Chase's Story, Part 9

(by anonymous23, 28 October 2008)

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Chase's Story

Part 9

The next day, Chase went to the cigarette store.  Chase rarely went
more then fifteen minutes without a cigarette, and she had one in her
hand as she got out of the car.  Karen was outside having a cigarette
herself. Incredibly, it was even illegal to smoke inside a cigarette
store.  Karen had just lit up, while Chase was nearly finished with
hers.  Chase put it out and decided she would shoot the breeze with
Karen.  She lit up another.

"So you're a heavy, huh?" said Karen.

"Well obviously, I'm here twice a week, am I not?"  Karen laughed,
then had to ask.

"You were here two days ago, Chase.  Don't tell me you're smoking five
packs a day."  Chase laughed.

"I smoke two packs a day.  Actually, I'm here for Slim Ultra Lights.
My friend is going to take up smoking today."  Karen beamed.

"Awesome.  Are you sure she wants to?"

"Yep.  And I smoke so much, it's not going to be fair that I'm out
smoking her five to one."  Karen nodded.

"Well, Slim Ultra Lights are the way to go.  My daughter Jessica
smokes them."  Chase seemed stunned.

"Your daughter?  How old is she?"

"She just turned ten," Karen said with a smile.

"And you let her smoke?"

"Yep, she's been smoking for a year.  Not a lot.  Just two or three
times a day."

Chase questioned Karen about this, and she was actually sort of upset
by it, because it went against what she believed in.  She wished she
had started smoking years ago, but nine was too young.  Karen agreed
the situation was not perfect, but her explanation was both rational
and actually very intelligent.  She pointed out that Chase had wanted
to smoke since she was eight years old.  Despite a media blitz of
anti-smoking ads and news reports, she still wanted to become a smoker
and she ended up doing it the first chance she had.  Like Chase,
Jessica had wanted to smoke from an early age.  But unlike Chase, she
has access to cigarettes. Her mother was a heavy smoker and even if
she had made an effort to hide them, Jessica would sooner or later
find a cigarette and would attempt to smoke it.  Shortly after she
turned nine, Jessica started asking her mom questions about smoking.
After a few days, Jessica told Karen she wanted to smoke when she was
older.  Unfortunately, this meant Jessica would have the desire to try
smoking until that need was curbed by actually doing it, and nothing
Karen could do or say would prevent that.  You can tell kids "no" and
punish them or ground them, but they will do it anyway.  But unlike
some things, smoking is dangerous to more than just your personal
health.  A child trying smoking could end up starting a fire or
helping their friends start smoking (something that will go over GREAT
with the neighborhood), or letting their habit become too heavy at an
early age.

When Karen was told by Jessica that she wanted to smoke some day,
Karen knew it meant she could end up trying smoking at anytime.  Karen
grilled Jessica on what she knew about the health risks of smoking.
Jessica only was able to give a vague answer of 'it's bad for you' and
that it gives you cancer.  She clearly had no idea the type of long
term effects she risked.  Karen's heart was broken but she still knew
she had no choice.  She could not let her daughter pick up smoking and
continue unchecked.  So the next day when she came home from work, she
had a full pack of Virginia Slims Ultra Lights, gave her smoke to
Jessica and made her a smoker.  Karen assured Chase that it worked out
for the best.  Jessica was a responsible smoker who knows the
boundaries and what's acceptable.  Plus, once the kid is addicted to
smoking, they're unlikely to break any of the rules or else run the
risk of losing them.

The girls put out their cigarettes.  Chase found out Karen had Jessica
at age sixteen.  She was currently twenty-six.  She had one more
daughter who was seven.

"Are you going to let her smoke too?" Karen smiled.

"If she tells me she wants to take it up, I'm going to have to let
her." Chase was incredibly jealous.  She was sure these kids had no
idea how lucky they were, getting to smoke twice as young as Chase
was.  Still, she liked Karen and thought it was a pretty smart move.
The kids would only be able to smoke on her terms, and wouldn't end up
burning the house down or getting busted by the police.  Chase invited
Karen to bring her daughter by her house sometime, she had to see them
smoke.  Karen pulled out her cell phone and showed a picture of her
daughter smoking.  Chase laughed.  "Lucky kid," was all she could say.
 Karen told Chase when the time came for her youngest daughter, she
would make sure Chase would be involved.  Chase laughed and smiled.
Karen offered to tell Chase how to give her smoke to Kelly, but Chase
told her she already knew.

"I started my sister that way," she said. Karen smiled and offered up
a high five.

"How old is your sister?"

"Sixteen," Karen smiled.

"Bring her by next time.  I'll sell her cigarettes whenever she needs
them.  My parents own this store, so I'm the boss and the cops never
come through here."  Chase agreed.  Having secured Kelly's cigarettes,
she returned home and waited.

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