Cigarette Fairy, Part 1

(by SSTORYMAN, 04 November 2003)


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This fictional account contains adult language and sexual themes.  If such
language and themes offend you, please do not read further.  The persons and
events described in this work are purely fictional.  Any similarity to actual
persons or events is strictly coincidental.  Copyright 2003 by SSTORYMAN.
All rights reserved.  Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this story in
any form and for any purpose as long as this notice is reproduced and no
financial remuneration is received, directly or indirectly, by the person
reproducing or using it.

THE CIGARETTE FAIRY

1.	Framed.

   The Pattersons and Caldwells lived two houses apart on Morning Street.
The parents weren't friends, but their kids were.  Each family had two
daughters of matching ages.  The older girls, Taylor Patterson and Ashleigh
Caldwell, were 16 and inseparable.  Their little sisters Candice Patterson
and Nina Caldwell were 13.  Both sets of siblings spent lots of time together
through the years.  Why not?  It made sense.  They lived just down the
street!

   Mick Patterson was an engineer; Pamela Patterson sold real estate.  Ken
Caldwell was the plant manager at a manufacturing facility; his wife Brooke
was in the IS department at a local government office.  The families were
similar financially.  They weren't rich but didn't lack basic necessities,
either.  Despite their similarities, however, they spent no time together as
families.  One reason was Ken and Brooke Caldwell smoked.  Mick and Pamela
Patterson didn't and didn't like being around the Caldwells because of it.

   Mick and Pamela's disapproval was never overt.  But their kids sensed it.
The families were different.  The kids accepted that.  Ken and Brooke
Caldwell had their circle of friends, mostly people who smoked like they did
and drank beer when socializing.  Mick and Pamela Caldwell weren't in that
crowd:  The problem wasn't the drinking.  The Pattersons drank socially of
course.  No, the problem was smoking.

   The 16 year olds Taylor and Ashleigh tried to ignore the tension between
their parents.  Both high school juniors, they had school friends in common
and spent time together with them.  When Taylor turned 16 she got her
driver's license and began to drive Ashleigh, which further cemented their
friendship.  Meanwhile the younger sisters played on a community soccer team
together.  They also hung out in a common circle of middle school girls.

   Although Ashleigh's parents smoked she had no interest in it.  She didn't
hate her mom and dad for it.  She wasn't an anti.  She just never felt a need
to emulate their behavior.  Of course Taylor Patterson had _no_ interest in
smoking.  But the summer Taylor turned 16 that changed.

   It began in an unlikely way.  One Friday Taylor came home from her summer
job to find her mom and dad in the living room of their two-story suburban
home.  They looked somber and serious.  Taylor guessed she was in trouble.
She was right.

   "Taylor, honey, we need to talk," Pamela began.  "We're very disappointed
in you."

   "Why?  What's up?  What'd I do?"

   Taylor was tall, almost five eleven.  Slim and muscular, she was on the
school track team.  She ran for pleasure as well as sport.  Long legs favored
her as a runner.  Her face was angular and attractive and her long, straight
blond hair made her look younger than she was.

   "Taylor, I found something in your coat pocket," her mother went on.
"Look at this."

   Pamela held up a single, one hundred millimeter cigarette.  "Care to
explain?"

   Taylor was dumbfounded.  "I have no idea where that came from," she
sputtered.  "It's not mine!"

   "Honey," her dad interrupted.  "We're not stupid.  It looks like you've
been smoking.  We simply won't stand for it."

   Taylor was stunned.  The cigarette wasn't hers.  She had no idea how it
got into her coat pocket.  "Mom, Dad, you have to believe me.  It's _not_
mine!  Someone must've got my coat mixed up with theirs or something."

   That premise wasn't absurd.  Her jacket was plain and black,
indistinguishable from many others of similar design.

   Her parents didn't buy it.  "Taylor, we're revoking your driving
privileges for a week," her dad went on.  "And if we ever find further
evidence that you're smoking ?."

   Pamela Patterson cut in.  "Look, Taylor.  I know what's up.  It's that
Caldwell girl, isn't it?  She's gotten you to smoke with her?"

   "Ashleigh?  God, no, Mom.  Ashleigh doesn't smoke.  I told you, I have no
idea how that cigarette got into my pocket.  It's just not mine!"

   "No, it probably belongs to Ashleigh Caldwell," Pamela continued resolute.
"Her parents smoke and she's urged you to try it with her."

