Katie's Smoking Epiphany, Part 7

(by Dromedary Joe, 09 May 2008)


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Katie's Smoking Epiphany (Part 7)
by Dromedary Joe

Loosely based on a true story...

Wow, thought Katie. I definitely didn't see this one coming. Normally, Katie
tried not to look shaken when she was caught this off-guard, but this was a
big one. She couldn't think of any two people she knew who she had  least
expected to start smoking than the twins. Maybe Karen. Or herself, she
thought. But she was a smoker now, too, although the twins didn't know that.
The twins sat waiting for her response.

"Go ahead," Katie said softly.

Amy opened her purse and pulled out an aquamarine pack of cigarettes. She lit
one up, took a drag and handed the pack to April. She then lit up another one
for herself. 

They smoked for a few minutes kind of nervously, waiting for the inevitable
lecture. A week ago they, no doubt, would have received the most severe
lecture Katie had ever given about smoking. But seeing them smoke only made
Katie feel even more like a hypocrite and it made her want a cigarette even
more, her silent speech to herself in the restroom mirror was all but
forgotten. She needed one.

The food got there right after the twins had put their cigarettes out and
they all ate their food. It was pretty quiet as the twins somehow thought
Katie was pissed about them smoking. Katie was quiet because she really
didn't know what to say. Usually after dinner, they'd sit around for an hour
or two and talk about life, church, school, and everything, but they all
probably thought that would never happen that day. The twins seemed antsy
after they were done eating and Katie knew it was because they wanted another
cigarette, but were afraid of how she would react. Finally, April got the
courage to light one up and Amy followed suit. They sat there for a moment in
silence which was so unusual when the three of them were together. Katie
picked up the cigarettes and the twins braced for the worst. They were sure
the pack in Katie's hand would be used as a prop during the lecture which was
about to start any minute.

Katie noticed the pack of cigarettes were Newports. She looked at the pack,
admiring the color scheme and noticed the symbol which looked like the upside
down Nike symbol. At the bottom, the pack read "Menthol Kings." She, of
course, had never tried a menthol cigarette. She knew enough to know that a
lot of smokers either really liked menthols or hated them. But she had never
tried one. She fumbled around with the package, noticing it was almost full,
for a few more seconds and then she finally got the nerve.

"Can I have one?" Katie said, her voice somewhat cracking.

"Sure,"  the twins said almost in unison. If the twins reaction was mild, it
was only because they assumed Katie was trying to use some reverse psychology
and was going to use a lit cigarette as a prop in some sort of lecture.

Katie took one out, put it in her mouth, and just dangled it for a few
seconds. It was shorter than her usual 100 mm smoke so it had a different
feel dangling at her lips. It kind of tingled a little bit. She sucked on it
and noticed it tasted strangely different than the first time she had put an
unlit Marlboro in her mouth. While that had tasted sort of like raisins,  a
very fruity taste, this tasted really minty. She grabbed the twins' lighter
off the table and flicked it, sucking in a huge ball of smoke and exhaling it
quickly. She then quickly put the cigarette back in her mouth, took a drag,
and before exhaling took another drag. She had never taken a double pump off
a cig before, but if she ever needed the extra nicotine, now was the time.
She paused and exhaled a long stream of smoke and said, "God, I really needed
that," as she exhaled the last bit of smoke from her mouth.

The twins laughed and gave each other a high five.

"You go, girl" Amy said.

Katie power smoked her cigarette and finished it before the twins did theirs,
even though they had a head start.

"Can I have another one?" asked Katie before the twins had even finished.

"Oh my God, Katie, you are like a chain smoker," said April laughing. 

Katie laughed at them and lit another one, and the twins soon followed.  If
it was quiet before and during the meal, it was definitely very noisy as the
girls sat there after lunch talking, mostly about smoking and how they had
started. The twins had started at summer camp and their parents had busted
them. They didn't punish them that harshly so the twins continued to smoke,
but more discreetly. They worried more about what Katie and Karen would think
than about their parents anyway. Katie said she was worried about what they
would think about her as well. They would all have to keep this a secret from
Karen. She would no doubt flip out if she knew the three of them were
smokers.

