Blue, Part 1

(by puffery@prodigy.com (now quin_chris@hotmail.com), 19 June 1997)


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Blue_One from Puffery@prodigy.com

Of course you've seen my picture countless times.  My face is 
plastered all over those horribly overpriced disposable diapers that 
you throw good money at.  Can't say that I look much like that 
anymore but that shot pretty much put a roof over our heads at a time 
when we didn't know where the next meal was coming from.  And I give 
mom a hell of a lot of credit for her chutzpah.  Maybe she was from 
the country but she was no country bumpkin.  She negotiated residuals 
fifteen years ago to put me through college that could practically 
buy a college today.  Course I haven't exactly gotten around to 
college yet.  It's not that I don't want to go, it really isn't; it's 
just that it hasn't reached the top of the pile yet.  The movie 
scene's too damn much fun.

So that's right.  Thanks to all you great fans, now I'm an actress.  
No question you've seen better but it's fun and I make great money.  
Who's kidding who though?  If I hadn't been a successful kid model I 
would probably have never gotten the breaks that I have.  My All 
American looks were perfect casting for fluffy Saturday morning stuff 
and early prime Sitcoms.  These aren't exactly Lionel or Ethyl 
Barrymore challenges.  Not even Drew for that matter.

But there's no sense kidding myself about my life.  I haven't grown 
up like most kids.  My dates are babes that most girls would die for 
and I don't have a bad following myself either according to the 
Internet.  Never-the-less in a weird way I'm actually kind of shy.  
You see I haven't been in an organized classroom in ten years, not 
since third grade, and the thought just terrifies me.  Weird that I 
can perform in front of thousands but am scared shitless of a room of 
thirty peers.  As much as anything, that's what really keeps me from 
accepting the offers from Yale and USC.  
 
So here I stay in Malibu.  Feel sorry for me yet?  Mom, Auburn, and I 
- I'm Blue - still all live together.  Like the tabloids said I did 
move in with Christian for a few months but I just wasn't ready.  
Anyhow we've got this gorgeous place right on the beach.  Chalk that 
up too to that darling baby picture.  That isn't all that got us here 
but it was a damn good start.  Speaking of start, maybe that's what I 
ought to do.  Go back to the start and explain to you what I'm 
talking about.  How we got to where we are today and how I've moved 
from the pages of Seventeen to Playboy in the past couple of years.  


Mom had me when she was eighteen and Auburn hardly a year later.  By 
the time Auburn was born, dad was just some vague memory.  Up and 
took off with mom's fifteen year old cousin leaving us to manage 
alone in Poplar Bluffs.  You ever been to Poplar Bluffs?  Math don't 
work so good there.  Take a hot looking twenty year old, give her a 
couple a kids, and ten years later she's fifty.  Go figure.  Mom knew 
about this math problem and hightailed us out to California.  With a 
little thumb and a lot of leg, she got us out to LA before she could 
drink, legally I mean.

I'm not going to tell a lot of tales out of school about mom.  Hell, 
her book made the best seller charts on its own and it doesn't leave 
out much.  Let's just say that her philosophy was "Whatever it 
takes!"  She desperately wanted to make it on her own as an actress 
but no number of casting couches could eradicated that Hillbilly 
twang.  Too late for Andy Griffith and too early for Burt Reynolds, 
she needed to find an avenue on her own.

One afternoon mom was "interviewing" in a recognized producer's 
office while Auburn and I were being entertained in the waiting room 
by his secretary.  The way she tells it is that she'd cut a little 
deal.  She'd continue to drop by and "interview" if he'd cast Auburn 
and me in an upcoming film requiring babies.  Our giggles and cries 
after all were relatively twang free.  That worked for him and the 
next thing you know we're in the movies.

So that's where P&G first saw me.  Mom got this phone call from 
ford's (little f for little models) whom P&G had directed to find me. 
 They offered a pretty sizable sum for a few photos but mom was 
nobody's fool.  She practically gave away the photos but cut what a 
the time looked like a fairly thin royalty arrangement.  Pushing 
twenty years later it's been a windfall.  Every once in awhile some 
dumb ass brand manager tries to substitute some other kid for me and 
their sales crash.  Poor baby gets said ass fired and I'm back again. 
 It's beginning to look like a life long annuity.  Live with it!      
             

