The Smokers Club, Part 1

(by, 02 January 2002)

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Smokers Club
Part 1 of 2    

It was an unseasonably warm afternoon for December- hard to imagine they were 
predicting snow over the weekend- but that was fine with Teresa. Having the 
club fair outside meant that she could demonstrate what their club was all 
about. She pulled a long white cigarette from the pack of VS 120s and lit it 
joyfully. It had been a good morning, with a steady stream of her fellow 
smokers signing up.
Teresa smiled at Kenneth as he walked up to the table. She trimmed the ash 
from her cigarette and took a cheerfully deep inhale.
"A smoking club ?"
"Yes- all we need to do is find a faculty advisor."
"What would this faculty advisor do ?"
"Sit around for an hour once a week and watch five attractive young women 
smoke." Teresa punctuated the point with a perfect nose exhale.
"And you haven't had any volunteers ?"
"Not yet. But we didn't get the club started until about two weeks ago. We 
just need to find an advisor by the end of the semester."
"What does the club do ?"
"Well, we launched our website last week. It's a smokers resource website. 
Which dorms allow smoking, what teachers offer smoking breaks during three 
hour classes, smoker-friendly hotels where prospective students and their 
parents can stay, restaurants they can eat at. Smoking tips, testimonials." 
Teresa drew on her cigarette, exhaled. "And oh, we're petitioning the school 
to open all of the Chester dorms to smoking. This fall they turned away over 
an hundred students who requested smoking rooms. And we have a sponsor- our 
vice president Melissa's dad owns The Tobacconist's Haven downtown."
"I don't suppose that your advisor could get some free perks from the Haven. 
That's where I buy all my cigars."
"I think something could be arranged. Think about it- we really could use 
someone young and energetic."
"How many members do you have ?"
"Seventy-two women, twenty-seven men."
"Not bad. Three percent of the student population. I'll consider it."
    Teresa watched him walk away, smiling.

    She walked into her room and Melissa handed her a carton of VS 120s. 
    "Daddy's compliments. He doesn't want my roommate having to buy 
cigarettes anymore. How'd the Clubs day go ?"
    "We signed up another thirty-eight students. Did you get the discount 
cards ?"
    "Two hundred and fifty of them. I know that Daddy knows a good deal when 
he sees one. A ten percent discount is a win-win situation for him and our 
members. Did you have any luck finding a faculty advisor ? Daddy said he'll 
donate a box of cigars or a carton of cigarettes a month."
    "Well then, I think I may have come up with someone- Kenneth Billings."
    "Get out !" Melissa said, punching her new friend playfully on the arm. 
"He's fucking gorgeous. And he's a cigar smoker. Best of both worlds."
'Well, he seemed interested, but I'll have to let you know.'
'You don't mind if I have a cigar, do you ?'
'Of course not,' Teresa said. 'You might want to crack the window, though. 
Wouldn't want to set off the smoke alarm.'
Melissa took a cigar from her humidor, prepared it with her plug cutter and 
lit it patiently, making sure the flame never touched the tip. She exhaled a 
thick cloud of smoke. 'You know, as president of the smokers club, we're 
going to have to teach you to smoke cigars as well as cigarettes.'
'Well, I'm certainly not resistant to it the way I was to smoking in 
general. But you know that story already.'
Teresa lit a cigarette and smiled after a long nose exhale. 'Maybe between 
you and our dads, I can pick up enough pointers to give it a try. But not 
right now.'
Melissa tapped the ash from her cigar and took a long, slow draw. 'I'm 
willing to be patient, roommie. As long as you don't make me wait too long.'

