1974, Part 1

(by anonauthor02@yahoo.com, 26 August 2004)

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DISCLAIMER: This story is entirely fictional. No resemblance to any person,
living or dead, is intended. All persons, companies, brand names and
situations are used solely for fictional purposes.

part 1 of 3
by anonauthor02@yahoo.com

It was an unseasonably warm weekend for April in Greenwich, Conneticut. Don
Parker had broken out the barbeque gear early in preparation for the first
patio party of the year. When Saturday evening rolled around, he and his wife
Carol were hosting their friends, Charlie and Joan Hammond, for an informal
get-together. The kids had gone to the movies to see "Blazing Saddles" and
would be home later. While Don grilled the steaks, Carol and Joan set out the
rest of the meal before relaxing with their husbands. Charlie had fixed a
pitcher of Bloody Marys and stuck a Charlie Rich  tape in the 8-track player.
Everyone was enjoying the drinks, the  fine weather and the conversation, even
if the subjects weren't always the most positive.

"Don, how are you making out servicing your accounts with this gas shortage?,"
Charlie asked.

"It's been a bitch, to be honest," he answered. "I have to visit a lot of
places every day, and that big Ford wagon they got me last fall doesn't get
more than 10 miles to the gallon. Costs me nearly $20 now to fill it up,
assuming I can find a place that will let me. I'd ask the company to get me
something smaller, but I need the space to carry all of the product. I hate
the thing to be honest. It's got that stupid seat belt interlock so it won't
start unless you buckle the belt. I just leave it buckled all the time and sit
on it. Plus it's got those cowcatcher bumpers the government made them put

"Yeah, I know," Charlie replied. "They kind of ruin the looks. Our vans get
even worse mileage than that, but what are you gonna do? When you run a
plumbing business, you need vehicles, right? Just like you do hauling around
those cases of cigarettes."

"I don't know what this country is coming to," Carol interjected. "The price
of gas going through the roof -- when you can even get it; all of the things
going on down in Washington... I just don't know," she said with dismay,
shaking her head before drawing hard on the B&H Menthol 100 between her
fingers and inhaling deeply. She exhaled a cloud of smoke with an audible sigh
of resignation.

"Well, as far as I'm concerned, we need a new President," Joan said. "Even if
half the things we're hearing are true, that man has no business being in the
White House. How could they act like such criminals anyway?"

"If you ask me, it's just the first time it's all come out, but it's nothing
new," Don said. "I don't have much use for politicians. The way they're going
after our business... well, it's just not right. First they make us put
warnings on our packages, then they take our ads off TV. Next thing you know
they'll pass laws keeping you from smoking where you want. But they sure like
the tax money we generate.  Goddamn hypocrites. Cripes!"

"Now Don, calm down. You're probably a little biased, working for Philip
Morris," Joan laughed.  She reached for her pack of Winston 100s and extracted
one. As she lit up, Don shook his head. 

"Damn right I'm biased. PM treats me pretty good. We're doing really well in
this market. And I'd be doing even better if you'd stop smoking those things
and take up something from my line. Why don't you try one of Carol's, or mine?
At least Charlie smokes my product," he said, pointing at the pack of Marlboro
Reds on the rail of the deck.

"Carol's are menthol, and I don't care for that," Joan said. "You know what
they say - "Me and my Winstons". I've smoked Winstons ever since I first
started, the same as mom, and I like their 100s.  I'm sure yours would be
fine, but I'm used to these," she said, before finally exhaling the smoke she
had been holding deep inside her lungs. "Besides, what's in it for me?," she
asked with a grin.

"Tell you what," Don said. "Charlie, watch these for a sec, will you?" he
asked, handing the barbeque tools over. "I need to go into the garage. I'll be
right back." Strolling into the garage, he emerged after a minute carrying an
armload of cigarette cartons. "Here you go," he laughed. "Try any of these and
if you like any of them, I'll make sure you never have to buy cigarettes
again. Compliments of Philip Morris. Here's a carton of Marlboro 100s --
they're probably the closest to those things," he said with disdain, nodding
towards her pack of Winstons -- "a carton of Virginia Slims, a carton of
regular B&H 100s, and a carton of Parliament 100s. There gotta be something
there that suits your taste."

