2019 Minnesota State Fair, Day 2

I tried to outsmart a Labor Day weekend weather forecast that was changing radically every few hours and got kicked in the nuts for it, delaying at the last minute my scheduled Saturday visit to the Minnesota State Fair until Sunday.  All signs were pointing to a miserably cold Saturday with a rising chance of afternoon rain while Sunday was “trending sunny”.  It didn’t work out that way.  Saturday was chilly as predicted, but there was a break in the clouds and some early-to-mid afternoon sun rather than the rain predicted.  As for Sunday when I made it to the fair, suffice it to say by late morning it looked like the day was gonna be a bigger disaster than Chernobyl, but I salvaged it to a degree.  It was by no means a great day of Minnesota State Fair fetishing the way the previous Saturday was, but the evening came together pretty nicely.  I only got 140 sightings, a modern-era low for a full day at the Minnesota State Fair, but considering I was sidelined for more than an hour by unforecasted pouring rain, it could have been much worse…and at various points in the day seemed like it would be.

After getting to the fairgrounds at 8:30 a.m. the previous Saturday and still arriving to a full parking lot that required us to pay more for private parking further from the grounds, I arrived at the fairgrounds yesterday just before 8 a.m. with the folks and we easily got a parking space.  By now we knew the day was gonna be mostly cloudy, but at that point I had no idea that an hourlong downpour was only two hours away.  I never like arriving at the fairgrounds this early because sightings are light and it makes it hard on the feet to go till 10:30 p.m. if you’ve been walking since 8 a.m., but I made a point to go through some fair buildings, ride the Space Tower, and relax with some fair food overlooking key smoking areas near the grandstand the first hour and a half.

And it wouldn’t take long after arrival to get my first sighting.  A trio of female fair workers who presumably worked inside The Garden building were out smoking, one of them a tall and attractive 20-something brunette.  Sighting #1 seemed like a real looker, but unfortunately she disguised it with a ball cap and a frumpy rain jacket, with gray slacks underneath.  I presume at least part of this was her work outfit while the jacket was likely for the chilly morning air.  It was a nice show though as she conversed and smoked with the older women, dragging regularly and exhaling into the cool morning air.  I was seated on a nearby bench and got a few photos, including one dragging pic.  It was a good five-minute show before she squashed the cork filter out under her shoe.  A few hours later I’d briefly see the same girl in a nearby designated smoking area out smoking with a male who was likely also a fair worker.  Unfortunately her feminine beauty was again hidden underneath the ball cap and jacket.  Still a nice way to get on the board though…and very needed since it would be literally hours until I saw something else this good.

As I said above, I was by and large phoning it in early on yesterday, saving my feet for later in the day and going inside some fair buildings to check out stuff at the fair unrelated to smoker girls.  I noticed the clouds rolling in were increasingly a darker shade of gray, but never really considered they could be rain clouds since the forecasted threat for rain was effectively nonexistent for the day.  Nonetheless, I walked out of the Heritage Center building shortly after 10 a.m. and felt a few sprinkles.  A few minutes later it was becoming clear I had a real problem on my hands as the rain picked up.  There’s nothing to do at the fair in the rain.  From a fetish standpoint, I can seek shelter under any number of canopies and overhangs, huddled with thousands of people, and try to find a spot overlooking where some people might smoke.  Or I could try to go inside a fair building, but of course everybody else does that during the rain as well and they become crowded to the point of paralysis.  I was apoplectic, but checked out my phone to look at the radar, convinced it had to be a quick shower.  The radar made it look a little more ominous, but at least it wasn’t a large cell.  I figured in another 15 minutes it would go away and hopefully that would be the end of it…..

…..but the rain just kept coming, harder and harder for more than an hour.  The streets were running with water and everything was poised to be a sloppy and slippery mess for hours, with about half the fairgoers walking around covered in plastic ponchos.  Worse yet, it could seriously curtail attendance by keeping some would-be fairgoers away at such an integral time of the day and prompting others to leave early.  With every five minutes of continued rain, the situation was getting more precarious.  I’ve been to the fair in the rain in the past, and in a few instances it’s worked to my advantage by keeping me close to smokers, but I was wandering to every outpost thinkable and not finding anything worthwhile.  Finally, at around 11:15, the rain stopped, and I was at a whopping five sightings.  Despite continued cloud cover, it was poised to get to the mid-70s and I could feel it warming up immediately.  Maybe I could salvage the day, I thought to myself, seeing as the crowds began filling up the soaked streets again.  But for every step forward there was a step back, epitomized by my next sighting near The Garden building…

A trio of cute 20-somethings stood by themselves, two of them with cigarettes in hand, but they were covered in decidedly unsexy yellow ponchos!  Sightings #6 and #7 were both cute, one blond and one brunette, even though they might have been a tick chubby.  But I couldn’t really tell how chubby they were or were not because their bodies were covered in this yellow plastic.  The blond made eyes with me right away and smiled, making my job more difficult of watching them smoke and sneaking in photos.  I did both though, watching as much of their show as I could and snapping a few holding pics.  The smoking was decent and the girls looked pretty wholesome to be smokers, but those ponchos were killing me.  I guess it was an interesting novelty to have girls smoking cigarettes while draped in yellow plastic, but not the kind of novelty I care to experience again anytime soon.

The ponchos slowly started to come off the crowd of fairgoers as the 11:00 hour approached noon, and the next sighting I’d get would be a girl who wasn’t covered in plastic.  Sighting #8 looked late 20s with long reddish-brown hair in a ponytail and unnecessary sunglasses, decked out in a white sweatshirt and black pants.  She was standing by herself at the designated smoking area north of the beer gardens block and looked like a pretty hard-core smoker with solid timing and nice exhales.  I got a few decent pics as I watched the show, hoping she’d be the girl to get some momentum rolling for me.  To a limited degree she was as I’d have a desperately needed mini-burst during the noon hour.

One of the girls with the most potential for the day was Sighting #11, who I saw at the smoking area on Judson Avenue in front of the dairy building.  She was a mid-20s long-haired dark brunette in a red and white sweatshirt with jeans and a very pretty face.  She approached the ashtray in the center of the smoking area next to a boyfriend decked out in cop gear.  Not sure if he was a police officer or security, but whoever he was I’d really have to be careful with the camera.  I got a few holding shots, but the one dragging shot I got was blurry.  It was killing me because this girl was so pretty and looked so hot with a cigarette.  She was putting on a decent show, easily outclassing the otherwise downscale crowd there in the smoking area with nice drags and solid exhales.  The show didn’t seem to last too long as I think she retired the all-white cigarette into the community ashtray a little sooner than she needed to.  I finally got a good photo of her as she was walking away, which was better than nothing.  This sighting had a ton of potential and I really hoped to see more of this girl later in the day, but the rotten camera angles I’d get for her photos were emblematic of more widespread problems I’d have for much of the rest of the afternoon.

I’d work my way up to one of the smoking areas on the north side of the grounds next where I found a late 20s or early 30s couple smoking, including a bearded guy and his blond girlfriend/wife.  Sighting #12 was a tick chubby but she wore it well and had a great smoker’s face, clearly a bit weathered after years of heavy smoking but still attractive.  She was wearing a pale red top and black leggings, and I got a pic of her just as she was wrapping her lips around a cigarette.  I sat on a nearby bench and watched much of the rest of the show from the side.  She smoked a little more slowly than my preference but after the disastrous 10:00 hour seeing any attractive woman smoking at all was sweet relief.

Some days the smoking area outside of The Garden is dead and other days it’s a gold mine.  Yesterday it was closer to the latter than the former as I got another decent sighting the next time I walked past there that included what I at first presumed to be a mother and daughter but looking closer at the pic presume to more likely just be a younger friend and somewhat older friend.  Sighting #13 included a very wholesome ponytailed light brunette in a blue sweatshirt and jeans who was sitting at a table smoking while her smoking friend stood next to her.  I never got a dragging pic but got a holding pic, and while she isn’t gorgeous she still impressed me in that she really didn’t look like a smoker.  The positioning was awkward so I only stuck around for about three drags but her style was solid with some deep drags and cloudy exhales.  This last trio of sightings all came in about a 10-minute span, leading me to believe the day might be turning around nicely.  And while it certainly turned around from the cataclysm that was the 10:00 hour, I’d struggle again quickly enough.

The smoking area near the Coliseum gets crowded out by this pork promotion tent on Labor Day weekend so I didn’t make too many visits to that smoking area yesterday, but one of the few times I did yielded an interesting double-header sighting across the street from the smoking area.  I stumbled upon a very attractive mid-to-late 20s blond with a lit cigarette in hand at the front of a group.  Immediately after I saw her, a light brunette popped up following her with an unlit cigarette dangling from her lips.  The blond and her boyfriend were walking forward but the brunette was calling her back, and I got a snapshot of her calling out with the cigarette dangling from her lips.  The blond came back and the light brunette lit up as they gathered around the table with a group of assorted ages, the two young ladies being the only smokers in the group.  I was ready for a good one from Sightings #17 and #18.  And the sighting was solid, particularly the blond in her black sweatshirt and blue leggings who had pretty weathered features for a girl her age, clearly the product of years of heavy smoking.  The light brunette in her yellow top and jeans was solid too, but the blond was winning me over more.  I thought I was nailing a bunch of great pics as I sat at the adjacent bench with my camera phone, but then I’d take a quick gander and saw none of them were taking.  I’d set the phone up again and wait for the next big moment…and again no pics.  Finally I gave up and just enjoyed what I could of the rest of the show, with the blond finishing her cigarette first and the light brunette following about a minute later, the group venturing back into the grounds after the girls finished their cigarettes.  It was a solid extra-base hit sighting, but I kind of let it go to waste by being too focused on pictures that weren’t turning out, save for that first pic of the dangling light brunette I caught at the sighting’s beginning.  It was very frustrating, and I figured out what went wrong with the camera phone, writing it off as an unfortunate anomaly.  Unfortunately, phone issues plagued me for most of the afternoon and while they didn’t completely screw me out of photos quite the way they did from this sighting, the fail rate was bizarre and extremely maddening, a good reminder that I’m putting too much emphasis on photos and not enough on enjoying a good smoking show when it’s in front of me.

And whatever momentum I had going with sightings at this point was starting to slow again, with the 1:00 hour not being particularly productive.  The smoking area in front of the dairy building would be the next to deliver as I spotted Sighting #26 from several yards away.  She was a mid-20s light brunette in a red tanktop and black shorts, holding a box with a mini-six pack of beer glasses in one hand and a cigarette in the other while standing in front of a nonsmoking boyfriend.  She was moderately attractive, but pretty chubby to the point that she looked pregnant in some shots, and she had some unflattering tattoos on her arms.  While that typically doesn’t make for a quality sighting, she had an IT factor that kept me mildly interested as I watched her smoke her all-white until the point she crushed it out in the community ashtray.  From there I walked up the street and bought some lunch from a vendor and decided to double back to the dairy building smoking area, not even expecting to see the red tanktop girl there again, but she was, smoking a second cigarette while chatting up the nonsmoking boyfriend and drinking her beers.  I was eating but juggled my camera phone one-handedly and scored a few dragging pics, and was close enough to see that her cigarette was a Parliament, an increasingly rare brand that seemed to have some cache among teen girls a decade ago.  Coincidentally, I had a classic Parliament sighting at this very smoking area in front of the dairy building back in 2015 when I got the Hall of Fame sighting of teenage “Sophie”, the dairy building cutie out on a smoke break.  While yesterday’s Parliament girl wasn’t within a mile of Sophie’s league, it was still a nice throwback to see another girl smoking Sophie’s brand at this same station.

I’d get another extra base hit at the designated smoking area north of the beer gardens block when I spotted a duo of dark brunette 20-somethings fronted by a girl with a vaguely ethnic look decked out in a black top and an incredibly sexy pair of white pants.  Sighting #28 was one of few girls wearing white on this dreary day.  I’m partial to white pants and shorts in the first place so when they’re as hard to come by as they were yesterday, they really stood out, packaging her lower body beautifully as she stood smoking with another guy that I presume was her boyfriend, and her brunette friend.  There was an open bench right in front of the trio and I had a front-row seat.  The girl had a really thick jaw that wasn’t really working for me as well as the rest of her presentation though.  From some angles I looked at her and figured she was mixed-race, but then other times I’d see her and think she was just a dark-complected white girl.  I still don’t really know which, but when I post the pics, people can certainly take a look and see for themselves, particularly the sweet shot I have of her cheeks hollowing in mid-drag.   After she took a few very nice drags, she passed the cigarette off to her dark brunette friend in a brown top and blue jeans.  While the first girl’s presentation in the white pants won me over more on first glance, Sighting #29 was actually a bit prettier upon closer inspection, and I nailed a first-rate pic of her in mid-drag.  Unfortunately, just after I took the shot, her eyes zeroed in on my camera.  I wasn’t called out for it, but she was definitely on to me.  Not only did I immediately put the camera away, I realized I couldn’t stay for the whole cigarette after this, waiting until her next drag and then walking away, pleased with the pics I got and what I saw of the sighting, but disappointed the show would be cut short.  It happens…but thankfully I’d see the same duo smoking again at the same smoking area two or three hours later, this time each puffing on their own cigarettes.  I watched from the side and got in on the second show for a few minutes, although nervous they were onto me.  Less than an hour after that second sighting, I’d see the same trio walking off to a very remote area west of the grandstand, the girl in the white pants holding a pack of Marlboro Smooths that was very clearly about to produce another set of cigarettes for the girls to smoke.  Unfortunately they drifted off far enough that I couldn’t follow and see their third cigarettes.  Still, a nice comprehensive show from a duo of girls who very much looked like heavy smokers and brought some minor glamour to a day otherwise greatly lacking it.

Crowds were considerable, the storm had passed, and the temps were warming up to respectability as the mid-afternoon approached.  The ingredients for success were now there, but I was struggling, barely at half the number of sightings by 2:30 as I was the week before.  While the rain didn’t suppress attendance the way I expected, it did alter the wardrobe selections of those who came as the grounds were full of girls covered in long sleeves with jeans and leggings covering up their legs.  The sad part was it was now in the mid-70s and too warm for all the bulky clothing needed during the rainy morning hours, but the damage was done.  I’m all for leggings and the way the fit girls’ lower bodies, but in the Upper Midwest I have nine long months ahead to see girls in leggings, and on the last weekend of summer I wanted to see some bare legs and bare shoulders.  It wasn’t happening yesterday though.

But I made the best with what I had throughout the day and evening, and one of the more striking “fall wardrobe presentations” of the day came when I approached the smoking area by the main bathroom structure and spotted Sighting #38.  The long-haired light brunette had the most incredible hourglass figure of the day and was decked out in a black blouse with a pair of killer leggings that framed those hips and ass just beautifully.  And there she was standing by herself with a cigarette!  She didn’t stand by herself for long though as this bespectacled female friend came out of the bathroom and seized control of the cigarette.  I got pics of both of them in the shot, but it was the less attractive Sighting #39 who was smoking in them.  And while the leggings girl had an awesome body, her face was more modest, looking less attractive in some angles than others as she didn’t have much of a jaw.  I suspect she was only late 20s or early 30s but in some pics she definitely looks older.  I was kind of annoyed that I didn’t get more of a sighting from her but maybe she’ll show up again later in the day….

The mid-afternoon hours were not coming together the way they usually do as the time kept ticking by, but I kept finding a few extra-base hits here and there to keep my morale from sinking too low.  I’ve had quite a few novelty cigar sightings this fair season and got another one at the smoking area near The Garden yesterday that included one of the few teenage girls I saw smoking.  A trio of less-than-attractive 17ish girls sat at a pair of corner benches along the wall, and while none of the three would have ordinarily called out to me, the most attractive of the three sat there with a vaporizer in one hand and a Black ‘N’ Mild cigar in the other, even as the other two weren’t smoking or vaping.  Sighting #46 was still a tick homely, with a skinny face and long light brown hair flowing onto a wildly unglamorous sweatshirt and black sweatpants, but she had braces on her teeth and this mid-teen aura about her that made it so surreal to couple it with the cigar in her hand.  I watched from a few feet away as she literally went back and forth between drags from the vaporizer and drags from the cigar, a middle-aged woman smoking next her who didn’t seem to notice or care about the cigar odor.  I got a few pics from the standing position, including a couple of her in mid-drag, but it was when the middle-aged woman got up and vacated her side of the bench that I took the opportunity to sit right next to the cigar girl.  Once sitting next to her, I got some close-up pics where she cooperatively clutched the plastic tip of the Black ‘N’ Mild in her teeth and dangled it while chatting with her nonsmoking friends.  I put the camera away after these impressive shots, taking in the smell of her cigar smoke from such close range and sneaking in a peak or two out of the corner of my eye when she took subsequent drags.  I hung around about 10 minutes and she began smoking the cigar more aggressively and leaving the vaporizer alone toward the end of it.  It was a good show and definitely one of the more memorable sightings of the day, but it was odd to be clustering in rather similar novelty cigar sightings in the same year.  This girl didn’t match up to the previous week’s Black ‘N’ Mild girl or the Missouri cigar girl, meaning I don’t think she’ll be poised for this year’s top-25 whereas in previous years I might have given it to her just because of how unlikely it was to see one of the only teen smokers of the day be a girl in braces puffing on a cigar.  It was nonetheless a needed burst of adrenaline for the day.

Providing even more adrenaline was the sighting that came next at the smoking area east of the grandstand where I came upon a pair of couples in which three of the four were smoking, but only one person in the group interested me, and from afar she seemed to be the only one without a cigarette.  But as I got closer, the cute, long-haired mid-20s light brunette did have an unlit Camel Turkish Royal in her hand.  I giddily waited with camera in hand hoping to nail a snapshot of her officially becoming Sighting #48.  My camera failed me on the light-up pic but I got plenty more quality shots before and after she fired up that really captures her electric IT factor, with her girl-next-door presence and an expressive face that really played to the camera.  The minor downsides were an unfortunate tattoo on her forearm and her outfit, a black T-shirt and black jeans that aren’t nearly as goth as they sound and which she largely pulled off, but which suppressed some of her feminine energy.  I lamented the alternative scenario of a hotter day where she was decked out in sexy summer attire more worthy of her.  Still, the main event of this sighting or any sighting was the smoking, and I was curious how she’d deliver on that….and she knocked it out of the park.  Her drags were very intense, the cigarette puckering into her lips and tilting upward at a 45-degree angle as she drew in the smoke for several seconds, seeming to melt into her drags before releasing a very high-volume exhale that I was continually fortunate enough to be downwind from.  She was really living up to the build-up and I got a few great dragging pics…..

Some bratty teenage girl walked by the smoker’s area and seemed to have her eyes locked on my light brunette dressed in black as she loudly muttered to her parents, “Look at all these people killing themselves!”  In the case of my light brunette, it was hard to dispute as the way she was dragging from these cigarettes she’d be incurring some serious lung damage at some point.  Having a satisfactory haul of pics and sensing her group may have been on to me, I put the camera away and enjoyed the show, her intense drags and messy follow-up exhales repeatedly impressing and repeatedly drifting into my airspace.  I watched her smoke till the cigarette’s completion when she walked over to one of the community ashtrays to dispose of her Camel Turkish Royal butt.   Even though great sightings were not coming by easily yesterday, I was lucky in that I got repeat performances from some of the girls with most IT factor, and this girl was a case in point as I definitely hadn’t seen the last of her.

The next girl to leave an impression came in the smoking area near the bathrooms and east of the beer gardens, where a group of 20-somethings was hovering and one of the guys was smoking.  There were a couple of girls in the group who I was really hoping to see smoke, but neither did.  But standing in front of them was a tomboyish blond who was about to.  Sighting #56 was not yet official but stood there with an unlit Marlboro Menthol dangling from her lips as she was texting, decked out in a green T-shirt and gray leggings that fit her body nicely with a Nike ball cap up top.  She was by no means the most feminine girl at the fair but the presentation still impressed me, and the wide-open seat I had directly in front of her made the moment even more worthy of a few minutes of my day.  After a couple of minutes texting, she finally flicked her lighter and brought the cigarette to life, all captured in my pics along with her first drag off the light-up.  She now had the phone up to her ear which was helpful in that she was distracted, allowing me to watch her show and allowing her to smoke recklessly, exhaling without paying attention to where the smoke was going.  A couple of her exhales blew right into my face and it was delightful.  She got off the phone and then started chatting with the rest of the group who were all seated next to me, the one guy who was smoking now having finished his cigarette.  Everybody was waiting on her and then decided they weren’t gonna wait any longer as they all walked into the crowd, my blond in the ball cap and gray leggings still puffing away on her cigarette even as they drifted away from the designated smoking area.  She wasn’t my favorite girl of the day by any stretch but the presentation was memorable and I got quality close-up pics.

