The Tangled Web, Part 2

(by Smokehut, 07 July 2009)


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THE TANGLED WEB 
By Smokehut 

Part TWO 

THREE YEARS LATER 

By the end of Jake's junior year, not only was he a football hero, but he 
had taught himself how to play guitar by ear and write his own songs. He 
sang a James Taylor tune at Alicia's graduation. Pretty soon, despite the 
apparent disapproval of his football coach, Jake was playing acoustic 
guitar and singing in a band and playing the occasional dance at the YMCA. 

It wasn't long after that Jake began smoking weed with the other guys in the 
band. One of his football teammates, Tommy, played bass. 

It was the third time Jake got high and the first time he got seriously 
baked. He picked up his guitar and began playing songs differently than 
he'd ever played them sober. His phrasing changed and became ironic and 
full of meaning. He just sat there, stoned out of his mind, playing one 
song after another. The three others just watched. 

When Jake finally finished, the drummer, Coy, said simply, "That's bad, 
man." 

Jake sniffed the air. Cigarette smoke. He looked over to find Tommy puffing 
on a Marlboro Red. He was shocked. 

"I didn't know you smoked, man," Jake said. 

"Relax, man," replied Tommy. "Only when I got a buzz." 

Jake just looked at him. 

"It's cool," Tommy said. "It kind of brings the buzz back. ... It's a cheap 
afterbuzz, dude." 

"Oh, really?" 

"You want one? C'mon, you know you do." 

"Well," Jake said, a goofy smile escaping, "might as well get the full 
effect, I reckon." 

"You done this before, son," said Tommy, watching Jake light up. 

"I know how." 

Smoking stoned was way cool. Jake knew immediately that smoking and blazing 
were going to accompany each other in the future. 



Football season went well. The Wildcats made the state playoffs and Jake 
made all-conference. None of the big schools offered him a scholarship, 
though, mainly because he was only six feet tall. When the season ended 
after the quarterfinal round -- the team that beat the Wildcats went on to 
win the state championship -- Jake wasn't much interested in playing 
football anymore. Division II schools came calling, but Jake just paid lip 
service to appease his father. His lack of interest irritated his old man, 
and relations between the two were strained. His mom took his side, though. 

In early December, Alicia came home from college. Meanwhile, his mom and 
dad went off to see the big football game between State and Tech. Alicia 
went to State but said she wanted to spend time with friends at home. By 
that point, it came as no surprise that Jake didn't want to go. He and his 
dad couldn't get along for five minutes, much less a trip to a football 
game. 

Tommy's parents were gone to the game, too. He had a party at his house, 
knowing it would be after midnight when the game ended, since it was being 
televised nationally on ESPN. They just had to get everything cleaned up by 
two in the morning. They couldn't possibly get home earlier. 

Jake came to the party baked, arrived at the party early and began drinking 
beer to hide the fact that he had been blazing. By the time the crowd 
arrived, he had an urge for a cigarette, so he quietly ducked outside. 

Leaning against the trunk of an oak tree, Jake heard the crackling sound of 
a car arriving on the gravel driveway. He moved behind the tree as the car 
arrived. After a moment, he peered through the break where the trunk 
separated into branches. 

There, to his amazement, was his sister, Alicia, leaning against the side 
of her Civic, smoking a cigarette. 

Jake's sister was a pro. He watched as she smoked a Marlboro Light nearly 
to the filter. She obviously wanted to get the full effect before she went 
inside. With Jake just fifteen feet away, Alicia slid a Listermint Strip 
onto her tongue, gulped and inserted chewing gum in her mouth. Then she 
sprayed a bit of perfume, put it back in her purse and locked it in the 
front seat. Jake thought for a moment about how stupid it was that he and 
his sister were keeping the same secret from each other. He was mildly 
ashamed about being fixated on his sister's smoking, but he had another 
and, after following in her footsteps with Listermint and gum, went back 
inside. 

The quarterback managed to entice one of the cheerleaders, Karen Beckert, 
home with him and got laid in his own bed. He closed his eyes and imagined 
Karen smoking, but he couldn't form a concrete image. What he could imagine 
was his sister, Alicia, smoking. Jake didn't imagine himself fucking 
Alicia, but he did imagine Alicia smoking as he fucked Karen. 

When they got through, Jake asked Karen if she'd like a cigarette. 

"Ooh, gross," she said. "You smoke?" 

"Nah, but I know how," he replied. "It's, like, traditional." 

"Traditional?" 

"After sex." 

