Summer Vacation, Part 1

(by Dromedary Joe, 18 December 2009)


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Summer Vacation
by Dromedary Jone
Part One

As I sat at the table on the edge of the smoking section waiting for a good
sighting, I gazed out of the corner of my eye at a table on the other side...
in the non-smoking section. 

There were five girls who I had known from high school; they had been
freshmen when I was a senior so I didn't really get to know any of them
really well, although my high school was small enough that I knew their
names. There was Claire, the pretty girl-next-door type with light blonde
hair and blue-green eyes whose parents had a lot of money. There was Sara who
looked like Snow White with black hair and big blue eyes; if she wasn't the
fairest of them all- I don't know who was. Kayla was the tall girl with long
blond hair - she was a walking Barbie doll. Tonya was the cute Latina- or
maybe she was Italian, but whatever she was, she was very fine.  

Last, but certainly not least was Rachel, the preacher's daughter, and
arguably the hottest girl to ever walk the halls of my alma mater. With her
red hair and icy blue eyes, she would surely make some guy very lucky
someday. I had actually asked Rachel out my senior year...

"Hey," I said to her as I walked up to her locker, "Let's go out on a date."

"Umm, no," she told me without batting an eye.

"Why not?" I asked her.

"Hmm," she said as if she was thinking of a reason why she shouldn't, "you
are kinda cute, but your lifestyle and mine clash."

"How's that?" I asked her.

"Well," she said, "for example, you smoke and I think smoking is really
gross. Maybe if you quit smoking, I would go out with you."

I was cocky when I was in high school and definitely not one who liked being
rejected by a high school freshman girl, no matter how hot she was.

"Why don't you try smoking before you make a judgment about someone who
smokes," was my reply.

She started to say something, but then seemed like she really didn't feel
like arguing. She simply said, "I tell you what - if I ever start smoking; I
*will* go out with you.  But that doesn't seem very likely to *ever* happen,"
she said as she walked away...

I finished my after dinner cigarette as I thought about that memory from a
few years back and left, disappointed that there hadn't been any good smoking
sightings that night. I looked back towards the non-smoking section as I got
up to leave and thought about how it was a shame those five girls weren't
smokers. They would be the sexiest smokers ever, I thought to myself. The
chances of any of them becoming smokers, though, were about as likely as hell
freezing over...

***

"Amen," said the five girls almost in unison as they all lifted their bowed
heads, opened their eyes, and picked up their forks as they started to eat
the meal before them. It would be their last Friday night Bible study at the
usual sit-down restaurant before they all went their separate ways for the
summer. The topic of conversation, as usual, was a mix of spiritual talk
along with topics which one would expect from high school girls who were
about to enter their senior year...

"I can't believe my family is going to the Bahamas this summer," said a very
excited Claire. "Maybe I can bring some Bible tracts along and hand them out
at the beach." Claire had just turned seventeen a couple of weeks earlier and
had been the first one of the five girls with a brand new set of wheels. Not
just any set of wheels, her parents had bought her a brand new Mustang
convertible. She was excited about life.

"Praise God," said Sara as she took another bite out of her lasagna, "it's
great that you're using the trip as an opportunity to witness for Him."

"Hopefully," said Kayla, "God can use me to bring my backsliding sister back
to Him. Since she left for college last year, she's started drinking and
smoking, and probably fooling around. She was always a good example to me in
high school. I hope I can return the favor this summer and be a light to
her."

"It's a shame," said Tonya, "Your sister was such a good Christian and was
always on fire for God."

"Yeah," said Rachel, "It just goes to show that Satan is always looking to
make us stumble in our walk with Jesus and if we aren't diligent and
prayerful, we can slip up, but God is always ready to pick us back up again
when we fall."

The girls all nodded their heads in agreement and they continued talking as
they finished their meals. Afterwards, the girls took turns reading their
Bibles and prayed again before getting into Claire's Mustang...

***

Claire dropped off her best friend Sara last and decided to get a soda at the
local convenience store before heading home. She got back to her car with a
Pepsi in hand and somehow dropped her keys onto the floor of the car. After
groping around for a few seconds she found the keys had somehow managed to
end up under the driver's seat. There was something else under there too, but
she ignored it as she started the car up. She took a few sips of soda and
then wondered what that other thing was that she had felt under the car seat.

Claire reached under the seat and retrieved it. It was a full pack of
cigarettes. How did that get down there, Claire asked herself. She had only
had the car for a couple of weeks and it had been brand new. Perhaps someone
at the dealership had left them there. Claire had given a ride home to a girl
she knew from school (as a way to witness to an unbeliever) who she knew was
a smoker; maybe it was hers. Claire's parents had both ridden in the
passenger's seat and were smokers, but it wasn't either of their brands. The
only other people who had been in the passenger's seat of her Mustang were
her four best friends from church and Claire knew it hadn't been any of them.
Claire studied the pack for a minute as she turned the pack over repeatedly
with her fingers...

Claire gazed at the pack in her hands. It was a blue-green pack with
"Newport" at the top and "Menthol Box 100's" at the bottom. She hadn't held a
full pack of cigarettes since she was a little kid - her parents used to ask
her to get them a pack out of their cartons. As she got older and
increasingly anti-smoking, she started preaching to them about smoking
whenever she would get their cigarettes, so they stopped asking her to
retrieve them. The pack seemed lighter than her recollection of its weight,
and her curiosity seemed to be aroused. She decided to open the pack...

Claire started to reach for the string which would open up the wrap at the
top, but then decided to pack the cigarettes. At that moment, she still had
no intentions of smoking, but she had seen her parents open a pack of
cigarettes enough times to know that packing them first was part of the
ritual of opening a pack. 

After thirty seconds of packing the cigarettes, she grabbed the string and
opened the pack. She looked inside and saw the glimmering foil which said
"pull" and she obligingly pulled it out. She was somewhat surprised to see
that the cigarettes were cork filtered. Her father smoked Marlboro Reds and
her mother smoked Marlboro Light 100's Menthol. Claire had never really given
it much thought, but had always assumed that the ones with the cork filters
were non-menthol and the ones which were white filtered must be menthol. 

Claire sniffed the open pack of cigarettes and noticed they smelled of fresh
mint. Carefully, she pulled one out. For a few seconds she held it in her
hand posing with it before her curiosity took her one step further. She put
the Newport 100 into her mouth.

For a few minutes, she pretended to smoke the unlit Newport marveling at how
sucking on it tasted sort of like spearmint gum and how it made her mouth
tingle when she left it dangling in her mouth.

Perhaps it had been the devil that made her take it to its logical
conclusion, but it was more likely Claire's curiosity which caused her to
push in the Mustang's car lighter. She waited for what seemed like an
eternity for it to pop back out as she dangled the Newport in her mouth.
Finally, it did and she took it out and slowly moved the glowing cylinder
towards the cigarette in her mouth and lit up her first cigarette...


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