Sweet Sensations, Part 1

(by anonymous, 05 November 2002)


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Sweet Sensations
Part 1 - Stepping Stones

   Candida Martin was eleven years old and spent her days between school and
helping her mother Sandra around the house.  If circumstances were different,
she would prefer not to have to do so much housework. Because her father died
accidentally a few years ago her mother had to work to support her.  It was
only fair that she chip in with some housework.  She didn't do anything too
difficult; keeping the house presentable, doing some laundry, and cooking the
occasional meal were her basic duties.  She was able to maintain grades of A's
and B's with little effort.  One thing she enjoyed was sweets.  Her favorites
were pixie stix.  She liked the high sugar concentration she got from them the
best.  

   At a visit to the dentist, Candida was found to have three cavities.  The
dentist said it wasn't a problem now because they were her baby teeth, but
soon her permanent teeth would come in and something had to be done.  Her
dentist told her mother to eliminate the pixie stix and all should be well.
Her mother agreed to this and told Candida the news when they got home.  

   Sandra lit up a Misty Menthol 120 and took a few satisfying drags.  She was
29 years old, 5'9" and 135 pounds.  Her blonde hair complimented her blue eyes
and shapely figure.  "The dentist told me that you can't have pixie stix any
more.  It would be bad for your adult teeth and he wants you to stop eating
them."

   "No mom, I don't want to give up my pixie stix, I love them.  Please don't
make me."

   "It's for your own good Candi.  We can't risk ruining your permanent
teeth."

   "Isn't there any other way mom?  I really don't want to have to stop eating
my pixie stix.  Please tell me I don't have to."

   "I'll check with the dentist and see what he suggests honey."  Sandra took
another drag on her Misty Menthol 120.  "I'll call him in a few minutes.  In
the mean time why don't you do some homework?"

   "I'm all done with it mom.  Can I please have a pixie stick?"

   I'm going to make dinner soon.  Go play for now and we'll see about after
dinner."  Candida went to her room and Sandra finished her cigarette at the
table.  She called the dentist's office to explain the situation.  The
receptionist put her on hold while she got the dentist.  Sandra reflexively
got another cigarette and lit up while holding.

   "This is Doctor Jones.  How can I help you Ms Martin?"

   "It's about Candida.  She's very upset about having to give up pixie stix.
She enjoys them a lot and I was wondering if there was anything I could do to
help her."

   "Well, I guess you could find a substitute for them, something with less
sugar the stix.  If you monitor her sweets and get her to brush more often
after eating them, she should be fine."

   "I'm sure I can find something to wean her off of those stix.  Goodbye and
thank you Dr. Jones."  Sandra finished her cigarette then began dinner.  When
it was done, Sandra had her after dinner cigarette and agreed to let Candida
have another pixie stick after her daughter pleaded with her.

   The next day, Sandra went shopping after work.  She bought some groceries
and snacks for her daughter.  When she got home, she found Candida eating a
pixie stick.  "I thought you weren't to have any more of those.  I bought you
some candy to try so you can get off this kick.  Help me put the things away
and I'll show you."

   "I'm sorry mom, it's just hard to stop because I like it so much."

   "I know Candi, but I'm going to help you as much as I can."  Sandra
automatically reached for a cigarette and lit up.  "That's why I got you these
Skittles and M&M's to try."  She took a drag, inhaled deeply as was her style,
and exhaled a cone toward the ceiling.  "Give them a chance and let me know
how it goes."

   After a few days, Candida told her mother that the new candies weren't
satisfying her as much as the pixie stix did.  She explained that it wasn't
the same because with the stix, she'd have something to hold in her hand.
With the other candies, she was just popping one after the other in her mouth
and she didn't really like the flavors.  Sandra agreed to try and find another
substitute when she went shopping again.  In the meantime, she allowed Candida
to have a few stix each day to hold her over.  Sandra thought it was only fair
because Candida was making an honest effort to switch.

   The next time she went grocery shopping, Sandra kept her word and got a
different sweet for Candida.  Upon returning home, she called her daughter to
help put away the groceries.  "I got you some candy cigarettes to try.  I
figured it would give you something to hold and would last longer than the
other candies.  Just suck on them instead of chewing them."

