Miss Gretchen Goes to Washington

(by HagenMrk@aol.com, 04 May 2001)


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The following story is the third installment of the Gretchen series.  I give
warning that the title is a bit misleading, but too irresistible of a cliché
not to use.  Hope you enjoy.  I'll be eager to receive comments at
HagenMrk@aol.com

 
"Miss Gretchen Goes to Washington"

At long last, independence is here.  I stand in the middle of the one-bedroom
apartment I am about to rent, half-listening to the landlord rambling on
about the specifics and half admiring the spacious abode I was about to
transition into after four years in a cramped dorm room.  At $350 a month, I
feel as if I was getting my money's worth, even though that's about the going
rate in the middle-sized working-class town I'm moving to in southern
Minnesota, not too far from where I grew up.  The landlord then takes me
outside to show me the garages and which garage will be designated for me.
No more than two minutes after the two of us exited into the warm late summer
day, I caught a glimpse of a familiar red 1994 Ford Thunderbird approaching
and my attention was now completely diverted away from the landlord's sermon.
As the flashy, yet restrained, red car pulls into the lot with its drivers'
side window slightly cracked, I hold my breath in anticipation of being
struck with the sight of beauty as the car comes to a stop and a wisp of
smoke can be seen streaming from the crack in the window.  Noticing my
attention is everywhere but on his words, the landlord turns to look in the
same direction as I am.

In what seems like picturesque slow-motion, the car door opens and a pair of
smooth, tan legs exit the vehicle first.  Both myself and the landlord stand
mystified as the legs touch the ground and the intensely sensual person above
the legs makes her first appearance.  To the landlord, this was a mystery
beauty, but the sighting to me is unmistakable.  The sun shines down on a
lioness-esque mane of curly natural blonde hair, a few inches past the
shoulders, a skimpy white T-shirt enhances an incredible set of breasts,  a
skin-tight pair of cutoffs similarly enhances a perfectly toned lower body,
and most striking of all, a freshly-lit cork filter Marlboro 100 dangles from
a pair of full lips on the most beautiful face I have ever seen.  There's no
mistake about it.  My girlfriend Gretchen had just entered my line of
vision…and the world stood still for those few joyous moments as she closed
her car door and approached the two of us with a warm, but stunted smile,
restrained from jubilation due to the cigarette protruding from the middle of
it.  A swirl of smoke surrounds Gretchen's head as she comes to a stop next
to me.  The odor of stale smoke engulfed my nose as always with every inch
closer Gretchen stepped towards me before she finally removed the cigarette
from her lips and gave me an engrossing open-mouth kiss.  Once finished, we
both turned to look at the landlord, still in a daze at the beauty he just
encountered, and staring lustfully at Gretchen as if asking her, "Where's my
hello?!"   Gretchen stares down to the crotch of the man at least 20 years
her senior and notices how swollen it has become at the sight of her.

 

Finally, words escape his mouth.  "This is your girlfriend?" he asks with
just the slightest hint of a smirk.

 

"Yes," I answer proudly.  "She's gonna be moving in with me…and attending
the state college down the road."

 

The landlord's eyes indicate the first hint of a problem, which both Gretchen
and I immediately pick up on.  "Is there a problem?"  I ask.

 

"Well….I see she's a smoker.  My building doesn't permit smoking.  I just
assumed since I never saw you lighting up yourself that it was a non-issue.
Unless she's willing to take it outside every time she smokes, I'm afraid our
deal's dead."

 

My heart sinks from the blow, but I quickly recover to respond for Gretchen
did, eager for some damage control.  "I don't think that's gonna be possible.
Are you sure there's no way you can make an exception?"

 

He shakes his head apologetically.  "If it were up to me, it wouldn't be a
problem, but I know these tenants.  They're a conservative bunch.  One whiff
of cigarette smoke in my building and my phone would be ringing off the hook
with complaints.  I wish I could help."

 

I shrug and say my goodbyes.  Gretchen stands silent smoking her cigarette
the entire time, assessing her ultimate reaction in the face of an
anti-smoking message, which was always unpredictable and entertaining for me.
Perhaps sensing the guy was sincere in his explanation, but still ultimate
rejection, she lets him off easy.  As I take her hand to return to her car in
the lot, she leans forward to the landlord and exhales a long stream into his
face before tossing the butt of the finished cigarette inches from his shoe.
She then turns back towards me and we wrap our arms around each other's
bodies, walking towards her car.  Gretchen keeps one arm free to remove her
lighter and another Marlboro 100 from her shirt pocket, lighting herself up
before we part ways to get into the respective drivers side and passengers'
side seats on her car.  Gretchen starts the engine and drives out of the lot.
Both of us check the rearview mirrors to notice the landlord still eyeing us.
A faint wisp of smoke escapes her cracked car window, leaving the man his
final memory of the sexiest smoker he has ever seen.  