Once Auburn and I became recognized as top notch child models mom's 
mating became far more selective.  As our agent, she was now granting 
favors, not seeking them.  Bernie (not his real name - see mom's book 
for that), the producer who launched our careers remained in our life 
periodically.  After all he did father our half-sister Moss, the one 
who died shortly after birth and caused such a stir.  But for the 
most part we've remained a matriarchal little family with need for 
men only on our terms.   

By the time I was eight we were sitting pretty.  Mom had off and on 
boyfriends but she never let them interfere with our relationship.  
Auburn and I were attending Stanuck Elementary in North Hollywood but 
frankly my schedule was already causing a serious attendance problem. 
 It was that year that we decided that private tutoring might be 
necessary.  I was interested in that but not Auburn.  From early on 
we'd reacted differently to celebrity.  I ate up the glitz while she 
was far more committed to a normal life and friends.  She'd even 
begun to regularly turn down offers.

I had my first overseas assignment that Spring of fourth grade which 
did necessitate a tutor.  Mom excitedly planned a two month stay in 
Paris and then the South of France for the family but Auburn rebelled.
  She was determined to not go and when Auburn is determined she's 
formidable.  She eventually talked mom into letting her stay with her 
best friend, Annie Stephens, and her family while the two of us 
traveled.  This was just the first of many such separations.

The trip was just fabulous for me.  I spent the entire time looking 
out the window and chattering.  Mom was less effusive.  The US 
airlines had just recently gone smokeless and five waking hours for 
mom without a cigarette was unheard of.  Worse yet, it seems that the 
smoking seats of the overseas portion were sold out as well.  She was 
a chimney during our two hour JFK layover and then tried to sleep 
away the problem on the seven hour Paris leg.  She had a cigarette 
lit the moment we hit the concourse at DeGaulle which, unlike most 
other airports, was and probably always will be permissible.  Viva la 
France.

The next couple of months are among my most memorable.  I'd recently 
turned ten and no longer looked so much like a kid.  The shoot that I 
was on was for fashion and the photos would be appearing in ads in 
magazines for a teenage audience.  While as a model I'd been 
subjected to the rigors of make-up for years, this was a little 
different.  I was now being made up to look like a young woman.  The 
elements of beauty - eye shadow, rouge, lipstick - no longer just 
that natural childlike glow.  

The output of my work may be called glamour but let me tell you just 
how much glamour there really is.  Imagine sitting still for two 
hours while someone applies sticky shit all over your face then 
sitting under hot lights for the rest of the day with fey 
photographers telling you to look this way and that, smile more or 
smile less, give me a little more shoulder.  It's honest-to-god 
exhausting and boring beyond all belief.  And what's the worst is 
that usually you've got absolutely nothing to do, not even anyone to 
talk to.

Thank God mom was around.  She'd almost always hang out with me.  
Often we'd talk about stuff like where to go for dinner or maybe 
comment upon somebody's buns.  Mom never pretended to be anybody 
other than who she is.  I doubt that she could have.  She shared the 
facts of life with us at a very early age and never tried to hide her 
own urges or feelings.  Being human was always okay.  She trusted her 
own instincts and simply couldn't understand people who sat around 
second guessing themselves.  Scarlet was a good name for her.

Talk wasn't always necessary.  Just having her around was reassuring 
and would make the day pass a little quicker.  From the make-up chair,
 I could almost always catch a glimpse of her in the mirror.  I'd be 
sitting there twiddling my thumbs trying to make the time pass until 
I could become just a kid again while she'd be reading or on the 
phone cutting new deals.  The one constant was an endless stream of 
coffee and cigarettes.  One day with nothing better to do, I decided 
to count.  During the seven hours that I sat in the chair, she smoked 
twenty six cigarettes and that doesn't include the hour that she 
slipped out for lunch.  

During a quiet lapse over dinner that night without a moment's 
forethought, I asked her about it.  I'd never thought much one way or 
the other about smoking.  Mom always had and she fit right in because 
in this business it's just something that most everyone does.  As she 
lit up a cigarette post main course but in France pre-salad, I spoke 
up.  "Did you know that you smoked twenty six cigarettes on the set 
today?  Why do you smoke so much?"         