Far more frustrating was the next sighting I got in the heavily wooded designated smoking area on the east side of the grounds.  Two couples in their 20s were standing there smoking, and while one of the girls was only average, the alpha female of the group was a cute ponytailed blond in a tie-dye T-shirt and jeans who looked way to wholesome to be a smoker.  I was working my camera to try to get shots of Sightings #57 and #58 but, once again, nothing was taking.  It was immensely frustrating as the blond was a really good smoker taking regular drags with nice exhales all while leading the conversation among the couples in a very sexy way.  I was able to get one modest holding shot before the sighting ended but would have loved more from this one as this blond had a real presence about her.  When she finished her cigarette seconds after I got the one pic of her, I walked away, this being the only sighting of the day of relevance I’d get from the east side smoking area.

It was after 4:30 now and I was well behind schedule as I made my 20-minute late afternoon venture up to the fairgrounds’ north side and back.  I never want to ignore the north side completely as I’ve gotten some great sightings up there over the years, but there wasn’t much going on yesterday, yielding three sightings, only one of which was good enough for me to stop for a couple of minutes to observe.  Usually by the final couple of blocks on the north side, I’m itching to get back to the primary corridors of the grounds, and I’d get a pretty nice reward when I got to the smoking area east of the grandstand right around 5:00….

A duo of girls in the 18-19 range hovered in the smoking area and while neither was smoking, the more attractive of the two was reaching into her purse.  Out came a pack of Marlboro Black Menthols and I was giddy as I looked her over and determined she was probably one of the younger smokers of the day.  Sighting #66 had long, wavy brown hair and dark complexion to match, with a grayish top and a partially revealed midriff and tight pale blue jeans below.  I wondered to myself as she dug out that cigarette from the pack and prepared to light it if she was mixed race, partially Hispanic or ever partially black.  It was a mystery that would only get more confusing, but one thing crystal clear from the light-up is that this girl was a great smoker, a French inhale snorted up her nose immediately after the light-up with very aggressive drags and messy exhales to follow.  It was a first-rate show and I thought once again I was getting multiple successful pics from close range…only to peek at my phone to inexplicably discover I’d gotten nothing.  I’d go for a few more on her next drag…and again got nothing.  It was so frustrating and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out the problem.  And with as fast as she was attacking the cigarette, I wouldn’t have all day to get something.  Thankfully I salvaged one pic of her in mid-drag, standing there with her nonsmoking and less attractive friend who was waiting patiently in the stinky smoking area as her friend contributed to the stench with a steady stream of exhales.  The show ended quickly as expected and the late teen brunette tossed her cork filter butt into the community ashtray and walked off.  Had I seen nothing more than this, this sighting would have just been an extra-base hit that brightened up my afternoon, but I’d get an encore later in the evening that would only add to the confusion and the mystery.  I’ll get to that later in the writeup.

And while this smoking area to the east of the grandstand can always be counted upon to produce some of the better sightings of any given day, it also produced a rather jaw-dropping would-be sighting yesterday that stood out as a sign of the times.  A trio of decently attractive and relatively wholesome-looking 20-somethings began to settle in at the edge of this smoking area and as I watched one of the girls pull out a pack of Marlboro Lights from her purse, I giddily awaited a possible three-for-one sighting.  Only it wasn’t a Marlboro Light that came out of that pack…it was a blunt.  Right there in the open, she fired it up and then proceeded it to pass it back and forth among her friends.  In recent years I’ve smelled marijuana on the MNSF grounds, but it’s usually at night amidst a considerable crowd, but these gals were doing it out in the open in the middle of the day.  Marijuana is still illegal in Minnesota and I suspect that if any number of fairgrounds police had walked up and seen them, they would have been arrested.  As big of risks as I take with my photos, I’m still operating within the law, so it was pretty amazing that I wasn’t even the biggest risk-taker in the grandstand’s east side smoking area at one point yesterday afternoon.

Next I’d get my first of three encores of girls that left an impression the first go-round.  I approached the smoking area by the bathrooms and the beer gardens to find a familiar-looking brunette with an hourglass figure draped in leggings smoking another cigarette.  It was the Sighting #38 girl, only this time she had a Minnesota Twins ball cap on her head.  She had passed her cigarette off to her less attractive friend before I was able to get pics on the previous sighting, but here was my chance for a do-over and I got some decent holding pics, her eyes drifting my way on a couple of them as if noticing I was up to something with my phone.  Her friend was still with her and smoking once again.  The brunette was the better smoker of the two and, while attractive, wasn’t quite up there beauty-wise to make any year-end lists despite her encore performance and her perfect feminine body packaged in those leggings.  I’d see most of her smoking show this time and walked away pretty satisfied, but there were stormy times ahead…literally.

It was going up to 6 p.m. by now and the day was still lacking traction and momentum.  Worse yet, the skies that had remained mostly cloudy since the late morning rainfall were starting to darken again, even though the forecasters insisted there was literally zero chance of rain come late afternoon.  Yet as I ventured to the east side of the grounds, it came again.  This time it would only last 10 minutes, but my already despondent mood was flowing toward the gutter along with the rainfall as I stood under trees and canopies near the Leinie Lodge grunting about the delay at such a pivotal sightings hour.  I was grateful the rain ended fairly quickly this time, but also wasn’t gonna get comfortable with the idea that it was really over this time.  With the fairgrounds freshly wet again, I ventured towards the grandstand.  Even though there was no official grandstand show tonight with a free-of-charge amateur talent show onstage that I didn’t expect to draw much of a crowd, I figured it might still be my best bet to find some younger smoking females.   And I made a pretty good call….

Before I even got to the smoking area east of the grandstand, the berm area near the entry pillars was occupied by a frisky young couple featuring a mid-20s brunette, the nonsmoking boyfriend seated on the cinder blocks of the berm with his smoking girlfriend sitting on his lap.  It was a sexy show from Sighting #77, decked out in a white T-shirt with black jeans, badass sunglasses, and an unfortunate tattoo on her forearm, her ass parked on his lap while she dragged from her cigarette and intermittently leaned in to kiss him with her ashtray mouth.  I was seated closeby and got some nice dragging shots, her cheeks puckering up on that cigarette with at least as much intensity as she kissed him with.  He didn’t seem to mind being exposed to her cigarette smoke from such close range…and I don’t blame him one bit!

But as I sat there observing this sighting play out, a familiar face with a familiar body approached the general area placing an unlit cigarette in her mouth and lighting up.  Only about a half hour since her previous cigarette, the sighting #38 girl with the hourglass figure packaged in tight leggings was smoking again!  She was a few yards in front of me and since she’d already become wise to me at the previous smoking area, I didn’t dare to venture any closer, particularly given her isolation standing there.  She continued to strike quite a pose with that nice figure as she stood alone smoking her cigarette quite aggressively.  They were too far away to fully appreciate, but I took a number of dragging and holding shots with the wetness of the recent rainfall as a backdrop.  I still couldn’t quite get behind making this girl countdown-worthy for year’s end because she wasn’t good-looking enough, but she was really putting forward a solid body of work yesterday and it was nice to sit back and enjoy her cloudy show.  Unfortunately, she seemed agitated….as if she was waiting for somebody.  Even though she wasn’t done with her cigarette, she wandered toward the grandstand entryway looking around, eventually taking a final drag from her cigarette and bending over to crush it out on the ground, unfortunately tossing the butt in the trash and denying me a brand ID.  It was a great closing act for the day for one of the more memorable girls I’d seen, and also nice to see her flying solo and giving me a full farrow-to-finish sighting as the previous sightings had only been partials.

Finally venturing from there to the east side smoking area, I saw a downscale but cute blond standing with a cigarette next to another couple and she had a stroller with a small child in front of her.  Sighting #78 looked about 30 with long blond hair flowing onto a black flower-print blouse with blue jeans on the bottom, and although she was the obvious choice to be the child’s mother, the chatter coming out of her mouth directed toward the young girl in the stroller, who looked about three years old, seemed like that of a less direct relative or a family friend.  I don’t recall specific things she said but the tone and body language of the interaction was pretty adorable, particularly with the cigarette in the blond’s hand.  I stood there with my camera ready and when she finally took a drag, I got it.  I only watched one more drag before I moved on, satisfied with a solid moment from a decently attractive young woman.

After that, the 6:00 hour was kind of a bust, which is very unusual for the Minnesota State Fair where the late afternoon and early evening hours tend to be the most productive.  I was stitching together some mediocre sightings but was poised to be at a historic low leading up to the 7:00 meet-up time with my parents.  Given the rainy morning and the lack of evening grandstand show, that wasn’t a huge surprise, but still a buzzkill.  I spotted a trio of girls who I got a good vibe from, with one foraging through her purse as she walked past a smoking area toward the DNR building.  I followed just in case, but it was a false alarm, but while I was encircling the DNR building, I made eyes with this late 20s brunette who had the most guilty look on her face.  I didn’t immediately see a cigarette, but seconds later I would.  Sighting #88 was cute but too chubby for my preference, but I still stopped for a moment to appreciate her standing by herself on the edge of a DNR pond full of waterfowl dragging from her Marlboro Light.  A smoking area was only about 50 yards away but she decided she was gonna smoke, even though she was nervous about it as evident by that look on her face when my eyes locked on her.

It was going up to 7 and I was slinking my way toward the information booth area for the ritual meeting with my parents for cookies and brief conversation.  Thankfully, along the way, I passed the same berm area east of the grandstand where I’d gotten the encore from the leggings girl and this time saw another familiar face.  The mid-20s brunette who was Sighting #48, one of the more impressive finds of the day, was back as part of the same duo of couples I’d seen about an hour and a half earlier, and she had another freshly lit cigarette in hand.  This would be a high-risk trek as I ventured to the open spot on the berm near her and her group, and an air of familiarity spread across her face as if she remembered me scoping her out from the previous sighting.  I nonetheless took my seat and admired her profile in the matching black T-shirt and jeans, her expressive face matching her intense smoking style.  I was lucky that she was a little distracted by her phone as it allowed me to sneak a few holding shots sitting there next to her, but I wanted to nail another pic of her indulgent-to-the-point-of-obscenity drags.  I could almost feel one of the guys in her group watching me as I readied my phone for the shot, but I nonetheless pulled the trigger and nailed her in two shots wrapping her lips around that Camel Turkish Royal filter as it went vertical at a 45-degree angle in her mouth, easily my best two shots of the day.  Looking at them the next day, the guy I feared was eyeballing me as I took the shots really was, and it’s pretty impressive I got out of there without a confrontation, but I didn’t even get out of there immediately.  I slinked the phone into my jeans pocket and kept sitting there, watching her impressive show out of the corner of my eye.  And not only was she giving me a feast for my eyes, she was very kind to my nose as well, as virtually all of her extremely generous exhales blew directly into my face just as they had when I saw her smoking the first time.  Part of this smoke assault came as a result of the very high volume of smoke that always seemed to spill out of her lungs, but I also wondered if maybe she was directing the smoke toward me knowing I was there watching the show.  I stuck around till the end, watching and smelling every drag, but she unfortunately crushed out the cigarette and was preparing it for the nearest garbage can rather than crudely polluting it as I prefer.  It was time for me to mosey on out of there and I could feel her eyes follow me as I left.  I knew I pushed my luck on this sighting, but the reward was that after two solid acts that were pretty close to farrow-to-finish, highlighted by her expressiveness and indulgent drags, she was my favorite sighting of the day.  And you know, she might not be done just yet…..

It was now almost 7:00 so I swung by the smoking area outside of The Garden on my way to the information area to meet with my folks.  Despite that fantastic encore from the brunette, the clouds again appeared black to the point that it was starting to look dark even though sunset was still 45 minutes away.  I had only 91 sightings thus far on the day, the only time I’d ever met the parents with fewer than 100 sightings.  And with this being a Sunday night crowd without a top-tier grandstand draw, and not to mention a high near-term risk for even more rain showers, my expectations were not high for a decent night.  The day had been below-average and if the night were to go as I expected, this could end up being a historically weak Minnesota State Fair day.  But despite my misgivings, I’d take off at about 7:10 for the evening shift and had a surprisingly good comeback with no additional rainfall.  As I’ve said before, you don’t ever underestimate the Minnesota State Fair’s potential for sightings nirvana, or in the case of last night, simply an impressive haul.

And it didn’t take long to score my first big find after separating from my parents, even though it was unfortunately a brief sighting.  Sighting #93 was a very attractive and wholesome long-haired blond, mid-to-late 20s and decked out in a pink ball cap, maroon sweatshirt, and form-fitting leggings, smoking a cigarette in the company of a nonsmoking boyfriend or husband.  It was one of the more memorable presentations of the day that was tomboyish yet still feminine, and with a pretty face to go with it, the sighting was instantly an extra-base hit.  I could tell the cigarette was approaching its end, unfortunately, so time was of the essence if I was gonna score a photo, and I had purchased a glass of RC when I met with the folks that I was still drinking, so I was gonna have to pull off an unlikely one-handed pic even with the likely blur of a photo that came just before sunset.  The odds were against me…but when that cigarette approached her pretty face for a final drag, I held up my camera with my free hand and clicked the shutter twice, somehow managing to pull off a dragging photo and an exhaling photo where a giant blast of smoke is spewing from her mouth.  She approached the community ashtray to toss out the cigarette from there.  I really wish I could have seen more of this as the girl had the potential to be sightings royalty, but I sure made the most out of the very limited time I had with her.  And I hope her nonsmoking boyfriend/husband realizes how he lucky he is!

Coming up next was another encore sighting from a girl who left me wanting for more a couple of hours earlier….Sighting #66, the late teen girl with the long frizzy hair who struck me as possibly mixed race because of her dark complexion combined with largely Caucasian features.  But if I was looking for clarity from her encore performance, I’d only get more confusion!  In her earlier sighting, she was with a tall, nonsmoking female friend, but now she was standing in the smoking area near the bathrooms in the company of a chubby middle-aged redheaded smoker guy.  The chemistry here really struck me as father and daughter, but damn if the guy wasn’t the diametric opposite of what I would have expected this girl’s father to look like.  Maybe it was her mother who was either African-American or Hispanic.  I had no idea, but the mystery made the follow-up sighting that much more fascinating as I watched one of the youngest smokers of the day puffing away with her presumed father right in the middle of the smoking area, the context of which gave her a more girlish vibe than she had when I saw her smoking with her friend earlier.  And while she seemed more like daddy’s little girl in this setting, her smoking was anything but innocent, as she hit the cigarette just as aggressively as before showing incredible skill with her deep drags and follow-up exhales.  My phone had failed me for the earlier encounter with her and I only managed one pic, but the second chance gave me the opportunity for a few more shots this time.  They weren’t perfect because of the blur that comes with pics taken just before sunset, but I was grateful to get more than just the one.  She finished off the cigarette and tossed the butt in the ashtray, beating her father to the end of the cigarette by a good 30 seconds.  The follow-up show on this one was intriguing and adorable enough to land it as my third-favorite sighting of the day.

Looping around to another set of bathrooms leading up to the north side of the grounds, I checked out the area near the building with the AFL-CIO mural where I’d seen a few girls smoking last weekend and earlier today, and found my next customer amidst a trio of two guys and adorable early-to-mid 20s ponytailed brunette, all smoking cigarettes.  Sighting #99 was sitting on the ground next to her presumed boyfriend and they were isolated enough that I was able to sit pretty closely next to them with camera in hand, determined to get a shot of this cutie who didn’t look at all like a smoker.  But before I saw my first drag, she stood up, giving me a direct view of her cute denim miniskirt as she brushed the dirt off of her ass in the seconds after standing up.  The cute miniskirt was coupled with a purple and black top, and with that brown hair up in a ponytail, she was one of the most wholesome-looking cuties I’d seen that day.  At first I feared she’d surrender the cigarette too quickly, but she had a couple more drags to go and I was lucky enough to get a few decent pics that were largely in focus despite the darkening sky conditions.  And I was close enough to hear a money quote that matched the wholesomeness of her overall look as she then said to the guys in her group, “I hope nobody from camp sees me like this,” at which point one of the guys inquired about the context to which she responded that she led some kind of camp earlier that summer.  Now perhaps her reference to “seeing me like this” meant smoking a cigarette, raising the possibility she was just a social smoker having one with the guys.  Who knows…but she sure was making this sighting as fun and colorful as the mural she was leaning against as she took her final drag from the cigarette and then polluted it to the ground and stomped it out.  From there, she and the boyfriend took pics of the other guy in their group in front of this AFL-CIO mural…for some reason.  It was a solid extra-base hit that gave me some hope that maybe the night would go better than I gave it credit for.

I limped along for about a half hour with a modest sightings haul and just after 8 p.m. decided to make my evening trip through the midway.  The previous weekend I got my best journey down the Minnesota State Fair midway in many years, possibly ever.  I wasn’t particularly optimistic of a repeat performance as I embarked down the same path last night.  And while I didn’t get any new sightings of impressive girls, I did manage a final encore of the day’s top girl.  I was at the port-a-johns on the far western side of the midway where I knew there was a designated smoking area.  There was but one smoker standing there, but it was the right smoker…the same mid-20s brunette in the matching black T-shirt and pants (Sighting #48) who’d given me such electric and odorous sightings twice before.  This time she appeared to be waiting for the rest of her group to come out of the bathroom.  Since I was pretty sure she was on to me earlier in the night, I only walked past her once and then hovered from a distance to watch her show.  And I got to see a fair amount, her latest Camel Turkish Royal glowing bright in the evening sky as she dragged from it, continuing to produce ample smoke on her exhales and looking pretty as ever smoking by herself without her friends there.  She took a final drag and stood up, and I knew right away she’d be disposing of the butt as she had with her previous two cigarettes, but the way she got rid of this one was colorful.  The back of the midway must be one of the lowest-elevated parts of the fairgrounds as it was the only place that still had standing water from the rain earlier.  My brunette proceeded to bend down and extinguish her cigarette in the puddle of standing rainwater before continuing toward the community ashtray to formally be done with it.  I walked away with a smile after seeing this, not wanting to further push my luck being spotted by her friends group for whom I was already a little too familiar.  But damn if I didn’t have the timing right with this girl, seeing her smoke three different times at three different smoking areas.  I still wish I could have seen her on a nicer day where she’d have likely dressed in something sexier than this black T-shirt and jeans combo, but even after the second sighting I figured there was a good chance she’d be the top sighting of the day.  After this third sighting, she pretty much assured it.

And while I wouldn’t get any other sightings on the midway last night, it was nonetheless the opening volley to a very nice sightings boomlet that ignited just as I exited the midway and ventured around the beer gardens block, leading to my second-favorite sighting of the day.  As I walked along the north side of the beer gardens block taking in the female landscape, I focused my attention on a cluster of early 20s couples that included some hot girls, and one hot girl in particular.  I lurked for a few moments just in case a cigarette might show up, but it was when my eyes drifted slightly away from this cluster that they landed on the most adorable image I’d seen all day only a few feet to their right.  I’d been holding out all day for a face and body this tender and I finally found it in Sighting #113, this petite dark blond whose hair was braided in the back decked out in a hot pink top and black leggings.  If I had seen her from the back I’d have sworn she was 14 based on her body type.  Looking at her frontally, it was clear she was probably 21 but if there’s one thing I can guarantee it’s that she was IDed by the inevitably skeptical clerk when she went into purchase the pack of cigarettes which produced the one she was smoking now.  I can’t think of another time I’d seen a clearly adult woman trapped in an early teen girl’s body to this extent.  It was just an iconic image seeing this adorable little thing standing alone with a cigarette extended between her fingers while tending to her phone in the other hand.  The phone provided enough of a distraction for her that I was able to take pics, and despite it being after dark, I got some pretty good ones, both holding shots and dragging pics.  The smoking was very impressive too, her style very clearly the work of a regular smoker used to indulging her habit while texting, with that moment of distracted hesitation as the cigarette approached her lips followed by the indulgent suction as she dragged, the cherry of the cigarette glowing brighter than the hot pink of her blouse…..