The girls sat longer after lunch than they usually did. No one really wanted
it to end, but as April lit up the final Newport in the pack, they all
decided that it was time to go. Katie left the tip next to the ash tray which
was now overflowing with cigarettes. Damn, Katie thought, they smoked a whole
pack in one sitting.

They got into the car and she opened the glove compartment. No need to hide
these in there anymore as she took out the Marlboro 100's pack and offered a
cigarette to both April and Amy.

"Oooh, Katie smokes `cowboy killers'," Amy said. 

"Yeah, try one," Katie said as she lit one.

She told them she was stopping by the store. She felt guilty about smoking a
lot of their cigarettes and went into the Haitian Station where she was now
becoming a regular. 

"Good afternoon, Sunshine," said the Indian guy behind the counter. She got
Dr. Peppers for herself and the twins.  At the register she said, with the
Marlboro still dangling from her mouth, "A pack of Newport kings, box
please," and then remembering the "two is cheaper" speech from the day before
added, "make that two packs of Newport kings, box, please."

She went to the car and said, "One for you, and one for you," as she handed
each of them a pack.

"Not one for you, though?" asked April.

"No I think I think I'll stick to my cowboy killers, for now." said Katie.

 She had liked the cool taste of Newports but wasn't sure if she could handle
it as her regular brand. She was open minded and wouldn't be one of those
smokers who hated menthols. She would smoke them, on occasion. On occasion,
she thought to herself. A week ago, the thought of smoking any cigarette,
menthol or not, would have made her sick.

She dropped the twins off and headed home. She, of course, lit up again as
she drove home. She felt better now. She could now smoke in front of the
twins and Rosa and Mike, she said to herself. All she needed was to be able
to smoke in front of Karen and her Mom. She knew she would eventually get
around to telling her mom she smoked, but Karen was a different story...

Katie got home and somehow managed to sneak a couple more cigs before she
went to bed. Tomorrow would be her first school day as a smoker. Could she
handle a whole day without smoking?

She got in her car the next morning and picked Rosa up. She had been waiting
for this moment all weekend. The last time she had seen Rosa was Friday at
school and she was still a non-smoker who was experimenting. Now she was a
smoker. She got to Rosa's house, lit up a Marlboro 100 and headed for the
door. Rosa's parents smoked and had no problem with Rosa smoking, even at
home, so she knew they wouldn't have a problem with her smoking.

Rosa opened the door and noticed Katie was smoking.

"Oh my God, you bought your own?" Rosa asked surprised.

"Yep, I'm a regular at the Haitian Station, now."

Rosa laughed and got in the car.

They smoked two cigarettes before getting to campus and then they went to the
restroom before anyone could smell the smoke on them.

That day, Rosa showed Katie her "secret spot" where she  smoked near the
bushes on the back side of the campus. Rosa even had a hidden stash of
Marlboro 100's so she wouldn't get caught with them in her purse.

"Need a ride home today?" Katie asked Rosa during the last class.

"No, I have band practice today," Rosa said.

Darn, thought Katie. Maybe she could hunt down the twins before they were
picked up from school by their parents, but she couldn't find them after the
last class had ended. She kind of enjoyed hanging out with her new smoking
buddies and wished she could hang out with Rosa or the twins or both right
now...

"Hey," she heard behind her. It was her best friend Karen. She really hadn't
spent a whole lot of time with Karen and she was starting to feel a little
bit jealous as Karen always made excuses about hanging out with her
boyfriend, Chad. 

"Hey," said Katie. 

"I was wondering if you could give me a ride home, today?"

"What about Chad?" Katie asked kind of sarcastically.

"He's hanging out with some of the guys today, and besides I've missed you,"
Karen replied. "And," she added, "I've felt really guilty about not spending
time with you. You're still my best friend in the whole world and I would
never want that to ever change, Katie."

Katie gave her a hug and felt like crying. She took out her "BFF" necklace,
Karen took out hers, and they matched them up. 