"Oh, Don, are you serious? My god..." she said. "Well, thank you. I guess. But
really, I can't take these. I can't let you give me cigarettes."

"Why not? Carol and I haven't paid for a single pack of cigarettes in a dozen
years. The company expects it. I have a sample account and that's where these
come from. Don't worry, they aren't going to go broke. You switch to any of
these and I'll supply you, gratis."

"Gawd, honey, don't look a gift horse in the mouth," Charlie laughed. "With
you going thru, what, a carton a week, Don's offering to save you $10 a week,
minimum. That's enough to fill up the tank of your Datsun. You could be
driving for free!," he chuckled.

"Go ahead, Joan. Really, it's fine," Carol added. "Don gets those for free.
I'm sure he'd be pleased for you to take them."

"Well, OK then. Thank you very, very much," Joan said. "Though I don't know
how I'll smoke all of those before they go stale."

"Don't try," Don said. "Try a pack or two of each, then let me know what ones
you want to stay with.  I'll give you a fresh carton whenever you want."

"Hey guys, if we don't stop all this talk, these steaks won't be worth a
damn," Charlie said. "Time to eat."


"Wow, Carol, that was one great dessert. Where do you get strawberries this
time of year anyway?" Charlie asked, pushing away the plate that contained his
shortcake and sipping his coffee. 

"The supermarket," she said, deadpan, as everyone laughed. "I don't know where
they come from.  California, I guess. They aren't cheap, but I saw them and
figured, why not. Anyone care for more coffee?"

Affirmative answers all around led to 4 mugs being refilled. As they settled
back into their chairs, each of them reached for their packs to light up an
after-dinner cigarette. "What's your pleasure, Joanie?," her husband asked.
"You've got a lot to choose from there."

She looked at the stack of cartons on the bench beside her. "Well, you said
these were most like mine, so I guess I'll try one of these gold numbers," she
said, opening the end panel of her carton of Marlboro Golds. Opening her first
pack, she pulled out one of the Longhorn 100s and lit up. A first puff and
inhale revealed a smoke very similar to her Winston 100s, but with some
different qualities.  "Not bad," she said to Don following her exhale. "Maybe
not quite as strong as mine, or maybe they're just a little smoother, I'm not
sure. But not bad. They're a contender."

"I thought you'd like them," Don said, smiling. "Those Winstons of yours use
reconstituted tobacco, you know -- basically all the scraps and floor
sweepings are ground up into a paste, made into sheets, and reused. Ours
don't. That's part of why they're smoother. It's just a better quality

"You sound like a salesman," Joan said.

"That's probably because I am," Don shot back with a grin. "But it's not easy
these days. The market's pretty flat, and way down from what it was a few
years ago. Fewer people are smoking, and those that still do aren't smoking as
much. We introduced a lot of lighter cigarettes and we've tried to play up the
benefits of those, but they seem to be mostly transfer sales from our
full-flavor lines, although they might have helped us with creating some new
smokers. The research guys say more of them decide to continue to smoke after
trying it for the first time with the lights since they're easier to get used
to, so we're getting some of them to come on board for good. Actually, we've
had some real success with developing more younger female smokers - mostly
because of the Virginia Slims line - so there's some growth there, but it's
still not enough. The only consolation is that we're kicking RJR's butt,
pardon the pun. But we need more new customers, not just ones we can steal

Joan pulled hard on her Marlboro 100 and took the smoke deep into her lungs.
She held it for a few seconds, then sighed as she exhaled before saying,
"Well, I might know of one brand-new customer for you. And I can't say I'm
real happy about it."

"What are you talking about?," Carol asked.

"I was telling Charlie about it the other day. It's Laura. I think she's
starting to experiment with these," Joan said with resignation, indicating the
cigarette between her fingertips.

"Why do you think so?," Carol asked, trimming her B&H before taking a long
puff and inhaling with obvious pleasure.