And while the sighting didn’t have a distinctive storyline up until now, it got a bit interesting towards its end when the aforementioned mixed-gender group standing near her became interactive with my smoker girl.  At first I thought she was part of the group and just stepped aside for a smoke, but then it became clear they were perfect strangers and one of the guys was trying to bum one of her cigarettes.  The cigarette was almost gone and apparently she didn’t have more on her, so she proceeded to simply hand the guy what was left of her cigarette (a drag or two at most) and then walked toward the entryway of the open-air beer gardens building.  On one hand, I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to either see more of her smoking or be able to identify her brand, but on the other hand, she was now walking right past me en route to the bar, and I inhaled deeply hoping to get a whiff of smoke odor clinging to her tiny body.  I got a small trickle of tobacco odor from her as she walked past, at which point I looked over my shoulder to see her get back with her social group, which appeared to include a duo of early 20s guys and another girl who were all several inches taller and far less adorable than her.  And while I only managed a small scent of tobacco from her as she walked by, I was confident her nonsmoking friends were smelling quite a bit more from her as she stood right behind them in line.  Had I seen more smoking from this girl, she had the potential to clean up in this year’s end-of-season countdown, but even with the single cigarette I did get to see her smoke most of, she was my second favorite girl of the day, only a tick behind the three-cigarette brunette who was my favorite.

Venturing from the beer gardens block to Judson Avenue and heading toward the east side of the grounds, I’d hit pay dirt again in front of the International Bazaar as I came upon a duo of late 20s couples and taking note of the long-haired blond chick with a freshly lit cigarette between her fingers getting ready to sit down on the curb next to an even prettier brunette.  I was intrigued enough to stick around seeing the Sighting #114 blond with cigarette in hand but was greedy in that I wished that brunette was smoking too.  And wouldn’t you know it, a pack of Marlboro Lights was coming out of her purse.  The spot on the curb to her left was open and I seized it, readying my camera for a possible light-up pic even though I knew the darkness would be a problem.  At first I wouldn’t have expected the girls were drunk but they were sure behaving like they’d had a little too much to drink when they heard the piped-in music in the background to which the brunette responded, “I love Tom Petty!” and then the two of them shouted along to the chorus of “Breakdown” for a few moments before the brunette got around to lighting her cigarette.  It was a cute interlude and I was ready for her when the brunette put that Marlboro Light to her lips and officially became Sighting #115.  The pictures turned out great when she did, a solitary flame in the middle of the pic burning bright as she applied it to the end of the cigarette that allowed her to deliver the nicotine to her bloodstream that her body demanded.  She immediately took an extended no-handlebars dangling drag off the light-up which I also got on camera along with the blond dragging behind her.  The young ladies sat there for a few moments smoking, allowing me to observe their impressive styles as their nonsmoking boyfriends hovered in the background.  While a sedentary sighting would have been just fine by me here, I must say the sighting got even more interesting as the girls got up off the curb and the rest of their show went on the road…..

The smoking girls started heading west on Judson Avenue with their nonsmoking dudes, illegally dragging away on their cigarettes outside of designated smoking areas as they progressed.  The brunette was my favorite and the better smoker, taking a regular diet of intense drags–often no-handlebars dangling drags like the one she took fresh off the light-up–and then exhaling them recklessly. But the blond had a couple of moments of her own to shine, hand in hand with the nonsmoking boyfriend and at one point taking a deep drag and then leaning forward to share something with the brunette in front of her, a steady stream of smoke pouring out of her mouth and nose during the talking exhale to the brunette.  It was a great mobile show and I got to see nearly every drag from both of them, with neither of the boyfriends appearing to mind that their girls were smoking in such close proximity to them, the stench of their cigarette smoke filling the night air enough for me to smell and I wasn’t the one hand in hand with either of them like the guys were.  Alas, the boyfriends got in line for fair food while the girls sat on an open bench to finish their cigarettes.  I wasn’t able to watch the end of their show without awkwardly standing in front of them so I sat behind them and got a couple of close-up pics from behind, hoping to possibly catch one of them turn in mid-drag.  That didn’t happen and this closing image actually helped remind me why despite the great storyline and timing of this sighting that it wasn’t gonna go down as a legend.  The girls were decked out in an extremely conservative combination of sweatshirts and jeans, a reminder of the limitations of the day’s weather.  I could still get into the sighting, but seated behind them watching them finish off their cigarettes as though they were sitting at the bleachers of a high school football game was not the same as what I imagined the same sighting would have been the previous weekend with the girls showing off more of their bodies on a genuine summer night.  And while that may have stunted the potential of this sighting a tick, it was still a fantastic moment in time that kept the evening momentum going.  It was my fourth favorite sighting of the day and a contender for the year-end top-25.

I had an unexpected spring in my step as the 9:00 hour approached and I walked past the Leinie Lodge to see if there was any smoking going on in proximity to the evening concert.  Almost every year I get something here and tonight was no exception.  Immediately catching my eye was Sighting #116, an extremely wholesome early 20s light brunette smoking in the company of a nonsmoking guy.  I definitely would not have predicted smoking from this girl had I not came across her with a cigarette already between her fingers.  I took some photos, but they’re all pretty blurry unfortunately.  And as I began to look her over, I quickly noticed that her T-shirt had the name of the small southern Minnesota town where I went to high school.  This girl was probably 20 years younger than me so I didn’t recognize her, but I was intrigued at the prospect that this nicotine cutie probably graduated from my high school  She had a great body and her curves were brought out by the form-fitting leggings covering her bottom, all of which contributed to this solid extra-base hit sighting.  About half of the sighting played out standing there on the street near the Leinie Lodge, but after a bit she and the nonsmoking boyfriend crossed the street to the mostly empty seating area surrounding the food building.  Had I not made myself too familiar hovering during the standing portion of the sighting, I could have taken a bench right next to them and gotten a really close sighting of her continuing to smoke, but I was still pleased with being able to watch this sighting play out to its end, the nonsmoking boyfriend on the receiving end of her smoke in the most adorable way until she crushed it out on the berm and dropped the butt into the dirt behind her.

I headed to the grandstand area next and while the place wasn’t as lively as usual with the amateur talent show ongoing, I still stumbled upon yet another extra-base hit with yet another smoking female in the presence of nonsmoking guys.  Sighting #119 was a tall and very attractive blond whose long hair was braided going down her back.  I’d guess she was mid-20s as she had a very pretty face and a nice body with a black tanktop and a pair of jeans.  I was able to claim a seat overlooking the show and the blond smoked in the presence of these two nonsmoking guys and seemed way out of their league while doing so.  I was close enough to see a pretty good show from my seat but far enough away that the mid-evening pics I took weren’t great given the darkness.  Her style wasn’t distinctive in any way but she just looked so good with a cigarette, and her complete lack of inhibition smoking in the presence of these two guys only elevated its stature higher.  I got to see several drags before she dropped the all-white butt to the pavement and crushed it out, a butt I’d later identify as a Marlboro Light.  Neither of the two guys were worthy of this hot blond but I assumed the guy she was with was the taller guy to her left….but he walked away while the blond was in the company of this completely average joe who was a couple of inches shorter than her and she began walking away with him.  I was mildly obsessed with this gal and followed her a bit as she walked away next to this guy, appearing to be the alpha in the relationship as she asked him through her fresh cigarette breath if he wanted to ride the Skyride before they left.  This girl probably won’t make my year-end countdown but not for lack of IT factor.  Had I gotten any kind of second act from her or additional context she’d have been a shoo-in.

The surge of extra-base hits cooled a bit in the 9:00 hour after such a solid 8:00 hour, but heading back to the beer gardens block I’d score another sighting of a mid-20s blond with a long braid hanging down her back eerily similar to the last girl.  Sighting #127 didn’t quite have the presence of the previous girl but her overall look was similar, decked out in a light red top and light blue jeans with a ball cap on top of her head.  She was the only one smoking while walking down the block with another gal, and I enjoyed her moxie as she dragged from her cigarette while walking through this part of the grounds with no designated smoking area in sight, eventually coming upon a guy they both seemed to know who wasn’t smoking and then chatting with him, the braided-hair blond continuing to fill the air with her smelly carcinogens.  I managed to a few pics that aren’t great but aren’t terrible either, including one where she’s in mid-drag, her body really filling out those jeans nicely.  She dropped the cigarette to the pavement and they walked toward the midway, and I swooped in to identify the still-smoldering cork filter as a Marlboro Red Special Blend.

Drifting further south on the square block of beer gardens I spotted another duo of smokers, fronted by a cute late 20s blond who was for some reason wearing pink devil horns.  Sighting #128 was definitely the main draw as her brunette friend (Sighting #129) was pretty plain, and as the otherwise wholesome blond stood there impressively taking down her cigarette with solid drags and nice exhales, the question kept popping up in my head…..why is she wearing a pair of pink devil horns on her head over Labor Day weekend?  Below the pink horns and long blond hair, she wore a pink blouse and black leggings and the whole package came together for a nice sighting that I spent several moments observing until the blond finished her cigarette.

The night was winding down in its final half hour and while I knew I was heading for fewer than 150 sightings, I was still doing a fair amount better than expected going into the evening.  I decided to make another half-pass through the midway and was rewarded with a solid sighting when I did.  In the middle of a mixed-gender cluster in their early 20s that included a couple of hotties was a single smoker, this long-haired light brunette in a white tanktop and jeans wielding a cigarette between her fingers.  Sighting #136 wasn’t gorgeous but had a presence about her, appearing a bit more edgy than a girl next door and not necessarily surprising me to see the cigarette between her fingers.  Right away her moxie was tested as she took a drag from the cigarette and carelessly exhaled straight ahead into the circle of friends she stood with, a snootful of smoke exiting her face and dominating the airspace of everyone in the group.  Moments later, a couple within this cluster was formally introducing themselves to the smoker who shook their hands with her non-cigarette hand and said “nice to meet you” only seconds before taking another drag from the cigarette and obnoxiously exhaling into the crowd just like the last time, appearing to be oblivious to the unbelievable rudeness of it and not getting any response from anyone else in the group.  I arguably ended the evening with the most adorably obnoxious moment of the day, and the lighting in the carnival was just enough that I was able to score a couple of mediocre pics where you can see her face and upper body but not the cigarette.  As the couple who introduced themselves to my crude smoker girl walked away, the trio of girls in this group were all heading toward a carnival ride, the light brunette excitedly taking a final drag from the cigarette and then crushing it out beneath her shoe just before walking onto the platform of the midway ride.  The extinguished butt looked like a Camel Turkish Royal, a brand with surprising continued popularity in the Upper Midwest based on this fair season’s observations, and I confirmed that by what she left on the pavement.  It was a great sighting and definitely vindicated my decision to wander that half loop through the midway.

I was down to my final mini-loop around the grandstand area and then the beer gardens block before I had to meet the parents and I’d get one last sighting to leave an impression while encircling the beer gardens.  A mid-20s frizzy-haired blond with a Rosie the Riveter look was holding a mostly smoked cigarette between her fingers while standing in the company of two guys as I passed by.  Sighting #140 put a cherry on top of the electric presentation with a pair of pale blue jean shorts, the kind of outfit I’d wished I’d seen far more of on smoker girls yesterday.  Unfortunately, she was down to her last drag and while I got to see her to take it, it was still tough to watch her drop the cigarette to the pavement and crush it out, both since I’d have liked to have seen more from her and also because I knew she’d likely be the last girl of significance I’d see smoking during the 2019 fair season.

And I was right on both counts as I ventured to meet my parents from there and would get no additional sightings.  My feet were only now starting to get genuinely sore, having held up well through both long days at the Minnesota State Fair.  For much of September 1, 2019, I was prepared to put the day on par with my Labor Day weekend visit to the 2016 Minnesota State Fair, a day that just wasn’t coming together the way most MNSF days do in terms of producing memorable moments, but the solid evening showing definitely catapults yesterday ahead of that day in 2016.  It was by no means my favorite day at the Minnesota State Fair and paled in comparison to the heights reached the previous week, but by 10:30 p.m. as I left the ground I had come a helluva long way since 10:30 a.m. at the peak of the disruptive rainfall when the day looked like a full-blown disaster in the making.

As for the 2019 fair season as a whole, I mostly have positive feelings and churned out an impressive 712 sightings overall, with a solid top-25 list on the horizon for year’s end.  Two days in particular during this fair season, one in Iowa and one in Minnesota, were electric and felt like a time warp back to a decade ago when smoking was more prolific.  But the trendlines are troubling and are already manifesting themselves, with fewer girls under 21 smoking this year than I’ve ever seen in years past, and that’s before the pending tidal wave of Tobacco 21 laws that will inevitably be in place throughout the Midwest by next year.  I’ve always been partial to sightings of teen smoker girls, so their disappearing act casts quite a shadow and certainly moves the goalposts of what I would have considered a really good sightings day a decade ago.  Still, the attrition and aging out of the young female smoker population does not appear to occurring on an accelerated timeline, so I’m confident I’ll be back here next year with more fairgrounds sightings adventures.  It’s gonna be a long 11 months waiting for fair season to return though.

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2019 Minnesota State Fair, Day 1

In recent years I’ve tried to downplay expectations some at the Minnesota State Fair because of the hostile smoking culture and ridiculously high prices of Minnesota cigarettes.  Yet just about every year those expectations get exceeded.  Part of it is attendance as with more than 200,000 attendees at the Minnesota State Fair pretty much every decent-weather weekend day, there is just a greater likelihood that a number of them will be smokers.  Still, I can’t explain the explosive day of sightings I pulled off on August 24, 2019, a day that started good, stayed great, and ended with a flourish reflective of what I used to expect from nights at the MNSF a decade ago.  It wasn’t as though there was a ton of sightings that will be first-ballot Hall of Famers…it was just a steady litany of extra-base hits.  And defying all conventional wisdom to keep myself out of trouble, I took big risks with my camera and got big rewards, scoring decent-to-great pics of just about all of the worthwhile girls, even those I saw at night.  I ended up with 181 sightings, which isn’t that much above the recent average, but it’s reasonable to believe that number could have hit 200 if I wasn’t sidelined by so much quality, which is the best reason to fall short of numerical benchmarks!

The day got off to a rocky start.  Once again, I rode in with my parents as has been the family tradition going back to 1986.  The forecasted sunny and 77 was being stymied by a wave of early clouds, which for me always affects morale.  Furthermore, the fairgrounds parking lot filled up two cars before we were able to pull in….at 8:35 a.m.!  We then had to forage for private parking and ended up in someone’s driveway, walking even further than usual and going in a different gate, which was a wet blanket on my decadeslong traditions and a bit of a buzzkill.  I’d walk past one of the designated smoking areas and get my first sighting of the day within about a minute of arrival, but it was still gonna take a little while before I could shake the early disruption to my cherished routine.

But only about 20 minutes after arrival, I got my first indication that yesterday was gonna be something special when I walked up to the designated smoking area east of the grandstand and spotted a young hottie with a cigarette.  A trio of two guys a girl in their mid-20s were all standing near the community ashtray and the long-haired light brunette became Sighting #3 the second I laid eyes on her, decked out in this black mini-dress with some kind of stockings underneath.  She had serious potential for greatness but her show was brief as the cigarette was half-smoked when I arrived and I only saw three drags.  I readied my camera and scored a couple of quality dragging shots, but once I settled in to see her performance she was tossing the butt into the ashtray.  I admired her beauty one final time as she prepared to walk away, and even though I’d have preferred to have gotten more from her, I was still feeling great to have put my first major point on the board with such an impressive girl.

My good fortunes would continue as I proceeded to the smoking area in front of the dairy building on the fairgrounds’ south side.  Some years this smoking area doesn’t produce much of anything worth mentioning but it certainly had a couple of marquee moments this year.  At pretty much the same time, I spotted Sighting #4 with my left eye and Sighting #5 with my right eye.  Sighting #4 was a late 20s blond smoking with her mother.  Her long blond hair was in a ponytail and she was wearing a conservative flannel shirt and dark jeans.  It would have been harder for anyone to give off a more girl next door image and she definitely didn’t look like a smoker, but there she was puffing away with mom and I took a couple of dragging photos to prove it.  Her style was nice if not distinctive in any way and I got to see her smoke most of the cigarette before putting it out in the community ashtray.  This left me to Sighting #5, which started with a long-haired early-to-mid 20s light brunette holding an unlit cigarette in one hand and a platter of fair food in the other, approaching her boyfriend who was leaning against the dairy building wall smoking.  She simply couldn’t wait till she finished eating to smoke her cigarette and I’d get a yummy smoking while eating sighting as she lit up, alternating from a bite of her food to a drag from her cigarette, although to be fair it did seem like the food was the higher priority as she smoked pretty slowly.  She looked pretty badass with a pair of sunglasses coupled with a gray tanktop and dark jeans, and when she did take a drag it was delicious watching messy blobs of smoke exhaled into the airspace from which she was eating her food only seconds later.  I got a couple of holding pics from different directions but this was one of the sightings where I had an inexplicable camera fail and most of my pics didn’t take.  With as slowly as she was smoking I left before the show ended, but I continued to feel good about a time of day at the MNSF where that’s not always the case, scoring extra-base hit sightings before 10 a.m.!

One spot that’s been a gold mine in recent years is the alley separating the beer gardens block with the sheep building.  There’s a row of port-a-johns there which makes it an optimal place for a smoke break for fairgoers.  It was there I’d get a sighting of a duo of couples who looked early 30s and wore matching blue T-shirts, and at least one of whom were parents as there were two young boys and another baby in a stroller.  But for now the priority was nicotine as three of the four, including both women, were smoking.  The first to light up was a short-haired blond with a nice body, the lower half of which was draped in tight black leggings.  She became Sighting #10 when she lit up an all-white, and I got the light-up on camera.  Bending down beside her was a chubbier friend who looked and sounded Hispanic, digging through her bag and fetching a pack of Camels, requesting the blond’s lighter to become Sighting #11.  The Hispanic gal was more of a character and while I didn’t get the context, she muttered, “It’s still early!” through a talking dangle off the light-up, with smoke spraying from her face.  I only got one holding pic of her.  She was the better smoker of the two but the blond was more my type so I spent more time watching her as they both attended to their cigarettes till their completion.

But honestly I was a bit sidelined by both of their shows when I saw a familiar face sit to my right on the curb.  I recognized this girl as the younger of the two blond smokers who worked the Tom Thumb donut stand at my county fair earlier in the month.  The girl is blond and probably mid-20s but only moderately attractive, but from what I could see at the county fair I remembered her being a pretty good smoker.  She certainly lived up to that reputation and then some when she took out her pack of Camel Turkish Royals and lit up.  Sighting #12 tended to her phone and dangled that cigarette off the light-up for a good 90 seconds, taking multiple dangling drags from it before it ever left her mouth.  Unfortunately there were two people sitting between me and her on the curb so a photo was out of the question.  Still, it was a remarkable show and while she wouldn’t live up to that extended dangle again for the rest of the cigarette, it was still nice to be able to see her quality smoking performance from upclose compared to the challenging logistics behind the Tom Thumb truck where I’d seen her earlier in the month.

Heading back to the east of the grandstand, I saw a large mixed-gender group of mostly 20-somethings settling in on the pavement, and noticed that the middle-aged woman who I presumed was one of their mothers and a couple of the guys were lighting up cigarettes.  But how about the cute light brunette in the black tanktop and jean shorts with her back to me?  I didn’t have much time to ponder before I spotted a cigarette get inserted into her mouth and lit up to make her Sighting #16.  The girl was probably early-to-mid 20s and struck a downscale resemblance to an early 2000s-era Avril Lavigne, and it didn’t surprise me a bit that she was a smoker.  I couldn’t tell if the young boy roaming around in her presence was hers or not, but the boy was surely getting subjected to his fair share of secondhand smoke both from the brunette and the others in the group.  A modestly attractive auburn-haired gal in the same general age range would soon light up to become Sighting #17, but my attention was still primarily on the original girl and I struggled to get a decent photo in from a variety of awkward angles as she took her impressive and timely drags, always turning her head skyward to exhale a generous snootful of smoke.  Finally I was able to get one even if it wasn’t too upclose.  Lastly, a mid-20s blond entered the group having just purchased some fair food….and then she lit up too becoming Sighting #18.  She was modestly attractive and most of my attention was centered on #16 so I didn’t even notice until a couple of minutes into her cigarette that she was very pregnant.  I think I’ve seen more heavily pregnant smokers this fair season than in the last five combined…and this wouldn’t even be the only one yesterday.  When the light brunette finished hers off, it was time for me to split, but I was very satisfied with what would be the largest group of smokers I’d see of the day, which spanned at least two generations with the middle-aged woman in the mix.

