Mall Incident

(by, 19 September 1995)

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Article 3115 of
From: (Anonymous)
Subject: Repost by Req. - "Mall Incident" (story)
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 1995 19:15:41
Organization: Megaweb
Lines: 434

	I was walking in the Mall the one day a few years back when I
happened upon a very unusual incident. This incident is the basis of the
"young female smoker" story posted earlier. Most of this account is true;
I hope you all enjoy it! I'm posting it now by request....I'd appreciate
getting a copy of any other stories of a similar nature which may have
been posted earlier; I've only recently gotten access to this newsgroup.
Now, the story (forgive the length, I didn't want to leave out any

	Sitting on one of the benches was a very young woman and her
daughter, whom I judged to be no older than seven. The woman, who
seemed about twenty-three or so, (but was probably older) was blond,
shapely, and very attractive. As I watched, unobserved, the woman
produced a gold and white pack of cigarettes, a lighter, and lit one. She
took a fairly long drag, inhaled slowly, and seemed to be thoroughly
enjoying herself; she had a very satisfied look on her face as she
deliberately exhaled in a long thick cloud. As I watched, I thought to
myself that it was unusual to see such a lovely young woman who
enjoyed smoking as much as she obviously did. At this point, her
daughter, who had also been watching her intently, began to raise a fuss
about something, and, as I was not close enough to hear what was going
on, I strained to read their lips.
	After a few seconds I realized that the little girl was begging
her mother for a drag on the cigarette. I could scarcely believe it. This
little girl was very young and quite cute; she would certainly be a doll when
she got older. I could hardly blame her; the way her young mother
smoked, she made it look like the most wonderful experience in the
world. She continued to plead with her mother, "Just one drag, mommy?
Just one little one? Please? Huh? Please?"
	At this point, the woman laughed, and, shaking her head, took
an even longer drag on the cigarette, appearing to savor it even more, if
that was possible. She was teasing her daughter!
	The little girl became even more insistent, begging and whining,
which I was now beginning to be able to actually hear. The woman,
obviously amused, looked at her daughter and said, " want to try
smoking, huh? Are you sure you want to try it? It might not be what you
expect." Then she winked at her daughter, and took another deliciously
long drag, almost appearing as if she was sipping the smoke from the
cigarette. She smiled at her little girl after she inhaled; it seemed like
she was making it look as enjoyable as she possibly could.  The little
girl watched intently as her mother did this, and as she watched, she moved
her mouth and lips as if she was smoking, too. Then the most incredible
thing happened. The woman pursed her lips and exhaled the smoke
right in front of her daughter's face, and the little girl, instead of
turning away or something, leaned forward and seemed to take a deep breath,
trying to breathe in the smoke. It looked like she conciously blew it
out....and I could swear that I could actually see her exhaling a little
smoke as she did. The woman got a surprised look on her face; her
eyebrows went up, as if saying to herself, Hmmm....maybe I will let her
smoke. The little girl, emboldened by this experience, continued to plead
and beg. "Please, Mommy......please?.....Just one little tiny drag?.....If
I don't like it.....I promise I'll leave you alone?...... Please? ....Please,
please, please?.....just one eentsy-weentsy drag?" The woman looked
like she had made her little girl beg long enough, and I thought to
myself, she's going to do it. She's really going to let her little girl
take a drag on her cigarette, and my heart started to race. Finally, I saw her
mother say, "Oh, alright, here...but just one little drag. Do you really
know how to smoke?" and held the cigarette out to her daughter. But the
little girl shrank back a little and said, "I think I do, Mommy, but you
hold it for me, okay?"
	The woman said, "Okay, but just this once," and held the
cigarette with two fingers in front of her daughter's face. I saw the little
girl lean forward and, wrapping her lips around the end of it, drag on it
ever so gently. Her mother pulled the cigarette away, and I could swear
that I actually saw the little girl lean forward, to keep the cigarette
between her lips; was she trying to take a longer drag than her mother
assumed she wanted? Then, she opened her mouth and actually
inhaled; a very surprised look appeared on her face, and her hands shot
up to her mouth. Then, taking her hands down, she blew the smoke out
in a long, thin stream, and began to laugh. "That was fun, Mommy! I
wanna do it again! Can I, huh? Can I? Please? Huh?" The woman,
smiling, looked at the little girl and said, "What? I thought you said just
one little drag?" and the little girl replied, "I know I said
that......but I really like it! Can't I do it again? Please? Huh?"
