Kaleidoscope Eyes, Part 1

(by uciboy2001@yahoo.com, 30 December 2001)


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KALEIDOSCOPE EYES

by uciboy

Kim took one last look in the mirror before heading out to the living room.
She decided to wear her long black hair loose tonight at the party rather
then tie it up in a pony-tail like she usually does. Casual slacks, a light
blue sweater - no need to be too formal; it's just a casual gathering with
some friends.  

"I'm leaving now, Mom," Kim called out as she opened the front door.

"Okay, Kim.  What time you gonna be home tonight?"

"11:30."

"And what are you not going to do?"

"I'm not going to drink and I'm not going to smoke," Kim replied.

"And stay away from those who do smoke," her Mom admonished.  "You're a good
girl, Kimmie.  Go have fun tonight!"

Kim Lee was accustomed to the routine.  Whenever she went out late with
friends she would have to run through the same drill with her Mom who
especially always stressed the importance of not smoking nor being around
people who smoked because, she said, of the health effects.  Even aunts and
uncles never smoked around her family.  One might imagine that at Kim's age
of 16, her mother's efforts to protect her daughter might appear
overprotective.  But Kim didn't mind - and her family experience certainly
shaped her own anti-smoking views.

Kim was the "good Asian daughter" - the one who studied hard and got good
grades and was no doubt Harvard bound to double major in chemistry and
microbiology just like her parents.  She had always had a close relationship
with her Mom and Dad - unlike her adopted little sister - Annie - who at 13
seemed a constant aggravation to them all, but was loved all the same.  The
Lees were a happy family.

Well known for her kindness and friendliness, Kim often went out of her way
to make new students feel welcomed - which is why on the way to the party she
needed to pick up Angela Chin, a new girl enrolled at St. Mary's, their
private all-girl's school.


Kim had met Angela just that afternoon in their chemistry class - and Angela
was in dire need of a friend to show her the ropes around school.  Moreover,
they both hit it off real well and were on their way to being good friends.
Eager to learn more about each other, the girls exchanged their personal
histories and found that they had some things in common.  Both of their
parents, for instance, were from prosperous families in Taiwan and immigrated
to the United States during college; and both had parents who worked in
academia - Angela's as language instructors, and Kim's as science
researchers.  "How long have your parents lived in California," Angela asked
on the way to the party.  

"I don't know exactly," Kim replied.  "I know that they lived in the South
for a while before I was born.  But I've lived here all my life - so that's
16 years at least."

"I'm an only child," Angela said, "how 'bout you?"

"One sister - Annie - 13 years old.  What a terror she is - but we get along
okay.  She's adopted."

"That's not real common with Chinese parents, you know" Angela offered.

"Really?  Well, I once heard some aunties talking about an illness that my
mother had years ago - something about a research accident and so my parents
decided it was best to adopt rather than give birth to another child."

After an awkward period of silence, Kim switched to small talk.  "I'm so glad
you're coming to this party, Angela," she said as they neared their
destination.  "It's a great way to meet people - and I think you'll find that
we're all pretty cool.  Some of us are just really crazy when we get
together."

"Cool," "Crazy" - those are the words Angela wanted to hear.  Her parents
took her out of the public school system because this Chinese American girl
was having too much fun - smoking, drinking, raves - and hoped that she would
shape up at St. Mary's.  "So what do you guys do for fun," Angela asked.

"Oh, lot's of stuff," Kim replied.  "We go to the movies a lot.  We hang out
at McDonald's.  Sometimes we just stay up all night and listen to music after
we study."

"Wow," Angela replied with as little disdain as possible.  "You guys really
rock."

"Oh, we go dancing sometimes," Kim added.

Dancing!  There we go, Angela thought to herself, there is some intelligent
life at this school.  "How often do you guys go raving?"

"Raving," Kim said slowly.  "What's that?"


Angela sank into her seat with a heavy sigh.  What planet do you live on?!
She really needed to light a cigarette but had a feeling that Kim might not
approve.  "So," Angela asked slyly, trying to feel her friend out, "do any of
your friends smoke?"

"Oh no!" Kim replied, oblivious to the meaning of Angela's question. "We're
all very much against smoking.  Hey, you know, Tuesday the 'No
Butts-Anti-Smoking Society' is meeting at lunch time.  I'm the president.
You should come by and meet everyone."

Angela knew now that she was in Hell.  Not only was her new friend a
goody-two-shoes but an anti-smoker, as well.  "Thanks," Angela said, "but I'm
always busy at lunch.  Maybe another time."  Angela didn't want to appear
rude.  She truly appreciated Kim's help to meet other people, but attending
the "No-Butts" society didn't seem the right way to do it.  Besides, lunch
hour was the only time she could get off campus to have a smoke.

