Amy and Bonnie, Part 1

(by, 14 March 2002)

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Amy and Bonnie

Chapter 1
To Auntie's House We Go!

"Come on honey, get up! We're going to be late." the voice came floating into
the room as it receded down the stairs.

Amy Carson peeled the covers back and crawled out of bed. Wiping the sleep
from her 14-year-old eyes she made a quick stop at the bathroom before
bounding down the stairs. Upon reaching the kitchen, she smiled at her mother
and sat down, reaching for her glass of orange juice and taking a sip. Her
mother smiled at her and sat down with her at the table.

"Mom, do I really have to go stay with Aunt Bonnie?" Amy asked plaintively.

Carol Carson sighed. "Honey we've been through this. I just can't afford to
take you on this trip. It's a business trip, and the company went so far as to
pay my way, but they refused to pay yours. I'm sorry, but we have no choice.
Why don't you like your Aunt Bonnie, Great Aunt I should say?"

Amy squirmed uncomfortably. When she was younger she'd feared Aunt Bonnie
without even knowing why. She'd also heard some strange stories about her
Great Aunt. Also, Bonnie smoked. Heavily. The stench was hideous. "It's not
that I don't like her. I do, really! It's just, I don't like her smoking. It
smells so bad! And I don't want to breathe that tar and stuff for 6 weeks!"

"Honey, I understand completely. I can't stand it myself. But Bonnie assured
me she wouldn't smoke around you that much. And you can go outside a lot, it's
summer now!" Carol tried to make things sound better, but she knew her
daughter was unhappy. "I'll call you every week sweetie, I promise! Come on,
it's just 6 weeks! Anyway, she'll be here soon, you'd better get ready."

"Ok Mom. I'll go up and get my stuff." 

Carol sighed, feeling every bit of her 41 years. She'd had Amy quite late in
life, and had divorced Amy's father when Amy was just about to turn four. He
never called or checked on the girl. She felt quite the single parent. Having
her Aunt Bonnie take care of Amy while Carol was away was a complete God-send
to Carol.

Amy trudged up the stairs and began packing her favorite summer clothes in her
suitcase. As she packed, she thought things over. "Maybe it won't be so bad.
Maybe she might have quit! Or if not, maybe I could talk her into quitting, or
help her quit!" With that happy thought, Amy quickly finished and headed back
downstairs with her suitcase.

About 15 minutes later, as Amy was relaxing on the couch, the doorbell rang.
Her mom called from her parent's bedroom, "Get that, will  you Amy? It's your
Aunt Bonnie."

Amy walked over to the door and opened it. There stood Great Aunt Bonnie
Carson. Dressed in a plain black sweater and black slacks. Her hair was much
whiter than the last time Amy had saw her. Amy noted the hair was a
yellowish-ivory color. Her skin was quite wrinkled, especially around her
mouth, which was painted a deep red. 

Bonnie smiled at Amy. "There you are! It's been 2 years, and look how you've
grown! You've become quite a young lady! Come here and give me a big hug!"

Amy frowned, noticing Bonnie's yellow teeth, and hearing her gravelly baritone
voice. As she embraced her Aunt, she was overcome with her Aunt's incredibly
strong cigarette stench. The smell nearly gagged her.

Amy sighed. "Ugh, she sure hasn't stopped smoking. God, it smells so

Bonnie and Carol made some small talk, the usual family gossip. Then came the
time to depart. Amy hugged her mother tightly. She did not want to let go, but
she reluctantly picked up her suitcase and followed Bonnie out to the car. She
placed her suitcase into the opened trunk and closed it, then walked back to
the passenger side and got in. Immediately, she was nearly overwhelmed by the
strong smoky stench inside the car, and noticed the windows were hazy with a
coating of tar.

As they drove down the street, Bonnie picked up a rather large black leather
cigarette purse and extracted a long white cigarette from it.  A quick
practiced 'snick' of her lighter and she was soon sucking hard on it. She
breathed the smoke in deep and held it for a bit before letting a huge cloud
billow out into the car's interior. She immediately took in another huge drag.

Amy sat watching in horrified fascination at this display. She watched the
cloud of smoke spread out and slowly start drifting towards her.  She looked
like a poor bird about to be eaten by a snake as the smoke began curling
around her. The smoke was very strong and burned her eyes. Getting a small
amount into her lungs when she took a breath was enough to make her almost
gag. She coughed and waved at the smoke.

"Oh, I'm sorry honey! I'm not used to having passengers in here when I smoke.
I'll roll down my window a bit!" Bonnie said, with her cigarette dangling from
her lips. She cracked her window about an inch, and the smoke was slowly
sucked out of the car. Amy thanked her aunt for the courtesy, while mentally
wishing she could be anywhere but in this situation.

Bonnie chatted with Amy during the two hour drive, constantly lighting one
cigarette after another. Amy had seen people smoke before, but she'd never
seen them smoke such long cigarettes, nor chain-smoke in this manner. Amy's
dream of talking her aunt into quitting went up in smoke rather quickly, but
she also got to hear all about her Aunt's cigarettes.

"Stop smoking! It would be easier for me to stop breathing!" laughed Bonnie.
The laugh turned into a long coughing spasm, which confirmed to Amy that
smoking was just as horrible as she thought. Listening to the older woman's
hacking wheezy cough made Amy wonder if Aunt Bonnie would even last the six
weeks out.

"Those cigarettes are so long. I've never seen any like that before... maybe
if you smoked shorter ones you wouldn't cough so much," Amy stated.

"Oh, I love these cigarettes. Max 120's. I've been smoking them for almost 20
years now. Before that I smoked 100's, which were not as satisfying. Say,
you're 14 now, aren't you? Would you like to try one?"

"NO! I mean, no thank you, Aunt Bonnie. I don't smoke, and I don't plan to
ever start."

Bonnie lit up a fresh cigarette and nodded. "That's fine honey. It's an
expensive habit to keep up anyway. But who knows, you might change your mind
one day."

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