Sammy

(by puffery@prodigy.com (now quin_chris@hotmail.com), 01 May 2000)


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Sammy
quin_chris@hotmail.com

My name's Sammy.  Except of course when mom is mad and then it's Sa-Man-Tha.
It use to be Sam but that was before boys.  When my long blond hair is tied
back in a ponytail and I put on tight shorts and a tanktop and maybe even
some pumps, there's no question.  I'm Sammy and I like it.  I'm pretty hot.

Dad left when I was six.  He was never really in mom's class and the poor guy
knew it.  He came home from the plant early one afternoon and caught mom in a
communal act.  Obviously I didn't know all this at the time and to this day I
don't know with whom.  She did come clean with me though a couple of years
ago that dad was a crappy lover and that her side research had a deleterious
impact upon their relationship.  Said otherwise, dad couldn't cope  or I
guess copulate either.  He just up and left.

It's funny.  No matter how hard I try to recreate how I felt when he left I
simply can't.  You'd think I'd remember feeling something  sad, relieved,
guilty, who knows, just something  yet I don't.  I guess in that way I'm
like mom  the glue was there but it was like that stuff on Post Its.  Even
the occasional birthday or Christmas gift that arrived from constantly
changing ports of call meant little.  He just didn't hit the radar screen.

So mom played both roles.  She was the parent.  Vacations, school functions,
sleep-overs  she was there.  Our house was always open to my friends and it
seemed like we spent more time there than anywhere else.  My friends liked my
mom.  They didn't feel that she was all over them like their own mom's and I
agreed with them.  She was almost never overbearing.  By the way mom's name
is Samantha too.

Samantha the Elder gave me my looks.  She's also blond, thin, leggy, and on
the tall side of average.  Her body looks like workout fit but it's because
of blessed genes  sweat and mom don't mix.  I guess I subscribe to that
school too.  I've had medical dismissals from PE for two years now and I
haven't been sick a day in my life.  I find new ailments on the Mayo Clinic
site and adapt them to my needs and then mom signs the note for me.  The
school knows that it's a con but they really don't care.  After all this is
Winston Salem, North Carolina and mom is an important RJR exec.

Before grade school, day care was easy.  Mom just took me to the facility at
work.  She could come check on me a couple of times a day that way and if she
ran late they were reasonable about it.  Like I said she's an exec  even
was back then.  I think that's when she was the Salem Light 100's Brand
Manager.  After I started school we had to make some changes.  That's when
Sherona began sitting me.  She was in eighth grade and came from a black
family that really needed the money.

Every day Sherona walked from the Middle School down to my Elementary and
waited for me on the steps.  Since it was only three blocks from home we'd
always walk.  I told my friends that she was really my big sister and some
actually believed me.  That just made me want to make up more stories and I
guess I've never really stopped.  Sherona thought it was pretty funny too and
played along.

Mom always left the house incredibly well stocked so we had all kinds of
goodies to choose from when we'd get to the house.  Cookies and a dish of ice
cream was par for the course and would always tide me over until dinner  a
dinner which Sherona would generally begin and mom more often than not would
complete.

Sometime late that first year  I don't exactly remember quite when 
Sherona began taking long bathroom breaks and when she'd come out, the
bathroom would be quite evidently smoky.  I didn't say anything mostly
because Sherona didn't.  I just thought it weird that she went in the
bathroom to smoke because mom never did  she just smoked most everywhere.

One night I asked mom why Sherona smoked in the bathroom.  Mom sort of
grinned and asked me why I didn't ask Sherona straight away  after all she
was my sister wasn't she?  So the next day I did.  To my surprise and dismay
Sherona got mad at me  and she almost never got mad at me.  "Why did you
rat on me" Sherona demanded?

It seemed like it was going to be a pretty long and awful afternoon when
Sherona noticed a note to her sitting on the counter.  She opened it and
began to read.  Gradually a little smile turned into a big, wide grin.
"You're off the hook, Sam" she said as she walked over to the pantry.
Opening it up she reached for the top shelf and pulled down a carton of Salem
Light 100's and helped herself to a couple of packs and then opened a counter
drawer and produced a Bic and an ashtray.    "You're mom is so cool" is all
she said.

And that was the size of it.  From that point forth Sherona no longer snuck
into the bathroom to smoke an occasional pilfered cigarette; she now openly
shared mom's stash and her habit.  With increasing frequency she even stayed
to have dinner with us.  After all, no way could she smoke at home; she'd get
killed.  And it was clear that she now wanted  maybe needed - to smoke a
lot more.