 

 

Moments later, Gretchen and I approach the entrance of a restaurant, hoping
to catch a late-afternoon meal before the dinnertime rush.  We approach the
entrance and Gretchen crushes out her cigarette at the foot of the door
before the two of us enter, waiting for our waitress to seat us.  As the
seconds drag into a couple minutes, I feel Gretchen's nicotine-dependent body
start to shake as I hold her hand.  One look into her eyes indicates to me
that she is dying for a cigarette, less than three minutes since her last.
Finally, a cute and petite brunette who looks about 17 years old approaches
us with an inviting smile and begins to introduce herself.  Before she even
begins her question about seating preference, Gretchen chimes in, "Smoking
please."  

 

The girl grins and motions us to follow her into the backroom smoking
section, which like the rest of the restaurant, was virtually empty at the
early hour.  While walking, Gretchen places an unlit cigarette between her
lips and wastes no time lighting up the second she sits down in the booth.
The waitress grins as she places the menus in front of us and tells Gretchen,
"Let me get you an ashtray for that."  

 

Within less than a minute, the adorable young waitress returns with an
ashtray and places in front of Gretchen.  "Thanks," Gretchen responds warmly,
flicking a long ash from her already half-smoked cigarette into the ashtray.
Sensing immediately that the girl was a smoker, Gretchen reaches into her
shirt pocket, pulls out a cigarette and holds it up to the girl.  "Take a
break, hun."

 

The girl smiles from ear to ear and happily accepts the cigarette from
Gretchen.  Gretchen slides over in her booth and approaches her lighter to
the girl's cigarette.  The girl inhales deeply and follows through with a
cloudy exhale, indicating herself as an experienced smoker.  Being used to
sightings of the goddess Gretchen and her chain-smoking was the ultimate
fetisher dream, but to see such a cute pony-tailed waitress share Gretchen's
addiction was a wonderful change-of-pace as well.  

 

However, the serenity and silence is broken by a fateful set of words from
the mouth of the waitress.  "Better enjoy these smoke breaks while I still
can," she mutters.

 

Having read the newspapers in this town for the last week, I knew exactly
what she meant, but Gretchen is still in the dark, and responds, "What do you
mean?" 

 

"The asshole city council is gonna try to make all restaurants smoke-free,"
she responds casually, followed by a second long drag on her cigarette.

 

Gretchen doesn't respond and becomes almost totally silent the entire time
the girl sits there, finishing her cigarette.  I am forced to converse with
the girl by myself, not an altogether unpleasant situation, but I can see
Gretchen in the midst of a slow burn out of the corner of my eyes at the news
given to her by the waitress.

 

We order steak and shrimp dinners.  Although the food tastes good, the meal
is all but ruined as I can sense Gretchen smoldering in the same way as the
endless chain of cigarettes she smokes with her meal.  We converse casually,
but her mind is too preoccupied with anger to make any meaningful
conversation.  In the moments that we prepare to leave the restaurant after
finishing the meal, every waitress in the restaurant finishes her cigarette
break in booths surrounding us and begin to seat the incoming crowd of
patrons.  As we get up to leave, Gretchen and I observe the smoking section
nearly filled with smokers of all ages, actively indulging their habits.  We
then proceed through the still sparsely-populated non-smoking section of the
restaurant en route to the exit.  I can see the wheels grinding in Gretchen's
mind as the same thoughts cross her mind as were mine-or at least I thought
they were the same.  It was a few days later I found out otherwise, however.

 

 

I sit in my new apartment, a less appealing place than the first place I
looked at, but one that would allow its tenants to smoke.  I have just
returned from my second day on my new job and am feeling stressed, but the
sound of my apartment door being opened puts my mind at relative ease.  The
odor of cigarette smoke engulfs me and I turn to find that Gretchen has
entered the building-our new home at that.  She removes the cigarette from
her lips and when the cloud of smoke clears, the revelation of Gretchen's
mischievous grin is noticeable, a grin that always signals me that something
is up.

