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Smoked Out


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She smoked often in high school. I don?t recall ever seeing her without a cigarette in the morning, before homeroom. Each morning, as I stepped up to the school doors, I would see her standing on the far side of the building, smoking her morning cigarette. Sometimes I would stand and watch her, and sometimes she would smoke her first cigarette fast enough to allow time for a second. Sometimes she would even have time for a third. The bell for homeroom would ring, usually after her second cigarette, and she would come running to the door.

Of course, she would have to stop and cough along the way, and catch her breath, but she still ran. It was sad to see, really. She ran track up until our junior year. She had to drop out due to health issues. Her parents and coaches believed it to be her asthma returning, but the students knew the real reason. I had all eight periods with her, and I saw the effects, too.

Her teeth were stained yellow; she had a wheezing, hollow cough, and that putrid smell of smoke followed her around, suffocating those around her. The smell was oppressive. It assaulted my nose and it was so heavy that I could taste it on the tip of my tongue. She would reek of smoke the entire day. Each class she would ask the teacher if she could go use the bathroom. I sat close to the door in most classes, so I would watch her exit, and get assaulted by that obnoxious stench, that smell that infests everything.

A few minutes would pass and she?d enter, a heavy dose of perfume sprayed on to mask the aroma. She would stroll back to her desk, content with her nicotine hit, still craving more, and coughing all the while.

Lunch was fifth period, and I watched her go ask to go to the bathroom, where she would smoke two, maybe three cigarettes. I imagined what her lungs must look like. Grayed on the outside, black on the inside. Dead tissue everywhere. The parts of her lungs that were still functional were fighting to survive. It was a disturbing image, but very close to reality, I was sure.

The next morning I was in homeroom early to finish up some schoolwork. The rest of my class filed in, and I heard that familiar ring. A few seconds passed, and then one of my classmates screamed.

?Oh, my God! Someone help her! Call an ambulance!?

We rushed to the window and saw a body. Our teachers told us to stay there, but we didn?t listen. An ambulance had just pulled up as we ran outside. They raced to the body and checked for a pulse, then covered her with a white sheet. I didn?t see the face, but I saw the cigarettes.
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I enjoyed it, for the most part. The concept appealed to me. :)

I found that (Especially in the first paragraph) you repeated words a bit too often. Sometimes this, sometimes that, homeroom here, homeroom in the next sentance. You need to change it up to keep us interested (Use a thesaurus, Word has one built in if your using that to type it up) Or you had a word too many, like at the end of the first paragraph. You didn't have to say cigarette, if you had just left it at second we still would understand what your talking about because you've already explained it.

[quote] content with her nicotine hit, still craving more [/quote]

This contridicts itself. Also, she must be smoking an awful awful lot and for a while if her health's that bad in high school.

Mostly it's the first paragraph that fails to capture me.

Other than that, it's all very good. There are no screaming grammer mistakes, and that's always a plus, and as I said before, the concept appealed to me. Smoking is a tough issue to handle. I thought you could have fleshed it out a bit more and make us feel more for this girl, but I still enjoyerd it. :)
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[size=1][color=darkred]Good stuff PT. That was a really good story I thought...nice and concise, but still drawing us in. I personally don't know anyone like that, but that kind of sterotype is readily identifiable, meaning we can relate to her all the quicker. The ending is excellent, and is the kind of professionally smooth and classy ending I have come to expect from you. The whole story flows really well, and contrary to Flashlight's opinion I believe the repetition [though it wasn't really that much =/] serves only to re-inforce the message of this story.

Nice PT, nice.[/size][/color]
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