They walked to Katie's car and Katie saw Mike a couple of cars down. She
hadn't seen him at school all day, although she was hoping she could catch
him at the right moment when they were alone. 

He had an unlit cigarette in his mouth and he lit it up as he approached
them.

"Hey, Karen. What's up ?" he said.

"Not much, Mikey." she replied.

But it was obvious he was simply getting the niceties out of the way with
Karen so he could talk to Katie as he went to the driver's side of her car.

"Hey, Katie. Wanna share a smoke?" he asked.

She didn't say anything as her heart skipped a beat.

"I figured since you shared your cigarette with me Friday, I'd return the
favor and share one with you." 

She glanced over at Karen and saw the look of shock on her face. This was
big. And a not very good big, she thought to herself.

She thought really quick. She really did want to share a cigarette with Mike
for a couple of reasons. One, she saw the way they kind of bonded over their
last smoke together, and two, she was really craving one right now. But part
of her wanted to save face by lying and saying something like, "You fucking
liar. You know I don't smoke. Why are you trying to ruin my reputation by
saying I would smoke?" Or something like that. But that would probably ruin
her chances with him forever. She could simply say, "No thanks." and leave.
But Karen would still know she had smoked. Mike really wasn't the type of guy
to do those kind of things. Later she had found out that he had assumed that
since they were best friends, Karen must have known she was a smoker. But at
that moment she wasn't sure why he had done that in front of Karen, but she
needed the nicotine, and the cat was out of the bag, so...

"Sure," she said and reached for the cigarette in his hand. She remembered
how they had flirtatiously touched their hands together the last time they
had smoked a cigarette and she lingered a bit before she took it out of his
hand. She took a quick drag. That felt so good. She forgot about Karen for a
moment. Karen had gotten in the car and wasn't saying anything. She was
pissed, of that Katie was sure. But it was already a done deal. She was
smoking in front of Karen.

Katie noticed the words on the filter as she took another drag. It was a
Marlboro, but shorter than her 100's. She was new to smoking but she was sure
they were the kind in the short red box. They tasted strong, stronger than
her 100's, and she handed it back to Mike. He smiled and he moved closer to
her. They both had their backs to the driver side front door with their legs
and waists touching. She liked being close to Mike and she got really horny.
Since it was a shorter cig, they finished it quicker and Katie said, "I gotta
go."

"Hey, Katie-" Mike started to say and then paused as if he was thinking of
what to say next. "Mind if I call you?"

"I'd like that," she replied.  She opened her purse and jotted down her
number on a scratch piece of paper along with her name and a smiley with a
wink.

Mike smiled as he saw it and winked at her and gave her a hug and kissed her
forehead.

If it was possible to be overjoyed and upset at the same time, Katie was
definitely feeling that way right now. The guy she had a huge crush on for a
couple of years was showing interest in her. But at the same time, her best
friend was slipping away, Katie thought to herself. She got in the car and
drove away.

There was silence as they headed for Karen's house. Karen finally broke the
silence by saying, "Hey could you stop by the store so I can buy a Dr.
Pepper?"

"Sure," said Katie quietly. Katie tried to gauge the inflection she had heard
in Karen's voice, but it didn't show any emotion. It was usually that way
when she got pissed...

The nearest store was the Haitian Station, of course. It was kind of ironic
that they were stopping there because at one time Katie had sworn she would
never buy anything from there since it had made her sick how they sold
tobacco products and beer to minors. She would say that she was going to
report them to the police and Karen would laugh. In a fake Indian voice Karen
would say, "But Mister Policeman, I did not sell beer or sigareets to anyone
under 12. Tat is the age of consent where I come from!"

Katie stayed in the car. No need for Karen to know that the Indian treated
her as valued customer now.  Katie looked down while Karen was in the store.
She was sure her friend would either start lecturing her once they both had
their Dr. Peppers or that her friend would continue the silent treatment and
then stop calling her, pretty much writing her off as a friend. Karen got
back in the car and Katie was still looking down.

"Hey, Kate," Karen finally said after what seemed like forever, "You like
menthols?" 

