He squinted against the smoke of the cigarette hanging from his mouth. Somehow he was able to do this– smoke and futz at the same time, no hands. The rusted iron vice gripped one of his Dynastar 203s by the sides, exposing the bottom surface to the ceiling. His favorite skis so far, they were too long for his height, but they were fast and made him feel like a competitor.
The basement still smelled of newly poured cement, but the cigarette overtook that. Tonight it was all about performance. On the pingpong table sat an old iron and a bar of alpine wax, lilac purple in color. SWIX, the brand name, imprinted large in the surface, though half of the S had already been melted away.
Patiently, he melted drops of the wax onto the base of the ski with the iron in one hand, the wax pressed against it in the other. The smoke that rose created grey swirls against the low, bare lightbulbs.
He put down the iron and took a hard drag, this time taking the Winston in his hand and stubbing it out in the awkwardly grandiose ashtray he’d taken from his in-laws house next door. Reclaiming the iron, he swept it back and forth, perfectly melting each drop along the way to a clean, even coating.
When both skis were done, he returned to the first and scraped it until the wax was the thinnest, smoothest, shiniest surface I thought I’d ever seen. He held it up to his eye and looked down the length for any imperfection. There was none.