A Friend's Encouragement, Part 1

(by rileysmoker@yahoo.com, 30 May 2001)

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"A Friend's Encouragement"
By Riley, rileysmoker@yahoo.com
Part I

   Danielle smiled as she climbed the steps to the bus and saw her friend
Katie sitting in her usual place.

"Hi," she said as she sat in the seat in front of her friend.

"Good morning," Katie replied.

"Do you think you would be able to take care of Chloe this weekend? We are
going to my grandmother's house," 

"Yeah no problem, all weekend?" 

"Yep, we are leaving at noon today and should be back Monday afternoon," "Oh
alright that should be fine then,"

"Thanks! Here's the key," Danielle said as she handed the house key to Katie.

   Later that day Katie waved to Danielle as she left the school to head to
her grandmother's. They were both in the 8th grade and in the same homeroom.
Danielle had talked to Katie that morning about where the dog's food was and

   That afternoon Katie called her mom on her cell phone to tell her she was
going to Danielle's.  She asked the bus driver to let her off at Danielle's
stop. As she got to the front door she saw the neighbor from across the
street coming up to her.

"Oh hi are you Katie?" she said when she reached the step.

"Yeah, Danielle wanted me to take of Chloe," Katie replied somewhat confused. 

"Ok, Sue told me that you would come but she just didn't know if you could
make it today," 

"Oh well I shouldn't have any problems coming over," 

"All right, nice meeting you!" the woman said as she walked back down the
driveway.  "You too," Katie said, unlocking the door.

   When she first entered the house she was hit with the strong smell of
flowers.  The dog was in a cage in the kitchen and wagged her tail when she
saw Katie.

"Hi Chloe," Katie said letting the dog out of the cage.

   The dog jumped up wanting to play and Katie let her outside and filled her
food bowl. 

   When Katie came back into the house she saw a can of Lysol on the counter
next to a pack of cigarettes.  This made sense because Katie knew that both
of Danielle's parents were heavy smokers and she assumed that they didn't
want the smell to bother Chloe or Katie.

   There was a note on the counter also.  It read:  Dear Katie, thank you so
much for caring for Chloe.  The food is on the table and you can get water
form the sink. Feel free to grab a snack or watch TV while we are gone.
Remember, our house, is your house! -Sue.

   Katie eyed the cigarettes again.  She wondered if there was a reason why
they were right next to the note. She picked them up and noticed it was an
unopened pack.  Katie had always been against smoking as her parents had
taught her.  Nobody in her family had ever smoked and the harmful effects it
caused had always been stressed to her.  

She tore the cellophane off of the package and opened it.  They were Virginia
Slims Menthol 120 Lights.  She pulled one out and examined it.  It had a
white filter and was very long.  She lifted it to her face and smelled it.
It was different then she had expected, it was minty. She placed the
cigarette in between he pointer and middle fingers as she had always seen
Danielle's parents do.

She walked to the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror.  She was a
very attractive girl, standing at 5'4" and weighing about 110.  She had
shoulder length blonde hair that she always kept in a ponytail. She liked to
experiment with makeup but never wore anything besides lipstick on special
occasions.  She brought the cigarette to her mouth and closed her lips on it.
She let it dangle as she thought about herself smoking.  She found it
attractive and actually considered lighting it. Just then, the dog started
barking so she went back to the kitchen and replaced the cigarette.  

She went out and got the dog and locked the house as she left.  She went home
and did her homework and didn't think about smoking until that night when she
was getting ready to go to sleep.  She was looking at herself in the mirror
just after taking her shower.  She was only wearing a Mickey Mouse robe her
mother had bought her for her birthday.  She picked up a pen from the counter
and placed it in her mouth like a cigarette. She took pretend puffs on it and
was slightly aroused. She took off the robe and continued to "puff" on the
pen as she examined her body.  'This isn't attractive' she thought, 'This is
downright sexy!'

That night she went to sleep thinking about smoking and at 7:00am the next
morning she left to go to Danielle's house.  When she arrived she let the dog
out and was relieved that she didn't have to clean up any accidents. She
rushed back in the house and immediately took out a cigarette.