Karen looked at the living room and smiled. She and her friend Brenda had 
pulled up all the carpet on the main floor, all the padding, and all the 
carpet tacks- good work for a Saturday morning. There was a loud echo in the 
nearly bare rooms as the grandfather clock struck noon.
'Well, that's everything. Every last tack. I'll get the beer.'
Looking outside, Karen saw the snow streaming down, heavy, cold, threatening 
to turn the roads into a mess. She sighed. All she wanted right now was a 
cigarette, but Brenda didn't smoke and this was her house. She didn't hold 
out much hope of Brenda agreeing to allow her to smoke.
Brenda walked back into the living room, her footsteps loudly echoing on the 
She was holding two Newcastles, a bag of salt and vinegar chips, and a small 
Karen took her beer and drank deeply. 
Brenda put the glass bowl down on a small table. 
'What's the bowl for ?' Karen asked.
'Well, it's snowing like mad outside and you haven't had a cigarette in 
almost four hours. I'm not going to ask you to stand in the freezing snow and 
the house is a little lonely now-'
'You still miss Sean, don't you ?'
'All I know,' Brenda said, avoiding the question, 'is that next week 
they'll be sawing and sanding and laying down polyurethane. I think I can 
safely say that the smell of a few cigarettes will be long gone by then. Go 
ahead and light up.'
Brenda turned on the Notre Dame game and sat down on the floor, sucking on 
her beer.
Karen didn't have to be asked twice to smoke. She lit her cigarette casually 
and drew deeply on it.
'How long have you been smoking, Karen ?' 
'That's an easy one- I've been smoking for fifteen years.'
'Fifteen years ?' Brenda asked incredulously. 'You're what- twenty-eight ?'
'Yes. I started smoking when I was thirteen.'
'So you know a lot about smoking and guys then.'
'I guess. What are you thinking about ?' Karen exhaled, trimmed into the 
bowl, drew again.
'Let me guess- Sean, right ?'
'Yeah, Sean. I know, you think good riddance to bad garbage. But I lo-liked 
'Yeah, I'm sure that you still do. But he's gone. At least you weren't 
married. You're twenty-seven, you own an house, a car, you have your dynamite 
fucking looks. Date a little, have some protected casual sex. Live.'
'That's not where I wanted to go with this. I was just curious.'
Karen exhaled again and wondered if she might like the direction that this 
was going. 
'About smoking and guys ?'
'Anna, the woman he left me for, is a smoker. I never would have thought that 
he would go for a smoker and I'm just wondering-'
'If he might have been attracted to her more because she smokes ?'
'Of course he is,' Karen said, self-assured. 'I can't tell you how many 
times I've turned heads by smoking. In fact, I see all the times with the 
girls at school, too. It's just one of those things that some guys enjoy 
watching or being a part of. How would you have known- you've never smoked a 
cigarette in your life, have you ?'
'Of course I have. For instance,' Brenda said, half-truthfully. 'I smoked 
for a year in high school. But I mostly sneaked around with a couple friends 
of mine. We never smoked in public or around other people. I have no idea 
what it's like to smoke around other people.'
'You smoked for a year and didn't tell me ? Do you how angry that makes me 
?' Karen asked, only half-joking.
'I knew if I told you that you'd never let me hear the end of it.'
'Of course I wouldn't. But now your priorities have changed. What I'm 
curious about is how much they have changed and in what way.'