 

"Well, I got some news that's gonna surprise you," Gretchen says in a
taunting way as she plops herself down on my lap.  The odor of smoke on
Gretchen is so strong it still affects me like a punch in the face, but I
quickly recover to dig deeper into the mystery she was setting me up to
solve.

 

"What is it?" I finally respond, but become sidetracked by Gretchen dangling
her cigarette in her lips only a few inches in front of eyes, while running
her hand up and down my chest underneath my T-shirt.

 

"Well, I'm gonna keep it a surprise until the city-council meeting tonight.
You and the rest of the town will all find out at once."

 

Gretchen's mischievous grin now resurfaced even with the cigarette in her
mouth obstructing it, and as I attempt to interject with more questions, she
places her finger in front of my face, motioning for my silence.  She then
removes the cigarette from her lips and holds it in her right hand while
falling into me for a well-needed makeout session.  The last thing I wanted
after a long day at work was to go to a city council meeting, but Gretchen
had a way of sweet-talking me into it without saying a word.

 

At 7 pm, the seven-member city council is engaged in a heated dialogue in
front of a medium-sized crowd of mostly elderly onlookers.  The debate ensues
for nearly an hour on the issue of prohibiting smoking in all city
restaurants with four of the council members appearing to be for the measure,
and the other three against it.  Gretchen sits with me, desperately wanting
to chain-smoke while listening to the rhetoric on the floor, but prohibited
from doing so in city hall.  Every 10 minutes or so, she jets outside to take
a few drags off her cigarette, then races back in to keep up with the debate.
Gretchen's odor and beauty diverts attention away from the debate every time
she enters or leaves the building, giving a lot of older men some eye candy
they never expected to see at the usually stuffy city-council meetings.  Ward
4 councilman Brian Jordahl voices the strongest support for the restaurant
smoking prohibition, a fact Gretchen takes in as she observes.  Finally, the
senior councilman ends the discussion and puts the subject up to questions
from the audience.  Along with a number of people, Gretchen lifts her hand
without displaying the intensity she holds on this subject.  Drawing the
attention from the senior councilman, he says, "Go ahead, young lady!"  with
a relatively condescending tone, not expecting the outburst he was about to
get.

 

Gretchen stands up and the room goes silence.  "I'd like to direct this to
all seven of you, but you in particular, Mr. Jordahl.  If you think you're
gonna get away with dehumanizing smokers with one after another prohibition,
you're gonna have to live with the consequences.  Smoking is a legal
activity, yet the culture is so poisonous towards smokers that my boyfriend
couldn't even rent an apartment because I'm a smoker.  Now you want to tell
us we can't engage in a legal activity in a restaurant either, ignoring the
will of even the restaurant owners who overwhelmingly support keeping the
current smoking standards in their own places of business.  Well, I have news
for you, Mr. Jordahl, my boyfriend and I moved into a new apartment that just
happens to be in Ward 4, and I'm announcing my candidacy for the Ward 4
council seat right here tonight," Gretchen pauses to reach into her shirt
pocket and pull out a cigarette and a lighter, then proceeds to light her
cigarette amidst a sea of moans from the disbelieving crowd.  "It's time that
the smokers start fighting back, Mr. Jordahl.  You're my target…and I don't
intend to miss," Gretchen closes with a finality that appears to put fear in
the heart of Jordahl at the podium.

 

Meanwhile, the senior councilman attempts to restore order, bangs his gavel,
and calls security to escort the lawless beauty out of city hall.  As the
security gently (and merrily) grab Gretchen by both arms to physically remove
her from the premises, Gretchen blows a long stream of cigarette smoke in the
direction of the podium, a symbolic wave of the Grim Reaper drifting towards
the middle-aged men.  As I follow Gretchen out of the building, my heart
beams with pride for her as about half of the audience snickers in support of
the daring college girl, while the other half guffaws at her audacity to make
such a scene.  One thing was sure.  City council meetings in this town would
never be the same again, no matter what the outcome.

 

 

The next day, the local media swarmed Gretchen and she formally announced her
candidacy for the Ward 4 city council seat at a mini-press conference, but
one that would undoubtedly be broadcast on local television given the novelty
of the situation.  Standing at a podium in her usual sexpot attire, Gretchen
speaks into the microphone, cigarette held in her right hand as she gives an
off-the-cuff statement filled with borderline inflammatory rhetoric spoken at
a very high volume.  As Gretchen's vocal exertion begins to make her wheeze,
I cringe at the bad first impression she's giving the voters.   I realize she
was going to need a good campaign manager for damage control and help
Gretchen to grow as a candidate, and I know that I will have to be that
person.  She ends the press conference and walks toward me, cigarette back in
her mouth.  As I watch her approach me, a million scenarios cross my mind on
how this girl will be perceived by voters in this blue-collar community.  To
call her a breath of fresh air would be an oxymoron, but this town was
looking for a change, and Gretchen certainly qualified.  The camera caught a
shot of her giving me a warm hug, and I felt this ploy negated all of the bad
moves she made in the press conference.  From now until November 4th, every
move the two of us make will be under a microscope.  

