The Best Birthday Ever, Part 1

(by anonymous, 21 June 2000)

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The Best Birthday Ever
Part 1

    Whem Amy woke up that morning she didn't realize what day it was.  Then, 
after rubbing the sleep from her eyes she noticed the festively wrapped box 
on her nightstand.
   "That's right," she thought to herself, "It's my 13th birthday!"
    She reached for the box, thinking it held the portable T.V. she'd been 
asking for.
    No, not heavy enough.  She was about to tear open the wrapping when she 
noticed the small card on top.  Holding herself back, she decided to read the 
card first.  She opened the little envelope and extracted a plain white card 
with just 7 words:
    "Today you are a grown-up!  Love, Jenny."  The "Jenny" had been an 
afterthought, as the word "Grandma" had been scratched out right before it.
    Now she really couldn't wait to open the box.  She ripped the paper and 
opened the box.  When she saw the rather ordinary medium-sized black purse 
inside she fealt a little let down.  She already had a few purses.  How does 
this make her a grown-up?  As she lifted the purse she then realized that it 
wasn't empty.  She lifted the flap hanging over the front of the purse to 
reveal two zipped compartments.  She unzipped the first one and pulled out a 
matching wallet.  When she looked in the wallet she couldn't believe her 
eyes.  A drivers license!  And one that said her date of birth had been 8 
years prior to her actual one.  She counted quickly on her fingers and was 
happy to learn that that made her 21.  Continuing through the wallet she 
found several credit cards, all with her name, and 5 one-hundred dollar 
bills.  Wow! This was just too cool.  She fished through the rest of the 
first compartment and found a bunch of makeup and, what's this?  The keys to 
her grandmothers Catera. This just kept getting better.  She quickly replaced 
everything into the first compartment and started on the second.  "What's 
left?" she thought, deciding to prolong the excitment by sticking her hand in 
without looking.
    The first item she pulled out were these really cool looking sunglasses.  
She put her hand in again and was shocked when she pulled out an unopened 
pack of regular Virginia Slims 100s.  Although she didn't smoke, she was 
still kind of excited to be holding a pack of cigarettes.  But these weren't 
even her grandmother's brand.  And she did know how to smoke, sort of.  For 
the last couple of years she'd been lighting her grandmothers cigarettes off 
the stove whenever she'd lose her lighter, which happened quite often.  She 
was trying to remember where she'd seen this brand of cigarette before.  
That's right.  A couple of weeks earlier at the 7-11 with Grandma she'd seen 
them at the display and commented on how pretty she thought the pack was.  
"They do look cool," she thought.
    She put her hand back in and pulled out a mostly full pack of More 
Menthol 120s.  These she was used to, as they were her grandmothers brand.  
She shook one out and held it under her nose.  She loved the way they 
    "I bet I'll find a lighter next," she thought,  as she put the slim brown 
cigarette to her lips and let it dangle. 
    Sure enough she dug through the purse and pulled out the final item: a 
sleek gold Calibri lighter.
    She wasted no time in lighting the lighter, and then the More.  As was 
her habit when lighting grandma's cigarettes, she took a couple of quick 
pulls, to get it going, then took a final inhale untill she was sure the 
paper on the tip was fully lit all the way around.   She hadn't always lit 
her grandmother's More's this way.  At first, when she was about 11, she just 
held the tip of the cigarette to the flame on the stove.  After a while she 
got tired of waiting so long to get it to light that way, so she started 
taking small puffs.  Sometimes, however, she'd have to go re-light it.  She 
started taking deeper puffs, and within about 6 months she started inhaling 
without even realizing it.  Her Grandma realized it though, because most of 
the time there would be little whisps of smoke coming out of Amy's nostrils 
when she handed over the cigarette.
    After exhaling her initial puff, she continued to let the more dangle 
while taking a second drag.  As she exhaled that one she replaced the items 
into the second compartment.  She replaced the flap, removed the More from 