"She's come home a couple of times the last few weeks and I just know I've
smelled smoke on her.  Even though our house always smells of cigarette smoke,
it was strong enough on her that I noticed it.  I found matches in her desk
drawer too. No cigarettes, though there are lots of places for her to hide
them that I'd never know. It just seems too likely. Why are kids always in
such a hurry to grow up?," she said in frustration. 

"Yeah, I guess so," Carol said. "It's just something we have to cope with as
parents, I suppose."

"I just never expected it with her, not at 15 anyway. She's always been such a
good kid, good grades and all."

"Have you spoken to her yet?," Carol asked.

"No, not so far. I'm going to wait until I have some better evidence," Joan
said. "But if she _is_ smoking, you'd better keep an eye on Debbie. They're
best friends after all, so if one is smoking, the other one probably is, or
soon will be." 

Carol and Don exchanged quick looks. Carol decided to take the bull by the
horns. "Well, there's something you ought to know then. Debbie's smoking now.
We decided to allow it, here at home with us occasionally," she said, seeing
the surprised look on Joan and Charlie's faces. "It's not something we
advertise, which is why nobody else knows. And she's not supposed to take them
out of the house.  If she is, I'll have to speak with her," Carol said, even
though she and Don knew parts of her statement were not true.

"My god," Joan said. "How long has this been going on?"

"Oh, a while now," Carol said, not wanting to reveal the whole truth just yet. 

"Why, Carol? Why would you let a 15-year-old smoke?," Joan asked.

"Think about it, Joan. How old were you when you had your first cigarette?,"
Don said.

"Oh, I dunno... 16, I guess," she replied.

"That's what I figured," Don said. "So it's not really all that different. We
just decided that since it was probably inevitable, when she showed an
interest in it we might as well tackle it head-on and try to control her
smoking ourselves than have her lighting up out back of the school gym with
god-knows-who. It's hardly the end of the world."

"I suppose not," Joan said. "It's just hard to get used to."

"It was for us too," Carol lied. "In some ways we should have seen it coming.
After all, not only do we both smoke, but with Don's job she's been exposed to
smoking in a very positive way her whole life. So when it finally came up, it
wasn't really a shock."

"Yeah, but with Laura being so active in sports and all, I never expected it
from her," Joan said.

"Funny thing about that," Carol replied. "You know one of the things that
brought things to a head with Deb? She came back from one of her figure
skating lessons one day all excited. Dorothy Hamill had dropped by to watch at
the invitation of one of the coaches. Well, guess what? Dorothy Hamill smokes.
She's what, 17 or 18? Nobody seems to know, but that day she was sitting in
the stands with her mom and both of them were smoking. Deb figured, if a
champion like Dorothy could smoke, why couldn't she?"

"God, I didn't know that," Joan said. "That Hamill girl just seems so sweet.
So she smokes? Wow. I guess you never know, do you? But still, she's not my
daughter. And the thought of my daughter smoking bothers me. Actually, the
thought of Debbie smoking bothers me too. I still think of them as two little

"I can understand," Carol said. "I guess it's just something we have to get
used to. They're growing up. But she wasn't supposed to influence Laura. That
was one of our conditions. I'll speak to her, and if it turns out she had
something to do with this..."

"No, don't come down on her. I mean, come on," Charlie interjected. "We're her
parents, and look at the example we set for her. It's not Debbie's fault if
it's true. We need to make a decision, and we'll deal with this ourselves."  


Later that night, after the Hammonds had left, Don and Carol laid beside each
other in bed. Carol was reading a book and smoking her last cigarette of the
day. "I was afraid you were going to let the cat completely out of the bag
when that smoking deal came up tonight," Don said with a chuckle.

"Don't be silly," Carol answered. "I know what side my bread's buttered on.
No, one of these days I might tell Joan the story of how Debbie actually got
started. After all, she'll probably find out from Laura anyway. I just know
Deb will eventually tell her friend, if she hasn't already. But there are some
things she'll never know."

"Ummm," Don said, nuzzling his wife's shoulder. "That's good. After all, there
are some things that should always remain behind closed doors, shouldn't
there?," he said, reaching over to fondle her.