   "Thanks for helping mom, I'll give them a try.  Can I have one now?"

   "I guess so Candi."  Sandra handed a pack of candy cigarettes to her and
decided to have a cigarette herself.  As Candi sampled her candy cigarette,
Sandra enjoyed the real thing.

   "These aren't bad mom.  They're sweet enough and give me something to hold
just like my pixie stix."

   "I'm glad we found something you like.  Maybe now your teeth will have a
chance."  Sandra smoked her Misty menthol 120 and Candida ate her candy
cigarette together at the table.

   Over time, Candida was able to wean herself off of the pixie stix by using
the candy cigarettes.  Her dentist was pleased with her teeth and things were
going well.  Candida would eat about half a package of candy cigarettes each
day, and was able to keep up her dental hygiene.  Sandra was pleased with
Candida's progress and decided to give her a treat to reward her.  She made
Candi her favorite dinner and allowed her to have some wine with it.  Candi
was happy with the meal and thanked Sandra for the chance to try the wine.
After they ate, Sandra had a cigarette and Candida had one of her now
customary after dinner candy cigarettes.  Sandra thought it was cute how
Candida would sometimes mimic her smoking style, taking make believe puffs on
her candy cigarette and blowing out make believe exhales.  

   Two months into Candida's new routine, Sandra came home with good news.
She received a promotion and would have extra money for their needs.  She
cooked a small feast for the two of them that night.  Candida was again
allowed some wine with dinner.  In celebration, Sandra had more wine than she
normally would, and let Candida have a little extra also.  When Sandra lit up
after the meal, Candida noticed that her pack of candy cigarettes was empty.
She went to get a fresh pack, but couldn't find one.

   "Mom, where are my candy cigarettes?  I can't find them."

   Through an exhale Sandra said, "They should be in the cabinet where they
always are."

   "There's none. I looked.  Can you please go to the store and get me some?"

   Feeling the effects of the wine, Sandra said, "I don't think I'm in shape
to drive right now."  She paused to take another drag.  "Sorry, you'll just
have to go without them until tomorrow."

   "I'll go nuts without them until then.  Isn't there anything you can do?"

   Sandra topped off her wineglass and thought about it.  She didn't want
Candida to suffer even if it was just from not having candy.  She came up with
an idea.  It was strange, but the wine made it seem ok to her.  She took out
another Misty Menthol 120.  "Why don't you take this in place of your candy
cigarettes?  It will give you something to hold and if you suck on it, it will
taste minty.  It's the best I can do for you right now."  She held out the
unlit cigarette to her daughter.

   Sandra was taken by surprise.  How was this going to help her?  She decided
it was this or nothing so she took it.  "I'll give it a shot.  Maybe it will
help."  She held it like her mother held hers.

   Sandra had another sip of wine and took another drag of her cigarette.  "Is
it helping any?"

   "Not really mom.  It gives me something to hold, but that's it."

   "You have to put it in your mouth if you want to taste the mint.  Just suck
on it like it's a straw.  You should taste something."  

   Candida put the unlit cigarette to her lips and did like her mother said.
She did taste something minty, but there was no sugar taste.  "It tastes
minty, but it's strange."

   "Keep it up dear, it's all you've got for now.  Here, have some more wine."
Sandra poured a bit more wine into Candida's glass.



   She watched her daughter bring the unlit cigarette to her lips several
times and remembered back to when she was twelve.  Her friend Tina was with
her after school in Tina's yard and they played on the swings.  She was
shocked when she saw Tina take out a cigarette from her pocket and light it.
"What are you doing Tina?"

   "What does it look like?  I'm smoking a cigarette."  Tina took a puff to
show her.

   "Why would you do that?"

   "It's fun and it feels good.  I've been stealing a few from my mom for a
few weeks now."  Tina again puffed on her cigarette.  

   "Aren't you afraid of getting caught?"

   "No, my parents don't get home until six and nobody can see me with the
fences.  Hey, you want to try it?"

   "I don't think so."

   "Oh come on, It's good.  Here, take it."  Tina extended the cigarette to
Sandra.  Sandra took it in her hand.  "Go on, try it."  With Tina's prodding,
Sandra brought the cigarette to her lips and tried a puff.  "Nice going, try
again."  Sandra took a second puff.  "What do you think?"