Heading back to the beer gardens block I’d score one of my better finds of the day as I came across what I suspect was a father and daughter pairing where only the daughter was smoking.  Sighting #21 was in mid-cigarette, a cute early 20s blond wearing a cowgirl hat, a black blouse, dark jean shorts, and boots with an orange sweater covering up her arms on the cool morning.  It was quite an image, especially when coupled with the cigarette she was aggressively dragging near the curb, her middle-aged father waiting as his daughter destroyed her lungs.  I got a few quality dragging shots and a holding shot, but unfortunately the show was short-lived as I only got to see three drags before she leaned down and crushed out the cigarette on the curb, denying me the butt ID and walking away with dad.  This girl was more than worthy of year-end honors but I needed to see more from her, which unfortunately I wouldn’t get.  However, all I had to do was turn the corner into the aforementioned alley behind the beer gardens block and I’d get another sighting that when coupled together with this one just might have the chops to make my top-25….

Lighting up a fresh cigarette was Sighting #22, a cute and wholesome-looking dark blond in her mid 20s sporting a red flower-print top and tight-fitting medium blue jeans with two young boys in tow that looked like twins.  She was kind of hidden on a barrier in the alley where she sat to smoke, but there’s a convenient set of steps closeby to sit and observe while pretending to be texting, and that’s where I went.  The dark blond knew how to make a good first impression as she put the cigarette in her lips for an extended no-handlebars dangling drag, letting it hang there for a good 15 seconds and allowing me to score a sweet pic.  From there, a new player emerged in what I suspect was her overweight 50-something mother, announcing aloud that she was “stopping for a cigarette”, the chemistry between the two very clearly that of mother and daughter.  I continued to observe this cute daughter taking down her cigarette drag by glorious drag, and while she wouldn’t duplicate that epic dangling drag, her continued body of work still impressed with deep drags and cloudy exhales, an awesome example for a couple of young boys who just might grow up with the fetish.  She squashed the cigarette on the cement barrier she sat on and dropped it to the ground.  I could see it was a cork filter but never got an ID.  Securing her stature as among this year’s premier class of nicotine hotties, I’d see this girl again a full 12 hours later, smoking in the company of a guy in front of the beer gardens block.  She was one of the first girls I saw smoking during the day and the very last as I was heading to the fairgrounds exit when I saw her, and it was great getting two separate contexts for her smoking show.  I’d probably say the first girl smoking with dad was my favorite of the two I’m coupling together here since I saw them so close together, but I certainly saw the most from the second girl and the two of them complemented each other enough that I suspect there’s a good chance they’ll make my year-end top-25.

Along Judson Avenue and in front of the DNR building is a set of water fountains that I regularly walk toward for a drink over the course of the day.  When I did so just after noon yesterday, I spotted a young couple sitting in a shaded, wooded area behind the drinking fountain, and noticed the woman was smoking.  When I finished my drink, I walked their way to see Sighting #26 was a late 20s or early 30s long-haired light brunette in a black tanktop and leggings, having a cigarette while her nonsmoking boyfriend or husband waited.  I got a holding pic but it’s not that great and stuck around for a few drags.  I’ve seen sightings are just about every location imaginable over the last quarter century at the Minnesota State Fair, but I can safely say this was the first time I saw a woman smoking at this spot behind the drinking fountains.

Heading to the area around the Space Tower on the east side of the fairgrounds, I got my kind of sighting in Sighting #27, even though the woman was a bit of a plain jane.  She was a mid-30s brunette in a black tanktop and jean shorts standing by herself and smoking a decent-sized cigar.  There was an open set of bleachers near her and I took a seat, watching as she puffed away on her cigar in a way that seemed habitual and not just some gimmick for the day at the fair.  I was too far away to get great pics but I snapped several decent ones that might turn out when I crop and edit them.  I stayed for a good five minutes and watched her drag from this cigar, recognizing it was taking her away from activities at the fair since it would take a while to smoke and she was gonna stand here the whole time she smoked it.  Amazingly, I walked down the midway a little over an hour later and when I wandered into the midway’s smoking area, there she was chatting away with a middle-aged cigarette smoker with another freshly lit cigar.  We’re not talking some Swisher or Black ‘N’ Mild here.  This was a decent-sized cigar that she had just lit.  She and the woman stepped behind a carnival stand to smoke, making it hard to keep tabs on her, so I left after a couple of minutes, but this is the first time since my iconic 2008 cigar-smoking babe that I’ve seen a state fair gal smoke more than two cigars on the same day.  Considering they were only about an hour apart, who knows how many total she smoked yesterday.  She wasn’t really my type but it was still very sexy.

One of my briefest sightings of the day that nonetheless satisfied was Sighting #30, a mid-20s brunette in a black tanktop and flower-print shorts sitting on the berm east of the grandstand smoking.  She was smiling as she looked onward to a woman with a child in a stroller and I originally thought they were at the fair together, but would later find out they weren’t and it was likely the smoker’s biological clock at work.  Anyway, I was readying my camera for a pic when I noticed my dad was calling to let me know about something he thought I should look for at the fair.  The conversation was brief, but still long enough that by the time I was off the phone, the brunette was crushing out her cigarette on the cinder block and walking away by herself.  This would be one of the few “D’oh!” moments of the day where I mostly missed a sighting that had tremendous potential, but I was still very happy to see she was a smoker.

I’d been having great success with sightings of girl-next-door types, but the next sighting of note would give me a needed fix of smoking glamour as I approached the always-crowded smoking area near the main bathroom area east of the beer gardens.  A presumed family of fairgoers was hanging out together but the two smoking cigarettes were the ones who most interested me, a presumed mother-daughter sighting with a middle-aged mother and a smoking hot blond daughter in her early-to-mid 20s who were both smoking cigarettes.  Sighting #36’s golden blond hair hung over her shoulders onto a lavender top expanded in the chest by her ample breasts, with a pair of pale blue jean shorts on the bottom and some of the smoothest and tannest legs I’d seen all day coming out of the shorts.  I got a holding pic with her legs uncrossed right away and then took advantage of the open spot next to her on the berm.  With her legs now crossed, I just loved being so close to such a sexy female body, but since her head was turned to mom I wasn’t gonna get to see any smoking from this angle, so I stood back up to my original location and hit the jackpot, scoring great photos of the cigarette approaching her mouth and then wrapping her sexy lips around it for a drag.  With photos out the way, I was then able to just observe mom and daughter bond over cigarettes for the final few drags, the chemistry between the two of them enhancing an already delicious visual with a haze of smoke filling the airspace around them. The daughter crushed her all-white out below her feet, which I was later able to identify as a Marlboro Light, before the group of four got up to leave.  And while this sighting was solid enough to be among my top-seven or so of the day, it was still a little heartbreaking to see the gorgeous 21ish light brunette in the group, possibly a sister, who didn’t smoke.  She was just as hot if not a tick more so than the blond smoker, but when getting sightings of blonds this hot, you can’t get too damn greedy!

I was maintaining a brisk pace of sightings all day, and on the other side of the beer gardens block at some point in the 1:00 hour, I got a sighting of a cluster of country-looking young adults in a cluster where only one was smoking, an early 20s light brunette in a blouse and jeans that look like they came straight off of a hog farm.  Sighting #46 was cute though and I spotted her in the midst of her group, attempting and scoring a photo of her in one of the final drags from the cigarette, exhaling amidst the crowd.  Eventually she dropped the cigarette to the pavement and crushed it out before publicly dropping a lugie from her mouth which landed perfectly on the cork filter cigarette she just polluted.  It was a cute showing, and when she turned back around, I noticed the pack of Camels tucked into the back pocket of her jeans.  Unfortunately this sighting had an unhappy ending as the dragging pic I got from it just disappeared.  The only thing I can think of is I erased it via pocket dial, which has happened to a couple of my photos before.  I try to take a snapshot of the ground after every great pic to protect against that but it doesn’t appear to have helped here.  There were other pics that would have been harder to see get erased than this one, but it still sucked.

It was just about 2:00 and I was hustling past the haunted house to try to get in front of the daily fairgrounds parade at 2:00 before it headed the same direction I was going….and I just did with the horses and marching bands literally following me a few yards behind.  But the best-laid plans never work out, and in this case, as I was walking past the International Bazaar, here stood this 20-something blond smoker in a familial cluster who I just had to get a better look at.  Sighting #48 was the only one smoking in her group which consisted of a black or mixed race boyfriend and a white older couple which were probably her parents.  She had shoulder-length blond hair with some cool-looking sunglasses, a bright orange tube top showing off her bare shoulders, and a pair of black pants.  But her main attraction was the cigarette she held in the opposite hand of her beer and attended to regularly.  I thought I had gotten at least one dragging pic but perhaps it was erased with the #46 pic because the three shots I have are all holding pics, but they’re all very nice as was her smoking show, with solidly timed drags and skyward-directed exhales that she spared her family and boyfriend from as much as possible.  I stayed for a half dozen or so drags and then took off, having to make up some ground to get ahead of that parade as it migrated further into the east side of the grounds.  It would take a couple of blocks but I pulled it off.

I mentioned before that I’ve gotten more pregnant smoker sightings this fair season than in the last five fair seasons combined, and the marquee pregnant smoker sighting yesterday was Sighting #50 at the Heritage Square smoking area on the northwest side of the grounds.  It was a young couple who already had two kids, one young enough to be in a stroller, and both were smoking upon arrival, the late 20s woman in the final weeks of her presumed third pregnancy but still smoking a cigarette publicly with her husband.  The couple was pretty downscale and there was nothing glamorous about the sighting, but the light brunette woman was still pretty cute and the brazen inappropriateness of her performance was a cheap thrill.  She was sitting down, like the other four pregnant smoker sightings I got this season, and partially behind a tree in one direction and a stroller in the other so pics were a huge challenge.  I’d never get a dragging pic but got a good frontal shot and some nice holding shots.  The way she smoked it was obvious that she’d consumed nicotine slavishly through her previous two pregnancies as well as this one.

I’ve mentioned before that I see a lot more Asian women smoking than the statistics would suggest likely and with an abundant Asian population in Minnesota, I scored several yesterday.  The first to really impress was Sighting #57, an early-to-mid 20s girl who may have been mixed race as her features were not as ethnic as most, but she clearly had some Asian lineage and had an Asian boyfriend.  She also had a cigarette and a killer presentation in a white and black sweatshirt and a pair of sexy white shorts with a button fly that really accentuated her curves and showed off her smooth legs.  A pair of studious glasses really complemented the image as the girl stood there adorned in virginal white in front of a filthy community ashtray smoking an all-white cigarette.  I could tell from the rings of her cigarette that she was smoking a Marlboro Light Menthol and while she didn’t necessarily show any distinctive smoking features, the show was spectacular as she glammed up what is otherwise the most disgusting designated smoking area on the grounds.  I got a number of pics, including holding pics, dragging pics, and when she finished her cigarette and tossed it into the ashtray, I got a couple of nonsmoking frontal pics for good measure to make sure I had a full body shot of such a sexy girl in such nice-fitting white shorts.  And I had some time to do so because she finished off her cigarette a couple of minutes sooner than her boyfriend.

Another sighting with some distinctive personality was Sighting #61 in the smoking area east of the grandstand where a couple in their late 20s or early 30s was crouched down against a tree trunk and the brunette girl was preparing cigarettes for the two of them.  Far as I could tell, she broke it in half, keeping the unfiltered part for herself and handing the boyfriend the filter and the rest of the cigarette.  She had a slender body draped in a jean jacket and very tight leggings on the bottom, with a baseball cap covering her long brown hair.  The pic is partially cut off but I mostly scored a pic where she was lighting up.  After lighting up, she was pretty hard core about the smoking of the makeshift unfiltered cigarette, placing it in her mouth for an extended dangle and dangle-dragging from it with the cigarette centered between her lips.  This image was particularly delicious seeing her crouched down in those skin-tight leggings, her curves on full display.  She seemed to be aware of me by the time I got my last pic in of her in mid-dangle, so I decided I should split a couple of minutes earlier than I’d have preferred to.

The smoking area by the main bathroom area would deliver again next as I came across a cluster of friends where a curly-haired redhead emerged from the women’s bathroom eager to get in on the cigarette smoking of the guys in the group who were waiting for her.  One of the guys opened a pack of American Spirits and handed one to her, which she would soon light to become Sighting #66.  Her presentation was very sexy, with some badass sunglasses, that long mane of red hair flowing onto her right shoulder and onto the low-fitting white tube top barely concealing her breasts with a pair of medium-blue daisy dukes on the bottom showing off her legs and the curves of her hips, ass, and crotch.  Her smoking performance was without bells and whistles beyond her overall top-shelf presentation, but the presentation made it and I documented the sighting with pics of her being handed the cigarette by the guy friend, and a trio of dragging shots from different angles, my favorite being the one where you can see her body in that outfit as she sits down near the ashtray.

Next would come one of my top-five sightings of the day and it was quite unusual in a few different ways.  As I approached the smoking area near the dairy building, I spotted two ponytailed young Asian women, both quite attractive, with freshly lit cigarettes.  The first my eyes would land on was Sighting #70, who was in her mid-20s and sporting a black tanktop and jean shorts.  But as I took a few steps closer, I noticed Sighting #71, the even hotter early-to-mid 20s girl in pink-rimmed sunglasses, a bare midriff black top and this impossibly sexy pair of white shorts that had a fish scale pattern on the crotch that was just gorgeous in drawing attention to her shapely lower body.  My first instinct was naturally that they were friends smoking together, but I’d soon find out otherwise.  And as luck would have it, there was an open seat on the bench right next to them where I could watch the show and snap pics from a seated position with minimal risk.  The early part of the show was great, with both women visibly great smokers with well-timed drags and producing some deep exhales.  Most of my attention was directed to the flashier-looking girl in the pink sunglasses with the white shorts, but if this sighting had one drawback it’s that she had some sweatshirt tied around her waist.  Now it was quite cool yesterday morning so I get it, but those white shorts she was wearing were so sexy that it’s a shame they weren’t fully advertised.  Whatever the case, worlds were about to collide in this sighting in the sexiest possible way….

The girl in the white shorts was dragging from her cigarette but suddenly not appearing to get any smoke.  It was at that point she made eye contact with the jean-shorted girl and asked if she could borrow her lighter.  The jean-shorted girl happily obliged and the white-shorted counterpart lightheartedly kept the interaction alive saying “I don’t know what went wrong here” in reference to the cigarette that went out on her, adding “Maybe I’m just scared off from the flicking or something” as if she didn’t apply the flame to the cigarette forcefully enough the first time.  I was snapping great pics left and right, with smoke rising from one girl’s cigarette at the same time as it was blasting out of the face of another.  They didn’t interact again after the lender got her lighter back, but the show went on and it was delicious, the bulk of my attention directed toward that sexy girl in the white shorts.  But if there was any risk of the jean-shorted girl getting overshadowed, she made sure to keep relevant when, in the final throes of her cigarette, some middle-aged nonsmoking white guy standing behind her gestured her way nonverbally.  In response, the jean-shorted smoker girl started communicating with him in sign language!  Apparently she was a chaperone for a group of deaf people and she made them stop so she could indulge in a cigarette break!  Now I’ve seen smoker girls doing a lot of things with cigarette in hand….but this is the first time I’ve ever seen one engaging in sign language!

The jean-shorted girl stubbed her cork-filter cigarette out into the community ashtray first and headed off with a couple guys, who I presumed were both deaf.  The white-shorted girl stubbed her own cork-filter cigarette out a moment later in the exact same spot and started walking off the other direction by herself.  That’s the beauty part of fetishing at these fairgrounds.  You know you’re gonna find some sexy smoker girls filling up their lungs with carcinogens, but you never know what kind of side story you might run into, and this was one of the coolest.  Again, one of my top-five sightings of an impressive day and probably my best sighting ever that involved smoker girls of color.

The hits kept coming as I walked down the block past the International Bazaar and stumbled upon what I assumed was a mother and daughter even though they didn’t look at all alike.  The mother, middle-aged and gray-haired, was the only one smoking as I approached, and for some reason I assumed since the mother was already lit that the daughter wouldn’t follow suit even though she was digging through her purse.  I nonetheless kept my eye on them and was a bit surprised when a pack of Marlboro Reds came out of the daughter’s purse.  Before I had time to get my camera ready to take a pic of the light-up, she’d already become Sighting #73.  The daughter was mid-20s with a very Irish look, her long red hair in a ponytail and her fair-skinned shoulders on full display with a green tube top and a pair of dark jeans below.  I got a few holding pics and a pic of the Reds pack going back into her purse but didn’t get a dragging pic for this one.  I stood by and watched the show and the women were definitely quality smokers, even if their jabbering slowed their pace longer than I’d prefer.  When the daughter did drag though, she produced a very impressive amount of smoke.  They definitely noticed me so I moved across the street hoping to watch the rest of the show, but when they still noticed me there it was time to split.  Luckily, I’d see them a couple of blocks to the north only an hour or so later breaking out their packs of cigarettes for another round.  They were on to me so I could only watch so much, but I zigged and zagged a little and made eyes their way at integral times to catch a couple more drags.  Gotta love when mother and daughter smoke together this day and age.

It was the second half of the afternoon now which is typically when the sightings numbers really hit their stride at the Minnesota State Fair and such would be the case yesterday.  Looping all the way back around to the south side on Judson Avenue, I was walking near the entryway for the go-karts when I spotted a group of four 20-somethings where the only one smoking was a decently attractive blond girl.  Now I’ve seen people smoking here in other recent years but it’s not a designated smoking area, but Sighting #81 sure treated it like it was.  After another minute or so, her group just took off, and she brought the cigarette with her.  The blond friend asked for a drag and got one to become Sighting #82.  Even the starting point of this sighting was an area where smoking was not allowed, but now these two were progressing onto the busiest street of the grounds and filling the airspace with cigarette smoke for the hordes of innocent fairgoers to choke on.

Usually two times per day on the average trip to the Minnesota State Fair, once in the morning and once in the late afternoon, I explore the sparser north side of the grounds, which has a legacy of being “Machinery Hill” even though there’s not much machinery there anymore.  It was time for a north side run yesterday around 4:45.  I’ve gotten a number of iconic sightings here over the years and there’s four designated smoking areas up there, but it’s not without risk because it’s a 20-minute round-trip walk and sometimes you get nothing at all.  I was just beginning to embark on my afternoon north side tour when I’d get my best sighting of the stretch outside of the bathroom complex where I saw a hot blond standing by herself smoking.  Sighting #85 was mid-to-late 20s with long blond hair, badass sunglasses, a gray tanktop, and pale pink shorts covering a fantastic ass.  This was gonna be a treat, I thought to myself as I approached watching her take a drag, and then responding with horror as she prematurely dropped the cigarette to the pavement and crushed it out.  She began to walk back toward the bathroom when I approached her discarded butt and identified it as a Marlboro Red.  Even seeing only one drag was better than nothing but it was a real shame such a glamorous girl finished her show so quickly.  I got a couple quick post-cigarette profile pics afterward just to capture her image, and moments later her boyfriend came and they walked off.  I guess this should have been my clue that the north side would not be kind to me yesterday afternoon.  I’d get three more sightings on the walk up and down the long blocks, but all mediocres.

The grandstand act for the evening was country star Dierks Bentley and I figured he’d draw a demographically favorable crowd.  There weren’t a ton of girls I can directly attribute to coming to his show but one that I could was Sighting #96 standing on the west side of the grandstand near the designated smoking area there.  A big cluster of family and/or friends were hovering there, a cluster that didn’t make much since to be connected when looking at them.  There were a couple of really hot early 20s girls in the group but none of them smoked.  One of the guys and one of the gals smoked, and while Sighting #96 wasn’t one of my favorites of the gals in the group, she wasn’t bad, appearing to be late 20s with long light brown hair and wearing a gray blouse and blue jeans.  What caught my eye was her dangling-heavy style, standing there with the cigarette hanging from her mouth as she talked with the group, particularly the guy I assumed to be her boyfriend or husband.  The cigarette stayed in her mouth for pretty close to the majority of the cigarette and I managed a couple of photos where she’s talking with the group with the cigarette hanging from her lips as she spoke and rummaged through her money for probable fair concessions.

