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The following is just a very short story, one of dozens I've written over the past several decades. I was told recently by a smoker that this one affected him greatly and thought he'd reconsider smoking after reading it. So I'll put it up on the site and see what response we get. MW

 

 

The Beginning

 

The Beginning

 

I was nervous when I bought the pack, but I figured if anyone stopped me, I’d say that it was for my dad. I figured they’d believe me because who’d think a ten-year-old kid would be buying cigarettes for himself and his buddies. We went into my garage and lit up. At first, I didn’t realize that I had to inhale the smoke to get it to flow out of my mouth like that. But once Harold had shown me, I tried it and coughed and coughed, while he and Alex laughed and laughed. I decided I had to be able to do it too, just like them. I learned. I had to. They look so much older and cooler when they smoke. Like James Dean. I need that. I need to look older, be cool. Be like James Dean.

 

The Middle

 

After twenty years of sucking poison out of these little bastards, I am going to quit…again. But this time, I mean it. I am going to make this my last pack. I hate them. I hate what they do to the color of my teeth, the smell of my breath, and never-ending drain on my wallet. Beside that, this cough I’ve developed lately, this hack, hack, hack, has me worried. I can’t seem to get a good, deep breath anymore. Just walking up the stairs has me panting. Yes, I’m going to quit now. Or at least real soon. I’m ready. Well, almost. But soon. Real soon.

 

The Beginning of The End

 

I hate the way they look at me when they come. The sadness in their eyes literally hurts to see. I’m not in any other real pain. The drugs make sure of that. But these damn tubes, God I hate them. And the smell of this place. They took the guy in the next bed away for surgery yesterday, and now they’re putting someone new into his bed. I saw his family come and take his stuff this morning. His wife was crying. I guess he didn’t make it. But I’m going to whip this thing. When they took my lung, they said they thought they got it all, but now they are saying something about my heart. I truly feel like shit when I sneak that last smoke in the middle of the night, locked in the bathroom like that. Last night, I almost didn’t have the energy to get out of this bed for it. I sure wish the health insurance hadn’t run out. I hate being in this county dump. I know Jen and the kids will be okay if I don’t make it. They have her parents to lean on. Hell, I’m only thirty-eight. Way too young to die. I’m strong. I’ll make it. I know I will.

 

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September 29, 2006

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