded, it would have taken her a few more seconds to get out of here, and then maybe she wouldn't have stepped in front of that bullet. He’s always thinking like that – about how things could've or should've been. It can be a tough way to live, but maybe that's just life, period. At least he can always console himself with a nice cigar.

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