Crypts, Part 1

(by an4@anon.lelnet.com, 14 February 1999)


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Crypts
by an4@anon.lelnet.com
Part 1 of 2

   Elsa looked at the apartments for rent with a tear in her eye. She didn't
really want to have to go through this right now, but there was nothing she
could do. You simply didn't go on living in the same apartment with the woman
your ex-boyfriend had cheated on you with.
   Leaving university housing had seemed like such a damn good idea. She and
Martha had been best friends for, well, since about the second day of freshman
year. This apartment was a little more than half what the cost of living on
campus had been, especially when you figured in the mandatory meal plan, the
on-campus activities fee, and all the rest of the hidden charges. Besides,
everyone knew that only three types of people lived on campus- freshmen,
sophomores, and dorks. Well, that was really two types of people, but-
   The problem was that trying to find a place to live in at the end of January
was like expecting Dawson to work out his Joey problem.
   She read another listing.
   `Junior Lesbian smoker looking for roommate. Must be hang-up free. Drinking
okay, no drugs or acid rock. Two bedroom apartment, 360/month plus utilities.
867-5308. Stereo ownership a slight plus.'
   Elsa sighed. She certainly wasn't in the market for a roommate who smoked,
but what choice did she have ? Besides, her parents were smokers. She could
deal.
Probably not much.
   She dialed the number nervously. It rang twice, and then a perky sounding
woman picked up the phone.
   "This is Charisma."
   "Hello, Charisma. I saw you ad in the newspaper."
   "And you are ?" After she asked the question Elsa heard a strange noise on
the phone, like a deep hiss.
   "Elsa Smythe. I'd love to take a look at your place if you still have an
opening."
   "I have several-"
   "Uh-"
   "And the room is still open, too. I'll be here for an hour. It's 66 Exeter
Street. It's the only old multistory on the block. Don't let the fact that the
street looks dead scare you off. It's a really quite neighbourhood."
   
