Fame and Fortune, Part 1

(by anonymous13, 18 December 2002)

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Fame and Fortune

Part 1 - The Lure of Fame

   "Hey Cindy, glad I caught up with you.  I've got a letter I need to give to
your parents for me," Gina said as she reached her friend.  

   "What's it about?"

   "It's about a study.  My parents got involved with the study about a month
ago.  They think your parents will want to also.  I think they will too."

   "Why do you think so Gina?"

   "Let's just say these people are good at what they do.  When my parents
told me about what they wanted, I was scared at first, but it wasn't hard at

   "What wasn't hard?"

   "I'll tell you later, after you give your parents the envelope."

   Trusting her friend, fifteen-year-old Cindy took the letter from Gina.  "OK
Gina, I'll call you then."

   "I'm sure you will," Gina said with a hint of a smile.  The girls walked
together for a while then went their separate ways.

   That evening, Cindy gave the letter to her parents, explaining to them how
Gina's parents thought they would like the offer.  Later, Cindy's mother Betty
opened it to find a cover letter and two sets of papers.  She read the cover

   Enclosed are two sets of identical proposals.  Please return them only when
you and your spouse have reached a mutual decision.  Thank you in advance for
taking the time to read our proposal.  We are confident that you will agree to
our offer and look forward to your participation.

   Betty called her husband Dave over to her and gave him a set of papers
after telling him about the initial paragraph.  Together they read their copy:

   We have contacted you based on the recommendation of your daughter Cindy's
friend Gina's parents.  They have seen what we can do and feel that you can
help us.  All we ask is an open mind.  We would like to invite you to join our
core group.  We offer you the opportunity to earn substantial financial gain
for doing next to nothing.  We require you to consent to allowing Cindy to use
and eventually promote our product.  All you have to do is support her however
you can.  You and your spouse will receive $50,000 per year, after taxes.
Cindy will be eligible for incentives based on performance, which will be
measured by the number of new clients she brings to our product.  Cindy will
of course receive our product free of charge for as long as she chooses.  To
anyone in your immediate family, we would like to offer in advance, the
invitation to use our product free of charge.  Since we will not reveal to you
the nature of our product yet, we have arranged for a "signing bonus."  In
order to receive it, all you must do is have Cindy call Gina and arrange for
her to go to her house.  Gina's parents have been instructed to give to Cindy
in a sealed envelope, a check for $250,000 which she will bring to you upon
her return if she meets our initial requirements as judged by Gina.  Cindy
will also have more details about our product.  We have only one stipulation:
by signing below and giving these proposals in the supplied envelope to Cindy
and having Cindy go to Gina's, you agree to a one year contract which must be
fulfilled or we will have the right to sue for breach if contract.  If you
choose not to send Cindy, simply have her call and say she's not coming.  We
will be contacted and will then consider the offer rejected with no further
obligation on your part.  We do however eagerly hope you will decide to accept
our offer and we look forward to sharing the same opportunity with you that we
are currently sharing with Gina's family.  

   When they finished reading, Betty said to Dave, "Can you believe this?
We'll get $150,000 each just for letting Cindy help sell some product.  They
don't give much information about it.  What could it be?"

   "Since Elaine and Chuck recommended us, they must approve of it.  Gina's
such a great kid too.  She's always polite and friendly, just like Cindy.  I
say we sign and send Cindy."

   "I guess you're right Dave.  Let's sign them.  They did and told Cindy to
call Gina and tell her it's fine for her to go there if she asks.

   Cindy called Gina.  "Hi Gina, its Cindy.  My parents told me to call you so
I can come over.  Is it ok?"

   "I see your parents took the offer.  Sure, come right over."

   "Took what offer?"

   "The one about the study that I gave to you to give them.  Don't forget to
bring the letter they'll give you."

   "What's it about?"

   "I'll tell you when you get here."

   "Fine, I'll come right over."  Cindy got ready to leave.  When she said
goodbye to her folks, they gave her the letter that Gina mentioned.  She asked
them what it said and was told what little they knew before she headed out.
Twenty minutes later, she was welcomed into Gina's house.

   "It's good to see you again Cindy."

   "Hello Elaine, how are you?"

   "I'm doing well.  Come inside, Gina and Chuck are in the living room."

   Cindy followed Elaine and found the others watching TV.  "Hi Gina, hi

   "Hello Cindy," said Chuck.

   "Sit down here," Gina said pointing to the seat next to her.  

   Cindy sat down and gave the letter to Gina.  "Here's the letter.  Now
what's up?"

   "Your parents have decided to join the team," Elaine said.  In a bit, I'll
let Gina show you what this is all about, and according to her, you're going
to like it.  I just want you to know that we're behind Gina and I know your
parents will be behind you.

   "That's right Cindy," Chuck said.  "Don't worry about trying new things and
you'll do fine, just like Gina."

   "I don't even know what I'm supposed to do," Cindy said.

   "Gina, why don't you tell Cindy so she can get started?"

   "Sure mom.  Well Cindy, you have to use this product at least three times a
day, once in the morning, noon and night.  Anything after that is up to you.
You'll always have as much as you want to use; it's one of the perks.  I've
been using it for about a month and I know you'll like it."

   "I'll do it, but what exactly will I be doing?"

   Gina reached over to the endtable and picked up a pack of cigarettes and
lighter.  She took one from the pack, placed it in her lips and lit it.  She
then inhaled the smoke before exhaling it out again.  "You're going to smoke

   "Are you kidding me?  Why are you smoking and what makes you think I will?"

   "This is the product that I was telling you about.  They're very good."
Gina took a pull from her cigarette and continued, "If you ask me, it's a good

   "But you're young Gina, how come they wanted you?"

