Quest For Zach, Part 4

(by Gray Haze, 28 December 2007)


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Quest for Zach
By Gray Haze

Part 4

My parent's twentieth wedding anniversary was in late July.  They had a small
gathering of mostly family members to help celebrate.  Both sets of
grandparents came, along with several aunts and uncles and a few friends.  A
lot of my relatives smoked.  Of course I wasn't able to during the party.
Watching them all light up made me really wish I could as well.  

The next day my parents were leaving for a two week second honeymoon at
Hawaii.  In the past, I would have to go to my grandparents any time mom and
dad left for any length of time.  But now that my brother was 18 and out of
high school, they felt that he could hold down the fort in their absence.  

This was a great opportunity for me.  I really wanted to know what it was
like to be able to smoke anytime I wanted to.  These next two weeks would
give me a chance to find out what it is like to be a real smoker.  It would
be my best chance to determine whether I wanted to become a lifelong smoker
or not.

That next morning, my brother and I took mom and dad to the airport.  Once
they had left, Mike and I drove back home.  The two of us were five years
apart in age, and were never really close.  But I looked up to my older
brother and he was always nice to me.  

During the drive back, I wanted to confide in him about my smoking.  But I
wasn't sure on how to go about it.  Then I remembered something.

"Hey Mike, do you remember that time two years ago that you came home really
drunk?"

"Yeah I do.  What brings that up?" he asked as he was driving.

"Do you remember how you begged me not to tell mom and dad?"

"Yeah, I guess I do." Mike answered wondering what I was getting at.

"Well I never told them," I said as I was setting him up to do me a favor.

"Thanks Terry, I always appreciated that.  It's not often you can get little
girls to keep secrets.  But you did and I admire you for that."

"No problem Mike.  I always felt that we should watch out for each other."

It was now 1 pm and I had yet to have a cigarette that day.  To say the
least, I really wanted one.  

"So if I told you a secret, could you keep it from mom and dad?" I asked as I
grabbed my purse.  

"Of course you can," he answered.  "As long as it doesn't immediately
threaten you in any way."

I then opened my purse and nervously pulled out my pack of cigarettes.  At
first Mike didn't notice, but then I cracked the window, pulled one out of
the pack and placed it between my lips.  "I started smoking," I said to him
just before I clicked the lighter and touch the flame to my cigarette.

Mike damn near swerved the car off the road.  The surprise of seeing his
little sister light up in front of him shocked him that much.  "This is your
secret?" he finally said after he steadied the car back into its proper path.

"Yeah, this is it," I said pointing at my lit cigarette.  "Now you promised
that you wouldn't tell on me, right?"

"I don't get it, why?" Mike said still in shock.  "I mean, after all these
years you've nagged mom about her smoking.  Why in hell would you start?"

"I don't know, I guess I was curious," I told him, not wanting to really
divulge why Paula and I lit up for the first time.

"Terry, you're only 12 years old."

"I'll be 13 in about a month."

Mike didn't say anything as he watched me take several more puffs.  "Well,
you certainly look like you know how to smoke," he finally said after
watching me exhale a huge cloud out through the crack of the car window.
"How long have you been smoking?"

"About five weeks," I answered.  

"I assume you like it?" 

"Of course I do," I said in a convincing voice.  "Otherwise I wouldn't be
smoking now, would I?"

"Alright sis, your secret is safe with me.  But you know if you keep on
smoking, eventually mom is going to find out.  Smoking isn't something that
is easy to hide.  And I can assure you, she is going to kill you."

I smoked the rest of my cigarette and then flicked it out the window.  We
were almost home now and there was one more thing I needed to get at the
convenience store.  

"Mike, do you think we can stop at the store before we get home?"

"Yeah, I guess we can," he answered.  "What do you need to get?"

"I need to buy some cigarettes."

I took out my wallet from my purse as he pulled into the parking lot of the
store.  I then took out $40.  Fortunately for me, mom gave me $300 to spend
for food and other necessities that we might need during the two weeks that
they were gone.  I guess cigarettes would qualify as a necessity.

"Could you do me a favor?" I said to Mike as he stopped the car.  "Could you
go in and buy them for me?"

"Oh great, now you want me to support your habit."

"Please Mike, they sometimes give me a hard time because I am under age.
You're 18 and of legal age." I then gave him that little sister look that
always worked in the past when I needed something from him.