 
   Elsa walked down the street slowly, trying to take Charisma's advice. The
block was deserted. There was one car with out of place DC plates up the
street, sitting unoccupied.
Other than that, there was nothing and no one to see. Just a bunch of old one-
story commercial buildings, all of them looking as though they had been out of
service since the fifties. 
   They called this the Pohatten section, and it was typical of many eastern
cities. The companies and the jobs they'd provided had long ago moved south to
lower taxes and cheaper labour, leaving these deserted areas. It was hard to
believe that the university was less than four miles from here, that people
were laughing and joking and living lives. No, walking down this street it was
possible to believe that the world had died.
But Elsa knew it hadn't.
   Just her little part of it, that was all.
   Smiling, she found 66 Exeter.
   Rang the bell.
   It was almost a full minute before there was a response.
   "Come on up," said a cheery voice which Elsa quite liked. It was not what she
had expected, that was for sure.
   She walked through the door on the buzz and headed up the stairs. It appeared
the apartment was some sort of a loft. That was encouraging. There would be
plenty of space at least. She was wondering if maybe they could even arrange a
non-smoking area.
   The door at the top of the stairs swung open and there was Charisma. She was
of average height, but that was the only way in which that word could be
applied to her. She had long, straight blonde hair that was touchably
luxurious and the sort of deep blue eyes that most women would have gladly
endured contacts for. Her breasts-
   She was wearing nothing but a jog bra and short tights and there was a heavy
sheen of sweat which made her thin, Lara Craft-like legs shine. It was the
good sort of sweat. Her nipples were stunningly erect, standing out off
breasts which were balloon-like, also in the good way. In all, she cut a
spectacular figure and it was a shame to the male population that she was a
lesbian.
   Drawing deeply on a Virginia Slims 120, she exhaled a cloud of smoke which
filled the doorway.
   "You'll have to excuse me. I just finished my workout."
   Elsa let go a small sound which was part laugh and part something else. She
didn't mean it to be audible, but-
   "You're wondering how I can work out enough to break this kind of sweat and
then light up, right ? Come on in."
   They walked into the loft. It wasn't merely spacious. It was gigantic.
   Elsa found herself liking the place, which tastefully decorated far beyond
the means of the average college student.
   "The thought did cross my mind."
   "Well, my mother taught me that smoking was the best way to keep my weight
under control and she was right."
   "Your mother ?" Elsa asked, her attention drawn to the Apple Display sitting
on a bare open bottom desk under which was one of the new blue and white G3's.
The computer was interesting, but not as much as the image on the desktop. 
   It was Lara Craft, looking very much her usual self, and Elsa held back a
smile, having just compared her future roommate to the heroine. She was lying
across the screen against a dark background, holding a cigar. Smoke was coming
from her nose and mouth. It was obviously doctored, but fairly cleanly.
   "Oh yeah. Mom started smoking when she was thirteen, a lot younger than me. I
always felt like she was looking for an excuse to get me started as well and
when it came time for my junior prom- well, let's just say that at fifteen I
was carrying more baby fat than you'd want to put in a prom dress and take
pictures of. I had picked out my dress, and well, you can probably tell by
looking around the loft that we have a little bit of money. The cost of the
dress was never an issue, but my mom refused to buy it until I lost the
weight. That may sound mean, but she was really just looking out for me. So
she made me a deal- she told me if I lost the weight she'd not only buy me the
dress but hire a limo for me and my friends."
   "She bought me a lifecycle and a treadmill and put them in the basement,
which was great. I started working out, but that just made my appetite go
nuts. I was eating like there was no tomorrow. I'd do the cycle for an hour a
day and I was actually gaining weight. So she suggested that I try smoking as
a way to kerb my overactive appetite."
   "And you loved smoking, right ?"
   Charisma laughed. "No, I hated it. My mom smokes Marlboro 100s and that's
what she started me on. She was a real bear about it, too. She wouldn't let me
have my coffee in the morning until I'd lit up. Well, pretty soon I was
smoking about a pack a day- it turns out all my friends thought it was `really
cool' that I smoked, so I would smoke at school every chance I got- private
schools were pretty far behind the curve on kerbing teenage smoking- they gave
use fifteen minutes between classes with the understanding that we needed the
time to light up."
   "The thing was, I didn't really enjoy it, but I kept doing it because it
worked. The first week I smoked I lost ten pounds- I'd have a couple of
cigarettes before my meal and I'd be too light-headed to have an appetite. In
a few weeks I'd lost the twenty five pounds and my Mom was so thrilled she not
only bought me the dress but she found a great deal on a used Saab. Right
after that, one of my friends who'd started smoking because of me turned me on
to Lights. Mom couldn't really understand that, but as soon as I switched, I
actually started enjoying smoking, which was what she wanted. But that's
probably enough about my smoking, except for one question-"
   Elsa had plenty of time to take the place in while she was listening to
Charisma's story and she was sure of one thing- she did want to live here.
Charisma had been smoking the whole time and although the smell took a little
getting used to, it was no big deal, really. In fact, it reminded her of home,
and that was nice in a strange sort of way.
   "Your smoking isn't going to be an issue, Charisma. My folks are bigtime
smokers."
   "My friends call me Carrie."
   "My friends call me E."
   "Well E, do you want to see your bedroom ?"
   "Sure, Carrie. But can I ask you a question ?"
   "Anything you want, girlfriend."
   "Why do you want a roommate ? You've got a great set up here and I can't
imagine, well, don't take this the wrong way, but you don't look like you need
the money. That computer probably cost more than my car."
   "Well, they aren't as pricey as they used to be, but- it's lonely here. I
mean, it's walking distance from the University, but nevertheless-"
   "It's like a different world. That's cool. I just, I don't know-"
   "You'd rather not think I'm some sort of needy freak, right ?"
   "Something like that. I mean, I have shitloads of reading to do. All my
friends think that just because I'm a history major that-"
   "You're a total goof-off. I'm an English major with an art minor, so I know
what you mean. Exactly. I do actually spend most of my time reading and
studying, so it's a pretty quiet place. Especially since my stereo system just
crapped out. I'll be getting another one, but I figured if my roomie to be had
one, I'd hold off. You know, you like to feel like you're bringing something
in, and actually, I blew my allowance for the month on the computer- Mom's not
quite made of money yet."
   "What does she do ?"
   "She writes romance novels. I keep trying to get her to do an alternate
sexuality novel, but says she doesn't have the right experience. I think she's
just holding off because she wants me to write one. That's why I made that
Lara- for inspiration. But romance novels aren't my speed. I like historical
literature."
   "Maybe between the two of us-" Elsa said.
   "So let me show you your room, since you've decided you want to live
here...."