	The woman laughed, and said, "Okay, but you have to hold it
this time," and gave the cigarette to the little girl. The girl took it, still
obviously a little afraid of it, and carefully arranged it between her two
fingers as she had seen her mother do. Then, putting up one hand to
partially hide her face, she put the cigarette to her lips. I watched to see
if she would take another of those gentle little drags again, and maybe
even inhale again, but to my complete amazement, she proceeded to
take a much, much longer and harder drag (as much as she could
possibly take; almost as if she had thought to herself, a little drag was
very good; a great big one will be great!), open her mouth, and...she
inhaled it. Then, without exhaling, she quickly took another, smaller
drag, inhaled that, and passed the cigarette back to her mother. Then
she smiled at her mother, pursed her lips and smoothly exhaled in a long
thick cloud. She had really done it; she had actually smoked a cigarette
right in front of my eyes. I wondered about what it had felt like to her
when she inhaled that great big drag. It must have felt nice; otherwise,
why would she have taken a second drag and inhaled that before she
had even exhaled the first? I knew adults who couldn't smoke as nicely
and as easily as she did. At that point I thought that maybe this little girl
had smoked before, (and so did her mother, I think), and I wondered at
when she had started; had the request that her mother initially hold the
cigarette been a ruse? To pretend that she had never smoked before? I
imagined her at home, sneaking drags off of her mother's cigarettes
whenever she could get away with it. I wondered who (if anyone) had
first taught her how to smoke? Or had she somehow learned it for
herself? I wondered what it would be like to witness that. What was her
very first drag on a cigarette like? Was it a short little puff? Or a long,
deep drag like she'd seen her mother do? Did she inhale right from the
start? Or...maybe this was her first time smoking...and she just
happened to enjoy it? After all, she was only seven. How long could she
have been smoking? As I thought about that some more, it seemed
likely. The look of surprise on her face when she inhaled her first drag
had been no fake. Incredible as it seemed, I was watching a little seven
year old girl smoking for the very first time. She had really inhaled her
very first drag only a few seconds ago, and had enjoyed it. The girl's
mother seemed to readily adapt to the situation: laughing a little, she
accepted the cigarette back from her daughter, and, after taking a long
drag herself, looked at the little girl as if wondering the same thing to
herself. Then she said, still laughing, "You little inhaled and
everything. You really like it, huh?" I saw the little girl hold her hand out
and say, "Uh-huh, Mommy......I 'specially like it when I inhale!...It's
fun! Can I have another drag? Is it my turn yet?", and her mother, smiling,
handed the cigarette back to her, and watched as she quickly took two
more long drags before returning it. Her mother then took one more
quick drag before putting it out, and leaned over to say something to the
girl which I couldn't quite make out, but it made the girl jump up and
laugh.  Then they got up and continued their walk around the mall.
 	About an hour later I happened to see them again, just as they
were approaching another bench. The woman bent down and said
something to the little girl; and I could hear the child say, "Really,
Mommy? Can we?", and started laughing and jumping again.  I
wondered if I was going to witness the same begging behavior from the
little girl, who was still jumping up and down and laughing as her mother
sat down; but to my astonishment something entirely different happened.
This time, when the woman took out her cigarettes, she lit one just as
the little girl was sitting next to her, and handed it to her daughter without
being asked. Apparently, they had been talking about doing this, and the
woman had decided that it was alright for her little girl to smoke; the truth
was that she wanted her to smoke and was actually encouraging her.
The little girl, as if she couldn't wait to smoke again, immediately took a
long, deep drag on the cigarette, inhaled, and took another somewhat
smaller drag before pursing her lips and exhaling the smoke slowly in a
long thick cloud. Her mother then lit another one for herself, smiling as
she watched her daughter, who was taking another very deep drag,
enjoying her own cigarette. It was then I understood why the girl was
laughing and jumping; apparently, the woman had told the little girl that
she could have her own cigarette the next time and, shortly before
sitting down, her mother had said to her, "Let's sit down and have a
cigarette." The little girl, remembering that her mother used to say, "Let's
sit down so I can have a cigarette," realized the word, "Let's", this time
meant that she would be smoking, too, and was excited at having the
opportunity to sit down with her mother and smoke a whole cigarette by
	This time I was close enough to make out more of what was
going on. The brand of cigarette they were smoking was full strength
Marlboro 100's. This had to be the most incredible thing I'd ever seen.