 

Over the course of the next couple weeks, Gretchen and I spend our nights
studying up on the other issues at hand, all of which we found hard to take
seriously since local politics on a whole was pretty small potatoes to both
of us.  Even though I'm a very political person myself, I never discussed
politics with Gretchen before, largely because I feared her upper-crust
background had most likely instilled far different social values in her than
my own, so we kept the topic off-the-table.  I sense an overwhelming feeling
of apathy from Gretchen on the position in general, except for the smoking
issue, something we were gonna have to fix to be taken seriously.  Easily
distracted, Gretchen would attempt to seduce me away from the goal at hand at
towards her sexuality.   Her advances are difficult to resist, especially
when accompanied by her stylish cigarette smoking.  The girl can do more
arousing things with a cigarette than I ever deemed possible, and she never
ceases to amaze me how her slightest action can evoke irresistible temptation
in my heart.  Thus, it was futile to resist the majority of Gretchen's
advances, but we still somehow managed to finish all our work by the last few
weeks before the election.

 

By mid-October, Gretchen is hounded nearly every day by not only the local
media, but even by national media sources that have taken notice to this most
unusual candidate and the cause she believed so deeply in.  She still can't
avoid the occasional outburst, but she has, for the most part, toned down her
rhetoric and played the politician-in-training role well, but she is never
seen without a cigarette in hand or mouth and in her sexually-charged
outfits.  The two of us made several concessions and what image she would and
would not portray to the public eye in the campaign, but she was firm that
she would not play down her personal smoking or her choice in wardrobe for
the camera's benefit.  

 

There is no real way of gauging voter sentiment on Gretchen by reading the
Sunday newspaper two days before the vote.  Most people either loved her or
hated her.  I feel that she's either one scandal or one smart move away from
electability and only time would tell.  My primary fear was that Gretchen's
privileged background would be discovered and it would kill some of the
support she has built with her primarily working-class appeal.  I read the
newspaper to see conflicting comments on her, but one quote in particular
gets my attention from none other than Brian Jordahl, Gretchen's opponent.
Jordahl has thus far simply dismissed any questions reporters have asked him
about Gretchen, but his printed response in today's newspaper represents his
first vocal recognition of her.  Asked his feelings towards Gretchen, he
responds, "I respect the girl's conviction on this one issue, but that seems
to be the only issue she has any time for.  I represent all of the concerns
of this city's fourth ward and I don't think the voters are gonna be
compelled by such a divisive figure."  Reading this, I don't know whether the
comments will work to Gretchen's advantage or disadvantage, but would find
out even sooner than Tuesday.

 

Monday after work, I return home to find a flashing light on my answering
machine.  I play the message and listen to Gretchen's voice proclaim:  "If
you make it home in time, drop by the front of city hall at 4:30.  I'm making
an impromptu statement to the press. Hope to see you there."  I check my
watch to see it's 4:25, just enough time for me to catch her press conference
if I hurry.  On the short drive to city hall, an anxiety creeps into my heart
about Gretchen pulling such a stunt the day before the election without
having me write a prepared statement or even consulting me.  I arrive at the
scene just in time to see Gretchen arrive at a podium in front of city hall
with a handful or reporters and news cameras focusing on her.

 

Gretchen stands there in the brisk fall air in momentary silence, appearing
not to even feel the chill of a Minnesota fall as she wears her trademark
T-shirt and cutoffs.  With a cigarette dangling lazily from her mouth, she
begins to speak. "I'm just here to make my final appeal to voters in the 4th
Ward.  Yesterday, my opponent labeled me a 'divisive figure'.  The irony was
stunning.  Here is a guy telling you he wants to take away your option to
smoke in a restaurant  who is calling me a divisive figure for wanting you to
keep that option.  On the contrary, I'm the candidate who wants you to keep
your existing rights.  I'm also the candidate who wants to bring this
community together.  Waging war against smokers does not achieve this end.
It merely creates hard feelings at one end and encourages further segregation
at the other end.  Clearly this is my big issue.  I don't dispute that.  But
I have to start somewhere.  And this issue has major symbollic implications
for how I'll conduct myself as a council member.  Unlike Mr. Jordahl, I will
fight for this community to come together, and I will not push anybody away.
Mr. Jordahl's support for this restaurant smoking ban is proof that he can
make no such guarantee.  I realize I'm not a traditional candidate for this
position, but aren't you ready for a change.  That's all for today and thank
you for your time."  Gretchen walks away from the podium, with only the stub
of her cigarette left in her mouth.  I stand there thinking she probably just
won the election, depending on how many people see her on the news tonight.