Mom seldom overreacts but she gave every sign of here doing so.  
Instead of her normally friend like demeanor she sounded just like a 
mother.  "I smoke because I like to smoke.  It helps keep me focused. 
 It relaxes me."  And as if to demonstrate this point she took a 
leisurely puff, crushed out the cigarette fairly vigorously, then 
continued in a slightly deflected vein.  "You know it's not really 
any of your God damn business anyway, don't you?.  I've just been 
waiting for the day you'd come down on me, hoping maybe you'd be more 
understanding than most kids.  I've always given you a fair hearing 
on any issue but this one isn't up for discussion.  I'm not quitting. 
 Period."

Much to her surprise, breaking out in laughter I said "Where did that 
come from?  I didn't say a single word about you quitting.  I just 
asked a simple question.  I just asked you what is it about smoking 
that you like so much.  I'm not the political correctness police for 
God's sake.  I'd just like to know why you smoke.  You've smoked like 
two whole packs just in the time we've been together today and it 
just makes me curious.  Do you love it that much?"

This time she came back sounding like the mom of old.  "I'm sorry.  
Boy I sure did get defensive didn't I?  You just have no idea how 
much I've feared you hassling me.  Let's see if I can get my wits 
back about me and give you a better answer.  Okay, I guess I smoke 
for a bunch of reasons including the couple I blasted at you.  I 
wasn't much older than you are now when I started.  In our part of 
the country it was no big deal.  Everybody smoked and nobody thought 
much about it.  I honest to God don't even remember what it was like 
not to smoke.

Part of my overreaction is that over the years I actually have tried 
to quit a couple of times but not with a lot of conviction.  I go two 
hours and I'm climbing walls.  The truth is that without a cigarette 
in my hand I feel nude.  It keeps my hand occupied, it serves as a 
conversational prop, and it provides me a calm that I don't know 
where else to look for.  The reason I got so exercised when you asked 
the question was that I'm not certain I could survive without smoking 
and I've lived in deathly fear that you or your sister might ask me 
to do so." 

I took all this in calmly.  Once she recognized that she wasn't being 
attacked she reached for another cigarette.  As she tried to explain 
her rationale to me, I watched her body language totally change as 
mid-story she lit up.  What happened in practice was what she 
verbally described.  Amid commentary it was almost as if she were 
illustrating.  The ritual immediately defined a time frame.  In this 
small window, she would become silent, round off the ash, take a very 
hard pull on the cigarette inhaling in a very precise manner.  She 
would hold the smoke in her mouth momentarily then open her lips 
circularly to display the disappearance of the smoke down her throat. 
 Her silence would be maintained for several seconds as the smoke 
filled her system with conversation resuming amid staccato exhales.  
Each puff bought her ten seconds of silence and stage time.           
              

Two messages had been delivered simultaneously to me - the one she 
communicated and the one she displayed.  Yes, clearly smoking was all 
of the things she said - focusing, relaxing, whatever - and a few she 
alluded to like addicting, but it was others that she hadn't as well. 
 It was clearly a performance.  Mom may not have made it in the 
theater but there was no question that when she smoked, she did so as 
an actress.  What an interesting activity this.  At once smoking was 
clearly a vessel of pleasure, a performance opportunity, and of 
course also that unspoken cloud of physical risk.

I'm uncertain which of us was more surprised by my retort.  It was 
anything but rehearsed.  "I don’t have any problem at all with you 
smoking.  I was just thinking that perhaps I'd like to try it myself.
"  With her completely off guard, I continued "You know how horribly 
boring it is to be at a shoot all day and smoking would give me 
something to do just like it does you.  Look around sometime.  You 
know that most all of the other models smoke.  They might be a little 
older than me but sure not much.  And you just said that you were 
about my age when you started.  How about if instead of beating you 
up like you expected, I just join you and smoke too?"  

Mom was never totally speechless but this was about as close as it 
gets.  All she could come up with was "I'm flabbergasted.  That's 
about the last thing I would have ever expected from you.  Are you 
serious or are you just playing with me?"  Having come this far 
without any significant obstacle my resolve quickly hardened and my 
ensuing little nod served to dispel any doubt so she continued "I 
have no idea what to say or do, so how about just letting me think 
about it for a few days?  Do you mind?"