Carol smiled, and set aside her book. "Don, are you feeling frisky?," she
asked playfully, inhaling a puff from her cigarette and setting it the
ashtray. "Oh my, I think you are!," she said, turning towards him. He grasped
her and flipped himself on top of her, resting on his knees.

"You know how certain things get me going, honey," he said softly. He
retrieved the cigarette from the ashtray and placed the filter to her lips.
"Here... smoke for me, baby" he whispered. Carol parted her lips to receive
the filter, sealed them around it as Don slid it in, and obediently took a
long, hard drag, her cheeks caving in, before Don finally pulled the cigarette
away. Carol opened her mouth, exposing the smoke, before snatching it back as
she performed a perfect snap-inhale. He felt her arch her back as she expanded
her chest beneath him to pull the smoke as deeply as possible into her lungs,
knowing how it turned him on. "And to think you didn't even smoke when I first
met you," he said. "God, you're so sexy when you do that."

"Mmmm... I used to be so pure and innocent before you corrupted me. But now
you've made me into a hopeless nicotine addict," she whispered devilishly,
slowly exhaling smoke thru her nostrils. "And now our sweet little daughter is
going to be one too. You know what she told me this morning?"

"What?," he mumbled, nuzzling her neck.

"She complained that she's starting to crave them."

"Mmmrph?" he groaned, his face buried between her breasts.

"Mmmm, that's right. She's craving. Debbie said she couldn't wait to have one
when she got up this morning. She told me she had to have one in her room
right when she first woke up, and then she smoked two in a row with me at
breakfast. Complaining about it was mostly for my benefit, I think, because
she was inhaling on a cigarette the whole time she was saying it and really
enjoying herself.  And she was only too happy to join me when I suggested we
have another one right after the first." 

Don let out a groan as he manoeuvered himself into a better position for what
was to come. "Oh, gawd," he mumbled, kissing her breasts, growing even more

"It's happening, Don. She's getting herself hooked," she purred. "Deb smoked
more today then I've ever seen her do before. If she keeps that up, before
long she's going to have to smoke all the time.  And I've got a feeling that
after what we heard tonight, her cute little redheaded friend of hers will be
puffing away all the time too. Oooh, what's that?" she said in mock surprise,
as he twitched in excitement. "Keep that up, big guy, and we'll both have to
have another one of these in a little while," Carol teased as she leaned
forward to take one last, long puff from her cigarette before Don crushed it
out. As she slowly exhaled twin streams from her nostrils, Don couldn't hold
back any longer. Carol allowed him to slide into the space between her legs,
noticing he was as hard and as big as she had ever seen him. Don felt like a
stallion, aroused more than he had been in ages, and he began making
passionate love to his wife. Life was good, and getting better.


That morning Debbie Parker had been awakened at 7:45 by the sound of water
running in the shower down the hall. She rolled over and stretched, then sat
up in bed, rubbing her eyes. Her dark-brown hair was tousled, and she needed
to use the bathroom and have a shower. But not bad enough to go all the way
down to the basement and use the house's only other bathroom. No, she could
wait until the upstairs bath cleared out.

She rolled out of bed and sat on the edge. Slowly, she awakened, and stood up
to put on a nightgown before she walked out into the hall. Looking into her
parents' bedroom, she saw her father brushing his hair in front of the mirror.

"Good morning, honey," Don greeted his daughter.

"Morning, daddy," Debbie said sleepily. "Has mom been in there very long?,"
she asked, gesturing towards the bathroom.

"Yeah... well, you know you mother," Don said, finishing up. "I think she must
be almost done. You want some coffee? I was just going to go downstairs and
make some. I have to be at the golf course in a half-hour, but I think I have
time for a quick cup."

"Sure, OK," Deb replied. "I want to get a shower first though."

"All right. It'll be ready when you are," he said, heading down the hall
towards the kitchen. "I'll give her a knock on the door to get her moving," he
said as he passed the bathroom. 

Debbie headed back into her bedroom. As she passed the dresser she glanced at
the gold pack of Marlboro 100s that had taken up residence there recently. She
saw several white circles peeking out of the open end of the pack, tempting
her. At that moment she felt something she hadn't ever felt before.  She had
never smoked a cigarette before breakfast, but that morning her body seemed to
be telling her to do just that. She hesitated, not totally sure of whether or
not this was something she should do. But her urge to smoke overwhelmed any
reluctance, and she found herself sliding one of the long cigarettes out of
the pack and placing it between her lips. She picked up her Cricket lighter
and lit up.

