Jenny's Thanksgiving, Part 1

(by, 28 November 1996)

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From: (Compressor)
Date: 28 Nov 1996 03:22:33 GMT

This story is fiction, but I believe situations like these can and do
happen every day somewhere in the world.

     PART 1

     Jenny Costello's eyelids fluttered open and a few moments later
her eyes focused on the light fixture in the center of the ceiling of her
bedroom.  A thin smile formed on her lips as the digital clock on the
night stand showed 8:33 AM.  No school today, she thought, today is
Thanksgiving--a day which, as long as Jenny could remember, is a day
of relaxation and family camaraderie.  She and Mom and Dad and
Bruce, her fifteen year old brother, would be making the annual trip to
Aunt Gretchen's house, where along with Uncle Will, and Jenny's little
cousin Christie, they would all enjoy a splendid afternoon of eating fine
food, talking, watching football and doing whatever else spontaneously
popped up.

     "Hurry up, Bruce!" Jenny shouted, pounding on the bathroom
door which was locked.  "I really have to pee!"  Bruce was probably in
there jerking off, or maybe squeezing his zits on to the mirror.  "Hold
your pants," Bruce shouted back, "I'm shaving."
     After relieving her bladder, Jenny inserted a fresh tampon.  This
was the fourth day of her period, and the flow was all but stopped, but
better safe than sorry.  The cramps had eased up considerably, too. 
Jenny was pretty used to `the curse' now, since she had started
menstruating shortly after her thirteenth birthday, which was last May. 
She was more concerned with some of the other aspects of becoming a
woman, such as having real sex with a boy, which she hadn't done yet,
and smoking cigarettes, which she had been practicing for about eight
months.  In fact, she was genuinely beginning to enjoy smoking,
although its hard to develop a robust nicotine habit on the five or six
cigarettes a day she was able to sneak.  Especially when the majority of
cigarettes she smoked were the  Salem Ultra-Lights she stole out of
Mom's open packs.  Ultra-Lights have about as much nicotine as a dog
has feathers.
     Jenny got up and brushed her teeth, washed her face, and
brushed her hair.  She wouldn't need any makeup today, since
Thanksgiving at Aunt Gretchen's was about as informal as things could
get.  Besides, she had naturally soft, smooth skin with a few freckles
across the bridge of her nose which accented her auburn-red hair,
which was cut in a mid-neck length bob.

     Dressed in designer jeans and a cream hand-knit sweater, Jenny
could smell fresh baked pumpkin pie as she skipped down the stairs. 
"Grab a bowl of cereal or something, honey," said Grace, Jen's mom,
"after I wrap this pie, we want to hit the road so we can get to
Gretchen's by noon."  So Jenny ate a bowl of mini-wheats and had a
glass of O.J. while she looked longingly at the ashtray on the counter
top that had two crushed out cigs in it.  She was used to having a
cigarette while walking to school with her best friend, Amy.  Amy
didn't smoke, nor had no desire to, even though her older sister Marie
was doing two packs a day of Newports with parental permission. 
God, Jenny wished she could have permission to smoke, but the idea
was ludicrous, since her father, Zack, a non-smoker, was always
getting on Grace's case about quitting.

     The Costellos were passing through Blue Springs around 10:00,
with Zack at the wheel, Grace riding shotgun, Jenny and Bruce in the
back of the four door Explorer when Grace decided to light up.  She
knew Zack's nagging about her smoking was out of love, and desire to
have her around for a long and healthy life, but dammit, she loved to
smoke, and had no real desire of her own to quit.  She had switched to
these Ultra-Lights about two years earlier as a compromise, but all that
actually accomplished was to increase her cigarette consumption to two
and a half packs a day in order to get the nicotine her body craved. 
After all, she had smoked a pack and a half a day of Kools for the
previous twenty years.  She wasn't sure, but she thought that lately her
packs had been dwindling in content rather quickly, which might mean
that either Bruce or Jenny has been swiping them, but it was hard to
believe that either of her two nearly perfect children would do such a
     Grace lowered her window about an inch before lighting her
cigarette.  She put the flame of her Scripto lighter to the tip and took a
long drag, inhaling deeply.  "MOM!" Bruce bellowed loudly from the
back seat, "why do you have to smoke those foul smelling things in the
car?" "Oh sweetheart, most of the smoke is going out the window, so
just pipe down," Grace answered.  "I don't mind it at all, mom," Jenny
said.  "That's because you're an ignorant twerp," Bruce shot back to
his sister.   Zack butted in, "that's enough out of you two.  I'm not
going to put up with your petty bickering for the next two hours, so
just put a lid on it."  Grace continued to smoke her cigarette, flipping
the ashes out the window, and thought, no--Bruce can't be taking my
cigarettes, he hates smoking.  If its anyone, it must be Jenny.  Jenny
doesn't seem to be bothered by smoke at all.  And she'll be fourteen in
five months.  That's how old I was when I was first interested in
cigarettes.  Grace smiled.  No, that's silly, and put the thought out of
her mind.
     Jenny sat quietly behind her dad and watched her mother
smoke.  Grace raised the white filter to her lips.  She released the
cigarette from her fingers by spreading them in a wide `V' while she
pulled hard, trying to get some smoke from the ultra-light.  Her fingers
came back together, removing the cigarette from her lips, which had
now closed, momentarily sealing the smoke in her mouth.  Then her lips
parted as she inhaled quickly and deeply, followed by a long, slow, thin
exhale, most of which was sucked out the window.  As Jenny watched,
she went into a daydream, recalling the afternoon of last Wednesday,
walking home from school with Amy.