Karen was quite put off, even though Jake didn't actually smoke. She asked 
him to take her home, which was convenient since his parents would probably 
be home in about two hours. 



The following Thursday, Jake got his chores done -- mainly feeding the 
cattle, horses and hogs -- and sat in the pickup on a hill amid the grazing 
cattle. He smoked a joint. Then he drove toward town, smoked a cigarette 
and pulled in at Wildcat Wings. Being a Wildcat star, no one said anything 
if he wanted to drink beer there. Hell, even the cops looked out for him. 

Alicia and her best friend, Crystal Clark, occupied a booth. Jake grabbed a 
pitcher of Bud Light and three mugs at the bar and ordered two dozen wings. 

"Hey, sis," he said. "Hiya doin,' Crystal. Drink up." And he obligingly 
filled the three mugs. 

Crystal pulled out a pack of Camel Lights and lit one. Jake could drink 
beer amid the crowd of mostly kids. A few might be envious that he was 
three years underage and yet managed to buy beer without any resistance. 
Smoking would not do, though. Word would get around. People might think 
Jake was going "to the bad." People might be right. 

Alicia immediately frowned up. Clearly she wished her brother hadn't shown 
up. She picked fights. She didn't touch the beer and then got pissed off 
when Jake drank it. Crystal and he exchanged glances. She didn't have to 
speak. She was on his side. Her eyes said "what the fuck." 

It wasn't hard to figure out what was wrong. Alicia wanted a smoke. She 
felt like she couldn't have one with Jake around. Crystal didn't care. She 
had been a cheerleader, too, just like Alicia, but now she was in college 
and she just didn't give a damn. 

That appealed to Jake. 



The next night Jake again got high and went to the high-school basketball 
game. The team had scheduled one home game over the holidays as a warmup to 
a tournament. 

Crystal Clark was there. Amazingly, Alicia wasn't. Jake, surrounded by his 
football buddies, paid more attention to Crystal, sitting across the court 
on the visitors' side, than he did to the game, though it was neck-and-neck 
at the end of three quarters. No one left early, except Crystal, who 
discreetly headed for the exit during the timeout before the final period. 

And Jake. He left early. "Pull 'em through, guys," he said. "I gotta go." 

All his friends' expressions said "what the fuck." 

With the game so tight, outside it was deserted. Jake spotted Crystal in 
the parking lot and ran after her. 

"Hey! Crystal!" 

She turned around. 

Jake fished a pack of Marlboros out of his pants. "Wanna smoke?" 

"Yeah," Crystal said. "This is a surprise." 

Jake lit the cigarette and exhaled, letting Crystal know he was no 
beginner. 

"I smoked a little since I was, like, fourteen," he said. "I started 
smoking a little more last summer." 

"Training rules?" 

"Yeah, right. Seriously, man, when you practice three hours a fuckin' day, 
a couple of cigarettes don't hurt none." 

"So you smoked during the season?" 

"I'd say you probably know the drill," said Jake. "One on the way to 
school. One on the way home from practice. Maybe slip another one if the 
opportunity arises." 

"Alicia would shit." 

"I want you to talk to her, Crystal," Jake said. "It's stupid as shit for a 
brother and sister to keep the same secret from each other." 

Jake didn't really care whether Alicia liked it or not. It was just like 
the beach back when he when he was fourteen. He was using a smoke to shoot 
the shit with a pretty girl. 

"Aren't you worry about somebody seeing you?" Crystal asked. 

"Not as much," Jake replied. "I'm not a football player no more. I'm a 
guitar player." 

She laughed. 

"I wanna drink and smoke and blaze and ... other stuff." 

"You blaze! What the fuck!" 

"I'm buzzed right now." 

"You got some?" 

"Half a joint. In my car." 

"Let's smoke it." 



It was late when Jake got home. Alicia was watching Letterman in the living 
room. The parents were sound asleep upstairs. 

Jake headed to bed. 

"Wait just a minute," Alicia said. She reached into her purse and pulled 
out a pack of Marlboro Lights. She lit up and offered the pack. 

"I got my own," Jake said. Alicia nodded. 

"You've been with Crystal, haven't you?" she asked. 

Man, Jake thought. These two really communicate. 

"You fucking her?" 

Jake hesitated. 

"Well ... yeah." 

"Good," Alicia said. "In a manner of speaking, me, too." 

Jake stared at her in disbelief. 

"Uh, I'm going on to bed now." 

"OK," said Alicia. "You can go jack off now." 


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