Pudgy Patty, Part 1

(by Somers, 10 April 2005)


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Pudgy Patty
By Somers
Part one

It had been a quiet afternoon, and I was sitting in my usual place on the 
shelf, admiring the sunlight as it came beaming through the window. I heard 
the familiar sound of the front door slamming downstairs, which meant that 
Christine was home from school.

She seemed both excited and nervous when she came into the room, closed the 
door and locked it behind her, as if someone was chasing her. However, there 
was no one else in the house, and Mom wouldn't be home from work for at 
least two hours. Christine flipped her pony tail back behind her head and 
threw her backpack up on the desk, and went immediately over to the window 
and opened it. Although it was sunny outside, it was also sort of cold on 
this October day, so it was strange behavior. I began to become concerned 
for her.

Then, the whole event was clarified as Christine opened her backpack and 
withdrew a practically full pack of Marlboro Light cigarettes, and some 
matches. She looked around furtively, then nervously withdrew a cigarette 
and placed it in her lips. No doubt it was vanity that drove her to the 
mirror to look at herself dangling the all-white cigarette from her lips. 
She took her pony tail out, shook her head to loosen the long blonde hair 
and displayed a piece of it hauntingly over one eye. Then she winked at 
herself in the mirror and plucked the unlit cigarette out of her lips, 
pretending to exhale a stream of smoke. She prominently displayed the 
Marlboro Light in her fingers, looked it and giggled excitedly.

With a quick glance to make sure that there was no one hidden in the tree 
outside her window (no one ever was), she placed the cigarette into her lips 
again, and tore a match out of the matchbook. I noticed that there were 
three matches already used up. I only hoped that she wouldn't burn the place 
down as she closed the book, turned it over and struck the match. But, 
Christine was certainly old enough to light matches safely, and I needn't 
have worried.

The match fired up, and glowed in the mirror, Christine glanced at its 
image, then she projected her face and the cigarette outward to seek the 
flame and light herself up. Immediately, she shook out the match violently 
and puffed the smoke out of her mouth, looking again into the mirror, and 
then to the cigarette in her fingers. She took another small puff and 
inhaled the smoke, smiling at her reflection as she did so. She threw the 
match out of the window. If Mom and Dad knew she was smoking, she'd be 
grounded for the rest of her natural life, I thought.

Christine crossed the beam of the sun's rays, breathing the smoke out of her 
body and waving it into the oblivion where smoke goes; she flopped down on 
the floor underneath the window sill. She put hand out of the window and 
tapped the cigarette lightly, sending just a couple of ashes out into the 
chilly air. It was interesting watching her experimenting with this newfound 
behavior, sucking on the lit cigarette and drawing it into her lungs, then 
breathing it out into the autumn sunlight. I could sense that this was a 
pleasing thing, because of the way that she would kiss each puff of smoke 
outward, and the way that naughty little grin gave her emotions away. I felt 
good for her, watching her blowing the smoke out of the window, and taking 
another delicate, little puff.

After some time, the cigarette grew short, and Christine stared straight 
ahead with a very sour expression on her face. It was then that she tossed 
to burning cigarette out the window and shuddered. She looked at the floor 
for some time afterward, and breathed deeply for a while, and I wasn't sure 
what was wrong. But the feeling seemed to pass, and she got up, shivering in 
the cold room, then she went out the door and I heard her in the bathroom 
brushing her teeth.

After the refreshing trip, she returned to the room, taking the pack of 
cigarettes and the matches and searching for a place to hide them from her 
parents. She looked along the shelf where I was, and then plucked me down 
for the first time in almost a year, lifted up my blue plaid jumper, and 
stuffed the contraband up my back. Then she put me back up on the shelf, 
straightened out the jumper and examined me. I felt very special and 
privileged. None of these Barbie dolls could possibly conceal a pack of 
cigarettes, only good old Pudgy Patty could do that for her. Maybe there was 
an advantage to being a fat doll, after all.

Christine then went downstairs for her cookies, and she watched TV down 
there for a while, like she usually did, leaving her window open and 
practically freezing all of us. I enjoyed watching the Barbies in their 
skimpy outfits and imagined how they were feeling in the cold air. At about 
five o'clock, she came upstairs and shut the window, then hurriedly put some 
papers on the desk, opened up a book, then sat down to write something. Her 
Mom came into the house about ten minutes later, then yelled up to her to 
make sure she was there, and to see if everything was alright.