She put it in her mouth and took several puffs on the unlit cigarette.  The
taste it gave her was very cool like a mint gum. She decided then that she
would try smoking. 

She then realized she needed a lighter and began to search the kitchen
drawers and cabinets for one. She didn't find one and decided to check
upstairs. She climbed the steps cautiously as if Danielle's parents might be
home any minute and entered her parents' room.  She saw two empty ashtrays on
the table beside their bed but there was no lighter. 

She started to search all the dresser drawers and desk drawers.  Then she
spotter a pack of Marlboro Light 100's in a drawer.  She pulled it out and
was happy to find a lighter inside of it along with a folded piece of paper. 

She unfolded the paper and it read: Dear Katie, If you are reading this then
you have most likely decided to try smoking.  Don't be afraid of us telling
your mom, you have always given us grief about how bad smoking is and we
would like to encourage you to just try so you have an idea of what it is
like.  Feel free to smoke, as much as you would like, there are more
cigarettes on top of the refrigerator.  - Sue

Katie stood there baffled for a second.  Only a second though before she took
the lighter and one of the ashtrays back to the kitchen.  She let the dog
back in and put her back in the cage. She decided to take a glance at the
cigarettes on top of the fridge and was shocked to see a carton of Virginia
Slims Menthol 120 Lights and a carton of Marlboro 100's.  Also up there was a
video tape labeled "How to Start."

She decided that she was actually going to try and that she should do it in
the basement where there were no windows.  She was paranoid that someone
might see her and tell her mom.  The basement was fully furnished and had a
giant flat screen TV.  She immediately noticed the strong smell of smoke and
smiled as she placed the cigarettes, lighter and ashtray on the small table
next to the couch.  She put the tape in the VCR and turned on the TV.  She
sat down on the couch and took out a cigarette as the video started.

She was surprised when she saw that it was Sue, Danielle's mom, sitting on
that very same couch.

"Hi, Katie" Sue said on the tape.

"I am going to teach you how to start smoking.  First off, you need to hold
the cigarette in between your pointer and middle fingers," On the screen
Danielle held the cigarette and Katie mimicked.

"Now place the cigarette in your mouth and just get used to the feel," again
Katie mimicked what she saw.

"Ok now lets really get started. Hold the cigarette as you were before with
one of your hands but, keep it in your mouth. Now pick up the lighter with
your free hand and light it," it took Katie a few tries but it started.

"Now bring the flame to the tip off the cigarette and suck on the cigarette
like a straw. However, don't inhale the smoke, just bring it in your mouth
and then blow it out,"

   Katie followed these directions only sucking a small amount of smoke into
her mouth and then quickly blowing it out.  She was very surprised by the
taste. It was very cool and good. It was nothing like the smell, Katie
guessed this was because it was a menthol cigarette.

"Ok, now try this several more times. Each time try to bring a little more
smoke in your mouth but don't inhale," The tape continued.

   Katie complied, each time she sucked a little more smoke and was
fascinated to see the smoke coming out of her as she exhaled. 

"When the ash on the end gets long just tap the top of the cigarette lightly
with your pointer finger," 

Katie trimmed the ash frequently and by the time Sue began talking again
Katie's cigarette was almost gone.

"Ok, now you should be ready to put out the cigarette. I will teach you how
to do this," on the screen Katie saw Sue hold her cigarette over the ashtray.

"Now, so you don't burn yourself just lightly tap the end of the cigarette
down and then leave the butt in the ashtray. Don't worry if smoke still comes
off of it, it will go out soon," Sue said as Katie did as she said.

"Now that should be good enough for today. There is a bottle of perfume in my
room  I bought for you along with some lollypops so your mom won't smell the
smoke on your clothes or in your breath. Stop the tape now and when you come
tomorrow we can continue,"

   Katie considered just keeping it on but decided that her mom would be
worried about her.  She stopped the tape and turned off the TV. She left the
cigarettes where they were and went back to Sue's room.  Sure enough, there
was a bottle of perfume by the sink and a back of lollypops too. She sprayed
herself a couple times until she couldn't smell the smoke and took a lollypop

   As she turned off the lights and headed out the door she stopped briefly
to think about what she had done. She considered whether or not she should
continue learning to smoke and she closed the door as she made her

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