Next I would return to that beautiful alleyway behind the beer gardens block to find another winner in Sighting #97, one of the most wholesome-looking smoker girls of the day.  She was a petite, long-haired light brunette who could have passed for 18 if not for the older guys she was sitting next to who both looked mid-20s, and I assumed one of them was her boyfriend.  She wore a banana yellow blouse and jean shorts, a combination that really served her image well as she smoked with the boys looking very much unlike the conventional stereotype of a smoker.  I sat on the same set of stairs where I was able to get pics of Sighting #22 earlier in the day, again scoring some dragging shots of this girl.  There wasn’t much of a storyline but I watched her smoke the cigarette to its completion, drop the butt behind her, and then walk off with the guys.  Definitely one of the sweeter faces of the day with a cigarette hanging out of it.

Fair warning in advance that my next big sighting won’t be everybody’s cup of tea…but for me it was the sighting of the day.  Nothing jumped out at me as being too exceptional as I approached the designated smoking area east of the grandstand right after 6:00, but there was a bench in the middle of the smoking area occupied by two redheads.   I’m leaning toward them being mother and daughter but I can’t say for sure as the older gal still looked really good and if she was the mother of the younger girl who was definitely in her early 20s, then way to go, mom, because you’re holding up great.  Their body language certainly suggested mother and daughter though and I’ll operate under the assumption that they were.   Mom was smoking a cigarette and the daughter was smoking a tipped Black ‘N’ Mild cigar, making them Sightings #110 and #111.  Now I’m partial to cigars of any kind and to see a young gal smoking one publicly in the presence of her cigarette-smoking mom was always a treat, even if the daughter wasn’t entirely my type, with long red hair held up in a ponytail with a blue bandana tying the hair together on her head.  She was very obviously of Irish lineage with very fair complexion that was fully on display in her black tube top showing off several inches of bare shoulders and bare midriff above a pair of tight dark blue jeans on the bottom.  The ginger look isn’t necessarily my style, but she was pretty and was hard to look away from.  Mom had long reddish hair as well but I’m guessing she was even more conventionally attractive in her heyday than her daughter was now.  Mom could pass for 32 even now though I suspect she was probably at least 40 given that her daughter was old enough to be sitting there with a beer….and of course a cigar.   This sighting was always poised to be an extra-base hit as the dynamic was sexy as hell and I was taking a number of photos, primarily capturing the daughter as she took semiregular drags from her smelly cigar but also getting mom in mid-drag on one occasion.  I figured I’d stand there and watch about three or four minutes of the daughter’s cigar smoking and then move on, but the sighting just kept getting wilder and more impossible to break away from….

At one point a couple of minutes into the sighting, a middle-aged female fairgrounds worker stepped into the area for a cigarette and stood near the mother and daughter, striking up a conversation that I couldn’t hear.  They seemed to be enjoying each other’s company, but for whatever reason in the middle of this conversation the daughter placed the plastic tip of her cigar in her mouth and just let it hang there, no-handlebars dangle-dragging the cigar while in conversation.  It was a decidedly unfeminine showing…and it almost seemed like performance art for the benefit of this middle-aged fairgrounds worker gal talking to them.  This went on a good two minutes, with the cigar remaining planted in the daughter’s mouth and semiregular drags belching out of her face and filling up the whole area with smoke right around the time mom finished her cigarette.  I took a few more pics of this and most are decent, but the sun angle was such that there’s some interference.  But that same sun that took a little away from photos lent itself to a gonzo closing act of the sighting.  My redheaded cigar smoker in the tube top with the fully exposed shoulders was already showing some signs of sunburn but her mom was about to play the role of good mother hen and take care of her little girl.  Mom handed the daughter a squeeze bottle of sunblock and the daughter was starting to spread it over her own arms, but then mom got up and stood behind the daughter, spreading the sunblock all over her daughter’s shoulders and upper back.  For her part, the daughter kept that cigar parked in her mouth the whole time, dragging incessantly with one end of her mouth while belching out wave upon wave upon wave of filthy cigar smoke from the other.  The entire smoking area was being overtaken by the massive haze of cigar smoke this ginger was pumping out, but nobody was getting it worse than her loving mother standing over her and applying that sunblock.  Clearly no good deed goes unpunished as she was absolutely choking on her daughter’s cigar smoke to the point where I’m surprised she could ever see her shoulders enough to put the sunblock on!  Meanwhile, the middle-aged fair worker lady was still talking to them!

I was scoring pics left and right of this but put the camera down to take the opportunity to walk through this wall of cigar smoke the daughter was producing and was intoxicated on the deliciously foul aroma.  Now the daughter was spreading more sunblock on her own face, working around the cigar that was still clutched between her teeth and still pumping out smoke from her mouth.  Sunblock typically has a pretty pungent smell, but nobody would be smelling sunblock on this girl as she was gonna reek of cigar smoke for the next couple of hours!  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen cigar smoking this aggressive before and particularly given the context with the mother and the fair worker on the receiving end of this smoke assault, it was unbearably sexy.  I suspect that part of the reason the daughter was supersmoking this cigar was that mom had finished her cigarette and was ready to leave the smoking area, but the daughter wanted to get as much of the cigar smoked as possible.  After a good 10 minutes of this first-rate show, the pair finally got up off of their bench and the daughter approached the community ashtray with her mostly smoked cigar.  Her body was pretty nice when she stood up, that bare midriff now on full display in a way it wasn’t when she was sitting down, and that fiery red hair giving her a distinctive look that I had to admit had won me over.  There was plenty of good material to work with yesterday, but this one was easily my favorite.  The wacky storyline and emerging background players coupled with the novelty of a daughter smoking a cigar in front of a cigarette-smoking mother was just the cherry on top of what was already a delicious sundae.

It would be awhile before I found anything else of that caliber but the 6:00 hour is typically primetime for Minnesota State Fair smoker girls and yesterday was no exception, particularly in the grandstand area where I suspect many of these smokers were having final smokes before the Dierks Bentley concert.  The next gal to impress was Sighting #121, a brunette who looked about 30 who I caught a glance at walking by and thought I saw something white and cylindrical in her hand as she talked to a large social group that included some young children.  I approached to see if my hunch was right and it was, an unlit cigarette cupped in her hand along with a lighter.  But it was clear she was not gonna light this thing until she was away from the family with children, so then it became a question of how long was I gonna wait for her.  It was hard to define her appeal as she wasn’t that much of a standout in beauty or appearance with long brown hair, a black tanktop, and blue jeans, but she had the look of a hard-core smoker girl so I figured she’d be worth my while.  The family with kids separated from her after about a minute, and even then she didn’t light up, but she and a female friend were walking toward the smoking area east of the grandstand so I figured she’d make her stand there.  And I was right as she was a few steps from the smoking area when she lit up, her body clearly bursting at the seams with a nicotine craving that had to be quickly fed.  She moved around a lot making it hard to get photos but I got a couple that aren’t too bad, including of her in mid-drag with a large plume of smoke spilling from her face.  My instinct was right based on her attractive but slightly ragged appearance that she was a pretty hard-core smoker as she laid into that cigarette and never let up with well-timed drags and cloudy, messy exhales, at one point taking a bite of fair food offered to her by her overweight and nonsmoking friend.  Within about three minutes, she finished the cigarette off and walked off with the friend, and I was pleased with the show and with my instinct for keeping tabs on her and recognizing she’d be worth a little bit of time investment.

Also in the vicinity of the grandstand area, the next sighting came quite a bit easier as walking by an area not designated for smoking, a cluster that mostly consisted of attractive young women had one smoker amongst them.  Sighting #124 was a cute mid-20s dark brunette with long hair flowing onto a pale pink blouse and form-fitting leggings on the bottom.   Because of her location, photos would be a cinch as all I had to do was lean against a tree overlooking her and snap a few shots in isolation with virtually no chance of being seen.  I caught her in mid-drag twice.  She was a very attractive smoker with a decent smoking style, but I didn’t have as much time to linger as I’d have preferred as it was approaching 7:00 and I needed to meet my parents, so I watched a couple more drags and then headed toward the primary information booth area where we meet every week for some chocolate chip cookies and to touch base.

My goal is to have between 110 and 125 sightings on a given day at the Minnesota State Fair when I meet my parents and I was at 127 last night, which was impressive considering that baseline I set was from more than a decade ago when there were a lot more young females smoking generally.  Did it portend a massive haul of evening sightings on the horizon?  Probably not, I told myself, as in recent years the pace of sightings declined after dark at the Minnesota State Fair, a sharp reversal from a decade ago when the sightings started to skyrocket after dark.  I have a theory as to why evening sightings aren’t what they used to be, largely due to the fact that Minnesota’s smokers are disproportionately from the state’s rural areas who are more likely to be at the fair during the day and be heading home in the late afternoon or early evening, while those staying till midnight are more likely from the Twin Cities where smoking has been in freefall in recent years.  But right when you think you have things all figured out, life throws you a curveball, and in this case that curveball would come in the form of my best evening sightings haul at the Minnesota State Fair in several years, probably at least since 2013.  And it started before I even broke away from my parents….

The information booth area near where I typically meet my parents has been known to be a refuge for smokers seeking a nicotine fix even though it’s not part of a designated smoking area, meaning I always keep my head turning to make sure I’m not missing a smoker hanging out there.  In this case, on a cement slab adjacent to where my parents sat was a light brunette who looked very classy and professional lighting up a cigarette to become Sighting #128.  I quickly made an excuse to separate from the folks and did some fancy footwork to circle behind them hoping to get a better look at this brunette while hoping I’d avoid detection by my parents.  Complicating things further, I had a half full glass of Dr. Pepper in my hand making picture-taking a one-handed affair.  Anyway, the girl appeared late 20s and had a more upscale aura about her than most of the other smoker girls I’d been observing yesterday, decked out in a blue tanktop with a pair of tannish-white pants below.  She was smoking an all-white cigarette and looked like a time warp going back two decades or more when a girl as classy-looking as her would still smoke publicly, and in an illegal area no less.  Her smoking style was solid, with a nice litany of well-timed drags and exhales, but I could see the show was nearing its end as her cigarette got smaller and smaller, and I wanted a photo.  It was getting to be the time of the evening just before sunset where photos are blurrier, so two of the three pics I took weren’t great, but the third one is an okay holding shot, albeit partially obstructed by the glass of Dr. Pepper I was holding.  I should mostly be able to crop that out.  Whatever the case, with better timing, this one could have been among the day’s best as this girl was certainly capable of it.  For now, she’ll just have to settle for being among the top extra-base hit sightings over the years that were sabotaged by my presence in the company of my parents for our 7:00 touching of bases.  Still, it was only 7:15 and I had more than three hours of fetishing left to make up for it…and boy would I.

The Dierks Bentley crowd was now starting to pour into the grandstand so I ticked off a few mediocre sightings walking near the grandstand gates, but my next memorable sighting came when I walked the block south from the grandstand to the beer gardens block and saw an early 20-something friends group of at least eight sitting on the curb next to one another.  Two in the group were smoking cigarettes.  One was a guy in the middle of the cluster and the other was a sexy blond sitting on the far left.  Sighting #132 had a pretty face and was wearing a black tanktop and a medium blue miniskirt.  I wished I could have seen more but could tell when I sat down that the majority of her cigarette was already consumed.  I only caught the last two drags but they were fun while they lasted…and I got one dragging pic out of it.  She squashed the cigarette on the curb and it was obviously a Camel Turkish Royal based on the blond filter.  After finishing the cigarette, she stood up and sidled herself toward one of the female friends sitting in the middle of the lineup.  It was sexy seeing her vertical in that miniskirt and sexier yet that she approached the nonsmoking friend with her fresh cigarette breath.

As I moved next closer to the block of beer gardens, I came upon another cluster of early-to-mid 20s friends walking down the block where once again, the only one smoking was a cute blond.  Despite the silly tattoo she had on her upper arm, Sighting #133 was a great find and struck me by how wholesome she looked decked out in a red T-shirt and jean shorts and carrying a schoolgirl-like backpack, illegally walking the streets of the fairgrounds with cigarette in hand and smoking it amidst this dense crowd of friends who had no choice but to smell the foul odor of her tobacco consumption.  A mixed race guy in the friends’ group held out his hand for a drag.  She smiled as she handed it to him and watched him take a single amateur hour puff before handing it back to her at which point she showed him how it was done by laying into it for two fierce final drags, one of which I got on camera, belching out the last clouds of air pollution onto the very busy block and crushing the cork filter cigarette out onto the pavement.  The simplicity of this sighting and the wholesomeness of the girl made this one a sentimental favorite.

The hits kept coming as I walked next to the east side of the beer gardens block and found two mid-20s gals standing in front of one of the blocks.  Both were smoking, and one of them was so wholesome she made the girl from the previous sighting seem like a badass by comparison.  Unfortunately it’s generous to say Sighting #135 was “smoking” as she stood there jabbering on and on and on to the huskier and less attractive friend.  Still, I stood to her side with my camera in wait anyway because she was such an impossibly wholesome sweetheart, her long hair a mix of red and dark brown flowing onto a jean jacket with a fringy pink skirt and brown boots below the waist, her smooth and tanned legs on full display.  This girl absolutely did not look like a smoker so I was thrilled when I saw the cigarette in her hand.  I became progressively less thrilled as I kept standing there and watched her not smoke it, eventually figuring the damn thing might go out before she finally put it back to her lips.  I stood there at least three minutes with camera ready because I knew it’d be worth it when she finally took a drag.  And finally it happened with a very solid drag that I perfectly captured.  It seemed likely she was a social smoker just out having a smoke while drinking a beer, but I was fine with that given how hot she was.  I’d have normally been tempted to watch the whole show but with this girl I figured I’d be standing there till 10:30 before she finished the cigarette if I tried, and time was of the essence so I moved on.

It was not yet 8:00 and Dierks Bentley had not yet taken the stage at the grandstand, so I tried to stay close in case a final wave of nicotine slaves was feeding their habits before the show started and I’d hit pay dirt with that proposition approaching the smoking area at the west side of the grandstand as an early 30s brunette trio stood in front of the berm area with two of them smoking cigarettes and an open seat for me on the berm facing them.  All three were brunettes and neither Sighting #140 or #141 did much for me as they stood there smoking, but the third girl of the group who didn’t have a cigarette was really hot and was standing right in front of me, and I just had a feeling she might get her hands on the cigarette if I was patient…..and then she did.  The duo became a trio as Sighting #142 took a nice deep drag from the all-white and then exhaled a jet at a 45-degree upward angle.  Unlike the two friends, the new girl of the smoking trio had a nice, slender body, her long dark brown hair flowing onto a black sweater with a pair of tight-fitting medium blue jeans.  It was a sort of fall-like presentation but it was a cool night so I was digging it.  Her face was never fully in any of my shots but I got a couple of nice profile pics when she was dragging.  The sighting really got some personality when the heaviest gal in the trio who did most of the talking started pointed to the hot girl and began recalling “when the two of us went on Chantix and tried to quit smoking”.  Obviously it didn’t end well and I was only able to catch bits and pieces of what she said after that, but as if trying to retroactively quit smoking a second time, she then handed the all-white to the hot friend for the last several drags.  The hot brunette didn’t have any hesitation taking hold of it and finished off the last four drags while the heavier girl kept jabbering, each of those drags executed with the same nice style, the escalating darkness of the night causing that cigarette cherry to glow brighter when she dragged and then followed up by the upward 45-degree angle exhale.  It was a great presentation wrapped up when she dropped the Camel Light Menthol to the pavement and stomped it out.  I walked away pleased with how well the night had been going so far, but the real test was coming now as the sun was about to set.  I couldn’t have imagined just how great things would continue to be.

The smoking area just east of the beer gardens block and just south of the bathroom area always has life in it later in the evening than some others and was still heavily populated as I approached during the 8:00 hour to spot a young couple in their early-to-mid 20s sitting down for a smoke.  Sighting #149 was an extremely wholesome and petite light brunette dressed conservatively in a T-shirt and dark jeans.  I knew from past experience that the lighting situation at this spot isn’t great for sightings after dark but I tried one anyway and even though it’s darker than I’d prefer, it’s in focus and captures her in mid-drag.  She was one of several girls yesterday who I found really surprising to see smoking a cigarette given her wholesome pedigree.  I’m not sure if the boyfriend was responsible for corrupting her or not.  Maybe she corrupted him!  I stuck around for a couple of drags before moving toward the midway for my traditional evening midway run.

Before I even made it to the midway, I came upon a trio of two guys and an early 20s redheaded girl smoking across the street.  This one may have not even been 21 and Sighting #150 struck a particularly impressive presentation with her long ponytailed red hair, black sweatshirt, and jean shorts, and most importantly, her height.  She was standing on the street and was just as tall as the two guys who were standing on the curb.  The pics are a bit blurry but the respective holding and dragging pics I got of her were still quite nice, but the sighting really got interesting next when it became mobile.  The trio began walking across the extremely crowded street going into the midway with my redhead continuing to drag from her cigarette, able to spare the crowd from her exhales because of her height and her upward-tilted exhales which filled the sky above her with cigarette smoke.  She weaved her way through the dense huddle of humanity, smoking at her regular pace the whole time before settling in with another group of mostly female friends, who she greeted with cigarette in hand even though they weren’t smoking.  I hovered nearby and watched her take her last couple of drags and then litter her cork-filter cigarette butt on the pavement with one final skyward-directed exhale well above everybody else’s head.  It was yet another solid extra-base hit that occurred right at the threshold of the midway entrance.  In recent years I’ve wondered if the evening midway journey was even worth it anymore with as much as smoking rates have fallen about the teen demographic most likely to populate it.  Suffice it to say I made the right call to keep the tradition alive as I was about to embark on my most successful march through the Minnesota State Fair midway….possibly ever.

I was planning to stop at the bathroom which also had a designated smoking area near it about 50 yards into the midway but was sidelined before I even got there when I spotted a mixed-gender cluster of 20-somethings standing in between two rides.  Everybody in the cluster seemed very wholesome and none of them seemed like a smoker, but the one person who did have a freshly lit cigarette in hand was the ridiculously wholesome blond who looked least like a smoker of anybody.  Sighting #151 couldn’t have possibly looked more Minnesota, with long blond hair flowing over her shoulders onto a conservative white T-shirt that appeared to have Minnesota folk legend Paul Bunyan on it, along with an equally conservative pair of jean shorts.  Her face was just mind-blowing to see with a cigarette approaching it, but she did just that and she dragged hard with intense follow-up exhales and residual smoke spilling out on the second breath after each exhale.  A bearded early 20s guy standing closest to her appeared to be her boyfriend and he had no choice but to bear the consequences of her fierce exhales, sometimes leaning into him with smoke sputtering into his face as she spoke.  I snapped several pics and while the dark skies and carnival lighting blurred most of them, there’s one holding shot that’s completely in focus and you can really admire her wholesome face.  There are a couple of dragging pics that turned out pretty well also.  It was a great show all around when it was primarily her and the boyfriend communicating with one another, with him on the receiving end of her filthy exhales, but as the cigarette approached the final third she moved closer to the rest of the group…..

She dragged hard from the cigarette and exhaled right into the crowd seconds before one guy and girl in the group began to walk off and, remarkably, my smoker girl bid them adieu by saying “it was really nice to meet you!” with residual smoke still bursting from her mouth and nose.  This was just the best little narrative spin for the sighting, knowing that a couple people in this group had just met my smoker and the first impression she left on them was to exhale smoke into their faces.  The remaining emissaries of the group seemed to want to get back to the midway, but there was one person who was holding them up and it was the adorable blond still smoking her cigarette.  I stuck around to its completion, enjoying every drag and messy exhale before she dropped it to the pavement and walked off without crushing it out.  The discarded butt was a cork-filter Marlboro No. 27 and the group progressed into the midway in the company of a very smelly blond girl.  Partly because of her wholesomeness, partly because of her smoking style, and partly because this was going on right in the middle of the midway, I’d rate this as my second-best sighting of the day.