   Taylor was frustrated.  "Mom, I swear, it's not mine and Ashleigh had
nothing to do with this.  She doesn't smoke; neither do I.  I've never smoked
in my life.  Please, believe me!"

   From the look on his face Taylor saw she was beginning to convince her
dad.  But Pamela was immovable.

   "Okay, Taylor.  You say it's not yours?  You say Ashleigh Caldwell had
nothing to do with it being in your pocket?  Fine.  We'll just see if you're
telling the truth."

   "What do you mean, Mom?"

   Pamela got up and went into an adjoining room.  She returned with kitchen
matches and a glass dish.  "If you don't smoke, Taylor, I'll know it when you
smoke this cigarette for me," she glared.  The teenager's face turned ashen.
"If you've never smoked, you see, it'll make you sick.  But if you are a
smoker it won't.  It's that simple.  We'll find out."  She gave Taylor the
matches and placed the glass dish on the table in front of her.

   "But Mom," the blond girl sputtered.  "It's not fair.  It's not right!"

   "It's also not right to flout the law.  It's not right to have cigarettes
if you're only 16," Pamela spat back.  "I smoked at your age but I finally
quit.  I realized I was making a big mistake.  Smoking's a filthy habit.  I
won't permit any daughter of mine to smoke.  If you're innocent like you say,
then show me by smoking this entire cigarette, right here, right now.  As a
former smoker I can tell by your reaction if you're telling the truth."

   "But Mom, I don't want to."

   Pamela smiled grimly.  "Nothing stops a neophyte faster than a good old
fashioned nicotine overdose brought on by smoking an entire cigarette.  I
want you to feel the full fury of what nicotine does to you, Taylor.  If
you're already used to it ?."  She paused.  "Well, I'll know and I'll take
even sterner measures to restrict you this summer.  But if you're not smoking
like you say then it'll just be an unpleasant interlude.  For your sake,
Taylor, I hope you're telling the truth when you say you don't smoke!"

   Mick began to waffle.  "Pam, honey, do you think this is really smart?"

   She glared at her husband.  "Mick, Taylor says she's innocent.  Fine.  I
can tell if she is by watching her reaction when she smokes this cigarette.
If she's innocent like she says it'll still do her good to get really sick
from smoking the whole damn thing!"

   Mick backed down.  He knew better than to contradict Pamela if her mind
was made up.

   Taylor began to cry softly.  "Mom, it's not fair," she sobbed.  "I didn't
do anything.  I don't know how it got there.  This just isn't right!"

   Pamela turned her steely gaze on her daughter.  "Listen, Taylor.  You will
smoke this cigarette for me.  You'll see first hand how awful the stinking
habit is!  That little bitch Ashleigh Caldwell won't turn you into a smoker;
not if I have anything to say about it!"

   Ironically Taylor _was_ telling the truth.  She had no idea where the
cigarette came from or how it got in her pocket.  She was hurt her parents
didn't believe her.  But her mom wouldn't back down.

   "Here, Taylor," Pamela said firmly.  "Now smoke it for me!"

   With tears running down her cheeks Taylor took the cigarette from her mom.
She stared at it.  It was long and white.  The word "Marlboro" was imprinted
beneath two gold rings below the filter.  It was the brand Ashleigh's parents
smoked, Marlboro Lights 100's.  She shivered.  "God, Mom, you really want me
to do this?"

   Pamela nodded sternly while her father looked away.

   Taylor had never smoked a cigarette.  But she'd seen Mr. and Mrs. Caldwell
smoke many times.  So she had an idea what to do.  She put the cigarette in
her lips.  It felt light, almost weightless.  She took a match and struck it
on the box.  Her fingers trembled as she raised the dancing flame to the tip
of the tobacco filled cylinder hanging from her mouth.

   Pungent, bitter tobacco smoke filled her mouth as the flame caught.
Taylor made a face and breathed it out.  "Ugh," she said, screwing up her
features.  "It's awful!"

   Pamela watched attentively.  As a former smoker she knew all about the
baneful activity.  Taylor didn't look much like a smoker.  But feigning
innocence wasn't beyond her.

   "Now really smoke it," Pamela ordered.  "I want to see you inhale.  Next
time you take a drag pull the smoke in your lungs.  Let's see if you've
already built up a tolerance for the smoke and the nicotine it contains."