When the two girls finally reached the party, Kim could hardly wait to hug
and gossip with her friends while Angela braced herself for a night of utter
banality.  She smiled and did her best to look truly interested when Kim
introduced her to each person, but in reality she didn't give a fuck about
what they were talking about.  Who really cares which Backstreet Boy was the
cutest, Angela thought to herself. Moreover, she was dying for a cigarette -
and knew that she was going to have to sneak out of the house into the
backyard to have one.  

"Listen, Kim, I'm kinda warm in here," Angela said. "I'm gonna step outside
for a minute."

"I'll come with you."

Angela responded that she didn't need to, but Kim insisted.  She was not
going to let her new friend feel alone for even a minute. Angela knew once
they got outside that she would have to tell Kim that she was a smoker - but
the cravings were so bad that at that moment she really didn't care what Kim
thought.

Needless to say, Kim was shocked when Angela pulled a pack of Benson and
Hedges Menthols out of her pocket.  "Angela!" she cried in disbelief.  "You
smoke?  You don't even look like a smoker!"

"Guilty as charged," Angela said with a smile of satisfaction as she put the
all-white 100 into her mouth and lit the tip with a silver lighter.  She sat
down on a patio chair and took a deep puff, holding it in for several
seconds, feeding that craving she'd been suffering from for well over an
hour, and exhaled a loose and unformed cloud. After a second pump on her
cigarette and a French inhale, Angela shaped her exhale into a smokey stream
moving upward in the cool evening.  She was finally able to relax.


Kim watched in amazement and sat down in a chair next to Angela's. As the
President of the Anti-Butts Society, she probably should have admonished
Angela for lighting a cigarette in her friend's backyard, but she could see
how addicted her new friend was and felt sympathy for her.  "You poor girl,"
she said.  "You must have been in there dying for a cigarette.  How long have
you been addicted?"

Angela was caught off guard by the question.  She had expected something more
accusatory or at least preachy as to the dangers of smoking, but Kim appeared
to be understanding.  "I started when I was 14.  I guess it comes from
hanging around the 'bad girls' at school.  That's why my parents sent me to
St. Mary's - to try and clean myself up before, as my dear Christian Mom
says, I lose my way."  Angela gave her cigarette a tap.  "Well, I lost my way
a long time ago and actually enjoy the path I've taken, wherever it leads
me."  

Kim suddenly understood how she misperceived the conversation the two of them
had in the car coming over.  "You must think we're totally anal, don't you?
I bet you're having a terrible time here."

"Don't get me wrong, Kim," Angela said in the middle of an exhale. "Your
friends are all real nice - but they just don't know how to have a good time.
There is so much pleasure that life has to offer." Angela double-pumped a
puff on her Benson and Hedges and breathed in deeply, then exhaled a cloud
that partially engulfed Kim before moving upwards into the night.  "Sorry
about that," she said sincerely, "it's difficult to determine the direction
of the breeze.  I know this must bother you," she said with another tap on
her cigarette. "I'll be done in a few minutes."

"No, no - it's okay," Kim told her with a smile.  "Take your time. There's no
rush to go back inside."  Actually, she was rather enjoying watching her
friend smoke.  Because her parents had always protected her from exposure to
smokers - and since none of her friends at school smoked - she found herself
a bit entranced by Angela's addiction. So Angela is one of the bad girls, Kim
thought to herself, but she seems pretty nice to me.  And she is certainly
enjoying that cigarette. It didn't smell nearly so bad as Kim always thought
it would, and she didn't quiet understand why her Mom constantly warned her
to stay away from second hand smoke.  In fact, the smell was quite pleasant.
I wonder what it would be like to...

"Are you okay, Kim?"  Angela asked.  "You seem lost in thought."

"I don't know.  I was just...I mean...."  Kim struggled for what to say.  "I
think I'd like a cigarette."

Angela nearly fell off her chair.  "Are you shitting me, the President of the
Anti-whatever-you-call-it-Smoking Society wants a cigarette? You can't be
serious?"


"I don't know," Kim replied, "I can't explain it.  Your cigarette just smells
so good.  And as I breathe in your second-hand smoke, it makes my body kinda
tingle.  I've never felt anything like this before - it's almost like I'm
craving it.  I just want to try it, that's all.  A few puffs and then I'll
put it out."

"This doesn't sound right," Angela said.  "I've never known any non-smokers
who got a 'tingle' from exhaled smoke.  Are you sure you want to try this?
What if someone sees you?"

"Don't worry, we're over here in the corner," Kim replied in a conspiratorial
tone.  "No one can see us unless they come outside, and they're too busy
gossiping to do that.  Come on, I want to try it."

"Okay," Angela said wearily, "but I don't know if you're gonna like it.  Does
anyone in your family smoke?  No?  Not even your Dad?"