"OK, what kind do you want?" he asked as he took the $40 from me.

"Get me a carton of Benson & Hedges 100's," I told him.  "I want the full
flavor, not the lights."

Mike then got out of the car and headed into the store.  I sat eagerly
awaiting in the car for my first carton of cigarettes that I could call my
own.  I figured a carton should last me the whole two weeks.  Lately, I have
been smoking about 15 cigarettes a day during the week while mom and dad work
and probably 10 during the weekend.  So if I smoked 15 a day during their
absences that would make 210 in two weeks.  

Mike handed me the carton after he got back into the car.  "Thanks, Mike," I
said as he started the car.  As he put it in reverse and pulled out of the
parking space, I looked down and admired my solid, rectangular purchase.  A
sense of excitement washed over me as I realized that in my lap sat 200 white
cylinders of smoking pleasure.  I would be able to now smoke each one at my
leisure, when I wanted to, not just when I could.

When I got home I immediately lit a fresh cigarette and then picked up the
phone to call Paula.  She came over shortly afterwards, and for the remainder
of the day, we hung out and did what we usually did.  Of course that now
meant smoking.  She left at about 9PM and at 11:30 I lit the last cigarette
out of the pack just before turning the lights off to go to bed.

I woke up the next morning at about 8 AM.  I knew right away what I wanted.
So I got up, grabbed my new carton, opened it and then took a fresh pack out.
I then pulled off the wrapper, extracted a cigarette and immediately lit up.
Usually I wait until my coffee is poured, but not today.  No, I wanted one
right then.  For the next two weeks I was going to light up anytime I want.
That morning I wanted one, so I had one.

I went downstairs to the kitchen and made myself a fresh pot of coffee.  I
smoked the first cigarette while the coffee brewed.  I immediately lit up
another after I poured my cup of coffee.  I love the feeling of caffeine and
nicotine in the morning.  What a great combination.  Once that cigarette was
done, I made myself a quick breakfast.  Once I ate I decided that one more
cigarette and another cup of coffee would taste great so I lit up again.  

I love this time in the morning.  With Mike at work and my parents gone, it
is nothing but my coffee and cigarettes.  The serenity of the morning while
my body buzzed with the dual stimulants made me feel incredibly alive.  I
wished it was this way all day long.  

I finished my third cigarette and still had a half of cup of coffee left.  I
then got up and got the morning paper.  I sat back down and started to read
while I continued to sip on the coffee.  I read the front section first,
which took about ten minutes.  I then grabbed the sports page.  As I started
opening the sports page, my pack of cigarettes caught my eye.  Shit, I hadn't
even been up for an hour and I had already smoked three cigarettes.  And
there I was thinking about lighting another.  But why not, I wanted one, and
now like most smokers I was going to have one.  So I lit up again.  I read
the paper while the cigarette burned in my hand, hardly even realizing when I
took a puff.  I finished the sports and the cigarette at about the same time.
I took one last sip of coffee then headed upstairs to take my morning shower.  

I had no plans for that first full day without my parents being home.  Paula
wasn't home and my other friends didn't know that I smoked now.  So that
first Sunday would be just me and my cigarettes.  Of course being home alone
would amount to nothing more than watching TV, surfing the net and talking on
the telephone.  During my brief time of cigarette smoking, I found that
smoking went great with all of these activities.  

Now being able to light up anytime I wanted to, I did just that.  In the past
lighting up was always a conscious decision.  But for the first time ever, I
started to light up without realizing it.  As an example I would be engrossed
in a movie on TV.  I would light up a cigarette, not even remembering the
last one I had.   By the time the movie ended, I would have an ashtray full
of spent butts wondering how so many got there.  

Mike was home briefly for dinner.  I fixed a light dinner for the two of us.
Of course I lit up a cigarette right after dinner.  I have found that an
after meal smoke is one of the best of the day.  He left for his girlfriend's
house immediately after dinner, once again leaving me alone with my cigs.  Oh
well, I can think of worse things.  

My first major shock of the week happened at around 9PM.  That's when I went
to pull a cigarette out of my pack and then realized it was empty.  The pack
that I opened first thing in the morning was now gone.  Somehow I smoked
twenty cigarettes in 13 hours.  It was quite an accomplishment for someone
who only started smoking a little over a month ago.  