"Hi, honey! Wow, it's freezing in here, did you have the window open or 
something? Look at you, you've got all goose pimples! Are you feeling 
alright?" As Mom often did, she felt Christine's forehead.

"Oh, I'm fine, Mom. I had the window open for a while because it seemed 
awfully hot up here when I came home, then I got so grossed in doing my 
homework, that I didn't realize how cold it was until just a little while 
ago." Christine could lie with such an innocent and pure face, that one just 
couldn't accept it as a falsehood. Yet I knew it was so.

"Um- don't you mean `engrossed'? You got engrossed in doing your homework? 
What'cha working on, anyway? I see a whole lot of blank paper there." Her 
Mom kidded  her, with a kind hearted look on her face. I could see a lot of 
love for Christine in that expression.

"Grossed, engrossed, whatever! And I just started my math, after I finished 
English, Mom. Jeez! You always think the worst things!" Christine looked at 
her Mom with disgust. That was the way that all teenagers viewed their 
parents. It must be something that they taught them in school, because it 
seemed to start at about the time that Christine entered Junior High.

"Oh, I was just kidding you, honey. What would you like for dinner? 
Spaghetti or leftover pork roast?" Her Mom rubbed her head playfully.

"Hmmm, spaghetti, I guess. Hey, can I go out with Stephanie tonight?"

"Well, you'll have to ask you father when he comes home. But you know that 
it has to be something special for him to allow you out on a school night," 
her Mom warned.

"But you'd be OK with it, if it was something special?" Christine thought 
quickly, "It is, you know, because her parents are going to bring her out to 
the pet store to get a new puppy!"

"OK, but check with your father first, and be sure to finish all your 
homework before dinner, then," Her Mom kissed her on the forehead, then left 
the room.

Christine sat back when her Mom had left the room, and stared at me happily. 
She stood up and straightened my dress, looking at me with a certain measure 
of happiness. Then she took out her array of lipsticks and sampled them, 
deciding on which color looked the best. She started trying on her variety 
of tops, to see just how they would match the lipstick she had chosen. Then 
came the pants, but it was difficult to decide on the faded-out jeans with 
the pink top, and the subtle pink lipstick, or the slim, hiphugger jeans 
with the green top and a redder hue of lipstick. I tended to like the pink 
top myself, but it wasn't up to me. Then I watched as Christine played with 
her tiny, developing boobs, sweeping them up into something more 
substantial, and shaking her head, and loosening her wonderful golden hair 
while puckering up to her image in the mirror. It was like any other day, 
really, of late. But it was very special for me, because she had chosen me 
out of all the dolls to guard the precious cargo.

After Christine had dinner with her parents, she came bounding up the 
stairs, grabbed her lipstick, bag, and looking across the room at the door 
briefly, she reached up and took me into her hands. She yanked the 
cigarettes and matches out of my dress and shoved them into her purse, and 
tossed me onto the bed. I was so excited, since she hadn't played with me in 
years. I wished her a happy time while she stuffed the cigarettes into her 
bag, smoothed her hair and ran out the door. I don't think that she heard 
me, though, because it's very difficult to speak with plastic lips.

Every day was pretty much like that for a while. Christine would come home 
from school, and lock the door, open the window and light up a cigarette. 
Not every day, but at least every couple of days. On weekends, she lit up a 
couple of times late at night after her parents went to bed, and things had 
to be really hushed then. It was freezing in the room when she would do it, 
and she eventually just gave up on opening up the window, because it was too 
damn cold. It took at least a month to finish up that first pack, and I 
figured that her smoking period had ended.

Something else was changing with Christine, too. She began wearing more 
makeup, and began frosting her hair with streaks of a grey color. She seemed 
to be acquiring a lot of new clothes somehow, and she modeled them in front 
of the mirror, strutting back and forth and playing a lot with her hair. She 
always covered herself up whenever her parents were around, and I got the 
impression that the adults didn't know she was wearing these new wardrobe 
acquisitions. She had gotten ear piercings up the back of her ears, and her 
Mom got sorta mad when she showed up one day with a stud in her nose. I 
remember them having a big "discussion" about that, with her Mom saying that 
she thought it was ugly, and Christine challenging that position. Anyway, 
the piercing stayed, and she eventually acquired a pretty silver ring to 
replace the simple stud.