Here was a young woman, calmly sitting in a busy mall next to her little
girl, and both of them were smoking Marlboro 100's and talking, as if it
were the most natural thing in the world. I couldn't get over the sight of
this cute little girl holding that big cigarette - much less the adult way she
was actually taking those long, long drags and inhaling. I watched,
completely amazed, as the little seven-year-old girl turned to her mother
and said, "This is fun, Mommy! I can smoke...just like you!  Watch me,
Mommy! Watch me!", took another incredibly long drag on her cigarette,
and opened her mouth. Then I (along with her mother) watched closely;
her little mouth was completely full of the thick smoke, and it seemed
impossible that this little child could inhale that much smoke. But, as I
continued to watch, the big mouthful of thick white smoke smoothly and
easily disappeared down her throat as she inhaled. Then she smiled,
and smoothly exhaled the smoke in a long dense cloud. "Am I doing it
right, Mommy? (pursing her lips for a moment to exhale the smoke still
in her lungs,) Am I? Huh?" she asked her mother. The woman said,
"Yes, sweetie, you're doing fine. Do you really like it that much?"  But
the girl couldn't answer right then, only nod her head rapidly; she was
taking yet another long drag from the almost-finished cigarette. After
exhaling in another long, thick stream, she said to her mother, "How
come it gets so hot at the end, Mommy?" The woman said, "Probably
because you're taking such long drags, hon. Don't take such long drags
when it's almost finished." The little girl looked at her cigarette as if to
see if there was another drag left in it, took another quick drag, and
dropped the cigarette to the floor and stepped on it. "Can I have another
one, Mommy?", she asked. "I promise I'll smoke it the right way." Her
mother seemed to think about it for a few seconds. "No sweetie, not yet.
Wait a little while.....let me finish mine, then we'll share one more.
Okay?" The child seemed to consider this offer for a second; then she
said, "Okay. But I wanna light the next one, okay? Can I light it now?
Can I? Huh? Please?" The woman reached in her bag and produced the
pack and the lighter, giving them to the little girl. "Okay.....just be
careful, alright?", as if thinking to herself, well, if she's going to smoke,
she might as well learn to light her own cigarettes. The little girl carefully
pulled another of those long cigarettes from the pack, and handed the
pack to her mother. Then, holding it between her lips with her left hand,
she gingerly worked the lighter with her right. When the flame appeared,
she applied it to the end of her cigarette (only a little awkwardly) and
took another of those incredibly long drags, handing the lighter back to
her mother as she inhaled the smoke. But she apparently wasn't
satisfied with that first long drag because, before exhaling it, she took
another very deep drag. I watched the end of her cigarette glow a bright
orange as she took that hard drag, imagining to myself what it felt like to
the little girl as her mouth filled with the warm, thick smoke. Blowing the
smoke out, she turned to her mother and said, "This is fun, Mommy. I
really like it!"  The woman held out her hand to take the cigarette from
the little girl and said, "I'm glad you like it, hon...but don't forget...we
share this one," and the little girl said "Okay," but didn't hand the
cigarette to her mother until she'd taken two more very long drags in
rapid succession.
	They continued to pass the cigarette back and forth until it was
finished, with the little girl smoking most of it; then her mother leaned
over and said something else to her which made her squeal with delight.
They got up and started walking towards the CVS pharmacy and I
followed, remaining a discreet distance, wondering what the woman had
said that excited her daughter so much. When they got inside the
pharmacy, the woman walked up to the register, and leaned over to say
something to her daughter which I couldn't quite make out. The little girl
said, "The same as you smoke, Mommy.....those are good." I realized
then what was going on: the woman was going to actually buy a pack of
cigarettes for her little girl.  The woman turned to the girl behind the
counter and said, "A pack of Marlboro 100's, please. And a Bic lighter."
After she paid for this stuff, they both walked out of the pharmacy; once
they were back in the mall, the woman opened the pack, and handed the
cigarettes and the lighter to the little girl and said, "Here, hon, put these
in your pocket. But only smoke when I'm with you." Then she added in a
whisper, "And don't ever tell Daddy that you smoke." The little girl
immediately took a cigarette from the pack. "I want one now,
Mommy.....Okay?", she said, and her mother laughed and shook her
head as she watched her light it. "I guess you must really love it," she
said. "Come on, lets sit down while we smoke." The little girl blew the
smoke out in a long cloud, and, taking another of those incredibly deep
drags, followed her mother back to the bench, and sat down next to her
to finish her cigarette, her fourth in little over an hour.
	The woman took out her own cigarettes and lit one for herself.
