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Jedi Smoke Tricks: The CloudV Aqua Bubbler

Most readers know that I live with a monkey named Stephan and am working on an autobiographical novel, The Tiger’s Revenge. It was Stephan that saved my life and restored my health after the tiger found me. He somehow booked passage on the same steamer that took me from India back to San Francisco, and from the moment I awoke from a fever dream in my stateroom and beheld him, standing sentinel atop the wardrobe, he has been my companion ever since. Now, he edits my work — and perhaps even keeps me in line.

What you may not know is that I am also very ordinary. I worry about rising rents and out-of-control gentrification in our city. I like to get high. I contemplate mortality. And, like most of my generation, I’ve known that mingling of joy and frustration with Star Wars ever since the Sand Person leapt out at Luke and scared the shit out of my five-year-old self — not once, but several times in the summer of 1977.

Nothing says Star Wars like lightsabers, and no vaporizer looks more like a lightsaber than the CloudV Phantom Premium, especially as equipped with its Aqua Bubbler attachment.

The newest CloudV (pronounced “Cloud Vee”) lists for $129.99 list and can be described as a vape pen. But at 7 inches long and as big around as a lightsaber ought to be in the hands of a child padawan, it’s bigger and heavier than any vape “pen.” My associate Raghavendrous Vader was exaggerating only slightly when he hefted it and said, “You could beat somebody to death with this.”

The reason? This device has a very nice battery. The chamber is sizable, but as with all vape pens will need many reloads to get a group of friends going. The battery, on the other hand, simply will not quit.

The vapor stream is strong, the one-button system with three temperature levels (use the medium setting) is easy. It’s a great product.

But if you live with a monkey who has watched the Star Wars films many times, be careful with the Aqua Bubbler attachment.

It’s difficult to know what another is thinking, even if that other is human, speaks English, and is your sometime-girlfriend named Thecla. (I’m not saying we had an argument; just voicing a universal truth.) How much more so when the other is a monkey, is prone to long, judgmental silences, and watches films with an intensity which brings up the question of whether or not he understands the difference between fact and fiction.

At the moment I screwed the Aqua Bubbler into place while sitting at my writing desk, the roaring buzz of a construction vehicle outside my apartment echoed in a peculiar way along the Tenderloin’s canyon-like streets. It sounded to my ears like the whooshing hum of an activated lightsaber. Alarmed, Stephan swung around to see the device in its full glory; to him, the glass attachment must have looked like an amplifying component from a steampunk laboratory.

You know how fast monkeys can move. He dashed for his store of possessions smuggled back from India and emerged with his monkey-sized scimitar, 13 inches long and wickedly sharp. Assuming that I could parry his savage cuts with a nonexistent laser blade that did not emerge from the CloudV, he pursued me from office to the kitchen, in and around the bedroom.

I finally was able to distract him with handfuls of his favorite treats (dog snacks and back issues of the New Yorker), but not before the apartment was littered with clouds of pillow down, shreds of a DVD cover of The Duellists I was forced to use as a shield, and trails of my own blood, the likes of which I had not seen since the tiger found me.

Photo by Connor Hunt