'Well, I was thinking that if he's turned on by smoking maybe I would 
torture him a little.'
'I don't know,' Karen said, finding it hard to believe that she was going to 
point out the flaws in her friend's plan. 'First, if you haven't smoked 
since high school-'
Brenda actually blushed. 'All right. I'm come clean. I smoked on and off in 
college, too. I was in a sorority for three years, after all.'
Okay, that was one objection quashed.
'You two never see each other. You intentionally avoid him. What are you 
planning to do ? Start stalking him ?'
'No. Well, not tonight. Mutual friends- who we introduced to each other- just 
got engaged, and they're having a party. We can't miss it.'
'Then I'll help you out, but only if you promise me this is about revenge 
and not getting back together.'
'Definitely. But let me get this straight. You think smoking for revenge is 
okay but smoking to get back together with a guy isn't.'
Karen trimmed, inhaled, framed her answer while she held the smoke. She spoke 
through a milky exhale.
'No, those are both valid reasons to smoke. I just don't think smoking to 
get back together with Sean is a valid reason to smoke. I think getting back 
at him is in general a sound policy. Getting back together with him isn't.'
'But you'll help me ?'
That brought a laugh. 'Will I help my best friend smoke ? Of course. It's 
like something out of a fetisher's story. If you're going to make this work, 
though, you have to be convincing.' She tapped ash into the bowl, brought the 
cigarette back to her mouth and pulled on it greedily. The exhale was 
sizeable and satisfying. 'That means you don't just light the cigarette I'm 
about to give you thinking about anything to do with Sean. You think about 
smoking. You think about how much you are going to enjoy being a smoker 
She saw an objection form in Brenda's eyes, inhaled, held it, and nose 
'If it's going to work- if it's going to punish him, you have to be a 
smoker. He has to see a smoker, not a pretender. Sean is a lot of things but 
let's not include dim-witted.'
'So what are you suggesting ?'
'That you come stay with me while your floor is being done. That you plan on 
taking smoking breaks at work, that we figure out ways to casually run into 
Sean several times over the next week. But mostly that you take up smoking 
first and revenge second. Now, are you sure that you'll be able to smoke 
tonight ?'
'Yeah. Jessica is a committed smoker- she's the sorority sister who was best 
at getting me to light up. And so's Phil. The party is at Leonard's- you 
know that bar on Chapel ?'
'Perfect. Now, you're sure that you want to be a smoker ?'
Karen stubbed out her cigarette, took two more from the pack, and lit them 
both. She exhaled a double heavy cloud of smoke, walked over to Brenda, and 
placed one between her friend's eager lips.
Brenda drew on it and then removed it from her mouth. She held the smoke 
longingly, arched her head, and exhaled slowly. Her hold was sufficiently 
feminine and Karen thought there would be something to work with if she 
wanted to turn Sean's head.
'You know, I'll want you to come with me tonight. I get to bring a date.' 
Brenda stood up, walked over to the bowl, and trimmed the ash from her 
cigarette. She then drew on it again. It was another deep inhale and the 
exhale streamed through pursed lips.
'You want me to go as your date ?' Karen asked. 'That alone could get his 
'Hey, whatever sticks the knife in a little deeper works for me.'
That was the sort of talk Karen liked to hear.