I liked watching Christine, because she took me down from the shelf, 
withdrew her cigarettes and the matches, put me on the desk next to the 
cigarettes, and she smiled while she had the cigarette in her lips. Her 
smiles deepened as she went on smoking, and I could see what a positive 
effect it had on her. On one day, before a big English test in school, she 
smoked a second cigarette. I could see that it calmed her nerves. She sat at 
the desk and pulled out her English book, and looked through it 
contemplatively while she sucked on the cigarette, turning pages while 
holding the cigarette up in the air with her fingers.

When the first pack was all gone, I was sad for Christine, thinking that 
somehow our newfound relationship had come to an end. But she surprised me 
with a brand new full pack and a lighter, too. That wasn't exactly what I 
needed; something else to shove up my dress, but you have to endure all 
kinds of mistreatment when you're just a doll. And I liked all the attention 
I was getting. Almost every day, she would take me down while she had her 
cigarette, and almost once a week, she shoved a big, new fresh pack 
underneath my dress.

In February, Christine had Stephanie coming over for a couple of nights 
while the other girl's parents were away, and Christine did a lot of 
cleaning up in her room. I usually hate cleaning up, because it means that I 
often get stuffed away somewhere, but she displayed me prominently at the 
edge of her shelf.

The two girls came bounding into the room after school that Friday, giggling 
at some secret joke. Christine deposited her back pack on the desk, and 
Stephanie's went on the bed. I saw that Stephanie's hair was dyed similarly 
to Christine's, but she wore a streaky orange color. Stephanie also had 
several visible piercings in her ears, nose and lips and a small tattoo of a 
dragon peeked from underneath the tiny sleeve of the T-shirt she wore.

Christine closed the door as always, and Stephanie pulled a pack of Camel 
Filters from her backpack. Stephanie then pulled me down off of the shelf 
and withdrew her pack of Marlboro Lights, placing one in her lips. 
Stephanie, who already had an unlit cigarette in her mouth, looked on.

"Why do you keep them there? I keep them in my backpack, so I always have 
them with me. That way, I can light one up in the girls' room when I get a 
pass to go there," Stephanie bounced the unlit cigarette in her lips and 
smiled as best she could with the cigarette in her mouth.

"Mrs. Breton does a backpack check every day, so I keep them at home where 
my Mom can't find them," Christine imitated Stephanie's bouncing technique 
while the other girl flicked a flame with her lighter and drew her cheeks 
inward, building up a sizable, glowing head on the tip of the Camel Filter. 
Then she held the flame up to Christine's cigarette and Christine's face was 
illuminated from the glow as she brightened the tip of the Marlboro Light, 
and pulled on it with a strength that I was rather impressed with. She must 
have been trying to show off in front of Stephanie.

Stephanie blew out her smoke in a breath which the setting sunlight made 
glow as it grew into a large cloud and splashed against the wall. She 
smiled, and said that she thought that was very cute, in an obviously 
condescending tone.

"But whenever I am with Robert, he gives me his cigarettes, so I am never 
without them, really," Christine explained quickly, after blowing her puff 
out into the air of her room.

"Phil could never do that, because he's always thinking about himself. Do 
you think I should dump him? Of course, I oughta make out with someone else 
first. I been thinking about John Lightfoot," Stephanie drew on her 
cigarette again with considerable power, no stranger to smoking, this one. 
She flopped on the bed, picking me up and fluffing my dress. Then she stared 
down at me, slowly exhaling smoke straight at my face. There was something 
that rubbed me the wrong way about Stephanie, but what could I say?

"Isn't John Lightfoot a Junior? I don't know, Steph, Robert could be safer 
for a while. I heard that John was involved in that whole thing with Mrs. 
Patterson, but no one is talking," Christine said, taking another puff from 
her cigarette, and then slipping her little makeshift ashtray out of its 
hiding place beneath big bear, on the upper shelf. It used to be a 
repository for her earrings, but now there were too many to keep in there. 
She took off the lid of the glass dish, and sat down on her desk chair, 
facing Stephanie. All the while, she was blowing clouds of smoke out into 
the room. She gently tapped the cigarette into the glass dish, and then 
handed the reservoir to Stephanie.