"No one in my family smokes that I've seen," Kim answered.  "My Mom has
always had strict rules about smoking anywhere near our family and when we're
out in public we always stay clear of any smoking areas.  She's just
obsessive about it."

"So you've had no exposure to second smoke until tonight," Angela asked in
amazement.  "That seems almost incredible, but I guess it's possible these
days with all the anti-smoking laws.  Oh, girl, this is gonna be painful for
you.  Be prepared to cough with that first puff when you fill those virgin
Chinese lungs with smoke."

Kim picked up the pack of Benson and Hedges and slowly pulled out a
cigarette.  She placed it between her fingers and brought it up under her
nose.  "Wow, kinda minty.  I like the smell."  All of this seemed so familiar
before, but of course she'd never smoked in her life so she didn't understand
why she had this feeling.  She just knew that her senses were responding
positively so far.  "Okay, what comes next."

Angela pulled out a fresh cigarette for herself so as to show her friend step
by step.  "To get it lit, you need to suck lightly on the cigarette until the
tip turns orange - but don't inhale just yet.  Blow out the smoke as soon as
you remove the cigarette."

Kim did as she was instructed, sucking lightly and then quickly removing the
cigarette from the flame and exhaling a small stream of smoke.  "This feels
so naughty," Kim said in a voice that surprised and pleased Angela.  "What's
next?"

"Well, take a few puffs and hold them in your mouth, but don't inhale. We
need to get your body used to the second hand smoke first."


Again, Kim followed Angela's instructions, but she was eager to get onto the
next level.  Her cravings were starting to increase.  "I want to learn to
inhale," she whispered with a smile.

"Okay, take a small puff and a short breath - but exhale it quickly." Angela
demonstrated.  "And be prepared to cough.  You're lungs are still not
prepared to welcome the smoke which will cause some irritation."

Kim was ready to try it.  She brought the cigarette - 1/3 of which had been
smoked - up to her lips and took a puff.  She watched the tip glow orange
before removing the cigarette and breathing in.  But there was no irritation
and no cough.  Rather she felt this incredible surge of energy through her
body, her lungs welcoming the smoke as if cheering, "Hallelujah!"  She had
never felt anything so pleasurable before.

"Now exhale," Angela instructed, but Kim couldn't; she wouldn't.  She wanted
more smoke and brought the cigarette up to her lips for another puff, this
time stronger.  She closed her eyes and inhaled the smoke deeply, mixing it
with the smoke from her first puff and finally exhaling a thick column with a
moan.

"Okay, Kim that's enough," Angela said; but it wasn't enough for Kim.  With
her eyes still closed, Kim brought the cigarette back up to her lips and
puffed hard on it, ash falling onto her lap.  She opened her mouth, exposing
a ball of smoke and quickly swallowed it whole, holding it for 4 seconds,
feeling the force of the nicotine overwhelming her body like a tidal wave.  

"More," she whimpered and took one last hard double-pump on the cigarette
until it was completely spent, the hot filter starting to burn her fingers.
She took a deep breath and felt the smoke reach the pit of her stomach.  She
wanted to shout it felt so good.  What an amazing feeling!

Exhausted, Kim dropped her arms along the side of the chair as she blew the
smoke out of her body with a strong gust.

Angela was in shock as she watched her new friend sit limp in the chair next
to her, eyes closed and breathing heavily.  "What the fuck just happened
here," she asked.  "You say you never smoked before? Shit, I've never seen
anyone make love to a cigarette like you just did."

"That was incredible," Kim whispered in a raspy voice as she pulled herself
up and slowly opened her eyes.  

With a start, Angela sat back in her chair.  "Kim, there's something wrong
with your eyes.  They're kind of glassy looking - like real shiny.  Are you
feeling okay?"

"I feel wonderful," Kim replied, still a bit out of breath.  "I've never felt
better."  


Kim lifted both hands up to her forehead and brushed them through her long
black hair.  "How wrong I was about smoking.  All this time I've been
completely blinded by anti-smoking propaganda, but my eyes are open now.  I
understand its power."  Kim's glassy eyes focused on Angela's half-smoked
cigarette and she snatched it from her fingers. After five successive puffs
there was nothing left of it to smoke.  

"There's something wrong here, Kim.  Nobody smokes their first cigarette like
that.  Look at you, you're not sick to your stomach; you're not even
coughing.  And this thing with your eyes - I'm worried."

"I don't understand it either," Kim said.  "But I feel different now.  It's
like my body is crying out for more smoke - and I like this feeling."  Kim
reached for Angela's pack, pulled out a cigarette, and quickly lit it,
hollowing her cheeks in a hard drawn puff.  "I feel ashamed that I was ever
an anti-smoker," she said through her exhale.  Holding up the cigarette to
Angela between her thumb and index finger, she announced, "I want everyone to
enjoy this, to feel its power!"  