A few moments earlier on the far si8de of town, Teresa pulled into the 
driveway just as the snow started to fall. It was the sort of beautiful 
winter day that made her think about her days as a carefree child. She killed 
the engine, lit a cigarette, drew deeply and decided she had no desire to go 
back to those days. As enticing as the thought of getting bundled up and 
playing in the snow was, she preferred driving a car and smoking cigarettes, 
living at college at-
Boys seemed a lot nicer these days as well.
    She got out of the car and stood in the falling snow for a moment, 
looking up and down the street and the tastefully decorated colonial houses. 
She could almost smell mulled apple cider mixing with the real smell of 
woodsmoke and luxuriated in the deepening sense of comfort that she was 
    She drew on her cigarette, trimmed the ash, and inhaled again. That was 
when the front door opened and her father walked out of the house smiling. 
She went to him and gave his bearlike frame as solid an hug as she could 
    "Hello, Daddy."
    "How's it going, pumpkin ?"
    Teresa resisted the urge to object to the nickname. It might be out of 
season but it was still endearing.
    Trimming again, Teresa took a deep draw, enjoying as always the chance to 
smoke around her family. Funny how things changed.
    "I came home to spend some time with you, Dad. If you have a few hours."
    He looked at her gravely and she knew that look was hiding his sense of 
humour. "Out of cash again, eh ?"
    "No, daddy. I still have half what you gave me in September, Free food, 
free cigarettes- I'm all set."
    "You're not pregnant, are you ?"
    She laughed, put her arm around him, and they started walking towards the 
house. "No, daddy. I haven't even had sex yet."
    "Well," he said, swinging the door open, "so much the worse for all those 
unlucky boys. How's your schoolwork going ?"
    "Well, so far, pretty damn well. I have an A minus average and finals are 
starting in about two weeks. I think maybe this college thing is okay. Dean's 
list will be nice, assuming I don't go into the tank during exams."
    "You just missed your mother. She left fifteen minutes ago. I don't 
expect her back for at least eight hours."
    "Shopping ?"
    "It is the Christmas season."
    "I can't believe that you didn't want to go with her," Teresa joked. 
Mom's legendary shopping extravaganzas were a thing to be missed unless you 
had the patience of Job, Dad always said.   
    "Well, I already have the coal for your stockings and that means I'm all 
set," he replied. "So what brings you home ? Hot apple cider and a place by 
the fire ?"
    "No," Teresa said getting serious. She wasn't sure why she was nervous 
but she was. They went into the living room and sat down. Teresa took one 
last long drag on her cigarette, stubbed it out, and lit another, enjoying 
the simple pleasure of smoking in the house. Her dad watched her from his 
easy chair and smiled broadly.
"What ?" Teresa said, suddenly self-conscious.
"Oh, I just enjoy watching the women of this house smoke. For someone who was 
all 'I'm not a smoker, dammit', you sure have come round nicely."
"Daddy !" Teresa said, anguished. "I really am sorry about all that."
"I wasn't being critical. You want something to drink ? Cider or a beer ?"
"It's only noon, daddy," Teresa said mockingly.
"You aren't going to turn down a beer, are you ?"
"Of course not. You know how hard it is getting beer into the dorms these 
days ?"
"Beer it is." He got up and went to the kitchen and Teresa pulled out the 
discount card and thought about the right way to approach this. There really 
wasn't any reason to be worried, after all. Dad would probably be thrilled at 
the change to spend some time with his daughter this way.
He came back with two beers and Teresa followed a deep inhale with a long 
pull from the Celebration Ale.
She handed him the card and he sat down again.
"What's this ?"
 "Well, I have good news and weird news. That's the good news. A present from 
Melissa. A ten percent discount to you favourite tobacconist."
"Excellent. I knew that roommate of yours was going to work out. Now what's 
the weird news ?"
"Well, I want you to teach me to smoke a cigar."
"Really ?" The sound in his voice was not what she expected. She'd just 
assumed that he would be pleasantly surprised but instead he seemed totally 
non-plussed by her announced.
"You don't- well, I thought you'd be excited."
    "I am, pumpkin. I'm just- surprised is all. I mean, Melissa smokes cigars 
and she lives in the same dorm room with you." A look of comprehensive came 
into his eyes. "Unless she's been pressuring you-"
    Teresa exhaled and laughed. "It's not like that. Well, a little, maybe, 
but this is not another example of my stubbornness impeding my growth as a 
smoker, Daddy. I just thought that this would be a good chance for you and I 
to share something special. The way I started smoking- if I had it to do over 
again I wouldn't have been such a bitch about it."
    "You were a little hardheaded. Well, if you want to take up cigar 
smoking, I'm your man." He looked at her take another spectacular draw off 
the VS 120 and follow it up with a stunning exhale. His expression was all 
together serious. "But if you really want to take up cigar smoking- something 
I highly encourage- well, I don't want you to take this the wrong way- but 
many of the things that make you such a gorgeous cigarette smoker are things 
you will have to unlearn for smoking cigars."
    Teresa blushed. "Daddy-"
    "I'm serious, Teresa. You are a stunning smoker."
    "Next you'll be telling me it turns you on."
    He smiled. "I never lose sight of the fact that you and Arial are my 
daughters, honey. But if I wasn't married and you weren't my daughter, it 
would be sexual. You do everything well- from the way you light your 
cigarettes to how you hold them- the way you take those deep draws and let 
loose those thick exhales of creamy smoke. But those are those are all things 
you have to do differently. I think cigar smoking can be utterly feminine, 
but it has to be done just right. Lighting a cigar is totally different, and 
if you were to try and smoke a cigar like a cigarette you would get sick and 
it would not be pleasant to watch at all. And cigar management is a 
completely different kettle of fish."
    "I know. That's why I've come to an expert."
    "Well, I'm flattered, but my style and yours won't be the same. We'll get 
you started on a nice, mild, small ring cigar that will, to somewhat 
contradict what I just said, take advantage of the way you smoke now. One of 
the things we want to avoid is messing up your smoking style."
    'I know what you mean," Teresa said, her nose exhale feminine and 
compelling. "Melissa smokes cigars and cigarettes completely different."
    "That's because she's very patient when she smokes cigars. That night we 
took her out to dinner I was watching her very closely afterwards when she 
lit up, and she has the gift of patience with a cigar- that's the hardest 
thing to learn. You can't pop out of bed in the morning and light a quick 
cigar before you shower and head for classes. It's like the difference 
between snapping a photograph and painting a landscape. Now, I've talked 
enough. Let's go take advantage of this discount card."

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