That next fall we worked out an even better deal.  Sherona moved in with us
permanently.  Now it really was like I had a sister.  The three of us were
like a family.  Mom treated Sherona very much like an adult and Sherona lived
up to her end of the bargain.  She studied hard and pulled down top grades.
With her own room she was often up until the wee hours reading and
perpetually smoking.  I heard her talking with mom one day about realizing
that she was pretty hooked.  Mom asked about how much she was smoking now and
she said maybe a pack a day  maybe even a shade more.  Mom just smiled.

Let me skip ahead another two years.  I was now in fourth grade and Sherona
was in her Junior year.  She'd applied to schools all over but was likely to
stay near home.  The good news was that near home meant Duke.  Her family was
somewhere between pleased and in awe.  They were so amazed at her
achievements they were even willing to dismiss her smoking as a minor
aberration.  I'm sure they did think however that mom  the cigarette
peddler  had corrupted her.

One afternoon I headed home alone because Sherona had another college
interview.  I walked into the house, dished up my ice cream, turned on the TV
and kicked back.  A few minutes later I rinsed out my dish and returned to
the set.  Strange stuff though was running through my head.  An open pack of
Salem Light 100's was sitting on the coffee table  and for that matter on
the kitchen table, the entry table and the den desk as well.  I picked up the
pack from the den.

I'm sure I'd thought about smoking before but for some reason I'd never
actually tried.  Here I was now alone and the opportunity perfect.  And just
like Sherona several years back I found myself headed for the bathroom.  With
the window open a bit and the fan on I sparked one of the house's multitude
of lighters and drew the tip of the cigarette to it.  I'd watched this
activity for so long it was like I knew what I was doing.  I drew in a meager
amount of smoke and immediately dispelled it.  Multiple times I repeated that
action with no deleterious impact.

Nerve increasing, I knew what I wasn't doing.  I wasn't inhaling.  I'd watch
mom and Sherona so many times kind of open their lips and then suddenly suck
that I could close my eyes and vision the movement.  Exercising some caution
I took another puff but rather than blowing it back out I gulped it  and
felt a jolt as the smoke entered my lungs.  So close to coughing yet I
didn't.  Somehow I managed to inhale without choking and now simply held my
breath.  Head spinning, I exhaled and the neatest little stream of smoke
flowed sweetly from my lips.

The agony and the ecstasy.  The agony  or at least severe risk of losing my
cookies from another drag  versus pure ecstasy of seeing another ice blue
jet of smoke emerge from my well formed lips.  Ecstasy should always win 
and it did.  A third, a fifth, and even a sixth inhale before the queasiness
declared victory.  Already I recognized the victory as fleeting; the pleasure
of the practice wouldn't be denied.

It's funny but I can't recall at all whether I liked the taste.  I don't
think it was even relevant.  It wasn't intolerable and that was all that
mattered.  It was just so much fun and so cool feeling that taste was the
last thing on my mind.  And then I heard the door open.  Quickly I flushed
the evidence, slipped out of the bathroom, and disappeared into my bedroom
undetected.  Sherona stuck her head in as I feigned sleep.  I didn't want to
get caught; not now.  And nothing was said.  Mom came home a couple of hours
later and it was business as usual.  She poured a glass of wine, a short one
for Sherona, and a coke for me.  And then they both lit up and talked about
their days.

I'd always watched them smoke but never as intently as that night.  What I
realized is that Sherona was an apt pupil of my mother.  It was obvious that
her style was a direct copy.  Mom never held her cigarette as she lit it
allowing the tip and the flame to seek each other out.  She detested a long
ash and was always grooming the tip.  She seldom left a cigarette untended in
the ashtray rather holding it erect between bent index and fore fingers.
Great gray clouds of smoke winked through open lips en route to waiting lungs
then rested lazily before emerging as heat seeking missiles.  She'd almost
always extinguish several puffs before the filter.  And so too would I now
describe Sherona.

So now I'd had a lesson.  How might I rehearse?  This may seem a little bold
but I felt no fear.  It hardly seemed like I'd be expelled from the house for
smoking so what was there to lose.  Hell, I might become a more valued
occupant as a smoker if Sherona was any example.  So I simply decided that
I'd smoke in my room after the others had gone to bed.