She blew out uninhaled smoke as she replaced the lighter and picked up the
glass ashtray that had also moved into her room a few months ago. She walked
over to her bed as she took a long drag on the cigarette. Debbie inhaled her
first puff of the day as she sat down on the bed and placed the ashtray on the
adjacent nightstand. She felt the wonderfully satisfying sensation of the
smoke filling up her lungs, followed shortly thereafter by the slighly
lightheaded feeling the nicotine provided as it began to work its way
throughout her system. She exhaled with a sigh, tilting her head back to
direct the stream of smoke towards the ceiling. This felt nice, she thought.
She had seen her mother smoking early in the day ever since she could
remember, and she began to understand why.

Debbie trimmed ash and began another puff. As she did, she heard the water
shut off in the bathroom.  She closed her eyes and inhaled, concentrating on
the sensation of the smoke travelling down her throat and going into her
lungs. Debbie had learned to love that feeling over the last few months. She
opened her eyes to watch herself exhale a long plume of smoke into the corner
of the ceiling. As much as she enjoyed inhaling, she thought that the thing
she enjoyed even more was watching herself unleash jets of smoke from deep
inside her chest. She found it really fun, and thought it amazing how much she
had come to enjoy this over the last several months after she became a smoker.

The urge to use the bathroom began to be felt more insistently, and Debbie got
up to encourage her mother to vacate the space. Just as she entered the
hallway, cigarette in hand, the bathroom door opened and Carol emerged, hair
wrapped in a towel and wearing a terry bathrobe.

"Oh, hi honey. I suppose you want to be in here, huh?," Carol said, smiling at
her daughter. She glanced downward and noticed the burning cigarette being
held between Debbie's fingertips, angled slightly away from her body.

"Hi mommy. Yeah, I really need to go. Are you all done?"

"Yeah. It's still pretty steamy in there though. I have the fan on but it's
not all clear yet. Leave it on for a while... especially if you're going to be
smoking in there. If you want to shower you're going to need some fresh towels
too. I pretty much used those ones all up."

"No problem, mom. Excuse me then, I need to get in there," the teenager
answered, sliding past her mom, holding her cigarette off to the side as they
passed. Carol headed towards the bedroom to dry her hair and get dressed,
smiling. She had never seen Debbie smoking at this time of day before. Her
daughter was progressing further down the path they had mapped out for her.

Deb rested her cigarette in the bathroom's ashtray and hung her nightgown on
the hook behind the door as she stripped down to use the facilities. She
retrieved her cigarette, sat down on the toilet and began to relieve herself
as she took a long, slow drag from her Marlboro and inhaled, again with her
eyes closed. She felt incredible relief wash over her body as her urge to
urinate eased, her desire to feel the sensation of inhaling smoke into her
lungs was fulfilled, and her growing need for nicotine was satisfied again.
She sighed as her body relaxed, watching herself unload a long exhale towards
the exhaust fan. She smiled. It all felt sinfully good.

Within a few minutes Debbie had finished smoking her first cigarette of the
day and was taking her shower. About 15 minutes later, showered, hair dried,
and dressed for the day, she bounced down the hall into the kitchen where her
mother was just sitting down with a mug of coffee.

"Hi honey," she said. "Wow, you look like springtime," she said, commenting on
Debbie's outfit of white, green, and orange plaid doubleknit flared pants,
white belt, and lime-green polyester top. "Can I get you something for
breakfast? Cereal, toast...?"

"Maybe in a while, mom. Right now I think I'll just have some coffee," Debbie
said, retrieving a mug from the cupboard and helping herself. She addred some
cream and made her way towards the table, where she saw Carol reaching for her
pack of B&H Menthols. That acted as a cue and she felt an urge, so before she
sat down, Debbie set her mug down and returned to the bedroom to retrieve her
cigarettes and lighter, then rejoined her mom in the kitchen. She sat down at
the table, extracted a Marlboro 100 from her pack and lit up, joining her
mother in a morning cigarette. 