Katie's head went up quickly and she noticed Karen was pulling a pack of
cigarettes out of her purse. They were the same kind that Karen's mom smoked
- Virginia Slims. 

"Yeah," said Katie. Oh my God, she said to herself. Karen smokes! She
wondered how long Karen had been smoking, but based on the efficiency she
showed packing the cigarettes and tearing off the wrap and tin foil, she
seemed like she was much more than a novice. She cocked her wrist to bring a
few of the butts above the rest, proffered it to Katie and Katie grabbed one.
Karen grabbed one for herself and started to get a lighter out of her purse,
but Katie already had the pink one that she always used to light her candles,
and now apparently her cigarettes. Katie offered Karen a light and then lit
her own. As they blew out the first exhale they both started laughing. This
was definitely unexpected for Katie. Now it seemed all her friends smoked. 

"Not bad," said Katie after a few more hits off the Virginia Slim. Kind of
mild. Karen opened up her purse and Katie saw two more packs in there. 

"Want one?" Karen said ,through an exhale as she offered one of the packs to
Katie. Katie took one of them and then remembered something. She opened up
her glove compartment and offered Karen one of the three Marlboro 100's packs
in there.

"Buy tree packs, save two dollar!" said Karen in her fake Indian voice. Katie
smiled as she realized her friend had  gone for the same Haitian Station
three pack special that she took advantage of before school. They got to
Karen's house and Karen invited Katie inside. She sat at the kitchen table,
took out her pack of cigarettes and lit one up. Katie got a little bit
nervous since Karen's mom would be home soon.

"Don't worry. My mom knows I smoke. I've been smoking since we were
sophomores,"  Karen said. "And I'm sure she won't tell your mom if you don't
want her to."

"Really?" Katie said in shock as she took a drag. She was looking at the
fancy writing on her pack of Virginia Slims. They were Virginia Slims Luxury
Lights and she thought the cursive `L's' looked really cool. The cigarette
was really long (longer than her usually 100's) and she liked the feeling as
it dangled in her mouth. She told Karen she had only started smoking last
week.

"Wow, you're like a pro. It took me forever before I could even learn how to
inhale right and you look like you've been smoking forever. And you smoke
those cowboy killers," she said as she pulled out the Marlboro 100's that
Katie had given her. "I don't know if I can handle these. But I'll give it a
try."

"So you've been smoking for two years and you didn't tell me, your best
friend?" Katie asked, sounding a little bit hurt.

"Kate, you know you would have flipped. Think about it, you didn't tell me
when you started smoking and I would have never found out unless Mike hadn't
of asked you to share his smoke like you had shared one with him. The look on
your face when he said that in front of me was priceless. I was only
pretending to be pissed off because that was the only way I could keep from
laughing," said Karen. "And I didn't want to lose you as a friend. So when I
started sneaking my Mom's cigarettes, I didn't tell you. Eventually my mom
found out and she and my dad were cool with it, but I still knew I could
never smoke in front of you or give any hint that I was a smoker. That's why
I never even smoked in my room- I was afraid you would come over and smell it
in my room. And I really didn't smoke all that much until the start of this
school year. That's why I was sort of avoiding you - I was smoking like a
chimney. I smoke about a pack and a half a day now."

Karen's mother came home and said hi to both of them. "I see you've joined
the smoking club, Katie. Welcome."

"Please don't tell my mom," Katie pleaded with her, and of course she said
she wouldn't.

Katie and Karen talked and smoked for a while. 

"I gotta go, but I'll smoke one more with you," said Katie. 

"Here, let's smoke one of your cowboy killers this time," as Karen packed the
Marlboro 100's that Katie had given her. She offered one to Katie and they
both lit up.

Karen started giggling and said as she exhaled, "Could you see the twins if
they walked in here right now, they'd shit their pants..."

Katie laughed as she blew out another plume of smoke. She had promised Amy
and April not to tell anybody ("especially Karen") that they were smokers and
it wouldn't be right to tell them that Karen was now a smoker. Somehow, there
would have to be another happy accident...


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