Well that was a pleasant surprise, I thought to myself before wandering further down the midway, figuring that would certainly be the extent of my findings.  Instead, I walked another 20 yards or so down the corridor of midway games to find a sweet-faced young brunette standing directly in front of one of the games with cigarette in hand.  Sighting #152 was just adorable, a petite ponytailed brunette who may not have even been 21 wearing a gray sweatshirt and a black miniskirt.  I think she may have been partially Hispanic which made the sighting even more surreal.  She took a drag from the cigarette moments before the carny handed her two baseballs to throw at the target.  It’s been years since I’ve seen a young girl playing a carnival game with smoldering cigarette in hand, the carny playing along and ignoring the midway smoking ban outside of the designated areas.  I got four pics and two of them turned out, one holding and one dragging, and they’re just adorable.  Unfortunately I got here a minute or so too late as she only had one final drag from the cigarette before she started tossing baseballs at game targets.  It was a sweet drag though, the smoke flowing from her mouth as she dropped the Camel Turkish Royal cigarette to the pavement, stomped it out, and then prepared to toss the baseballs.

As I got to the far end of the midway, there’s a designated smoking area near a line of port-a-johns and even there I got a few decent sightings even if none where writeup-worthy.  Now it was time to circle back on the other side and go to the bathroom near the midway’s other designated smoking area.  No girls were smoking when I arrived so I did my business and then came back out to find there now was a girl smoking on one of the benches.  Sighting #156 was another marvel, a wholesome long-haired brunette who looked early-to-mid 20s and bore some resemblance to actress Amber Tamblyn from about 15 years ago in her prime.  The girl was wearing a light blue sweatshirt and conservative jeans and didn’t look at all like a smoker yet there she was consuming a cigarette….while sitting next to her nonsmoking middle-aged mother.  The cigarette was just lit and I got a nearly complete sighting as I took an adjacent bench, enjoying a very relaxing and casual sighting as she tended to the cigarette at a leisurely pace while chatting with mom.  I took two photos, one a dragging pic.  It looks like it’s in focus but it’s kind of far away so we’ll see how well it turned out.  The show went on at least five minutes and it was a good rest for my feet waiting for her before she finally discarded the spent cigarette to the side of the bench she was sitting on.  Mom and daughter remained on the bench for a while, but right before I left the fairgrounds later in the evening, I’d see this girl again and while she wasn’t smoking, she was with a middle-aged guy I assumed to be her father who was.  It was great to see the familial context of this girl with two parents, realizing it was probably her dad who she picked up the habit from.

As I sat in the midway smoking area admiring this sighting, the thought nonetheless rolled through my mind that I’d taken note of all day….that despite my good luck with sightings that day I couldn’t definitively say that I’d seen a single girl under 21–and certainly none 18 or younger–smoking the entire day.  It was a sobering reality check that was reinforced as an attractive 17ish light brunette in a black bare-midriff top and jeans came walking into the area dragging from a Juul pod.  Seconds later, three more 17-18ish girls followed, all very attractive and all headed toward the bench I was sitting on.  The last of the four girls was using crutches and had some boot on her leg, most likely from some type of injury.  She sweetly asked if I’d mind sliding over so she could sit next to her friends to which I obliged, continuing to watch the final moments of the ongoing performance of the last sighting.  A couple of minutes passed before I noticed the first girl to arrive–the light brunette with the Juul pod–began approaching a middle-aged black woman on an adjacent bench who was smoking a cigarette and right away I suspected my light brunette was gonna ask to bum a smoke.  I got my camera ready and successfully storyboarded the transaction as the black woman smiled and offered the girl a cigarette from her pack of Newports.  With a beaming smile on her face, the teen brunette got lit up by the generous cigarette donee and she became Sighting #157, walking back to the bench with lit cigarette in hand.  The only problem now was that she was sitting furthest from me on the bench, but it wasn’t a problem for long as I successfully made the move to an open bench with a direct vantage point of her.  And what a show it would be….

Perhaps the one upside of these Juul pods is that they require deep inhales for maximal nicotine ingestion, because this girl was dragging from that cigarette like a mad woman, the cherry glowing bright red between her teenage lips amidst the backdrop of the evening sky.  After a couple of drags, she held the cigarette up to the hot blond sitting next to her, who became Sighting #158 when she took a drag, albeit one I couldn’t see very well.  The blond got another drag later in the cigarette, and the hot dark brunette seated to the left of her also got a drag to become Sighting #159, but beyond that the cigarette belonged to this light brunette who continued to devour it with insanely intense drags, a few of which I got on camera.  She also had an odd habit in that after her monster drags, she held the cherry of the cigarette of her face and started blowing toward it, causing a few stray embers of smoldering ash to fly off.  She did this three times on the cigarette as she smoked it, and I got one of them on camera too.  It was a wonderful show and I managed to watch the show and take snapshots completely undetected, even though another oddball player emerged in the middle of the show to make the sighting even more interactive.  This early 20s dude walked up to my teen smoker and asked if he could bum a smoke from her.  She accurately responded that she didn’t have any and that she had in fact bummed this smoke, to which the guy didn’t seem to believe her, responding, “Dude….are you serious?” and then asking her again as if she was putting him on.  The guy then turned to me and asked if he could bum a smoke from me, and of course I had nothing for him either.  The middle-aged black gal sitting near me was the only one around who could have helped him and she was the only one he didn’t ask.  As soon as this clown wandered off in disappointment, my full attention was back on the light brunette continuing to put away that Newport, a haze of smelly smoke constantly wafting in front of her face…..

She eventually crushed out the cigarette moments before her group of four stood up.  She tossed the cigarette in the trash can and the four of them walked into the midway, at which point I finally got to admire the entire group, including the blond and brunette who got a couple of drags from her cigarette, both dressed similarly to the main smoker decked out in sexy bare-midriff tops with black jeans.  I got a couple of closeup ass shots of both of them as they walked out of the midway and found myself really wishing these girls had gotten cigarettes of their own.  Even if they did, however, it’s hard to imagine they’d have put on a show as memorable as the ringleader of their posse who found the courage to approach the stranger for the cigarette she so richly desired.  She was the only confirmed teen smoker sighting of the day and ended up as my third favorite sighting yesterday.

I was officially out of the midway, my brain rattled that this declining source of sightings had delivered for me like it was 1999.  But I didn’t have much time to process it as when I walked across the street from the midway to the corner of the beer gardens block, another young hottie with a cigarette was front and center.  Sighting #160 was an adorable ponytailed blond wearing a plaid shirt with a green T-shirt underneath and a sexy pair of white shorts.  She was the only smoker in a mixed-gender group of four but was primarily talking to a guy who seemed like a boyfriend or at least a romantic interest who probably got to bed her down by night’s end.  I got a few solid pics in as she made eyes with him and dragged from her cigarette.  The guy requested a drag and she gave him this “you think you can handle my cigarette?” look before handing him the cigarette and watching him take the shallowest imaginable drag and then handed it back to her.  She showed him how it was done as she reclaimed the cigarette and took a powerful final drag before dropping it to the pavement and crushing it out.  I only got to see three drags on this one which sucked because this girl had some serious IT factor and the potential to contend with some of my favorites on the midway had I seen her smoke more.

I continued to wander around the square block of bars on the beer gardens, where a live band was playing inside and produced a gathering of beer-sipping listeners that included some additional cigarette smokers.  Among them was Sighting #164, an attractive mid-20s blond chatting with a guy who may or may not have been a boyfriend.  She was smoking and he wasn’t, and she dragged copiously as they chatted, her body language giving off the energy of sexual interest in a way that made me think they might just be flirting.  The encounter seemed like an old-fashioned scenario of a nonsmoking guy courting the hot girl at the bar with a cigarette and I got a couple of modest pics to document it, albeit neither dragging pics.  One thing I gotta admit about this new camera phone….it does much better after dark than my old phone.  Even if the pics aren’t in focus, I rarely get the massively blurred lines that made evening shots with the old phone almost completely useless.

I’d get one more great sighting last night and it came when I headed toward the Leinie Lodge where old-time rockers Herman’s Hermits were playing the free stage. A decent-size crowd always hovers near the Leinie Lodge and there’s usually a pretty good horde of people near the bathroom area on its west side.  A long-haired early-to-mid 20s light brunette in a windbreaker jacket with white shorts stood alone fishing around in her purse.  I got a good vibe something to my liking was about to happen and, sure enough, out came a pack of Camels from her purse.  She lit up and became Sighting #166 in seconds and took a deep drag off the light-up, vindicating my instinct that this girl was smoking royalty.  I tried to score a photo but the lighting was bad and she was constantly in motion making my job impossible.  It was a struggle to even continue watching her smoke with as much as she was moving around.  At one point she wandered closer to the stage where Herman’s Hermits were performing and I moved toward her.  As she took a drag she gave off an annoyed sigh and started walking back in the direction she came from.  Yikes…had I been that thoroughly busted, I wondered to myself.  I slowly worked my way out of the area to see that it wasn’t me she was reacting to, but the guy who must have been her boyfriend who presumably just got out of the bathroom.  The guy was a tall drink of water, well over six feet tall and a full head taller than her, and despite the grunt when she spotted him earlier, she seemed genuinely happy to see him as they were snuggling together.  And that’s when the sighting got really playful…..

I walked a few yards away to try to get a less challenging vantage point for her smoking show, but by the time I had turned around, the couple was posing for a selfie in a most unusual position.  The shorter girlfriend buried her head in the boyfriend’s chest while holding the camera up as the boyfriend was now holding her cigarette over her head in his hand since her hand was holding the camera.  I figured the boyfriend was probably gonna take a drag from the cigarette, but he never did.  He just held it for her while she took the selfie.  I got a few pics of my own, but from too far away to be worth much.  She worked her own camera a good 30 seconds before putting the camera down, reclaiming the cigarette and dragging from it intensely while looking over the photos she took of the two of them together.  Either what she saw on camera or their closeness posing for the pics must have made her horny because she proceeded to snuggle her ashtray mouth up to his for a kiss, standing on her tiptoes to reach his face as he bent down.  She then proceeded to lean over and start nibbling on her ear, the warm scent of fresh tobacco on her breath undoubtedly sending his body into sensory overload.  This sexy show lasted a few moments and I did my damndest to score a photo but nothing was working out.  When the adorable makeout session ended, the couple started walking off hand in hand, the brunette’s free hand clutching her cigarette which she continued to drag from aggressively.  The couple stopped at the end of the line for the Space Tower where they must have been planning to take a romantic evening ride overlooking the lights of the fairgrounds in the evening.  But she still wasn’t finished with her cigarette and stood there in line dragging from it for the next couple of moments before dropping it to the pavement and crushing it out.  If I’d been faster on my feet, I would have gotten behind the couple in line and possibly rode the Space Tower seated next to her.  Even so, I’d rate this amongst my five best sightings of the day and I continued to be in disbelief about how good the day and especially the evening were going for me.

I had kind of wanted to be near the grandstand during some of Dierks Bentley’s concert as he’s had a few songs I’ve really liked, but the show was on its final third and I was only now getting around to walking past the grandstand as I had too many smoker girl distractions elsewhere on the grounds up until now, an issue I hadn’t really anticipated based on the soft evening sightings of the last couple of years at the Minnesota State Fair.   Since there wasn’t much smoking going on outside the grandstand, I headed back to the beer gardens block and the bathroom area next to it, where I’d score a couple more great sightings.  Sitting at a table in front of the bathroom was a trio of 20-something girls who all looked three sheets to the wind, one of them with a cigarette in her hand and a pack of generic Pyramid cigarettes on the table.  Sighting #171 was a mid-20s brunette who was giggling in conversation with the other two blond friends, both gorgeous but apparently nonsmokers, and at one point drunkenly knocked the pack of Pyramids to the ground.  The girl finished her cigarette and then got some help going to the bathroom, her friend helping her pick up the cigarette pack off the ground.  Less than a half hour later, on my way out of the grounds, the same trio of girls was sitting on the same table and the brunette’s pack of Pyramids was out again and she was smoking another one.

And while the first act of that sighting was going on, another sexy smoker was diverting my attention in the other direction.  Sighting #172 was a mid-20s blond in a plaid shirt and white shorts who was standing in the designated smoking area near the ashtrays with cigarette in hand in the company of two guys, only one of whom was smoking.  There wasn’t much of a story to her sighting but she was attractive and I’m sucker for white shorts.  I claimed an open table and was able to look one way and see the brunette star of #171 and then look the other direction to see #172 puffing away.  I got my final photo of the night of the blond in white shorts in mid-drag, and while it’s not as detailed as a photo during the mid-afternoon would have been, it was still a much better pic than I expected at that hour, the cherry on the end of her cigarette glowing bright red near her mouth.

I was making a final run up to the grandstand in hopes of hearing Dierks Bentley’s encore and then see the final wave of concertgoers spill out when the show ended.  I was too late for the end of the show though as I was still about 100 yards away when the fireworks started going off, signifying the concert had concluded.  It was a little after 10:00 so I had a half hour of fetish time left, not sure if wading through the hordes of fairgoers exiting the grandstand would be the best use of my time or not.  It was unclear even of the course of the next 15 minutes as I wandered around near the departing crowds as I scored a handful of sightings but nothing too memorable.  The best of the bunch would be as I was walking southward to see a middle-aged couple with their presumed early 20s daughters, one of whom had a cigarette in her hand.  But Sighting #178, the cute dark blond smoker, and her presumed sister were heading for the bathroom, but trying to decide which one to go to recognizing that the after-concert crowd would probably make for long lines.  It was cute seeing this girl who was the only smoker in her family discussing bathroom options with them with cigarette in hand.

I made one more lap around the beer gardens where I had the aforementioned brief encore of the Sighting #22 girl and also saw the Sighting #156 girl with her smoking father, along with a trio of new mediocres, and then it was time to take off.  I’d been on pace for a possible 200-sighting day but was more than happy to peak at 181 because I found so many who were worth sticking around for an extended show from.  It felt a little strange to be riding so high on the long walk back to the car with my parents, the day and especially the night having exceeded my expectations by leaps and bounds.  Perhaps with as many people as were there I just wasn’t noticing the hordes of vapers and Juulers the way I did at my county fair and in Iowa and Missouri, but it just didn’t seem like it was as big of an issue here.  There is still major cause for concern at the complete dearth of girls under 21 smoking, but there seems to be some indication based on what I saw yesterday that smoking initiation may simply be getting deferred a couple of years down the road given how many girls in their 20s I still saw smoking.  I continue to marvel at the track record at the Minnesota State Fair where I’ve never had a genuinely “bad day” of sightings in the 20 years I’ve been pursuing them despite the state’s muscularly antismoking culture and shrinking overall smoking rates.  I don’t want to jinx it since I have another day of sightings coming ahead there on Labor Day weekend this year, but based on this week’s precedent it’s really hard to imagine the 2019 fair season ending with as big of a whimper as it started with.



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2019 Missouri State Fair

In 2015, 2016, and 2018, I scheduled in a trip to the Missouri State Fair as part of a broader vacation plan that took me to other areas.  Missouri is such a geographic center that one can be vacationing south, west, or east from where I live and still make a pit stop to central Missouri along the way.  Originally, my plan was to forget about the Missouri State Fair in 2019 since this year’s vacation plans were taking me to the Black Hills and Big Horns in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana, and Missouri is not on the way to any of them.  But somewhere along the way, I decided to make a ballbuster of a dedicated trip exclusively to Sedalia, Missouri–280 miles each way–specifically to spend a Saturday at the Missouri State Fair.

What would motivate me to do this?  A couple of reasons.  First, my best sighting by far during last year’s fair season was the 18-year-old blond who I saw at the Missouri State Fair, and her legend has only exploded further for me in the 12 months since.  She seemed to be a local girl, hanging out with a number of friends at the fair in a way that made me think there was a very real possibility I’d be seeing her again on the same Saturday night that I saw her here last year.  Furthermore, I saw exactly one girl Juuling last year at the Missouri State Fair, and had a roller coaster ride of cigarette smokers especially in the evening hours before, during, and after country singer Cole Swindell played in the grandstand.  I figured that with cigarette prices in Missouri being the lowest in the country and the state’s general tobacco-friendly culture that maybe it would continue to be bypassed by the Juuling trend and I’d get a day similar to last year’s sightings bonanza.  Let’s just say I fell quite a bit short of those lofty expectations.

It wasn’t a good sign when I pulled into Sedalia, Missouri, around 11 a.m. on Saturday morning and was at a red light next to this gorgeous 19ish brunette….and she was Juuling.  After that, I stopped at a barbecue chain in town that used to have a franchise in central Iowa but it closed a couple of years ago.  Having a good meal before the fair would keep me from eating overpriced fair food and take myself off task, so it was a win-win.  From there, I pulled into the grounds for the Missouri State Fair and claimed my free parking spot right around noon (by comparison it costs $15 to park for the day at the Minnesota State Fair).  The morning clouds were just starting to part as I walked up to the gate, and I was absolutely thrilled to be entering the gates of the Missouri State Fair just as I had three of the four previous years.

Within two minutes, I had my first sighting of a curly-haired light brunette 20-something smoking a cigarette while pushing a stroller.  She was the embodiment of rural Missouri and looked very much like the young mothers who constituted most of my sightings in the afternoon hours of past Missouri State Fairs.   There was nothing impressive about the sighting, but it definitely reinforced that I was in the right place.

And as I made the first lap around the fairgrounds, I paid particular attention to see if the Weston Tobacco stand was still around…and it was.  Last year, this stand facilitated four cigar sightings in the evening, and while none of them was individually spectacular, I knew that as long as this stand was selling cigars on site, there was always the potential for an epic moment.  The “general store” down the block also continued to sell cigarettes, and it’s this tobacco-friendly culture that really sets Missouri apart from my other state fairs, all of which quit selling tobacco products a decade or more ago.

The first sighting to impress came within that first hour of arrival, where a duo of couples stood outside a commercial building and the only smoker of the bunch was Sighting #3, a dark blond in a gray-striped tanktop and athletic shorts with a pretty face who looked mid-20s.  The other girl in the group was a young mommy pushing a stroller.  I got to see a few drags from the smoker before she finished her cigarette and retired it to the ground, and then walked toward the stroller to resume conversation with her friend.

My first jaunt down the impressive Missouri State Fair midway came before 1 p.m. and gave me my first extra-base hit of the day with a stemwinder of a sighting.  A family of smokers hovered in the center of the midway with several participants, and all of them were smoking except the baby in the stroller.  The only smoker in the group who interested me, however, was Sighting #5, this curly-haired early-to-mid 20s light brunette decked out in a rainbow-striped top and jean shorts who was at least eight months pregnant.  This was my second sighting of a very pregnant girl smoking in the last 24 hours as I saw another one the night before at the Iowa State Fair!  Now the Iowa girl was prettier, but this girl in front of me now was a cut above your typical rural Missouri hillbilly girl.  And like the Iowa girl the night before, the pregnant smoker sat down on the pavement while the rest of her group stood, at least trying to hide her pregnant belly as she smoked from possible onlookers, but she wasn’t fast enough to escape my notice.  I took a few pics that didn’t turn out too badly and watched from a nearby bench as she and the rest of the family smoked, but then the sighting took a most favorable and surprising turn when she got up from the ground and became mobile….

Whatever bashfulness about being a pregnant smoker I figured she felt when I first saw her sitting down to hide her belly was an afterthought now as she strutted down the fairgrounds with her belly hanging out and a cigarette between her fingers.  Suddenly I wasn’t the only one noticing her either as several people were doing a double-take.  Even a middle-aged female carny started calling out for the family to participate in a game, and her eyes were focused on the massive baby bump from the light brunette pregnant girl.  Apparently this was a little too redneck even for carnival workers in central Missouri to not do a double take!  I wasn’t able to get a dragging pic but I got a holding pic from the side that shows off her unmistakable late-stage pregnancy.  She took a couple more drags and then surrendered the cork filter butt, which I was able to ID as an L & M Menthol.  This was definitely an extra-base hit and one I’d consider for end-of-year honors had I not seen a more attractive smoker who was equally as pregnant the night before at the Iowa State Fair.  But I did get photo evidence of this one and it was a very satisfying farrow-to-finish smoking show from a shameless pregnant smoker.