Kim placed the cigarette into her mouth as she sat back in her chair and made
the tip glow a bright orange before taking back between her fingers.  She
cocked her head at an angle and emulated the exhale she saw Angela do
earlier, the smoke cascading upwards.  

As for Angela, she didn't know what to make of the whole situation. It was as
if Kim was a different person after taking that first puff. She was worried
about her friend, but she also liked what she saw in this "new" Kim.  In an
instant the goody-two-shoes was gone and replaced with someone she could
really bond with - a "bad" girl.  Angela lit a cigarette for herself and sat
back to watch Kim smoke.

"What are you thinking," Kim asked her friend.  

"I'm just thinking...," she paused, "...that this is a whole side of you I
didn't know you had.  I like it."

"Me too," Kim said before taking another puff.

Fifteen or twenty minutes later, the back door to the house opened up and out
came Betty Yen, the hostess of the party.  "Hello, Kim? Are you out here?"
When she came around the corner she could hardly believe what she saw -
cigarette butts littering her Mom's patio floor and Kim and Angela both
sitting in the dark with only the glow of their cigarettes illuminating their
faces.  

"What's going on?" Betty yelled as she came up to them.  "Kim, what the hell
are you doing out here?!  You're the President of the No-Butts Society and
here you are smoking?  How do you think that's gonna look?"


"I'm resigning," Kim said in a smokey voice.

As Betty moved closer, she noticed the glassy look in Kim's eyes. "What's
wrong with your eyes?  They look weird?"

"I have a new view of the world, Betty, and I've come to the conclusion that
rather than prevent people from smoking, I'm going to encourage them to
start," and she and Angela both belt out a loud laugh.

Betty looked at the two sternly and said, "I want you both to leave - now!"

"Settle down, Betty," Kim counseled, "you might even like smoking if you
tried it."  

"All this smoke makes me sick to my stomach," she said with a cough and a
wave of her hand.  

"Ohhh, you don't like our smoke?" Kim said before taking a deep puff. "So
sorry," Angela added contemptuously as Kim exhaled a thick cloud up towards
Betty's face.  Both girls laughed wickedly as Betty stood there coughing, but
then fell silent when their hostess suddenly became disoriented.

"Are you okay, Betty," Kim asked with real concern and helped her down into a
patio chair.  

"Yeah...yeah...I'm just...a little dizzy, that's all," she said with some
irritation.  She took a breath to try and gain her composure. "I feel kind of
strange, like I have this real strong craving for something."

Angela sat up erect in her chair and glanced at Kim.  "Listen," Betty said,
trying to make sense of the sensations she was suddenly feeling, "I think I
want a cigarette."

"Have you ever smoked before, Betty," Angela asked.  

"No - never," she replied.  "But I just have this strong craving to try it.
It's like, my body is suddenly crying out for smoke.  I can't explain it, but
I really need a cigarette."

Angela wondered if she was about to witness the transformation in Betty
similar to Kim's, but in fact there was nothing similar to it.  


The first puff Betty inhaled she gagged on, coughing out the smoke. "Ugh,
that's wretched," Betty commented.  But with Kim's earnest encouragement, she
tried again, each time inhaling the smoke a little easier then before,
enjoying the sensation with each additional puff. Stubbing it out after
smoking 2/3 of the cigarette, Betty felt a bit dizzy, but there was no
glassy-eyed look in her eyes.  In fact, she looked like any other person who
had just smoked their first cigarette - a bit dazed.  But as the
Vice-President of the No-Butts Society, she also felt ashamed at what she had
just done.  

"Listen, guys," she said uncomfortably, "I gotta go back inside to be with my
guests.  I don't understand what just happened here tonight, but let's just
keep it between ourselves, okay?  Kim, I'll tell the club Tuesday you've
resigned as President," and with that Betty walked quickly back into the
house.

Angela looked at Kim in awe.  "You've got a power, my friend.  You just
turned that girl into a smoker."

"Don't be silly, Betty is as anti-smoking as they come."

"Excuse me," Angela interrupted, "what did we just witness here tonight?  You
blow smoke in her face and suddenly she has cravings to smoke."

"Look how guilty she felt," Kim responded.  "And she's still gonna go to the
club Tuesday and tell them I've resigned.  I can't explain what happened but
I'm sure it was just a fluke."

"This was no fluke," Angela replied.  "That girl will smoke again. I could
see it in her face when she left.  It's like you're some kind of mutant, Kim.
You have the power to make people smoke."

Kim was silent as she considered Angela's comment.  Am I really a mutant?

"Let's get out of here, girl friend," Angela said as she picked up her pack
of Benson and Hedges.  "I only have two cigarettes left and the night is
still young."

END PART 1


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