 

Gretchen went to school the next day just like any other day, then returned
home with me to wait for the election results.  In a role reversal, I attempt
to entice Gretchen into a sexual tryst, but couldn't tear down the wall on
election day.  The world of politics that she's never given a thought to
before three months ago was completely consuming her tonight, as she
excitedly watches the returns roll in at the national, state, and local
levels.  She nervously chain-smokes at an even faster pace than usual and
holds my hand tightly as the 8:00 hour arrives and the local polls close.
Watching the TV for several hours, struggling to see through the smoky haze
Gretchen has created, the local returns trickle in a few votes at a time, and
finally begin to appear on a scroll on the bottom of the screen.  By 1 am,
100% of the vote in the city's 4th Ward has been counted and the results
indicate Gretchen has won with 764 votes to Jordahl's 752 votes.  

 

Gretchen cuts loose an excited scream with the same chain-smoking influenced
huskiness of her regular speaking voice.  For the first time since she got
home that evening, she places her cigarette in the ashtray on our coffee
table and embraces me with an intense fervor.  She seals her lips to mine and
I give her a deep, sensuous victory kiss, even though I'm the one who feels
rewarded by tasting her smoker's breath for the first time tonight.

 

Through the course of the next week, Gretchen gives a gracious acceptance
speech and handles her numerous critics with the deft of a lifetime
politician, having developed a degree of necessary civility yet still keeping
her intense hard-line on the local issue that matters most to her.  Within a
week, Gretchen attends the first city council meeting of the next session,
the only newcomer of the bunch.  Not disappointing the crowd or the media in
attendance, Gretchen doesn't avoid controversy by attending the first session
dressed in her usual informal attire and takes it upon herself to rewrite the
city hall's smoking policy.  She sits behind the podium and surprises nobody
by lighting her first of many Marlboros of the night as the debate ensues.
Although many of the councilmen feel obliged to confront Gretchen about her
lawbreaking, they hold off, realizing what happened to Gretchen's successor
when he attempted to tangle with her.  The restaurant smoking issue is on the
forefront and the debate becomes unusually heated with Gretchen present.  The
smoky atmosphere created by Gretchen herself brings back images of the old
smoke-filled political conventions that the media always romanticizes.  With
Gretchen now in politics, they just might get to return to those days.  Of
course, many of the council members and audience seem offended by the
ever-present smoke, but nobody's mind has changed about this issue.  The
issue comes to a vote and the restaurant smoking prohibition is rejected on a
4-3 vote, with Gretchen being the swing vote.  The final vote draws about an
equally positive and negative reaction from the crowd as well, but I'm too
busy watching my beautiful girlfriend beaming with pride at the podium.  She
lights the last Marlboro 100 in her pack and takes her deepest inhale of the
night, revelling in her first of what would hopefully be many political
victories.

That night, we return to my apartment, both with the intention of expressing
our joyful feelings in a sexual manner towards each other.  We barely make it
in the door when Gretchen already starts to take off my jeans.  We undress
each other in the way we always do when we are the horniest.  I fall
backwards naked on my bed, and Gretchen leaps atop me and sits on my stomach,
wearing nothing but her bra and a freshly-lit cigarette in her mouth.  She
wryly comments, "I sure hope you don't have a camera on me right now.  The
last thing I need is a sex scandal to sink me."

I laugh out loud at the thought of Gretchen with her week's worth of
experience in elected office already thinking like a career politician.  It
was obvious by the fire in her eyes that this girl was going alot further
than a small-town city council.  However, the future becomes a blur to me as
Gretchen removes her bra and exposes her breathtaking naked body and then
presses it to mine.  As my senses of touch and smell are equally aroused by
Gretchen's body and the aroma of smoke that covers every square inch of her
body, the present tense is the only thing important to both of us.


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