I had arrived less than an hour earlier and was having a very impressive start to the day.  In 2015, within the first hour I had already seen my first showing from the sexpot trio who would go down in the history books as my “12-hour sighting”, but that seemed like a fluke as the early afternoon hours at Missouri had been pretty bland in the years since.  In this case, a very extended stretch of blandness was in front of me, the likes of which I don’t recall suffering through on a fair sightings day at least since those bleak afternoon hours in Indiana two years ago.

I’d get one more noteworthy sighting from a sexy young mom before the day went completely south though.  I was on the main block of bars and grills on the grounds when I spotted this blond mommy and the presumed baby daddy approaching pushing a stroller, the blond smoking a cigarette and the guy not smoking.  This was perfect, I thought as I watched Sighting #6 approach from several yards away.  I would have time to ready my phone and get a frontal shot without even having to move.  Unfortunately, I must have pocket dialed for some app to open and it spent the next three minutes loading and wouldn’t let me out, causing me to miss my chance for a photo.  I was frustrated but followed her into the midway, waiting out this phone issue and watching her set her toddler up to ride on the kiddie rides at the front of the midway while dragging from her cigarette the whole time.   The gal appeared mid-to-late 20s and her blond hair was in a ponytail with a black tanktop and dark jean shorts below, a convenient hole in the back pocket revealing the cigarette pack stuffed in there was Marlboro Reds.  She was decently attractive by the standards of many of the other young mothers on the grounds, but had a couple of unfortunately placed tattoos, including one on her upper leg that was hard to avoid noticing.  My phone was working again but her back was to me watching the kid on the ride.  She continued smoking the cigarette till its completion, discarding it on the midway pavement just as the pregnant smoker had done about a half hour earlier.  I’d get some relief from my pictoral frustrations a couple of hours later when I saw this same couple in the midway again, only this time both smoking.  Her back was still to me but at one point she turned enough that I got a pic of her dragging in semi-profile.

The turning point for the day came shortly after that first sighting of the previous girl when I had a brief moment of elation followed by an abrupt airing out of my balloon.  A foursome of very wholesome mid-teen girls were walking on the south side of the grounds and I immediately saw cigarettes protruding from the fingers of two of them, and a request by one girl for the other to hold hers.  For a hot moment, I thought I was about to witness the sighting of the year, but then I noticed the cigarettes were nowhere to be seen and there was no smell coming from whatever they were holding between their fingers.  It didn’t take long to realize they were punking me–and everybody else–with fake cigarettes that were likely for sale at some gimmick store.  From a distance, they looked convincing, especially for a guy like myself who drove so far to witness the very image the girls were falsely projecting.  In moments, the foursome was walking to some commercial vendor, two of them still holding their fake cigarettes and undoubtedly trying to mess with as many people as possible.  I’m sure they had no idea their little gag was the cruelest possible disappointment imaginable on a certain guy from Iowa in their presence.

There was little happening, which led me to take some risks on some girls who intrigued me, including a duo of 18ish girls, one blond and one brunette, who seemed like strong candidates for tobacco consumption.  The brunette was tall and had a sexy, slender body with a bare midriff top and draped in tight jeans.  I could swear there was a box of cigarettes stuffed in her left back pocket, and the less glamorous blond friend next to her almost certainly had a pack of cigarettes in her back pocket.  I followed them through the midway and kept tabs on them as they wandered to an isolated spot near a fair building, certain I was about to see smoking….but instead I saw Juuling….and quite a bit of it at that…from the sexy brunette.  The blond didn’t Juul at the time, leading me to believe it still possible that her back pocket contained a cigarette pack as I suspected, but the box in the dark brunette’s back pocket may well have been a box of Juul pods as it didn’t bear quite the same rectangular shape as a cigarette pack.  It was a frustrating find, and unfortunately not an isolated one.  Juul hadn’t yet found its way to central Missouri in August 2018 when I was last there, but it certainly had now.

It was well over an hour later until the next passable sighting, which was another young mother sighting emerging from the midway onto the block of bars and grills.  Sighting #10 struck a pretty impressive first impression, her golden blond hair flowing onto the shoulders of her white T-shirt with a sexy pair of black shorts and smooth legs below, walking with a cigarette between her fingers and a daughter who looked about four years old next to her and a nonsmoking husband on the other side.  I got some good pics of her too, and while there was nothing wrong her, she was more homely and older-looking than I anticipated based on my first glance.  She probably wasn’t any older than early 30s but the body was in much better shape than the face which was pretty significantly weathered as is clear in the frontal holding pic close-up I got of her.  It was still a very nice presentation in an afternoon that was dangerously deficient on nice presentations by smoker girls.

Within the next half hour, I was checking out the Chuck and Dee’s open-air bar near the front entrance, the location where the most iconic moments of 2015’s 12-hour sighting played out with my two favorite girls sitting inside smoking one cigarette after another during a live music concert.  Chuck and Dee’s hasn’t given me much to get excited about in my visits since then, but the band equipment was set up in the back and made me think it’s possible there’d be a performance that would draw some friendly demographics.  But as I looked at the table right in front of the band equipment I noticed two packs of Marlboro Lights sitting there, and then noticed that the mid-30s brunette was smoking one.  Again, this is an open-air bar, but this table was inside the bar much like the table where 2015’s chain-smoking babes sat.  Sighting #12 soon got up and started walking outside where she finished her cigarette, notably wearing a T-shirt that read “Well Behaved Women Don’t Make History”.  She wasn’t really my type but the presentation was memorable.  And then an hour or so later when I passed by Chuck and Dee’s again, here was the woman onstage singing as she was apparently the lead singer of the band performing that afternoon.  Even though the sighting itself didn’t necessarily rock my world, the storyline was pretty cool that the lead singer of this band had two packs of Marlboro Lights on the table in front of her band equipment that she needed to get through the day’s stage antics.

It was about 3 p.m. by now and I wasn’t panicking yet, but as those mid-to-late afternoon hours ticked by with very little going on that was worth mentioning, I was inching closer and closer to panic mode.  It was nearly 5:00 before I got the next sighting that interested me enough to stop and take a look, and even that was pretty thin gruel.  On first glance, Sighting #21 was a semi-intriguing mother-daughter sighting where both generations of females sat on a bench tending to their cork filter cigarettes, leaving enough room on the other end of the bench for me to take a seat next to them.  The daughter was about 21 and kind of cute, but in that homely “Deliverance” hillbilly sort of way, and the unattractive mother sitting next to her was the real deal, talking with a full-blown bumpkin accent about “going to the show tonight” that was kind of interesting to voyeurize over on the same bench.  I grew up on a dirt road in the country but this was a whole different breed of backwater.  The daughter had chin-length blond hair with a little ponytail up top, wearing a frumpy gray blouse with polka dots and a pair of dark jeans ripped beyond recognition to the point where they looked like they’d be a challenge to wear.  Her face was leaning toward her mother which made it easy for me to take a picture of her cigarette hand but impossible to get any snapshot of her face while dragging.  That was okay as she wasn’t exactly a prime attraction, but I was so parched for sightings at this point in the day that even she was a refreshing find.  She got up with the mother and tossed her cigarette to the ground without crushing it out.  It was a Marlboro Red.

Almost another hour passed and I was starting to panic as the sightings just weren’t coming.  I’d finally get another extra-base hit going up to 6:00 when I spotted an odd couple in the seating area behind the food vendors.  Both were smoking but that was the only thing they had in common.  The guy was a rugged-looking mid-20s black guy and the girl was a sweet early 20s brunette who could not have looked more wholesome even down to her very conservative outfit.  The state of Missouri runs the spectrum from hard-core redneck girls to the kinds of girls like Sighting #27 who are on an entirely different spectrum of wholesomeness, her long brown hair running down her back with a black tanktop and dark jeans covering her decidedly girl-next-door body.  It was hard to reconcile this innocence with the pack of Camel Menthols in front of her and the cigarette protruding through her fingers.  A bench was open behind her and I took a seat, originally not optimistic about photos as they seemed like too big of an exposure risk from where I sat coupled with the angle she was sitting, but I was stealth as a cat and snuck a couple lucky shots in, one at the exact moment she turned my way so I captured her adorable face in the shot.  I thought I had gotten her dragging in that shot but instead I got the exhale, her eyes closed as she released the obviously pleasurable smoke from her lungs.  She bantered with the black boyfriend for the duration of their respective cigarettes and beers.  I got a good five-minute show before she tossed the cork filter Camel Menthol butt to the grass and stomped it out.  Up to this point she was my favorite sighting of the day even though I hadn’t seen enough to justify putting her on any year-end list.  At the very end of the night I saw her and the boyfriend again on the midway, but neither was smoking.  She would still rate among my top-five sightings of the day as it’s impossible to overstate how sweet she looked.

It was 6:00 now, one of the last two benchmarks that would determine whether I could salvage anything decent out of this day.  It was last year at this time that the Cole Swindell concertgoers started piling into the grandstand area, and the day went completely off the chain and stayed that way till midnight.  Tonight the grandstand act was contemporary country duo Brothers Osborne who seemed like a promising prospect to draw a crowd somewhat similar to what Swindell brought the year before, but surveying that early line and the incoming crowd arriving in the early evening, it was becoming increasingly clear that nothing that electric would be going on tonight.  I was slowly stitching together mediocrities for the next two hours, right up until the point where the last concertgoers were rolling into the grandstand for opening act Ashley McBryde.  I was really starting to regret making the nine-hour round trip visit to Missouri as it didn’t seem poised to deliver anything at all resembling the sightings smorgasbord I was treated to 12 months earlier.

And while that impression largely held, there was a brief interval just after 8:00 where, at least for a 15-minute stretch, the long journey was worth it for me.  I said at the outset that I’d been keeping tabs on the Weston Tobacco stand at various points in the day in hopes that a young hottie would be smoking a cigar purchased there.  And as luck would have it, I arrived just in time for the purchase and consumption of a hot blond’s first cigar.  I had seen other girls hover in the background of this stand during the day, usually because their boyfriend, husband, or father was buying a cigar, but it was quickly clear that the young couple shopping around the display of cigars at 8 p.m. had a female participant even more interested in it than the male.  The blond looked like she was about 23 and had the face of an angel, her shoulder-length blond hair held back in a ponytail and wearing a pale pink blouse and a pair of medium-blue daisy dukes.  Even generically, she looked like about the last girl one would expect to see shopping around for cigars at the Missouri State Fair, but not only was she doing just that, she was being a very discriminating and plugged-in consumer.  She was picking up various cigars from the boxes and asking the salesman about them, her adorable doe eyes bulging with attentiveness as she hung on his every word…..

One of the first cigars she picked up was a huge Churchill and she seemed genuinely interested in it, talking it over with her boyfriend even though it was very clear she was the decider in this relationship whose opinion would ultimately guide the final selection.  Unfortunately, I felt like the salesman directed her away from the larger cigar as she began perusing the selection and asking him about other smaller cigars….but then she went back to the Churchill again and I was feeling my male parts begin to stand up as the thought passed through my head that she might actually buy and smoke this thing at the fair.  The thought of this sweetheart smoking that big cigar in public sent starbursts ricocheting through my body.  But alas, she kept moving around, asking questions that I couldn’t hear but loving her body language as she acted like a bride-to-be picking out the “perfect wedding dress” rather than a cigar.  She ultimately decided upon a medium-sized darker-colored cigar, and the couple purchased two of them.   She was carded and was able to make the transaction, surreally walking away from the stand in her pink blouse and her jean short cutoffs with two cigars in hand.  Now it was just a matter of whether she’d smoke it tonight or save it for later.  I prayed she would light it up sooner rather than later and followed her and the boyfriend to this remote grassy spot a few yards behind the tobacco stand.  This had not been a lucky day for me so far, but my luck was about to change as she began unwrapping the cigar and the couple hovered in this remote area preparing to light what I assumed to be her first cigar…or at least her first real cigar….

The boyfriend fished around in the bag they were carrying with them and found a lighter.  This was happening!  I was sitting a few yards away in a relatively inconspicuous spot with camera in hand, ready to capture the making of history as this adorable blond was about to officially become Sighting #41.  She held the cigar in her hand briefly as the boyfriend ignited the flame and began toasting it.  In seconds, it was in her mouth as she slowly brought this cigar to life, bursts of cigar smoke exploding from her mouth as she cooperated in the stick’s lighting.  Eight hours of sightingless frustration leading up to this moment had all become worth it as she was now puffing from the cigar on her own.  I wish I had been close enough to hear her reaction, or for my pictures to be clearer for that matter, but it was thrilling to know the fruits of her discriminating selection process were  about to stink up the Missouri State Fairgrounds in a big way.  So how did the rest of the sighting go?  Mixed bag.   I was hoping the boyfriend would just get his own cigar and they’d walk around the main part of the fairgrounds smoking them as a couple, but unfortunately they decided to share it.  I guess I could live with that so long as the sharing was equitable.  The good news is that it was equitable–in fact, she probably smoked the lion’s share of it–but the bad news was they started walking away through the most remote corridors of the Missouri State Fairgrounds amidst all of the farm equipment and all-terrain vehicles on display.  I was able to follow, but not without standing out like a sore thumb having already followed them a football field’s distance…..

They passed the cigar back and forth as they walked in relative isolation, and it remained amazing to see this sweet and wholesome-looking girl publicly smoking a cigar, the brown of the cigar representing such a stunning color contrast to her pastel wardrobe, and the smell emanating from her exhales fantastically foul as I walked through nearly all of them.  She smoked it at an aggressive pace, chatting casually with the boyfriend while puffing away.  I got pics, but again there’s bad news as I was following them directly into the sunset so most of the shots turned out quite dark.  I never did get a good shot of her face.  Fearing I was becoming too familiar, I hung back just enough to keep tabs on their progress without directly following.  I noticed they were heading to the swine barn of all places and it looked as though they were going inside.  Even at the Missouri State Fair, smoking is banned in all of the buildings, yet with each step closer that she took without surrendering the cigar, I was becoming convinced she was going in there with that stogie in her hand.  But at the very last second, she stubbed it against the outside wall of the building, saving the second half of it for later I guess.  Unfortunately I wouldn’t see her again.  The sighting was quite a ride and I felt like I really got to see something special following this moment from the shopping cart to the public consumption of her presumed first cigar.  And it raised a few questions.  Since she had a lighter in her pack, does that mean she normally smokes cigarettes?  Or did she just bring one last night knowing that she planned to smoke a cigar with the boyfriend?  Or does she just have a lighter in her bag for lighting up scented candles??!?!  Whatever her story, I knew I’d eventually be vindicated in keeping tabs on that cigar stand and I’d have had a hard time doing better than this.

With my cigar-chomping cutie now in the swine barn, it was time to hustle on up to the grandstand as opening act Ashley McBryde had finished her set, meaning there would be a smoke break intermission before main attraction Brothers Osborne came onstage.  It was nothing like last year during the Cole Swindell concert when it was like shooting fish in a barrel picking off one sexy smoker after another, but there were still a few lookers such as Sighting #42, a wholesome auburn-haired mid-20s cutie out smoking with her boyfriend, and Sighting #44, a curly-haired light brunette who had a sexy body in a black tanktop and jean shorts, and looked late 20s, but who never cooperated by turning around and letting me see her face!  I got to see plenty of the face of the nonsmoking boyfriend, but she had her back to the gate and I struggled mightily to see if her face matched the body.  I never did get that close look, but she smoked two in a row out there as her nonsmoking boyfriend waited for her.

There had been glamorous young hotties roaming around the Missouri State Fair at various points in the day, but virtually no smoking from any of them.  This would finally change with a sexpot early 20s duo, one blond and one brunette, who were talking to a guy in front of the grandstand gate.  When I first laid eyes upon them, the guy was smoking and the girls were not, so I didn’t pay too close of attention until a few moments later when the blond startled me by working a lighter to spark up the unlit all-white hanging from her lips.  Sighting #47 was an intriguing find and sexy as hell in her black tanktop and pale blue jean shorts.  There wasn’t much of a wind at the fair last night but this blond seemed to be fighting imagined gale-force winds, turning in various directions until finally igniting it.  At this point the sighting did a 180-degree pivot as the blond handed the lit cigarette to the even hotter long-haired brunette with a gorgeous face who was wearing a skimpy red tanktop with a pair of pale blue jean shorts that fit her ass perfectly, and a pair of cowgirl boots on the bottom.  The brunette had just become Sighting #48 and continued to engage with the male smoker she’d already been chatting with.  I had been expecting the blond to take back the cigarette she lit for the brunette, but the sexy brunette got to smoke the whole thing.  Her shallow drags and equally slim exhales made clear that this brunette was likely just a social smoker.  The fact that she needed her nonsmoking friend to light her cigarettes for her did not fill me with confidence that cigarette smoking is part of her usual routine.  Either way, I was so starved for some glamorous energy last night that I’d even take a social smoker who can’t figure out how to work a cigarette lighter.  And make no mistake these girls were highly glamorous, especially when graded on a curve for the downscale audiences of rural Missouri country music concerts.  Anyway, her shallow puffs continued for about seven minutes before she dropped the two-thirds-smoked cigarette to the pavement and the trio broke apart with the girls going their own way.  I hope this guy sticks around in these girls’ social circle and gets them to continue smoking.

I was as close to being on a roll as I’d been all day at this point in the evening, and the pinnacle of the streak came at the bottom of the block of bars and grills where a cluster of four women of varied ages huddled in the middle of the street with cigarettes.  I’m assuming they were part of an extended family unit as most of them were over 35, but one heavyset girl looked early-to-mid-20s, and then there was the cute little brunette who looked about 16 or 17.  Sighting #49 was a cute and massively wholesome long-haired brunette, dressed very conservatively in a purple, long-sleeved shirt and dark blue jeans.  Tried as I wanted to be cynical looking at her standing with the adults with cigarette in hand and assume she was older than she looked, there was just no denying this cutie was a high school girl who had permission to smoke with the adults.  It was a very nice show too as her style points fit right in with the maturity of her social group, taking long and intense drags and producing cloudy exhales.  The crowd was such that I figured I might be able to sneak in a couple of relatively closeup pictures, and even though they’re imperfect with the carnival lighting backdrop, I got both a holding and a dragging shot of her, both decently conveying her teenage innocence.  Putting the camera away and watching the show, her performance peaked when she took a deep drag from the cigarette and began talking to her group, smoke spraying out of her mouth and filling the airspace dominated by the older women smokers.  Unfortunately the show was soon to end and the group split apart with my teen smoker going with the younger gals toward the midway, taking a final drag from her cigarette and then tossing the smoldering remains to the pavement with a wrist flourish that made clear she does this regularly.  I tracked down the burning cigarette and IDed it as a Marlboro Menthol.  I walked behind her for a bit to see if she had a pack stuffed in the back pocket of her jeans.  She did not, but my goodness if seeing her body type from the back didn’t reinforce my speculation that this girl was mid-teen rather than the ages of the rest of her social group.  She was the only bona fide teen smoker I’d found this year at the Missouri State Fair and was the second-best sighting of the day.

I’d see her again at the end of the night, again near the edge of the midway, and this time was with a middle-aged couple who I figured we’re her parents.  I kept tabs on them as I hovered near the front of the midway just in case she lit up again, but the crowd was pretty sparse at that point and I couldn’t linger with as much freedom as I’d hoped without getting busted.  Eventually, the parents lit up cigarettes but the daughter didn’t get one this time.  Still, it was very obvious this cutie was a regular smoker the way she handled herself the first time.  She didn’t have the chops to compete with last year’s amazing heavy-smoking Reds teen who looked like Lucy Camden from “7th Heaven”, but it was nice to at least get a taste of the teen smoking tradition at Missouri staying alive as, just like Minnesota and Iowa, pretty much everyone else I was seeing her age in Missouri last night was Juuling.

The pace of sightings slowed again after the adorable teen brunette, but that crowded block and bars and grills can be counted upon to deliver in some capacity given all the younger people that hang out there in the evening.  One of the evening’s sexiest emissaries was Sighting #53, the female half of a mid-to-late 20s couple, a long-haired brunette with a perfect body draped in a yellow bare-midriffed tanktop and a pair of tight medium-blue jean shorts that packaged her incredible ass perfectly.  Both boyfriend and girlfriend were smoking, and heading down the hill of the block of bars with cigarettes in hand.  Maybe it was the lighting but her face didn’t strike me as being as gorgeous as her body upon first inspection, but as I turned around and got a better look, I noticed she was very pretty as well.  There were no bells and whistles to the smoking show regarding style points but with as beautiful and sexy as she was, SHE was the bell and whistle of this smoking show!  They briefly hovered at the bottom of the block and I attempted a few photos.  I had low confidence in the pics turning out and they ended up not being salvageable at all…..but as she walked off under a bright street light, I was able to salvage one very nice ass shot, unfortunately without the cigarette visible.  I followed the couple into a more isolated spot where they both finished their cigarettes and the sexy brunette dropped it to the ground without crushing it out, which seems to be a fairly common practice among Missouri girls.  Her brand was a Camel Menthol.