Then, as if to find out for herself just exactly how much smoke her
daughter was inhaling with each drag, she watched the little girl
carefully; when her daughter put her cigarette up to her lips, the woman
did it at exactly the same time, and took a drag exactly as long as what
her daughter was taking. They both inhaled at the same time, and as the
woman inhaled, a surprised (or appreciative?) look appeared on her
face. After they had exhaled, the woman, apparently impressed with the
way her little girl was smoking, turned to her daughter (who had just
taken another very long drag and was inhaling) and said, "Kelly?
Sweetie, answer me honestly.....I won't be mad.....have you ever
smoked before today?" The little girl blew a long cloud of thick white
smoke, looked at her mother and said, "No, Mommy. this is my first I doing it wrong?" The woman smiled at her daughter and
shook her head. "No, no,'re doing's just that you do
it so well that it's hard to believe you've never done it before." The child
took another long drag and exhaled in a thick stream. "I been watching
you, Mommy.....I watched you real good......and I learned it from you.
You looked like you liked it so much that I wanted to try it. And now I can
smoke too! It's fun, Mommy! It feels good when I smoke!" She knocked
the ashes off her cigarette with her left index finger and took another
very deep drag. The woman, still smiling, said "Watch me, sweetie. This
is how you do that," and deftly flicked the ash off her own cigarette
before taking a long drag herself as her daughter watched. The little girl,
eager to imitate her mother, turned the cigarette around in her hand (it
looked so big in her little hand) and flicked the ash off as she'd seen her
mother do. Then she put it back between her two fingers and took a
deep drag herself, inhaling slowly and deliberately, an exact imitation of
the way she'd seen her mother do it. Then she looked at her mother and
smiled as she was exhaling. When the smoke stopped coming out of her
little mouth, she said, "Was that right, Mommy? Did I do it right?" The
woman leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. "You did fine, hon,"
she said. "Just keep practicing."
	The little girl took two more short drags before stamping the
cigarette out (her mother's was only half finished), and, smiling, pulled
another cigarette out of her pack. She worked her lighter, and when the
flame appeared, put the cigarette between her lips and lit it, doing much
better than she'd done before. As I watched her inhale another very
deep drag, I thought about how their lives would change from now on;
how the woman was going to have to make allowances for the fact that
her seven-year-old daughter liked to smoke cigarettes. I pictured her
telling her husband that she was going to go tuck the child in, and
conveniently light a cigarette before entering the child's room; and how
she'd then give the lit cigarette to the little girl so she could take a few
long drags before she went to sleep. I imagined the little girl smoking
this cigarette eagerly, quickly, before her father came in the room; what
would happen if he came in just as she had inhaled?  I imagined the girl
sitting at the breakfast table with her mother after her father had gone to
work, and the two of them talking and smoking after breakfast. I could
see the woman sharing one last cigarette with her daughter before she
got on the school bus (assuming she was old enough to go to school),
and the little girl taking two very long drags before she stepped on the
bus, and exhaling the smoke once she was on board and seated, while
the other children looked on in amazement.
	They started talking again, so I listened in.The woman had just
put her cigarette out, and the little girl had just taken what must have
been a huge drag; the thick cloud of smoke she was exhaling seemed
almost endless. The woman asked her daughter, "Honey?....Are you
sure you never smoked before today?" The little girl took a long drag
and exhaled in a thick cloud. A sad look appeared on her face. "I'm
sorry, Mommy.....I forgot to tell you. There was one other time....when
you left a cigarette in the kitchen.....and I tried it. I only took one drag,
Mommy! Only one! I'm sorry I didn't ask first!" Her mother looked at her,
nodding her head, and said, "I see. When was that, hon?"
	"A long time ago," the little girl admitted in a small voice.  "That's
how come I forgot." She flicked the ash off her cigarette. "Does that
mean I can't smoke anymore, Mommy? I'm sorry. I really just forgot to
tell you."
	"No, sweetie....of course not. I want you to smoke all you
want....I just want you to be honest with me, that's all. Did you really like
it that first time you tried it? Did you inhale?" The little girl laughed.
"Yes, Mommy...I smoked it just the same way you do....just like this!" She put
the cigarette to her small lips and took another very long drag, inhaling
slowly and deliberately. After a few seconds she blew a long cloud of
smoke. "Am I really doing it right, Mommy?" The woman smiled and
kissed her head again. "Yes,'re doing fine....just right.