But I wasn't done.  I opened a new pack and smoked five more before bed.  The
last one I smoked as I lay in bed.  While I smoked the before bedtime
cigarette, I had a chance to reflect on my first day as a real smoker.  The
first thing that was obvious to me was how great it was to be able to smoke
anytime I wanted.  That is the mark of a real smoker.  And for the first
time, I felt like a real smoker.  

Secondly, I was amazed on how easy smoking had become.  Gone was the smoked
out feeling I got when I first started.  Each cigarette tasted smooth and was
very satisfying.  And even after 25 cigarettes, the last one is about as good
as the first.  It's just so easy to reach over to my cigarettes and light one
up.  

Finally, it's incredible how much smoking enhances my daily activities.
Whether it's watching TV, talking on the phone or just plain relaxing,
smoking makes each activity better.  That first day of smoking freedom was a
prime example.  In the past while staying home alone, I would have been
climbing the walls with boredom.  But that wasn't the case that day.  Maybe
it was still just a novelty, but when there is nothing else to do, lighting a
cigarette is an incredible five minutes of pleasure. 

So what was my impression of my first full day as a smoker?  Overall, I would
have to say it was excellent.  Does this mean that I would like to spend the
rest of my life, like mom, being a cigarette smoker?  No, not necessarily.
But if the next two weeks are as good as this first day, I would have to
seriously consider it.

I continued smoking between 20 and 30 cigarettes a day for the rest of the
week. Friday was my heaviest smoking day.  Paula and Peggy came over with 2
DVD videos and of course their cigarettes.  Oh, I forgot to mention that
Peggy started smoking full time along with her sister.  Anyway, I have found
that I tend to smoke a lot while watching movies.  Add in the social factor
of being around fellow smokers, which caused me to smoke about half of the 30
cigarettes I smoked that day during the 5 hours they were over.  

Saturday marked the end of the first week of being a full time smoker.  I
have to admit, I like smoking more now than when the week started.  I guess I
never dreamed that being able to light up freely would be that good.  Smoking
seems to be getting better and better the longer I smoke.  I also never
dreamed that I would smoke so much during that first week.  Remember earlier
when I said that carton should last the two weeks?  Wrong.  It was almost
gone after a week.  Fortunately, Mike and I went grocery shopping late
Saturday afternoon.  We needed to stock up on some food for the next week.
You should have seen the look on Mike's face when I asked him to get me
another carton of cigarettes.  

The second week of full time smoking pretty much mirrored the first.  I was
still smoking between 20 and 30 cigarettes per day.  Well, closer to 30 than
20.  I also was enjoying smoking more with each passing day.  I noticed some
subtle changes as well.  It's kind of hard to explain, and I'm not quite sure
why, but it sometimes seems that my lungs are asking for a cigarette.  I get
this slight tightness in my chest that goes away soon after lighting up a
cigarette.  It's almost like they are yelling to me, "Hey Terry, send some
more of that wonderful smoke down this way."  It is particularly pronounced
in the morning.  What's funny though, a cigarette tastes incredibly good
during these times.  In fact, the first cigarette of the day is so good, I
chain immediately into a second, just so I can continue to enjoy that awesome
feeling.

I also started doing something that I know is caused by smoking.  I'm
starting to cough as soon as I wake up in the morning.  Don't get me wrong,
it is nowhere near as bad as the hacking that comes from mom in the morning,
but it greets me every morning now.  Fortunately it stops after some phlegm
comes up.  The phlegm is kind of disgusting, and it has a burnt cigarette
taste to it.  The first time I coughed it up, I went to the bathroom to spit
it out into the sink.  It had a brown tinge to it, kind of like what you see
on the filter after smoking a cigarette.  Now I just swallow it and proceed
on to lighting my first cigarette of the day.  

It's kind of ironic.  Coughing is the way that my lungs yell at me for
smoking.  And yet those are the same lungs asking me for more.  Please, can
you make up your mind?  But seriously, I know that smoking is bad for my
lungs.  They taught me that in school, and it says so on each and every pack.
I guess that's why I have been bugging mom all these years about quitting.  

Friday was the big day.  It was time to make a decision about smoking.  Did I
want to become a smoker and spend the rest of my life, like mom, inhaling the
noxious, yet luscious fumes of cigarette smoke?  Or was it time to end this
little experiment once and for all.  