"That's fair" I said already beginning to prepare an even more 
compelling argument in case one would be needed.  No sense not being 
ready.  As we took the cab back to the hotel, then long into the 
night, I composed.  I figured age was already dismissed as an issue.  
If health issues came up that was a no brainer.  Of course I 
understood the risks.  Didn't she?  Use that as a reason and she 
could count on me to start ragging on her.  The addictiveness.  
Pretty much the same reasoning.  I could see that quitting wasn't a 
possibility for her and that I'd probably encounter the same problems.
  My fresh image.  Now that could be tougher but several other 
contemporaries managed to keep it under wraps so why couldn't I too.  
I figured I could probably concoct even more reasons but my intuition 
said that I probably wouldn't need to.  If for no other reason that 
safeguarding her own habit, I was likely to come out a winner.  

The next day was a Friday and a particularly long one.  While she 
hadn't promised an immediate answer, I'd planned to push for one.  I 
was also really excited about our first trip to the Mediterranean.  
We had a weekend chalet awaiting us on the Italian coast.  Because we 
were going to be gone all weekend mom was out most of the day and 
didn't get back to the studio until the day's shoot was wrapping.  
Where she typically would have found me was back in make-up getting 
de-iced but today I'd deferred.  Why not see what kind of stir I 
could cause on the train in full regalia.  It might also be a 
psychological advantage in the impending "war of the weed".

Mom blew into the studio looking for me and if she was surprised by 
the look I maintained, she didn't show it.  "Quick, quick, quick 
honey.  The taxi is waiting" was all that I heard.  With our bags for 
the trip stored that morning in the back of the studio, we loaded 
ourselves down and headed for the elevator.  It took two trips to get 
everything but we did make the station with a few minutes to spare.  
It looked like it would be quite a struggle to get it all to our 
cabin but you know sometimes it's just amazing how noble and obliging 
guys can be.

I was totally famished.  Keeping a model like figure was no issue for 
me.  I could eat like a horse and not gain an ounce.  It was all I 
could do to unpack the few things I'd need for the overnight journey, 
what with the hunger pangs and all.  Mom by this time had settled 
down quite a bit and gone through her requisite two cigarettes during 
this twenty minute exercise.  When everything was finally in place in 
our tiny little room, I began pressing her for dinner.  "Let's go now,
 please.  I'm starving" I begged.

"I'm not quite ready" she responded "and neither are you.  Sit down 
here with me for a moment" she said and I did in unmistakable pain.  
"For the past twenty four hours I've been thinking about your request 
so I'm going to ask you once again" she continued "Are you really 
serious about wanting to smoke?"  I hardly had a chance to nod 
affirmatively before she responded "Okay, so let's share a cigarette 
and see how you do.  I certainly don't want you embarrassing me over 
dinner" and that's how her answer arrived.  No need for further 
debating.  She's quietly acquiesced.

"Well in that case" my voice trailed off excitedly as I did exactly 
as she said.  As interested as I was in how she'd decided, I was even 
more interested in smoking.  While admittedly it wouldn't exactly be 
the first time I'd tried, I didn't have much experience.  While I'd 
often watched mom's every move, my few attempts to emulate had 
resulted in less than spectacular results.  A few times I'd inhaled 
without coughing but only tiny little puffs.  Nothing like mom's lung 
filling exhibitions. 

So sit down I did.  I began to reach for mom’s pack of Marlboro 100's 
that were sitting on the table when she said "No".  I looked up a bit 
confused only to see her unwrapping a less familiar looking pack of 
Marlboro Light 100's.  "I mean it's fine if you want to" she 
continued "but I think for starters you might do better with these."  
Now open, she tapped a couple of white filters slightly out and 
handed me the pack.  I pulled one out the remainder of the way and 
began to examine it.  I ran my fingers up and down its full length 
and even noted the slight papery aroma as I moved it toward my lips.  
I might have extended this ceremonial bit even further if mom's 
flashing lighter wasn't already impatiently in my face.