"Yeah, I heard a lot of stuff about that; I bet John can give me the real 
story, if I can just lure him away from Amanda Arthur. She's gotten really 
fat this year, and I think she looks ugly. Do you think that John likes fat 
girls or something?" Stephanie similarly tapped off her ash into Christine's 
little dish, and held the cigarette ready for action just beyond her lips, 
waiting for the moment when she stopped speaking. Then she tugged on it, 
pulling her cheeks in violently and closing her eyes for a moment as she 
brought more smoke into her body. She inhaled it deeply, and it exploded 
from her lips toward the ceiling, forming a very large cloud. Stephanie was 
no amateur smoker, I could tell.

The two girls went on like this, chatting about the people in school, having 
cigarettes together, and enjoying the afternoon in Christine's room. When 
Stephanie finished her cigarette before Christine, she immediately withdrew 
another one and lit it. This prompted Christine to smoke a second one. The 
smoke from the four cigarettes hung in the air of the closed room, and then 
time passed and they became interested in brushing each other's hair while 
chatting about all the secrets of their parents' behavior when at home. 
Stephanie's Mom was apparently an alcoholic, just waiting for someone to 
commit her to the detox ward at the local hospital, and Christine's story 
was that her Mom was an alcoholic, too, because her Dad abused her 
violently. It's strange that I never heard anything about that before or 
noticed any evidence of it. But, I suppose I lead a rather sheltered life, 
up here in Christine's room. The girls smoked another cigarette together, 
and that small glass dish was overflowing with the six butts.

There was a noise downstairs, and Christine nearly freaked out, while 
looking at the time.

"It's my Mom! We'd better go down and say hi, or else she'll come up here," 
she said, hurriedly trying to force the lid onto the makeshift ashtray. 
Then, throwing a blanket over me and the packs of cigarettes that lay on the 
bed, she quickly opened the door, and the girls ran out, rapidly giving 
themselves doses of breath spray and waving at the air like there were bees 
in their hair, or something.

They played a board game back in the room following dinner, but then 
Christine's Mom apparently had to change the sheets on Christine's bed 
before the girls went to bed. They preceded her up the stairs, and Christine 
flung open the door to the room like a madwoman, tore the sheets off the bed 
and threw the packs of cigarettes and the lighter into one of her desk 
drawers. Her Mom came up the stairs, helping Stephanie, who just happened to 
trip going up. It was a good thing that Stephanie was OK, though I suspect 
strongly that it was a delay tactic. Christine's Mom stopped for an instant 
in the doorway with a strange look on her face, but whatever her sensation 
was, I didn't detect anything else that was unusual about her behavior.

The girls played Monopoly with the door to the room open, and went down and 
got some chips and salsa, and later on they went down again and they came 
back with huge bowls of ice cream. There were frequent cokes consumed, and 
more gossipy stories that I ought to not repeat, and then the folks were 
coming upstairs and going to bed.

"Now, get to bed soon, because we have to get Stephanie to her dentist's 
appointment tomorrow. Have a good night, and be sure to get some sleep," 
Christine's Dad said, appearing in the doorway and smiling at the two girls.

"We'll do that Dad, don't worry. We're going to go to bed just after we 
finish this game," Christine answered dutifully.

"Girls, don't stay up too late, and behave yourselves," Stephanie's Mom came 
into the room and kissed each girl on the cheek, while carrying her glass of 
vodka and her cigarette pack and lighter up to bed. It was her bedtime 
routine.

The parents went into their bedroom and closed the door, then Christine 
gently closed her door, too. And locked it just to be sure that no one came 
in.

Ten minutes later, the girls again brought out the cigarettes and talked and 
giggled quietly as they turned the room into another den of smoke. I think 
it was about 3 AM when they finally went to bed. I remember Christine 
opening the window twice to empty the ashtray, and the room being thick with 
smoke. I thought that it must have been Stephanie that got Christine started 
on the smoking habit, because, of the two girls, Stephanie seemed to drag on 
her cigarettes a lot more than my Christine did. She also smoked them a lot 
faster. Stephanie coughed a lot in her sleep, and I noticed that Christine 
was coughing some, too.