I realized the gravity of this day.  This decision could change my life
forever.  Because of its importance, I made sure not to plan anything with my
friends.  The day was going to be spent with me and only my cigarettes.  

I woke up at my usual time and immediately started to cough.  I then grabbed
my pack on my nightstand, shook one out, placed it between my lips and then
lit up.  After an initial small drag to insure that the cigarette was lit, I
then took a hard, long drag.  I sucked on the filter for as long as I could,
then opened my mouth and inhaled deeply.  I held the huge volume of smoke in
my lungs while I felt my body slowly responded to its presence.  God did it
feel good.  Finally I slowly released the exhale through pursed lips.  

Sitting up in bed, I continued smoking this cigarette.  I love how the smoke
from each exhale hits the morning sunlight coming in through my bedroom
window.  It's like wow, all that smoke was once in my lungs.  Of course one
of the things I like most about smoking is watching the smoke exit my lips.
There is something sensual about it, almost sexual.  I can almost see why
guys might be turned on by it.

Once I finished, I got out of bed and grabbed my pack.  Looking inside, I
realized that there were only two cigarettes left.  "I might as well get
another pack before I head downstairs," I said to myself as I headed for my
carton that was in my closet.  When I looked inside the carton, there were
only two packs left.  I had smoked almost eight packs in five days.  I guess
when I said earlier about smoking between 20 and 30 a day, I was a little
off.  It was more like between 30 and 35.  

I pulled out both packs, lit up another cigarette and headed for the kitchen
and some coffee.  I finished the second cigarette just as the coffee was done
brewing.  I then poured myself a mug, placed it on the kitchen table and sat
down.  I took my first sip of coffee as my eyes looked at the almost empty
pack sitting next to me.  Not being able to resist the wonderful feeling of
smoking while drinking coffee, I decided to light up again.  This was the
first time that I have ever smoked three consecutive cigarettes.  Amazingly,
this cigarette was as good as the previous two.  

I finished the third cigarette, then ate a small breakfast.  Once done, I
poured another cup of coffee, lit another cigarette, and then headed for the
back patio.  For the next two hours, I enjoyed the peaceful serenity of a
beautiful morning and an endless chain of cigarettes.  

During that time I was in deep thought about what to do about smoking.  When
a cigarette was lit, I would concentrate on how wonderful smoking was - how
great it made me feel, how much I now liked the flavor, how good I looked
while smoking.  The list went on and on.  

When I wasn't smoking, my thoughts turned to all the negatives,including: all
the health risks, the stale smell on my clothes, the cost, and what was
turning out to be the biggest negative - what would mom and dad do to me if
they caught me.  

As the day wore on, I continued to smoke at a frenetic pace.  I guess that I
really wanted to get my fill of smoking before I made my final decision.
Plus, I was really enjoying the heavy smoking.  I was starting to understand
why mom smoked so much.  It seemed that the more I smoked, the better each
cigarette was.

At four in the afternoon, I had to open up another pack. In eight hours I
smoked 23 cigarettes. That is when I decided that I was going to smoke the
remainder of my cigarettes prior to going to bed.  That way, if I finally
concluded that I wasn't going to become a smoker, I wouldn't have to throw
any away.  

Mike came home for dinner, then left immediately afterwards to go out with
friends.  Finally at 8 PM, I made my decision.  In the end, it basically came
down to the incredible pleasure that smoking gave me and how my parents would
react to the soon to be 13 year old smoking.  It was no contest.  There was
no way that I was quitting now.  Smoking was that good - well worth the
health risk and everything else.  Besides, what could mom and dad do to me?
They would be total hypocrites to make me quit.

To make my decision official, I would need more cigarettes.  Mike was gone,
so I would have to purchase them myself.  That wasn't usually a problem.
With a little make-up, sunglasses and some socks in my bra, I could almost
pass for 18.  But this would be the first time I bought a carton.  Saying
those words to the Indian guy at the store was a statement to myself that I
am now a smoker.

I crushed out my 40th cigarette of the day just prior to going to sleep.  I
knew that once mom and dad were home, my smoking would be greatly reduced.
But that's probably a good thing.  A kid my age shouldn't be smoking so much
anyway.  But when I do finally grow up I plan to smoke as I please.


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