She then began to coach me.  "Take the cigarette to your lips using 
those two fingers - yes, the middle and index.  Place your lips 
firmly around the tip and then relax your fingers so they're near but 
no longer holding the cigarette.  I'm going to hold the lighter 
stationary and you need to lean in just a little to meet it.  Place 
the tip not into but just at the edge of the flame.  Okay, now begin 
to suck on the cigarette much like on a straw  while gradually moving 
back into an upright position.  Not too much now.  That's enough.  
Now recapture the cigarette between the same two fingers and remove 
it from your mouth.  As your doing so take a deep breath.  As you do 
so the smoke will fill up your lungs.  The feel of smoke going into 
your chest may feel a little strange at first but you'll get use to 
it.  Now hold it there just for another moment and now purse your 
lips and exhale right at me as if you were trying to blow me over.

And it was that easy.  I didn’t cough at all although I did feel a 
little catch in my throat as I inhaled.  The exhale was fun too.  
Like she said, I blew the smoke right at her in kind of an impressive 
little jet.  The most interesting part though was actually holding 
the smoke in my lungs for that long.  When I'd tried to smoke before 
I inhaled and exhaled all at once.  Holding it was a whole different 
feeling.  First off it was kind of warm and cozy feeling and I'm not 
sure what to call it, maybe buzzy 'cause it made me feel woozy in a 
good way.  But even more I think I kind of know what mom means about 
relaxing.  It had this satisfying, kind of satiating feeling to it.  
I liked it. 

Mom kept coaching me along.  "I'm surprised that it's this easy for 
you.  I would have expected a little more coughing and sputtering.  I 
won't ask but I wouldn't be too shocked if this isn't your very first 
cigarette" to which I just smiled innocently.  "I don't want you 
getting sick on me" she continued "so if you feel it making you 
nauseous just put it out.  There's no need to rush anything.  
Learning to smoke is not one of the more difficult things you'll ever 
do.  It may however be one of your more regrettable decisions." 

That was her first salvo but not her last.  Mom was no fool, though.  
She knew she walked a fine line between discouraging me from smoking 
and inviting me counterattacking her smoking so she kept the 
commentary light.  I smoked the better part of the cigarette but 
noticed that the wooziness was beginning to increase and wasn't quite 
so pleasant anymore.  With maybe a third of the cigarette left I 
surrendered to return another day.  No question though that these 
Marlboro Lights were a lot more novice friendly than the occasional 
puffs I'd stolen from mom's full flavored.

It was now dinner time but my appetite was considerably diminished 
from an hour earlier.  It's not so much that the cigarette quelled my 
appetite as it is that it unsettled my stomach.  Mom grabbed her 
cigarettes and lighter and headed for the door.  I gave a moment's 
thought to following suit but the queasiness I was experiencing gave 
me pause.  As long as mom was going to be supportive, or at least 
reasonably supportive, of me smoking there was no reason to rush this 
whole thing.  That decided, my pack remained in place on the table as 
we headed off to dinner, the thought though of that actually being 
"my pack" leaving a trace, little smile on my lips.

We had to wait maybe ten minutes in the lounge car for a table.  No 
one seemed to even notice that a ten year old was in there.  I was 
beginning to like the relaxed attitude of the French.  And of course 
in France mom no longer had to specify a smoking table because the 
non-smoking concept didn't exist.  By the time dinner arrived my 
stomach had settled and I was again voracious.  I had the lamb and 
was shocked when the waiter pored me a glass of what mom explained 
was Beaujolais.  In France even kids drink wine.  I can't say that I 
cared a hell of a lot for the taste, but the opportunity was so 
inviting that I drank it anyway.

They didn't offer me an after dinner drink like they did mom but I 
did have one of my first encounters with cappuccino.  I poured enough 
milk into it to dilute the taste and then sipped it along with mom as 
she enjoyed her drink and fourth or fifth cigarette of the meal.  
With queasiness now ancient history I began to wish that I had 
brought my cigarettes with me.  No one here was going to care.  
Hardly even notice.  Finally when mom put her cigarette down in the 
ashtray I reached over to sneak a puff.  I was a little taken aback 
by her forceful "Don't do that.  I can't stand sharing my cigarette" 
she continued.  "If you want one, take one but please don't smoke 
mine."

