A Very Small Matter, Part 1

(by msulliva@asacomp.com, 19 December 1996)


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    Notice: This story was been rated "NC17" for adult language, nudity,
strong sexual content, violence, and explicit smoking. If you don't like these
things stop right here, but you'll never know what you missed.


    This last is for Loring, who maintains the trough at which we all feed.


    "A Very Small Matter" Part 1 of 9

    Author's note: This story concludes (for the time being) the trilogy begun
in "Behind the Times" and continued in "A Letter from Paradise." As the
subject matter is more than a little strange, I recommend you peruse the
earlier stories (both available on Loring's page) before reading further. If
you find it all makes sense in the end, please e-mail me with the explanation.


    1. Down and Out in Columbus, Ohio

    Hello again. Grant here. The guy who doesn't know when he has it good. The
smoking man's unhappy camper. The one who found a perfect world and savored
its every smoky flavor, until the taste turned to ashes in his mouth.

    I live in a mansion now, with a butler, maid, and three high-performance
automobiles cared for by a resident mechanic. My net worth is a measurable
percentage of the national debt. I can buy anything, go anywhere, do whatever
I please. I can smoke wherever I want, and I see sexy smokers everywhere I go.
The only thing I can't have is the one thing I want the most.

    Laurie is gone, lost in a way no one ever got lost before, at least in my
experience. And, her parting words to me certainly did not portend any
blissful reunion in some remote time or place. In fact, it would be fair to
say she hated my guts. With the proverbial passion.

    I still had the magic Zippo, my passport to adventure. I was too chicken
to use it. I could end up anytime, any place, in circumstances familiar or
strange. I had no control over it. I needed to have some idea of what I was
doing before I clicked that Zippo again.

    But Laurie was out there somewhere. Alone. Depressed, perhaps suicidal. "I
am no one," she had said. She needed a friend. And here I was, stuck in this
god damned paradise.

    But, if I remember you, my old friends back in "reality," your tolerance
for endless reams of self-pity isn't much higher than mine, which is just
about zero. So, let's move on to what happens next...




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