Why didn't you ask me sooner if you could smoke? I would have let
you....all you had to do was ask. I even would have taught you if you
didn't know how." The child took another long drag from her cigarette,
and exhaled in a long thick stream. "I thought you'd be mad, Mommy. I
thought you wouldn't let me. And I've wanted to smoke for such a long
time....even before that first time I tried it." She took another short drag,
and the woman said, "Hon? Let me show you how to put it out." The little
girl gave the cigarette to her mother, who said, "Watch me, sweetie. Just
push it down like this....until it's out. Just be careful not to burn yourself,
that's all." The little girl watched closely; then she pulled another
cigarette from her pack. "I'll try it when I finish this one,
Mommy...Okay?" She lit the cigarette (doing very well this time), took a
very deep drag, inhaled, and took another equally long drag and inhaled
that before blowing a long cloud of thick smoke. The woman was
watching, and said to her daughter, "Kelly, hon? How come you take two
long drags in a row like that?" The little girl replied, ""Cause the first one
is so good, Mommy....I want" She put the cigarette to her
lips, and I saw the end glow a bright orange as she took two very long,
very hard drags from it; then she pursed her lips and slowly exhaled in a
long thick cloud. "See?'s good that way, Mommy......don't you do
that sometimes?....I've seen you do it." The woman seemed to think
about this for a few seconds....then she laughed and said, "Yes, that you mention it....I guess I do do it like that sometimes.
Seems like you really have been watching me. Can I have a drag of
that?" The little girl passed the cigarette to her mother. "Here, Mommy,"
she said. The woman took a long drag, then a shorter one, and passed it
back to the child. "Thanks, sweetie, that was good," she said as she
exhaled. "I think I'll have another one myself." The girl flicked the ash
from her cigarette, and took another very very deep drag, watching as
the flame moved up the cigarette about a quarter of an inch. She
inhaled; then she held the cigarette in front of her, and blew a long
stream of smoke at it. I could see that she was eager to try putting it out
the way she'd seen her mother do, but she also wanted to smoke as
much of it as possible first; no sooner had she exhaled, than she took
another incredibly deep drag, inhaling slowly and deliberately. She
looked at the cigarette again as she exhaled, and apparently decided it
had one more good drag left; putting it up to her lips, she took another
very deep drag, slowly this time, as if not to let it get too hot. After she
inhaled, she stepped over to the ashtray, and gingerly squashed it out
the way she'd seen her mother do; then she sat down next to her
mother, and exhaled a long cloud of thick smoke. "Did I do that right,
Mommy?" she asked. "Yes, sweetie.....perfect. Ready to go?" her
mother asked. "Uh-huh," said the little girl. "That was fun, Mommy. Can I
smoke again when we get home?" The woman laughed. "Of course,
honey. You can smoke any time you long as Daddy doesn't
find out, okay?" She handed what was left of her cigarette to the little
girl. "Would you please put that out for me, Kelly?", she said. The little
girl took the cigarette, which was only half smoked, and said "You don't
want this anymore? Can I have the rest of it?" Her mother laughed and
said, "Sure, hon. Go ahead and finish it." The little girl looked at the
cigarette as if to judge how long of a drag she could take from it.  Putting
it to her lips, she slowly took two very deep drags from it. As she inhaled
the second one, she squashed it out the way her mother had shown her,
and exhaled a thick stream of white smoke. After that, the little girl ran
back to her mother and laughed. "Okay!" she said. "I want to go home
now, Mommy....I want to look in the mirror while I' see what
I look like....can we go now? Okay?" The woman picked up her
pocketbook and stood up, saying, "Let's go, hon......don't forget your
cigarettes.....and your lighter." The little girl picked up the lighter, and
the pack of cigarettes. As she picked up the pack, she looked inside, and
pulled a cigarette part way out, as if trying to decide whether to have
another one or not. Then, seeing her mother start walking, she put it
back in the pack, put the pack in her pocket, and ran to catch up with her
	I imagined what would happen when they got home: even if the
little girl's father was home, she would probably immediately run into the
bathroom, and lock the door. Then, standing in front of the mirror, she'd
light one of the Marlboro 100's, and watch herself as she slowly inhaled
one long drag after another. She'd probably try exhaling in different
ways; a long thick stream directly in front of her this time, maybe off to
one side the next. Probably she'd discover that because she was taking
such long drags, sometimes she'd have to make a second effort in order
to exhale all of it. No doubt that the next time her mother saw her
smoke, she'd be an expert at it.

	[Story based upon an actual witnessed incident.]

Q. What do AOLer's spend most of their time doing?
A. Staring at the Windows hourglass... (formerly

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