   Taylor understood.  She'd seen Ashleigh's parents inhale.  She knew what
her mom meant.  But she made another face.  She didn't want to, though she
knew if she didn't her mom would go ballistic.

   She dragged again on the burning cigarette, harder this time.  The taste
appalled her.  But she inhaled and managed to breathe the smoke into her
chest.

   She began choking, softly at first.  A full-on gagging attack erupted
almost immediately.  She coughed and sputtered out of control.  Smoke burst
uncontrollably from her mouth.  "Oh my God," she gasped between hacks.  New
tears ran down her face.  "Oh, no!"

   Seeing her reaction Pamela felt relieved.  Unless Taylor was an academy
award winning actress this was indeed the first time she ever inhaled smoke.
But it didn't mean she wasn't already experimenting with it.  So Pamela made
her continue.  Even if Taylor hadn't yet reached the stage of inhaling Pamela
wanted to forestall any further experimentation by forcing a full-on nicotine
overdose.

   "Keep taking drags and inhaling," she barked mercilessly.  "You'll smoke
that whole cigarette, Taylor.  You'll damn well find out what smoking's
really like!"

   The teenager's eyes were wet with tears.  Her nose was running.  She
wearily raised the cigarette to her lips.  She dragged, breathed in more
smoke, and coughed and gagged even harder this time.  But Pamela showed no
mercy.

   "More," she decreed.  "Keep going you little scoundrel!"

   Mick grew progressively more uncomfortable with his wife's vindictive
exercise of unbridled authority.  He shook his head watching his poor
daughter gag and cough.  Unable to keep still, Mick finally spoke up.

   "God, Pam, this has gone far enough!"

   "Shut up, Mick," she snapped back.  "Taylor will smoke the whole damn
cigarette!  She'll learn the hard way never to fool around with tobacco.
Taylor, keep going!"

   Having no alternative, she did.  The next few minutes the blond 16 year
old girl repeatedly dragged on the cigarette and sucked smoke into her aching
lungs.  Her head began to spin; she felt queasy.  With each drag it got
worse.  Finally she begged for mercy.  "Mom, please, no more," she whined.
"I'm starting to feel really sick!"

   "I don't give a shit," Pam barked.  "You still have a few drags left.
Before you're done, young lady, I want you to feel the full fury of smoking a
cigarette.  I hope you do get good and sick.  No daughter of mine will make
the same mistake I made at that age.  You're not going to smoke, ever.  So
keep going, damn it!"

   She did.  By the time Taylor was done her complexion was a pasty green.
Her stomach churned and she feared she might hurl.  Using the glass dish as
an ashtray she crushed out the butt.  Her hand shook violently when she did.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.  She looked at Pamela.  "There,
Mom.  I hope you're satisfied!"

   Pam nodded sagely.  "Congratulations Taylor.  You look like hell!  I bet
you never want to smoke another cigarette as long as you live!"

   The ashen-faced teenager nodded.  "God, I feel terrible.  I need to lie
down."  She covered her mouth with her hand.  "I feel like I'm going to throw
up."

   Pamela looked victoriously at Mick.  She nodded and turned her gaze back
to her daughter.  "Taylor, I believe you.  This was for your own good.
Smoking's a terrible, awful habit and now you know that first-hand.  Promise
me that you'll never, ever, try it again!"

   The blond girl nodded agreement.  "Can I go now?"

   "Yes, go," Pamela spat back.  "I never want to see another cigarette in
your possession as long as you live, young lady!  Do you hear me?"

   Taylor went to her room.  Her queasiness was passing but she still had to
lie down.  She was furious at her mother.  Damn it, it wasn't fair; it wasn't
right.  Right then she determined to get some kind of revenge.  She just
didn't know how.  That would come later.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   The next day was Saturday.  Pamela Patterson made her weekly trip to the
grocery store.  She wheeled her cart through the supermarket filling it with
groceries.  Waiting in line for the checkout she opened her purse to get her
credit card.  In her purse she saw something that literally took her breath
away.

   "Oh my God," she muttered to herself.  "What the hell is this?"

   Inside her purse, underneath her wallet, lay a single cigarette.  And
beside it was a small disposable lighter.

   Pamela looked around.  No one was watching her or what she was doing.  She
looked again.  Sure enough, she had a single cigarette and a lighter stuck in
the bottom of her purse!