     "I sure could use a cigarette," Jenny said, "I haven't had a chance to
raid my mom's pack since Monday.  I wish you would smoke, Amy, then we could
help each other out in situations like this."  Amy replied, "I'm mostly
afraid that smoking would hurt my performance in field hockey, but why don't
you stop in at my house.  My parents won't be home for over an hour and Marie
stayed home today with the flu.  She always has cigarettes.  "Thanks," said
Jenny, "but are you sure Marie won't tell anyone... I mean about my smoking?"
Amy laughed, "Nah.  Marie is pretty cool."

     Amy and Jenny walked into the living room and there was poor Marie.
Ordinarily a vivacious, sparkly-eyed, sixteen year old bundle of energy,
Marie was now reduced to a bedraggled hair, baggy eyed, damp wash cloth on
the forehead, wrapped in a blanket on the couch sufferer.  Jenny noticed a
large marble ashtray on the coffee table with at least twelve orange-tipped
butts in it.  Next to that was a thermometer, a bottle of cough syrup, a
brown leather cigarette case and a Bic lighter. "Marie," Amy spoke first, "I
told Jenny that you wouldn't mind if she bummed a cigarette from you.  Is it
OK?" "Go ahead." Marie rasped hoarsely, "The pack is on the table.  Take as
many as you want and then leave me alone." This was followed by a ten second
tirade of hacking coughs.

     "Thanks, Marie." Jenny said, helping herself to two Newports from
Marie's case,  "Please don't tell anybody though, I could really catch hell."
     "No sweat." Marie coughed.  "Toss me one of those while your there."
Jenny followed Amy out to the back porch, as it was a beautiful day for
mid-November, temperature in the low sixties.  Amy declared, "I don't think
I'll ever get that algebra figured out.  Mr. Hagstrom just doesn't explain it
very well." Jenny dug in her back pocket for a pack of matches and replied,
"He explains it just fine, Ames.  You just don't have an aptitude for it.  I
must get it from my dad.  He's a mechanical engineer."  "I already know that,
knucklehead." Amy shot back.  Jenny finally got her cigarette going on the
third match.  She took an initial tentative puff, this being her first
Newport and not knowing what to expect.  She inhaled and quickly blew the
smoke back out.  "Wow!" said Jenny, "These are ten times stronger than my
mom's brand.  How does your sister smoke so many of these?" "Practice, I
guess.  She's been smoking for four years." answered Amy.  Jenny took another
drag, this one much longer than the first.  Trying to emulate her mother, she
held the smoke in her mouth for a second, then quickly inhaled to the bottom
of her youthful lungs.  She could feel the cool menthol in her throat, but
the greatest sensation was in her chest, which felt like it was being
compressed in a giant vise.  She pursed her lips and exhaled a long, straight
plume of smoke, which was rapidly dispersed by the afternoon breeze that was
blowing across the porch.  Amy was watching all of this, and said, "I just
don't get it, Jen.  I know a lot of kids who smoke, including you, but I
don't know what you get out of it."  Jenny took another long drag before she
shrugged, "Its hard to explain, Amy, but I'll tell you this--once you get
past the dizzy stage and you get used to it, it feels great.  And I think it
may impress certain kinds of boys."  Amy looked doubtful, "I guess I'm just
not interested in the kinds of boys who're impressed by smoking."

     Jenny came back to the present and realized she was staring out
the window at the bare trees and brown fields that were whizzing by. 
Yea, she thought, that bulge in Roger McCauly's pants was definitely
impressed by the group of sophomore girls standing across from the
tennis courts, smoking.
     Even though she loved her family's Thanksgiving get-togethers,
it promised to be a long, smokeless day for Jennifer Costello.
     If only she had a clue as to what lay ahead.

     END OF PART 1 

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