For the moment I sat back to decide.  I could just forget it, take 
one of hers, or go back and get mine.  I decided to try one of hers.  
"Sorry.  I didn't know how touchy you were" I volunteered.  "I will 
try one of yours if you don't mind" I continued as I reached for the 
package.  She simply nodded as I picked up her pack and kind of 
awkwardly shook one out.  Mom not offering the lighter, I then 
reached for it too.  So now I had a cigarette in my left hand and a 
lighter in my right, no idea what to do next, and a coach who'd gone 
silent on me.

I tried several times to ignite the lighter with solely my left hand 
but to no avail.  Eventually I just put down the cigarette and held 
the lighter in my left hand and finally ignited it with my right.  
Now however I had a light but no cigarette and in my urgency to 
retrieve the cigarette from the table I let the flame extinguish.  At 
this point I looked up at mom who seemed to be totally preoccupied 
with her own thoughts.  Doggedly I persisted.  This time I simply let 
the cigarette dangle from my lips as I again employed two hands on 
the lighter.  Now again lit, I brought my left hand back to kind of 
direct the cigarette while moving the flame ever closer with my right.
  In time they intersected and my cigarette was now successfully 
aglow with the warm smoke invading my mouth.  

So far so good but it's here I made a little tactical error.  I freed 
up my left hand to help return the lighter while inhaling with the 
cigarette still dangling from my lips.  Drawing far too long and not 
removing it in time, I choked on the inhale of this significantly 
more potent smoke.  I felt like a complete fool as smoke came 
spurting simultaneously out of both my mouth and nose.  Mom's 
stoicism to that moment clearly an act, she stifled her amusement.  
As best as I could tell, no one else noticed.

I didn't take another drag for some time.  I was suddenly a little 
gun shy.  My composure eventually regained, I took another puff 
making certain that it wasn't too aggressive.  This one went down 
uneventfully but none-the-less I could now understand why mom bought 
me the Lights.  This cigarette I more toyed with than smoked.  Amid 
my diluted cappuccino, I took maybe six or seven puffs all told and 
then stubbed the gold filtered cigarette out next to mom's discards, 
looking to escape with my pride still somewhat in tact.

It was nearly ten by the time we got back to our car and the train 
would be in the station a little after five.  Mom stayed up for one 
final smoke but I had no desire to join her.  Morning would be here 
too soon.  It seemed like minutes later that the porter was pounding 
on our door telling us that we would be arriving in thirty minutes.  
We arose and de-boarded but you couldn’t have accused us of being 
awake.

The taxi probably took about thirty minutes getting us to the villa.  
I base my estimate on a three cigarette trip for mom.  How she could 
smoke at all in the morning perplexed me.  It sounded awful and 
smelled even worse to me.  I pledged to keep it that way too.  I 
decided that I'd never start smoking before lunch time.  An extremely 
nice looking young guy met us at the gates and took our bags to the 
room for us while we breakfasted.  I wolfed down four slices of toast 
while mom managed one, a carafe of coffee that I shared, and another 
three cigarettes that I did not.  Morning coffee I could tolerate, a 
cigarette sounded nauseous.

The weekend was a blast.  We spent most of it by the pool.  Mom 
bought me my first bikini and with my modeling background I knew how 
to use it to my best advantage.  Certainly no one was going to waste 
much time looking at my undeveloped breasts but my derričre was quite 
another issue.  It didn't take a lot of hip action to draw some 
attention.  If the dumb bastards had only known how young I was, 
they'd have died.  Mom on the other hand looks more like an older 
sister and she does fill out a bikini nicely.  No question that she 
drew substantial male attention.  

As far as smoking goes, I seemed to be mostly satisfied by the sheer 
knowledge that it was now okay.  I didn't seem to have much need to 
show off.  Saturday I had just two cigarettes again - one after lunch 
and another after dinner.  Mom slipped me a little Bic lighter and 
since I could handle it with one hand, I didn't find lighting up 
nearly so awkward.  There's no question however that my smoking 
raised a few eyebrows.  Several guys were obvious in their stares and 
I don't think disapprovingly.  



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