   "I'll answer that," Elaine said.  "The reason Gina was selected was because
she's thirteen.  With the recent changes to the laws, they found that although
it's illegal to sell cigarettes to someone her age, giving them free of charge
fits a loophole they found.  It's got to do with research or marketing I think
they said."

   "So you smoke three a day Gina?"

   "No Cindy, it's more like six or seven.  I really don't count anymore, I
just smoke when I feel like it."

   Cindy watched her friend take another puff of the cigarette she was holding
in her right hand.  "But isn't smoking supposed to be bad for you?"

   After exhaling, Gina said, "People say it is, but after trying it, I don't
care.  Come on Cindy, have one with me." 

   Cindy looked at the offered open pack of cigarettes that Gina extended
toward her.  She never thought about smoking before, but found herself
reaching for one anyway.  "All I have to do is smoke three a day?"

   "To meet the minimum requirements, yes."

   "In that case, give me a light."  Cindy placed the cigarette to her lips.

   Moving the lighter to the tip of Cindy's cigarette, Gina said, "Just pull
enough to get it lit then blow it out."  Gina watched the tip of Cindy's
cigarette glow red as wisps of smoke began to rise from it.  When Cindy blew
out the smoke, Gina said, "Keep doing that for a while."

   Cindy took a second puff and blew it out.  "It tastes funny, but in a nice
way."  She tried again.

   "You get used to it pretty quick," Gina told her.  "Take another and I'll
show you how to inhale."  Cindy took a third puff, blowing it out without
inhaling.  "The next one you take, instead of blowing it out right away, open
your mouth and breathe it in first."

   Cindy didn't know what to expect, but followed Gina's direction.  She
brought the cigarette to her lips and took a puff.  She paused before opening
her mouth and allowing the smoke into her lungs.  She knew that people
sometimes coughed when they inhaled for the first time, but had no urge to
cough herself.  She exhaled and said, "That wasn't bad.  I thought people
cough their first time."

   "Not everybody does," Gina said.  "I think these are easy to inhale."  She
watched as Cindy took a second inhale.  "I told you that you would do fine."
Gina took a pull from her cigarette and inhaled.

   As Gina exhaled, Cindy asked, "What do they call these anyway?"

   "They're called Fame.  These are Fame 100s to be exact."

   "So we're part of the test market?" Cindy asked, bringing the cigarette to
her lips for another drag.

   Elaine said, "It's a bit more than that actually.  Part of the deal is that
you eventually get others to try them.  The company that makes them thinks
that some that try them will want to smoke them occasionally.  The company
expects you to encourage others to try Fame."

   Cindy took a puff, this one deeper than the previous ones.  After exhaling,
she said, "I don't know if I'm ready to get my friends to smoke Elaine."  She
did admit to herself that she was enjoying her first one.

   "There's no rush Cindy," Elaine replied.  "Just smoke for now.  Your
feelings might change after a while.  I felt strange watching Gina smoke at
first."  She looked to her daughter who smiled back at her.  Gina took a puff
as Elaine continued.  "Then I got used to it.  She really looks like she
enjoys herself when she smokes."

   "Oh mom, you know I love it."

   "I know dear," Elaine told Gina.  She opened her purse and took out a pack
of Fame 100s.  She opened the pack, took one out and lit it, blowing out the
first puff.  She took another pull.  Her cheeks moved slightly inward as she
pulled hard on it.  She inhaled deeply.  Exhaling, she said, "I know.  I love
it too."

   "You smoke too Elaine?" Cindy asked, inhaling as she stubbed out her almost
spent cigarette.  She was disappointed it was done.

   "Yes I do.  I began thinking about it and tried it one day.  I took one
from one of Gina's packs one day while she was at school.  She always had two
or three open packs around the house.  I tried it and liked it so I have a few
a day.  Gina even got credit for me starting."

   "Credit?" asked Cindy.

   "Did I forget to mention the money?  I get $500 for any family member that
smokes Fame, and they get free cigarettes.  When I had my first one, I was
told to leave open packs around the house when I smoked there.  You should do
the same."

   Elaine added, "The temptation just got to me once, but now I have a better
understanding when I watch her get someone started.  She's just giving them a
chance to enjoy a little Fame.  The only difference is that others pay for

   "How many people have you gotten started Gina?"

   "You are number twenty.  The company keeps track of how many people I
start.  Number twenty is special, so I kept it for you."

   "Why is that?"

   "You see Cindy, I sell them to people for five dollars a pack and give the
money to the company.  In return, they put two dollars for each pack I sell
into an account I get when I reach twenty.  They say it should help with
paying my education.  It can't hurt.  You now have that same opportunity.
Just think about it.  In the meantime, these are for you."  She handed Cindy a
carton of Fame 100s and several disposable lighters.  Why don't you open them
and have one of your own now?"

   Cindy knew she was only required to smoke three a day and here she was at
number two.  The newness of it made her not think about it for too long as she
opened the carton took out a pack and began to open it.

   "Don't open it yet, pack it first," Elaine told her.

   "How do I do that?"  Elaine explained the mechanics.  After packing it, she
took off the cellophane from the flip top.  She opened the pack and took off
the foil.  She took one out and put it in her mouth.  With one of the
lighters, she lit it and blew out the first puff as she had seen Elaine do.
She took a large pull and inhaled it.  Exhaling, she couldn't deny describing
the sensation she felt as pleasurable.

   "Give this letter to your parents when you go home.  It explains more to
them.  Don't smoke there until they read it."

   As Cindy continued to smoke, she reminded herself that three a day was just
a minimum.  She was enjoying her fifteen minutes of smoking Fame.  She
finished her cigarette, gathered her cigarettes and lighters along with a few
ashtrays that Elaine had put in a black plastic bag for her, and said
goodnight to everyone.

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