her lips expertly with her left middle and index fingers and put the straps 
of her purse over her right shoulder.  She climbed out of bed and put the 
More to her mouth, this time clenching it between her teeth, and used her 
left hand to straighten out the oversized T-shirt she slept in.  Realizing 
she didn't have an ashtray she gingerly removed the More with its growing 
ash, making sure not to knock it loose.  She went out into the house both in 
search of her grandmother and an ashtray.  
    She immediately found an ashtray on the kitchen table next to a note.  
She flicked her ash and read the note:
   Had to run some errands.  Back by 10 am.  There's fresh coffee.  Jenny
    That's weird.  Grandma never left the house earlier then 11.  And looking 
out the kitchen window Amy saw the Catera.  
    "I wonder what she's up to?" she pondered to herself while hanging her 
purse on one of the kitchen chairs.
     Remembering to note, she looked over at the coffee maker and saw the 
full pot.  She had never had more then a couple of sips of coffee, but knew 
how much Grandma loved that first cup with a cigarette in the morning.  She 
replaced the de-ashed More in her mouth and took a nice sized drag while 
retieving a coffee mug from the cabinet.  She poured a cup and decided to try 
it black, like Grandma.  She took a full drag and removed the More from her 
mouth and brought the mug to her chin.  As she blowed to cool the coffee, she 
noticed the smoke she was exhaling mixing with the steam of the hot coffee.  
She took a small sip, then took another puff.
    "I guess I could get used to this," she thought.
    She sat down at the kitchen table and leasurely smoked her cigarette and 
drank her coffee.  She finished them both about the same time and got up to 
pour herself a second cup of coffee.  
    Just then the doorbell rang.  She started walking to the front door, but 
stopped half way.
   "That's gotta be Grandma," she thought, heading back to the kitchen as the 
doorbell rang again.
   "Be right there!" she shouted as she got to her purse and pulled out the 
Mores and lighter.
   "She probably thinks I'm too chicken to smoke in front of her," she 
reasoned as she lit her second cigarette of the day.
   She grabbed her coffee and went to the door.  She held the coffee around 
the rim with the thumb and ring and pinkie fingers of her right hand while 
elegantly holding the freshly lit More between the middle and index fingers 
of the same hand.
   As she opened the door with her left hand she was shocked when the woman 
on her porch was not her Grandma.  Instead it was a professionly dressed 
blonde who looked to be in her 30s.  She was very attractive and holding a 
tote-bag of some sort.
   "Hi.  You must be Amy. I hope I'm not too early."
    Suddenly Amy was aware that she was holding a lit cigarette in front of a 
total stranger.  She tried to hid it by holding it behind the wall adjacent 
to the door inside.
    Noticing the puzzled look on Amy's face, the woman spoke again, "I'm 
Sandy. From Avon.  Julie told you I was coming, didn't she?"
     "Uh- no," Amy stammered, "She didn't."
     "I'm so sorry.  She said you probably needed some more make-up and told 
me to drop by around ten this morning.  Should we make it another time?"
       Thinking that this was set up by design, and contemplating even more 
make up, Amy spoke up,"No. Now's fine. Excuse the way I look though."
     "Don't worry about that," Sandy quipped, "You should've seen me an hour 
     As they sort of both laughed over that, Amy opened the door inviting 
Sandy in.
     Amy was wondering when this woman was going to say something about this 
little girl smoking a cigarette.  Amy was even wondering if Sandy realized 
she was holding it.  Maybe because it was brown she didn't recognize it as a 
cigarette.  But that was rediculous.  How could you not notice the smoke.
    Realizing they were just standing in the hall, Amy motioned towards the 
living room,"Have a seat anywhere."
    Then Amy noticed her looking at the More in her right hand.  "Here it 
comes," she tought, "how will I explain this?"
   "Is that coffee?" Sandy asked.
    That really threw Amy for a loop.  Her first reaction was to say- "No. 
It's a cigarette."- but then she realized that the coffee was in the same 
hand as the More.
   "Uh- yeah," Amy stammered again, "Would you like some?"
    "I'm dying for some," Sandy laughed, "Black, please."

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