Carol observed her daughter puff, then inhale, and realized that was also
something new. While Debbie had begun to have a cigarette with her after
breakfast not long after she first started smoking, this was the first time
she had seen her have one before. She couldn't resist a comment. "There's
nothing like those first few good puffs early in the morning, is there? Looks
like you're turning into a real Marlboro girl," she remarked with a grin.

Debbie grimaced, feeling embarrassed. She knew her mom was exactly right, but
didn't want to concede she was correct. "Oh, mom," she said, sounding
exasperated. "It's terrible. I just really felt like smoking when I got up
this morning. It was like I just couldn't wait to have one. And just now, when
I saw you smoke, it made me feel like I wanted another one. I just can't help

"It's OK, honey," Carol said sympathetically. "Sometimes that's just the way
it is. It comes with being a smoker."

"Well, I don't know what to think," Deb replied. "I mean, I'm glad that you
let me start smoking. I always like it when I smoke, but now sometimes it
feels like something more. It's like I really have to have a cigarette
sometimes. I'm not sure I like it so much when it feels like I need to smoke."

"Starting to crave them?," Carol asked before beginning a long puff on her

"Mm-huh," Debbie mumbled through the filter of her Marlboro as she took a puff
of her own. She inhaled and continued. "I mean, I guess so," she answered. "I
never quite felt like that before, but I think that must be it. It's sort of a
pain," she complained, exhaling smoke.

"Well, you better get used to it. That feeling you're talking about just means
your body is starting to like it, and it's telling you it that wants you to
smoke." Carol smiled. "That's why we smokers smoke, honey, because our bodies
need it to feel right. The longer you continue to smoke, the worse it's going
to get. If it really bothers you, then you better think about quitting."

"I don't want to quit," Debbie quickly shot back. "No way. Smoking's just too
good, and for the most part I really like it. I guess I need to get a little
more used to what it's all about. I think that I'm afraid I might start
smoking too much or something."

"I can understand that," Carol replied. "Especially with your skating and the
other sports you do.  Better to keep it in check and stay in shape."

"Yeah, that's sort of what I was thinking," Debbie said. "Like... how much do
you smoke, mom? On average, I mean," she asked.

"Oh, I'd say, about a pack and a half a day," Carol answered. "30 or so. A
carton lasts me almost a week."

"Wow," Debbie said. "I had no idea you smoked that much. I can't imagine what
that would be like.  I'm smoking, like, maybe 10 a day max. Does it affect

"Well, let's put it this way. I won't be running in the Boston Marathon any
time soon. Sure, it affects me some. You can't breathe in all that smoke every
day without it affecting your conditioning. I know my lungs probably aren't in
the shape they should be. But I still enjoy it, and besides, after smoking for
so long it's probably too late to do anything about that now anyway," she

"How did you get used to smoking so much? 30 a day seems like an awful lot,"
Deb asked.

"Well, I certainly didn't set out to smoke 30 a day when I first started," she
laughed. "I never intended to smoke this much. I started like you, with just a
few here and there. But eventually I started to feel like I wanted to smoke
every day, and I just sort of let it happen over time. I started taking my
pack with me when I went out, smoking if the mood struck me, that sort of
thing. I took it one step at a time and it was really easy to start smoking
more. You get used to it," she said, taking another puff. "I was at a pack a
day before I even knew it, and by then I was enjoying it too much to even
think about wanting to stop.The more I smoked the more I liked it, so I just
let myself find my own level," she said, exhaling. "For you, maybe it's 10 a
day, or maybe you'll find you want to smoke more than that.  Who knows, maybe
you'll end up wanting to smoke as much as I do. It all comes down too how much
you enjoy it. And, after all, it is enjoyable, right?" she said, smiling. 