   Without a word she paid for her groceries and wheeled them out to her
minivan.  She sat in the driver's seat and opened her purse again.  She was
dumbstruck.  She couldn't believe it.  She took out the all-white, 100
millimeter cigarette and stared at it in disbelief.

   "Marlboro," she mumbled, reading the name printed below the gold rings on
the white filter.  "It's a Marlboro Light 100."  She sighed.  It was her old
brand.

   Pamela was 39.  Like Taylor she was a tall blond and slender of build.
She had the same angular attractive facial features her daughter did.  As a
teenager and into her twenties Pamela indeed was a smoker.  Truthfully, that
was an understatement.  Back then she was a very, very heavy smoker.  In
college Pamela routinely polished off a couple packs of Marlboro Lights 100's
a day.  She smoked when she met Mick her junior year in college.  She
continued to smoke after they married till she unexpectedly got pregnant with
Taylor at 22.  Her obstetrician warned her of the dangers of smoking while
pregnant.  It scared her into quitting.  It was with great difficulty that
she finally quit.  She candidly told her husband and friends that quitting
wasn't just hard.  It was excruciating!  Having smoked heavily for nearly
eight years quitting was a hellish experience for poor Pamela.  She vowed
never to go through that trauma again.  She hadn't smoked a cigarette since
she was pregnant with her eldest daughter Taylor seventeen years earlier.

   But now there she was.  She was sitting in her minivan staring at a
cigarette nestled in the bottom of her purse.  "How in the hell did that
thing get in there?"  Then it hit her.  "God damn that Taylor," she swore.
"She did this!"

   Anger welled up inside.  Her daughter did this to her, she was sure.  No
other explanation made sense.  She picked up the cigarette, intending to
throw it out her car window.  Then she stopped.  She sniffed it and smelled
the old familiar aroma of unlit tobacco.  She sniffed again and, despite
herself, smiled.  God, I used to love smoking, she sighed, especially the
magnificent feeling of having that first cigarette after a long period of
abstinence ?.

   "What the hell am I thinking?" she startled, coming to her senses.  "Shit!
I'm playing with fire just holding this stupid thing!"  She rolled down her
window and tossed it.  "I'll get to the bottom of this," she swore.  "Taylor
will learn she better not mess with me about this!"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   At that moment Taylor sat in the Caldwell's family room talking with her
friend Ashleigh.  With driving privileges revoked she had nowhere to go but
down the street to her friend's house.

   For years each time she had a fight with her mom Taylor found Ashleigh and
her parents ready allies.  She was in the midst of telling Ashleigh what
happened the day before.  Brooke Caldwell was working in the kitchen and
listening in.  Taylor didn't mind.  She liked Ashleigh's mom.  She was always
sympathetic and understanding.

   "So that's it, Ash.  I can't believe my mom made me do that.  God, it
wasn't fair.  What hurts more than anything is that she didn't believe me
when I told her it wasn't my cigarette!"

   "Yeah, it really sucks," Ashleigh nodded.  "Big time."

   "Now Taylor, don't be too hard on your mom."

   Brooke was standing in the doorway with a smile on her face.  She was in
her thirties like Taylor's mom.  Brooke had a dark complexion, deep brown
eyes and chestnut brown hair.  In that respect she and Ashleigh looked alike.
They resembled each other in one more way.  Unlike the tall and skinny
Patterson women, Brooke and Ashleigh Caldwell were petite of build and
noticeably big breasted.

   Not surprisingly Brooke had a cigarette in her hand.  It seemed Ashleigh's
mom always smoked while she worked in the kitchen.

   "Taylor, it's not hard to understand her reaction.  Didn't you tell me
your mom used to smoke when she was your age?"

   "Yeah, she did, Mrs. Caldwell," Taylor nodded, turning to look at her best
friend's attractive brunette mother.  "I guess Mom used to smoke all the
time.  She didn't quit till she got pregnant with me.  She's told me a
hundred times at least."

   Brooke dragged on her cigarette, tipped her head and released a thin
stream of smoke toward the ceiling.  "That explains it.  I have many friends
who've quit over the years.  Almost without exception they get totally
paranoid.  They never want to be around cigarettes afterward, or around the
people who still smoke them, like me.  They get nasty about other people
smoking.  It's a defense mechanism.  They do it to protect themselves, to
cover up their fear that somehow another person's decision to smoke
invalidates their decision to quit."