   E's mom finished downloading the jpeg her daughter had sent her and opened it
with Photoshop.
   It was a great picture of her daughter and another girl- the new roommate
Charisma. 
   She was surprised to see that Charisma was holding a cigarette and in the
middle of an exhale of sizeable proportion. Then again, with those breasts,
she could probably smoke Cuban cigars.
   Joanne laughed. She knew that breast size and lung capacity weren't related,
but it was easy to forget that looking at what John would call `luscious
melons.'
   He walked into their office puffing on cigar, and as Joanne reached for her
cigarettes, he pulled out his lighter and provided service.
   "So that's Charisma ?"
   "You like ?" Joanne teased.
   "Too bad she's a lesbian. Otherwise I might be dropping in for a visit-
tomorrow."
   "She turns you on ?" she asked, still teasing.
   "A body like that ? And she smokes ? E didn't mention she was living with a
smoker."
   "She wouldn't," Joanne said morosely. "You know our daughter, sweetheart."
She also knew her husband. There was a noticeable bulge in his pants, and she
reached out and stroked it. He grew hard quickly and turned to his beautiful
wife. She exhaled, reached up, and turned his face back to the flat-panel.
"Just keep your eyes there," she said, and stood up, reaching deep inside his
pants and stroking him hard. They shared a smoky kiss- she'd always loved the
taste of cigar in his mouth and wondered at her dopey friends who asked how
she could bring herself to kiss him when he smoked `those things.'
   "These are one of my best pairs of pants," he protested half-heartedly. 
   "That's why god invented dry-cleaning, silly."
   Just before he came, he leaned close to his wife's ear and said "Ask E to
send more pictures."
   "Will do, hon," she said, and kissed him hard, loving the flavour in his
mouth as he came for her.

   Elsa was sitting on the couch, reading another essay on Cromwell, this one a
bit more flattering than the last.
   It was dry work, to say the least. Somehow, today's writers had lost track of
the passion of the era. Of course it was true that it was all about economics
in the end, not ideas. But the ideas had at least been there on the table. Not
living under the persecution of absolute governments seemed to take your edges
away and leave you looking back through stained glass at events that had lost
their true meanings.
   She was getting sleepy. It wasn't even midnight yet, but the bottle of wine
she'd split with Charisma was making her tired now.
   That and the depression. Charisma was a different animal entirely.
   She'd made a vow not to date for the rest of the semester and it suited her
well. She seemed to be like a live wire now. Elsa was half-asleep and Charisma
seemed to be just getting into a groove. She was reading something and
churning away on the stationary bike. Finally she came to a stop and
immediately lit a cigarette and walked into the kitchen. She came back with
two beers and a smile on her face.
   "I can barely stay awake as it is, Carrie."
   "You know what would help that," she said with a wry smile. She took another
long draw on the cigarette- this time it was a Marlboro Lights 100, one of the
two brands she switched between on a regular basis.
   Elsa found herself liking the smell of second-hand smoke more and more
lately. It was because she felt at home here, more so after two weeks than at
any time in her college career. She'd sent her parents pictures of the loft
and her roommate and they seemed to like it too because they kept asking for
more. Especially more pictures of Charisma. But Elsa thought she knew what
that was about. Her mom and dad were weird in several ways, but nothing was
weirder than the way mom used pictures of other women to get dad going. It was
silly because mom was gorgeous, not only for a forty-two year old but just
plain period.
   "No, that's all right. If you already think that I'm cute, what will happen
if I started smoking ?"
   There was no question that Charisma did find her attractive. It had become
sort of a joke between them- the lesbian who wouldn't date was turned on by
the heterosexual who couldn't find a date. They laughed about it and there was
nothing awkward in it- the truth was that Elsa was flattered.
   "Well, I'd definitely have to start masturbating again, but I think I can
live with that."
   Had Elsa started thinking about smoking now that she was living with a smoker
?


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