Deb was in the middle of taking a puff of her own when the question was asked,
and she let herself extend the length of it as a kind of test. She then
inhaled more deeply than usual and felt the smoke fill her lungs as the
powerful hit of nicotine surged into her system. She closed her eyes
momentarily, enjoying the sensation, before sighing "Oh god, mom, yes,"
conceding the truth and smiling ruefully as she unleashed a long exhale.
Somehow, her mom's words helped reassure her. She knew she shouldn't smoke
that much, at least not yet, but somehow the prospect of smoking more and
eventually maybe even reaching her mom's level wasn't as scary to her. In
fact, in some ways it was exciting for her to think that one day she might end
up needing to smoke as much as her mom, having such a powerful grown-up habit,
since Carol obviously had no regrets. "Anyway," she said, changing the
subject, "Laura and me want to go to the mall this morning. Can we get a

"Oh, sure. I need to do some things here but I need to go there later on
myself. What if I drive you guys over there and come back here to do my thing,
then I can pick you up once I do my own errands?  That would give you two a
few hours on your own."

"Perfect! Thanks, mom," Debbie said. "I want one more cup of coffee, then I'll
give Laura a call."

"Here, pour me one too, will you?," Carol asked, leaning across to hand Debbie
her own mug. Deb prepared the two mugs and returned to the table, sliding one
in front of her mom. Carol took a sip, then picked up her green B&H pack. She
saw Debbie begin to reach for her gold Marlboro pack, and asked, "Feel like
trying one of these? I know they're not your favorite, but the menthol might
be easier on your throat if you're going to smoke again right now."

Debbie paused for a second, then accepted. "OK, mom, thanks," she said,
pulling one of the long all-white cigarettes out of the offered pack. "For a

"Exactly," Carol said, smiling. "Here, let me light you up." Debbie brought
the filter of the B&H to her lips and leaned across the table to accept the
light offered by her mom. Carol slid a cigarette out of the pack for herself
and lit up also as she saw her daughter blow out some uninhaled smoke, then
begin a slow, thoughtful pull on the mentholated cigarette. "What do you think
of these now? Any better?," she asked as she saw Debbie perform another
perfect inhale.

"Well, I still don't think I'd want to smoke them all the time," Debbie said
after filling her lungs  with a dose of the mentholated smoke. "I think you're
right, the menthol feels nice so soon after smoking the other one. I like the
cool feeling when I inhale, but I think I'd get tired of the menthol if I
smoked them full-time. They aren't as bad as I thought when I first tried them
though. You remember, they almost made me puke," she grinned, talking through
her exhale before releasing what remained towards the ceiling.

"Oh yeah, I remember," Carol laughed. "That was my fault. I should have warned
you not to try inhaling so much at first. I guess they're a bit of an acquired
taste. I like them though. The menthol just feels so refreshing. I think I'm
addicted to it as much as the nicotine," she laughed. "Now that you're more
used to smoking, I want you to try something that'll show you why I like
menthols. Take a really long puff on it like I do, and tell me how it feels
when you inhale. Feel up to it?"

Deb grinned, and nodded. Following her mom's lead, she brought the filter to
her lips in unison with Carol, and both began long, hard drags, their eyes
locked on each other's cigarettes. When they could not possibly take any more
smoke into their mouths, they pulled away the cigarettes and automatically
inhaled more deeply and urgently than usual since the extended drag had made
them completely empty their lungs of air. Debbie felt the numbing blast of
menthol shoot down her throat and permeate the depths of her lungs, and a cold
sensation radiated through her entire chest .  "Oh, wow," she sighed, holding
it in. "It feels like I just ran outside during the winter." She grinned and
slowly exhaled a long stream of smoke.

"Isn't that cool feeling nice? That's what I love. If you're going to smoke
more, you ought to think about switching to menthols. They make it easier if
you're smoking more often because they soothe your throat and let you inhale
more comfortably. Really, dear, I wish you'd consider smoking something like
this. Those Marlboros are awfully strong, and they're such a masculine

"But lots of girls at school smoke them, or the Lights. And I like them.
They're what I started with, and I haven't tried anything I like better," she
answered. "After all, you get a lot to like in a Marlboro," she said in a
false baritone, mocking one of the ad campaigns her dad's company used.

"You sound just like your father," Carol laughed. "OK Marlboro girl, I won't
bug you any more.  Give Laura a call in a few minutes and figure out when you
want to head out."


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