   "Mrs. Caldwell, you are so laid back compared to my mom," Taylor sighed
enviously.  "Sometimes I wish you could give my mom a chill pill or
something."

   At that moment Ken Caldwell interrupted the discussion, walking through
the room followed by both Nina and Candice.  Ken smiled at Brooke.  She
grinned back.  "Honey, are you taking these two future soccer stars to the
park again?"

   Ken gave his wife a peck on the cheek and nodded.  "Nina and Candice want
to hang out at the park to practice with their friends awhile.  I told them
I'd drive them over there and read till they're finished."

   "Ken, you're such a great dad," Brooke said sincerely.  She turned to the
impatient 13 year olds.  "God, I hope you girls appreciate having him as your
own personal chauffeur.  It seems anymore Ken takes you to the park every
single evening for awhile to practice.  And now he's even taking you on
weekends.  Is soccer really that important to you girls?"

   Nina nodded.  "Mom, soccer's our life.  But you're right.  Dad's been
great about it.  Candice and I really do appreciate it."  She turned to her
father.  "C'mon, Dad.  Let's go."

   Taylor watched her little sister trail along after Nina Caldwell and her
dad as they left.  "See, Mrs. Caldwell?  That's the same kind of thing.
You're always laid back when you talk to Ashleigh and me like this; and Mr.
Caldwell constantly goes out of his way to take Nina and Candice to practice
soccer at the park whenever they want.  But my parents are so different.  My
mom immediately jumped to conclusions about me smoking, which I wasn't even
doing!"

   Brooke sat in a chair, reached for an ashtray and trimmed her cigarette.
"Look, Taylor, no mother wants her kids to smoke.  It's a terrible habit.  So
cut your mom some slack here.  She only did what she thought was best.  Any
mom who lied to her own parents about smoking back when she was a kid will
immediately assume her teenager has to be doing the same thing to her."  She
raised her cigarette to her lips.

   "But you're not that way with Ashleigh," Taylor objected.  "Not at all.
You trust her.  I never hear you accuse Ashleigh the way Mom accuses me.
It's not just the smoking thing.  It's everything.  If I'm even a little late
coming home Mom asks twenty questions, one after another, like she assumes I
was doing something terrible.  Why aren't you that way with Ashleigh?"

   Brooke was pleased to play the sympathetic mother.  "Ken and I just take a
different approach to child raising.  That's all."  She trimmed her cigarette
and paused for another hit.  "For example, your mom obviously doesn't want
you to smoke.  Well, we don't want Ashleigh and Nina to smoke either.  But
Ken and I smoke and we smoked when we were teenagers.  It doesn't matter if
it's right or wrong, good or bad.  It's just how it is.  So we decided we'll
never make a big deal of it."  She smiled.  "Only one thing we insist on.
Ashleigh must tell us what she's doing.  If she wanted to smoke we wouldn't
be happy about it.  But we'd let her.  We wouldn't stand in her way because
we understand.  It's the same way about things like drinking.  As long as
Ashleigh levels with us and tells us the truth, her dad and I won't react
negatively, at least within reason."  She smiled.  "Ken and I think honesty
and openness are more important.  Teenagers experiment with things like
smoking and drinking.  Nothing we parents do will stop it.  It's part of
growing up.  But we believe keeping lines of communication open is what's
critical."

   Taylor looked at her like a wide eyed doe.  "You mean if Ashleigh said she
wants to smoke you'd let her?  Just like that?"

   Brooke nodded almost too casually.  She liked the opportunity to show up
bitchy Pamela Patterson in front of her daughter.  "Sure, of course," Brooke
smiled.  "I'd rather Ashleigh smoke here in our house with me than hide it
and sneak around.  Listen carefully, though.  I don't _want_ Ash to smoke.
But I know I can't stop her if she decides she wants to.  So why get bent out
of shape about something that in the end I can't stop anyway?"  She took a
last drag on her cigarette.  She inhaled as she crushed it in the ashtray and
went on spewing smoke through smiling lips.  "Your mom's just afraid, Taylor.
I feel sorry for her.  So should you.  She's worried about something she
can't control.  She's desperately trying to control it anyway.  Just be nice
to her.  Try and understand."

   "Good advice, Mrs. Caldwell.  You're so incredibly mellow.  I wish my mom
was more like you."

   So do I, Taylor, said Brooke to herself, thinking about the stinging
rebukes she received from Pamela in the past about her smoking habit.  God,
so do I!


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