The next day, Dad brought Stephanie to the dentist, but after breakfast that 
morning, Christine went up to her room and neatened things up a little, took 
me from the floor at the foot of her bed, then sat down and began reading, 
while she clutched me in her hand. It was as if she was waiting for 
something.

Her Mom came up the stairs slowly, and came into her room.

"Can I sit here, honey?" her Mom said, indicating a place at the edge of the 
bed. The words were so syrupy sweet, that I knew something was up.

"Sure, Mom. You said downstairs that we needed to talk, so what's up?" 
Christine looked at her mother emotionlessly.

"Honey, I know that someone was in here smoking yesterday, and I am sure it 
was Stephanie. I didn't want to say anything in front of your friend, but I 
wouldn't want you to start smoking," her Mom rubbed her head with a 
nurturing gesture.

"Yeah, she smokes, but she was afraid that you might rat her out to her Mom, 
because she doesn't know. I don't think it's any big deal or anything. And 
you won't get her in trouble or anything, will you?" Christine's heart was 
pounding, and I could feel her tensing up.

"I'm not terribly worried about Stephanie, because my main concern is you. I 
know there's a lot of pressure to start smoking at your age, and I guess we 
never had this talk, but do me a favor and just resist smoking?" Her Mom 
looked genuinely concerned for her daughter, and rubbed her head 
continuously as she talked.

"I don't smoke, mom. You should know that. I don't see what the big deal is 
about smoking, anyway. So what if Stephanie smokes?"

"It's not a big deal, really, and it's not about whether Stephanie smokes. 
It's about you, honey."

"Well, I don't smoke! So there! And besides, you smoke, so I don't know why 
you need to make a federal case out of it," Christine began to get 
belligerent about the subject.

"Yes, I do smoke, but it's only because I can't seem to quit, and that is 
what is so bad about cigarettes. Do you want to know how I started?" Her Mom 
smiled at her growing daughter, apparently defiant about the subject.

"Sure, whatever you want to tell me. It doesn't really matter, since I don't 
plan on starting to smoke," Christine said, with absence. She pretended to 
look at her book, and turned a page to illustrate the fact that her Mom was 
interfering with her leisure time.

"I began smoking when I was quite young, and in those days, people didn't 
think it was a big problem. I suppose I thought it was what all the girls 
did, and that's the reason that I tried it. It was just to fit it, and feel 
accepted," her Mom started, and Christine rolled her eyes. I could tell that 
this was the most remote thing from her experiences that she could imagine, 
and it had no bearing on her situation.

"I actually took puffs from my Dad's cigarette at one of their parties once. 
Can you imagine that? Of course, he was drunk at the time, and I'm sure he 
didn't know what he was doing. He's dead now, he died a few years after you 
were born. But grandma loved him a whole lot. Did you know that grandma used 
to smoke?" Her mother looked at Christine, and Christine looked back with 
surprise on her face.

"Grandma? She used to smoke? But she's always getting on your case about 
your smoking," Christine tried to make sense out of the whole thing.

"Yes, she used to smoke quite a lot, not that she will admit it now. She 
smoked at work, and at home. Everyone used to do that. She used to think 
that smoking was good for her health. It took a lot of scientific evidence 
to change her mind. That, and grandpa's lung cancer which eventually killed 
him," her mother said.

"Yeah, but that's the way that grandma is," Christine dismissed it, looking 
back at her book.

"Just don't smoke, honey. Other girls may, and there are lots of boys, too, 
but you be the one who says no to it, OK?" her Mom said, then kissed her on 
the cheek.

"You don't need to worry about me, Mom, because I don't want that disgusting 
habit," Christine made her yukky face then went on with her reading.

"OK, hun, I just wanted to say those things, and it's only because I love 
you?" Her Mom stood up.

"Love you, too, Mom," Christine smiled weakly,

Her Mom went downstairs and Christine whispered: `I wish I could have a 
cigarette now.' Then the sound of her Mom's lighter was heard flicking its 
way to life in the kitchen.

End of Part One



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