   "It's alright.  Tastes a little weird, but it was fun to blow out the
smoke."  She took one more puff and handed it back to Tina.  Tina finished the
cigarette by herself.

   A half-hour later, Tina took out two cigarettes.  She lit one and said,
"Have a cigarette with me, it will be cool."  She offered it to Sandra.

   For some reason, Sandra found herself taking the offered cigarette.  When
she did, Tina lit the other one for herself.  After taking a few puffs, Tina
taught her how to inhale.  She took a drag and let the smoke slip past her
mouth, down her windpipe, and into her lungs.  She waited two seconds before
exhaling the smoke.  Tina told her to do it again.  She did and felt herself
getting lightheaded.  It was one of the best things she ever felt.  "This is
amazing Tina.  I feel great."

   "I told you so."  Tina took a drag of her own.

   Sandra had another cigarette that day and hasn't gone a day without smoking
since.  Her parents, smokers themselves, were understanding when they
eventually found out.  Over time her habit grew to its present pack and a half
to two pack a day level and her style developed into its present elegant look.



   Sandra was brought back to reality by the sound of Candida's voice.  "What
did you say honey?  I'm afraid I was daydreaming.

   "I said I wish I had my candy cigarettes because this isn't helping too
much."

   Maybe it was the thoughts of her own childhood; maybe it was the wine, or a
combination of the two, whatever caused the thought to enter her mind didn't
matter.  She looked at Candida and decided it was the thing to do.  "I want
you to try something that might help.  Let me light that cigarette for you.
If you smoke it, it might take your mind off of candy."

   "But I never smoked mom.  I don't know how."

   "You've watched me long enough.  Just do like you've been doing and you'll
be fine.  I'll help you.  Put it in your mouth and pull on it when I put the
flame to it.  When you feel the smoke in your mouth, take out the cigarette
and blow out the smoke."  Sandra lit the lighter and waited for Candida to put
the cigarette in her mouth.  When Candida did, she brought the flame to its
tip.  "Now Candida, pull on the cigarette."  Sandra watched as the tip of the
Misty Menthol 120 began to glow and smoke began to rise.  "Good, now blow it
out."  Candida took the cigarette from her mouth and let the smoke out.  "Try
it again."  Candida took another small puff and blew out the smoke.  "You're
doing good.  How is it?"

   "It tastes kind of minty cool, kind of like the candy ones.  It's not too
bad."

   "That's because it's menthol.  Now when your ashes start to get too long,
just tap them off like this."  Sandra demonstrated for her then watched as she
took another small puff, blew it out and tapped off her ashes.  "That's the
way.  Just take your time with it."

   "OK mom."  Candida took another puff and blew it out.  "My mouth is
watering a little mom."

   "Take a sip of your wine.  It will help."  She watched as Candida quenched
her thirst.  They continued smoking, Sandra inhaling as always and Candida
just puffing.  When Candida was done, Sandra showed her how to put out her
cigarette.

   "Thanks mom, that was fun.  I don't even feel like having candy now."

   You're welcome dear.  I'll get you more candy tomorrow.  Let's clean up now
then you can go play."

   A few hours later, Candida came out of her room.  Sandra was watching
television and had just lit up before Candida came in the living room.
"Mommy, I feel like having candy again."

   "I can't get any until tomorrow."

   "I know mom." Candida looked at her mother with sad eyes.

   Sandra felt bad for her daughter.  "Come sit next to me and I'll let you
have a few puffs of my cigarette."  Candi sat next to her and Sandra put her
cigarette to Candi's lips.  "Here, take some."  Candida put her lips around it
and took a puff like she did at dinner.  Sandra removed the cigarette from
Candida's lips and brought it to her own for a drag.  Sandra gave Candida four
puffs while she smoked her cigarette.  "Did that help?"

   "Yes mom.  I don't want candy again."

   "I'm glad.  Why don't you get washed and ready for bed?"

   "Sure mom, thanks."  Candi showered and was ready to go to sleep shortly
thereafter.  She gave her mother a hug and a kiss.  "Good night mom.  I love
you."

   "I love you too Candi.  See you in the morning."  Candida trotted off to
bed and Sandra watched some more TV and had a few more cigarettes before
calling it a night herself.


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