Even though none of us were lights out at ten, we all usually went to our
respective bedrooms.  I could always smell mom and/or Sherona smoking for
some time beyond.  It only seemed logical that if I couldn't tell which was
smoking then they weren't all that likely to notice me.  I waited maybe
fifteen minutes and returned to the kitchen.  Moving swiftly I took a fresh
pack from the pantry and dropped them swiftly into my robe pocket and
followed with an ashtray and lighter from the drawer into the other pocket.

Back in the room I now had the ingredients.  With just my low watt reading
lamp on I set up shop at my dresser next to the window  conveniently able
to exhale toward the outdoors while still observing myself in the mirror.  I
didn't just want to smoke  I wanted to smoke just like mom and Sherona.  I
had just one cigarette that night eventually stashing all of paraphernalia in
the bottom drawer.  It wasn't for clothes so no one else had any reason to
open it.

For the next two weeks or so I had one cigarette every night before going to
bed and no one seemed to notice.  I'd dump the butts out the window and every
day or two dispose of them during the daylight so the evidence wouldn't mount
up so to speak.  Some days I might even sneak one in the afternoon.  In
short, in two weeks that first pack was gone and no one seemed the wiser.

The next pack went a good bit quicker.  Some nights I had two, many
afternoons I had one as Sherona studied in her room, and on Saturday when mom
took Sherona over to UNC for a visit I must have had five or six.  So the
second pack disappear in just about half of the time that the first one did.
As I finished the last one I was about to revisit the pantry when I realized
that some one was up.  Accordingly I decided to defer re-supplying until
morning.

Morning wasn't accommodating.  Either mom or Sherona were there constantly
until it was time to leave.  Not a problem.  I wouldn't be smoking anyway
until after school.  Sherona and I arrived home together and followed our
little ritual.  Me, my ice cream; and she, her cigarette.  The ritual was
beginning to feel a little worn to me.  I needed to update.  Around four
Sherona retired to her room to study and I hightailed it for the pantry.  The
smell of Sherona's cigarette had me desirous of a cigarette of my own.  I
noted that this was the first time that having a cigarette didn't seem just
like fun, it also seemed important, almost urgent.

And what followed made it all that much more important.  The cupboard was
bare.  Now this was simply ludicrous; the cupboard was never bare.  Not with
three pack a day mom and nearly two pack a day Sherona.  Brand Manager mom
didn't bring home packs or cartons like other folks; she brought home cases
 24 cartons at a time.  How could they possibly be out?  It just didn't
make any sense.  Standing there dumbfounded, Sherona returned to the room.

"Looking for something" she asked?  "Oh just some cereal" I intoned
unconvincingly.  "Funny" she responded "I'd think that you'd look in the
cereal cupboard for that.  All we keep in this cupboard is cigarettes.  It
wouldn't be cigarettes you'd be looking for?"  I just eyed her.  "Why do you
say that?" I said coolly.  "Well because it seems you've been smoking for a
few weeks now, wouldn't that be right?" she replied.  Silence.  More silence.
Even more silence.  Then "How did you know?"  "Because I was your age not
very long ago" she retorted.

Busted.  I was totally busted so coming clean seemed worth a try.  "So what
if I am?  Are you going to turn me in?  Does mom know?  Does mom even care?"
Clearly I was on a roll trying to drum up my courage.  "If you'll slow down
for a minute maybe you'll get some answers" Sherona suggested.  "Okay" says
I.

"Remember that note that your mom left for me the day that I got caught
smoking?  Do you know what it said?  It not only directed me to cigarettes,
lighters, and ashtrays, it also said that she'd missed her guess.  She'd
figured with all of the open packs lying around that I'd be a smoker by
November and I held out all the way until February.  She had you pegged for
last year.  You're ten months later than her best guess."

And with that Sherona shook her mostly full pack in my direction offering me
my first public cigarette and then a light.  I accepted it anxiously and
inhaled hungrily.  "I know that look.  I know that feeling"  Sherona said.
"And I really know that relief.  Oh, and by the way better go check your
bed."

With a fresh cigarette in one hand and an ashtray in the other I headed for
my room.  And there sitting in the middle on the bed was a wrapped package.
I started with the smallest package that turned out to be a lighter  not
just any old lighter but an inscribed lighter with my initials on it as well
as the Salem logo.  The second package was a very cool ashtray again with
initials embossed next to the Salem logo.  And finally the largest treat was
my first full carton of Salem Light 100's.  Sometimes life surprises you.


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