Sweet, Sweet Lucy, Part 1

(by smokehut@aol.com, 27 December 1997)

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   I remember the sight of Lucy King, watching as her brother Will and I smoked
in the living room of her home on Ferguson Street on a Saturday afternoon
during August football practice. I kept stealing glances at her as she
obligingly laughed at our jokes and otherwise played the role of little
sister. I bet she wants a cigarette, I thought. She obviously didn't
disapprove. But it wasn't my place to offer her a Marlboro Light nor even to
pay too much attention to my teammate's 15-year-old sibling.
   Smoking was just an occasional vice, one to be flaunted strictly in private.
Mrs. King, widowed since her policeman husband's untimely heart attack, opened
her home to us without passing judgment on our naughty little habits. When I
found out that she allowed Will to smoke openly in the house, and that she
would let others do it, too, without telling our parents, her household became
a more frequent place to hang out at than my own.
   I thought it was just so cool.
   So, during the summer, I ran and lifted weights to prepare myself for another
championship season. But senior year also meant weekend beer parties, and the
summer was a time to park out in the country under the stars, split 12-packs
of Old Milwaukee and listen to the rebellious country music of Hank Williams
Jr., Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Funny thing is, most of my friends
only smoked when they drank. When I smoked and drank in tandem, it was an
invitation to a hangover, or maybe an episode of vomiting as I clung to the
side of a pickup truck and struggled for balance, sweat popping out on my
   But, oh, did I think smoking was cool. Sometimes, when my parents were away,
I'd smoke in front of the bathroom mirror, practicing my style. In advanced
English class in the 11th grade, I had sat in front of Susan Lofton, who was a
senior and kind of a sweet, sultry "bad girl." I never so much as kissed her
on the cheek, but I'd turn around in my desk and flirt ever so mildly. Once
she opened her purse for a moment and there was a pack of Salems, in full
view. Instant hard-on. During the lecture, I imagined myself sharing one of
those menthols with Susan, and then we'd french kiss and stare into each
other's eyes, and I kept a woody for the full 50 minutes.
   Finally, one October morning before school, I was walking out among the shop
and maintenance buildings, for what reason I can't remember, and as I turned
the corner, between buildings, there was Lucy King, standing in the early
morning cold, smoking an all-white cigarette. I stopped in my tracks.
   She was slender, smallish, a bit on the pale-complexioned side, black hair
parted in the middle. Not voluptuous, but a babe nonetheless. She wore a red
sweater and bell-bottom Levis. I'm surprised the zipper in mine held.
   "Hey there," I said.
   "Hi, Tommy," she replied, ever so modest and sweet.
   "I didn't know you smoked," I said, not disapproving, oh no, don't be
disapproving, I had the unmistakeable hots for this mysterious sophomore. I
phrased it as matter-of-factly as possible, the way one would say, I didn't
know blue was your favorite color.
   "Oh, yes," she said, taking a draw, holding it for perhaps a three count,
then tilting her head back and exhaling upward. "I'm afraid I do."
   "Course, you knew I did."
   "Yes. When you and Will were at the house that time, it 'bout killed me to
sit there and watch."
   "I can't believe your mom won't let you."
   "That's kind of an unresolved issue," she said. "It just kinda sets there
without nothing happening. I guess the thing is, she didn't let Will until
here recently. She's cool about it, yeah, but she don't want to just let me go
wild or nothing. You know, I'm two years younger than y'all."
   Oh God. That unabashed, slightly fractured grammar of the textile mill
village. It was sexy. I wouldn't have been more aroused if it had been Sissy
Spacek in "Coal Miner's Daughter."
   "Want one?"
   I looked around in both directions, knowing smoking was forbidden on the
school grounds for a varsity athlete. The coast was clear.
   "Hell yeah," I said, "but I'd better settle for a hit or two on yours."
   She handed it over. "I know," she said. "Can't be too careful. Just finish
that one off."
   I took two quick draws. She handed me some Juicy Fruit. We walked up to
homeroom together. If there had been time, I think I would have ducked into a
bathroom stall to jack off. I was in a perilous state of arousal. I was afraid
to put my hands in my pocket. A sudden burst of wind against the denim might
have set me off.

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