Back to that block full of bars and grills, there was a Great White Whale at the fair last night who left my tongue hanging out like a dog every time I walked past her.  Had she ever smoked a cigarette she’d have been the girl of the day by far, but her friends group was gingerly sipping beers for hours and none of them ever had a cigarette, so I figured she was a major long shot.  I’d guess she was 22 or 23, with the face of an angel and a long mane of that Missouri-style strawberry hair, her top covered in a black-and-white-striped blouse and her curvy bottom draped in the most perfect pair of tight white shorts I’d ever seen, with a button fly that accentuated her curves even more nicely.  Every time I walked past her over the course of the evening, my heart skipped a beat, and I made a point of keeping close tabs on her just in case an unlikely cigarette was produced between her fingers.  She never did light up over the nearly three hours I observed her on the block of bars and grills, but she brightened my night even without a cigarette.

Around 10:00 the Brothers Osborne concert was dismissing and I was close to the grandstand in hopes of seeing waves of fairgoers requiring a concert-ending nicotine fix, although given how mediocre the haul from the grandstand crowd was before the concert and during the intermission, my hopes weren’t very high.  It largely went as expected with a few new finds but nothing too life-changing.  The best was Sighting #57, a mid-to-late 20s light brunette in a brown dress who sat down on an open bench with her boyfriend and both lit up cigarettes.  They were close enough to the rest of the departing crowd that I was able to keep one eye on her as she smoked and the other eye on the waves of people exiting the grandstand.

I still had some hope that the block of bars would produce some quality moments after the concert ended.  It was at that point in the night last year where my Lucy Camden lookalike went nuts with her Marlboro Reds, but there wouldn’t be anything close to that dramatic last night.  On my final run through the midway, I caught the tail end of Sighting #63, featuring this tall mid-20s brunette whose dark brown hair was braided in pigtails hanging over her shoulders.  She struck quite a pose with those pigtails and her impressive height, hovering over the rest of her group and being the only one with a cigarette.  She was dragging when I laid eyes on her and then I settled in for the rest of the show, but the rest of the show would consist of a single additional drag and watching her drop the cigarette to the ground and crush it out with her shoe, her final exhale spilling into the sky inches above the airspace of the shorter people in her friends group.  Wish I’d been able to see more of this one.

From there I walked toward the bathroom near the grandstand where the final wave of concertgoers was preparing to leave for the night, among them Sighting #64, who I can only assume was the blond mother in a threesome that included her, her presumed husband, and a girl who looked about 12.  The only one smoking was the blond mother as she talked with the preteen while progressing toward the fairgrounds exit.  Maybe she wasn’t the child’s mother as she definitely didn’t look old enough to have a 12-year-old, her soft features and body type draped in a tanktop and jeans reminiscent of a gal in her mid-20s.  Whatever the case, I walked to their side en route to the gate and watched several drags and continued social interaction between the smoking woman and the preteen girl.

And finally, my last impressive find of the night was a gal I’d made a mental note of in the afternoon, this sexy mid-20s light brunette in a black and white-striped top and fire engine red shorts that fit her body perfectly.  I was walking past the Chuck and Dee’s bar which hadn’t delivered anything worth mentioning up to this point during the day but ended the evening with a flourish.  Sitting on a bench was a middle-aged woman next to the red-shorted beauty with an older and younger man standing in front of them on the bench.  The only one of the four smoking was the light brunette….and it wasn’t a cigarette but a little cigar!  Sighting #65 was a sweet reward since I had seen this girl before and noticed there was a box in the back pocket of her tight red shorts…which I figured was a pack of cigarettes but was now clearly a box of little cigarette-shaped cigars.  I recognized the young guy in the foursome as her boyfriend/husband, but who were the middle-aged couple that each of them were talking to?  It was probably her parents…but maybe it was his parents.  Either way, it was incredibly sexy watching my hot brunette seated next to this older gal and conversing at length while repeatedly taking puffs from her cigar.  I was able to claim the end of the same bench the two women were seated on, but didn’t dare go for pictures with the men hovering so close in front of them and looking my way.  I was able to get multiple glances at her dragging from the slow-burning cigar though, turning her head over her shoulder to release her exhales away from her mother/mother-in-law.  Great imagery all around, especially when the boyfriend started using his foot to gently caress the bare legs of his cigar-smoking lover, all while continuing to chat with the older couple.  When the two women stood up from the bench, that was my shot to get a couple of rear photos, capturing her awesome ass in those red shorts but little else as the cigar in her hand was mostly a blur.  She took a few more drags from it and I really wanted to see the butt to find out what it was, as it looked higher-end than a Swisher Sweet but also definitely looked like it was commercially sold rather than one of the cigars sold at the Weston Tobacco booth.  Unfortunately I wouldn’t get my chance as she stubbed out the cigar on the ground and tossed the butt in the trash can.  I still walked away very pleased that at least one of the girls I’d become psychologically invested in early in the day ended up delivering, and with a cigar no less!  One of my top-five sightings of the day.

It was now after 11:00, and after two consecutive days of walking multiple hours on fairgrounds, my feet were sore and I was winding down.  I was gonna take one final walk past the block of bars and grills and then through the midway, and then call it a night.  The fair seems to continue after midnight so maybe at some point I’ll be engaged enough to stick around, but it wasn’t gonna be last night.  I made the final loop and saw little worth mentioning, so it was time to make the long walk back to my car in the parking lot at around 11:35.  I ended up with 68 sightings, my lowest haul yet at the Missouri State Fair and down a full 30% from last year.  Unfortunately I figured that 2018 was more likely the outlier than 2019 because of the demographics of that Cole Swindell concert, and of course one unforgettable sighting destined to be a first ballot Hall of Famer in my all-time sightings canon who I had really, really hoped would be there again last night.  I still had a few really great moments this year, particularly the blond buying and smoker her presumed first cigar, and suspect this venue is a good one to continue patronizing because of the smoker-friendly tradition of the central Missouri culture and the unusually tobacco-friendly nature of this fairgrounds, but I couldn’t help but be disappointed that the day wasn’t better.

Especially disappointing was that Juul had found its way into Missouri in a way it hadn’t yet in August 2018.  Beyond that, there was a general sense that there just aren’t that many young smokers to be found anymore even in rural Missouri.  If smoking is falling as far out of fashion even here as the day’s findings pointed toward, then smoking is in really tough shape nationally.  I can’t even imagine what this fairgrounds would have looked like 20 years ago had I attended then.  With a long drive ahead of me back to central Iowa, I decided I’m unlikely to ever again make a dedicated trip specifically for a day at the Missouri State Fair.  Most years looking forward, my mid-to-late August vacation plans will take me in a direction where I can stop at the Missouri State Fair along the way, so I will be going back in 2020 and at least one of the two years after that, but if my vacation plans have me going in a different direction, I’ll probably just spend an extra day at the Iowa State Fair rather than make a long drive back and forth to Sedalia, Missouri.  The venue has the potential to be incredible, as it proved last year, but it’s just not dependably fantastic, or even dependably acceptable.  The more populated fairgrounds in Minnesota and Iowa just hold higher statistical potential to find something worth your while than does Missouri, much as it pains me to admit that.



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2019 Iowa State Fair, Day 3

Most years I only head to the Iowa State Fair twice but since I wanted to go to that bandshell concert on Wednesday night, I decided to go a third night this year on Friday evening.  Country singer Luke Bryan was the grandstand entertainment so I figured that would draw a demographically favorable crowd.  Insane person that I am, I took off bright and early for the Missouri State Fair the next morning, making August 16 and 17 the most aggressive sightings weekend of my life.  And while Luke Bryan night wasn’t as spectacular as Slipknot night the previous Saturday, it wasn’t a bad day overall and came on particularly strong after dark.  I scored 85 sightings in about nine hours, arriving at the grounds around 2:30 and leaving around midnight.  I intentionally came in the mid-afternoon in hopes of preserving my feet for a full day in Missouri the next day, limiting myself only to the prime sightings hours for Friday.

I got off my shuttle bus to perfect summer weather in the low-to-mid-80s and a grounds already filling up.  Within moments, my first sighting of the day was strutting down the concourse going the opposite direction, an early 30s blond with a cigarette hastily heading toward the exit.  Always nice to get the first sighting ticked off in the first few minutes after arrival.

Within about a half hour I’d get my first extra-base hit of the day on the south side of the grounds with a young couple smoking outside of a commercial building, the female half of the couple becoming Sighting #4.  She was an attractive mid-20s redhead with flowing red locks going down her back, wearing a black tanktop and and a pair of pale blue jean shorts.  She was quite tall and those long legs looked killer coming out of the sexy jean shorts, and coupled with the sun shining down on that red hair, really made for a killer presentation as she stood there in the middle of the street and smoked her cigarette.  I had to sit a few benches down since not many people were around but I got several pics, including a couple of dragging pics, that turned out pretty well despite the distance.  I got to see several well-timed drags with solid delivery and exhales before she stomped out the expired butt on the pavement and went inside the commercial building with the boyfriend.  Once she went inside, I was able to identify the butt as a Camel Light Menthol.  I had some good early momentum here.

The momentum continued on a grassy knoll on the east side of the grounds where I came across a duo of glamorous early 20s sexpots having a smoke break.  Sightings #6 and #7 were both killing it in the presentation department, one blond and one brunette, sitting there puffing away with a pack of Newports resting in between them.  On the left was the blond who impressed me most of the two, sunglasses atop her head and her long, straight blond hair flowing onto a bright yellow tanktop with a sexy pair of pale blue cutoffs on the bottom showing off a tremendous amount of leg.  The brunette on the right was sexy too, and the better smoker of the two, wearing a zebra-striped top and black jeans.  It was great to know there were girls like this who still smoked as they definitely evoked a stylish aura that one would expect to be associated with the faddish Juul pods these days.   I was sitting across the street and took a few pics, but the distance prevented any of them from being great.  The brunette finished her cigarette a moment before the blond followed suit, and unfortunately I didn’t get the shot where the blond stood up and then bent over to pick up her Newport pack off the grass.  The girls walked away from their littered butts and headed back onto the grounds, allowing me the opportunity to swoop in and confirm that their cigarettes were both Newports.

I was lucky to get this early burst of quality because the next hour and a half would be a bust.  The streak wouldn’t even get broken by Sighting #12 because it wasn’t even really a sighting.  I came upon this middle-aged father and mother sitting on the curb in front of Jalapeno Pete’s next to a mid-20s dark brunette daughter in a blouse and jean shorts.  The daughter couldn’t have possibly looked more like a smoker as she sat there sipping her beer, and sure enough, resting on the top of her open purse was a pack of Camel Crushes.  Unfortunately, the purse was soon zipped shut.  I kept tabs on her for a good 20 minutes as I darted from one path to another, hoping I’d arrive at some point to see that purse open and a Camel Crush smoldering between her fingers, but it wouldn’t happen and finally they departed, never to be seen again last night.

Sightings continued to come together slowly but I was keeping tabs on the crowd forming near the grandstand for the Luke Bryan concert, where my eyes landed upon this early-to-mid-20s blond who left the line and was wandering around aimlessly with an unlit cigarette between her fingers.  She seemed to think there was  a specific designated smoking area but there wasn’t, so she drifted back into the line and likely asked her nonsmoking friends.  Finally, she broke from the line again and headed to an isolated patch near a trash can a few yards east of the line, where she lit up the cigarette and officially became Sighting #16.  She had a certain studious look about her that was kind of sexy, with glasses and long blond hair going past her shoulders, wearing a white T-shirt and torn-up jeans.  She didn’t look like a smoker but also seemed a little conservatively dressed for a young woman going to a Luke Bryan concert.  I got a few holding pics but her location was too isolated to dwell with my camera, so I watched from a few yards away as she put away the cigarette pretty nicely and with solidly timed drags.  I wanted to get a brand ID on the all-white butt but she uncooperatively crushed the butt out on the pavement and tossed it in the nearby trash can before getting back in line for the concert.

A few yards away at the eastern edge of the grandstand near the bathroom area, I’d get Sighting #17, which I suspected was a family of smokers including a set of parents and an early 20s blond daughter.  Now the daughter was a tick homely but in a cute sort of way, wearing a gray blouse and torn-up blue jeans with her blond hair wrapped up in a ponytail.  The dynamic was cool here to see her smoking so openly with her parents.  I sat across the street and watched most of the show as the three of them all smoked, with dad finishing his cigarette first and then walking off somewhere, leaving just mother and daughter to finish theirs off in the next few minutes.  This bathroom area is often productive on big concert nights since it’s right around the corner from the grandstand and last night would be no exception.  And I noticed an ex-girlfriend of mine from 12 years ago was in the general area and smoking outside the bathroom.  This didn’t surprise as she loved country music concerts and Luke Bryan would be right up her alley, but she hasn’t aged well in the years since we went out…to the point that I didn’t even consider her a sighting despite seeing her smoking!

I always make sure to explore the Bud Tent and its surrounding block, particularly by late afternoon happy hour time, and the area came through again last night with a duo of early 20s girls sitting across the street sharing a cigarette.  Sightings #22 and #23 were both brunette, and while the girl on the right had the sexiest conventional presentation in a black tanktop and jean shorts, the friend on the left in a black top and jeans impressed me more as she was sporting a more wholesome and conservative look.  She was also the better smoker of the two and got the majority of the shared cigarette to herself.  All the benches near them were occupied and I was out of luck for getting any photos, but hovered near the curb and saw them smoke most of the cigarette.  I was hoping I’d see them again last night but the first time would be the only time.

My prime objective for the night was obviously smoker girl sightings but on two occasions I found myself distracted by leather on girls’ butts.  I ran into two young ladies wearing leather miniskirts.  One was a dark-complected late teen girl who was quite skinny and was rocking a flat-styled leather skirt that fit her nicely.  The one who really got my blood pumping though was this late 20s dark blond with a middle-aged woman I assumed was her mother and decked out in a lip-smackingly sexy black leather miniskirt that fit her curves just perfectly.   The blond was pretty but had the kind of weathered features that made me suspect she was also a cigarette smoker but I never did see it.  When I ran into her, the Budweiser Clydesdale horses were marching down the concourse and demanding everybody’s attention.  I was giving a few passing glances at the impressive Clydesdales but more of my attention was going to the even more impressive leather-clad ass of this sexy dark blond.  It was all the more exciting that she dressed for the fair like this in the company of her mother.

It was approaching dinner time now and the crowds were really starting to pile in, and sometimes that actually hurts sightings prospects as you have a hard time seeing past the person right in front of you with all of these people, but I tried to migrate to areas where I knew smokers would likely be found, and one of them was the seating area behind The Depot, where I saw a middle-aged mother and her two 20-something daughters, one of whom was smoking.  The blond daughter who was Sighting #27 was a bit chubby, decked out in her black tanktop and jean shorts, but had such a girl-next-door look about her with her ponytailed blond hair that it was still intriguing to see her smoking a cigarette.  There was a bench open behind The Depot where I was able to sit and watch most of the show, with the mother at one point seeming to console the smoking daughter who had a bit of a hangdog look on her face.  I stayed for the duration of the show, and while there wasn’t anything particularly special about her smoking style, I still enjoyed the dynamic.

As the line started to let in crowds for the Luke Bryan show, I lurked around the front of the grandstand to catch all the concertgoers storing up on nicotine before the show started.  I wouldn’t get many to impress, but one intriguing entry was Sighting #31, this early 30s Asian gal sitting next to an older white woman, who I suppose could have been an adopted mother as it felt as though their relationship was familial based on my limited observation.  Whatever the case, the Asian gal smoked and the older white woman didn’t.  With her dark complexion and glasses, this Asian gal was facially the spitting image of the dark-skinned Asian girl who was my best sighting for night 2 of this year’s ISF, although this gal was probably 10 years older than Wednesday night’s girl and her hair wasn’t nearly as long.  She lit up an all-white the first time I saw her smoking and only about 10 minutes later she was lighting up a second while sitting in the same spot.

Things were going slower than I’d hoped in the early evening but another pass through the Depot yielded an intriguing find.  I had my eye on a blond who was smoking in the seating area but off in the distance another gal burst onto the scene–sort of–who diverted my attention.  A late 20s or early 30s long-haired light brunette in a shiny tanktop and jean shorts was drifting off to a very isolated area several yards south of The Depot to smoke a cigarette that she very clearly didn’t want anybody to know or see she was smoking.  And Sighting #36 would have gotten away with it too if not for this mettling fetisher watching from afar.  Given her isolation, pictures were out of the question but it was a treat seeing what I suspected was a closet smoker indulging herself in a secret cigarette and making pretty quick work of it.  She had her back turned to me for much of the show but it was nice seeing those cloudbursts exploding from her mouth and nose.  The show only lasted about three minutes before she crushed out the cigarette and walked away, passing by right in front of me on her way back to wherever she came from and not giving any indication she knew that I knew her secret.

Back to the bathroom area around the corner of the grandstand, several smokers were indulging their habits before the concert but not too many of them leaving an impression on me.  An early 20s dark blond in a black top and jeans was good enough to count as Sighting #37, but she seemed pretty downscale and not appealing enough for a writeup.  But I’ll give her credit for stepping up and making her sighting worth my time for an extra couple minutes of observation as this middle-aged couple approached her when they saw her cigarette and asked if they could bum one.  The dark blond cooperatively reached into her purse and pulled out a pack of Marlboro Blacks, handing one over to the couple and talking to them with the cigarette bouncing up and down in her mouth the whole time.  The two parties continued to interact and my dark blond was smiling and had a different air about her than when I first spotted her, smoking with a pretty decent style as she conversed with this older couple.  The sighting certainly wasn’t poised for any top honors of the day but I always enjoy when a sighting that leaves a mediocre first impression improves in scope over the course of the show.

From there I headed to the east side of the grounds and spotted a couple who looked about 30 years old sitting in the grass, each of them smoking a cigarette in a very isolated spot west of the free concert stage.  I could tell from afar that the long-haired dark brunette who would likely be Sighting #39 had a full-sleeve tattoo on her left arm, which I find repulsive.  I almost didn’t bother walking past her to check out her smoking show, but decided to give her a glance anyway.  And she was pretty….way too pretty to have defiled her body with that ugly tattoo.  I’ve mentioned before that the tattoo era presents a challenge to my sightings picks as there are some attractive young women who I have a hard time identifying as a sighting because I’m so grossed out by the nasty tattoo ink.  On the other hand, I can’t very well discredit every smoking girl with a visible tattoo either, so I guess it’s just an “I know it when I see it” threshold for how much ink is too much.  This dark brunette made the cut, but damn would her sighting have been better if the ugly  mess of tattoo ink all over her arm hadn’t been the very first thing I noticed about her.

The evening was in serious need of some star power, and I knew the second I looked at her that Sighting #40 had star potential.  Sitting on the curb on the east side was a mid-20s dark brunette who was the only one smoking in her mixed-gender group of four.  Sitting there in her green top and pale blue daisy dukes, she struck an impressive pose and I claimed a seat near her on the curb, although unfortunately with friends on both sides of her preventing any photo-taking and making observation generally a challenge.  But I was still able to carry on with the latter as the brunette smoker conversed with her nonsmoking female friend, dragging from her cork filter intensely and cocking her neck upward during the drag.  I waited and waited and waited for the exhales after her drags and it was always several seconds later before her lungs expelled the smoke in intense upwardly-directed streams.  There was something very expressive about this girl’s face that made her above-average general look that much more irresistible as she continued talking to this friend while exposing her to her filthy cigarette breath.  Unfortunately, I only got to see four drags before the cigarette–which had the markings of a Camel Menthol–was retired below her feet.  I got up to leave but circled back pretty quickly just in case she lit up another one.  Instead, her group was walking toward the birthing center building, the guy who was clearly her boyfriend holding hands with this cutie, her presentation in those snug jean shorts and belt only more dazzling after she became vertical and was walking away.  But the group went inside the building and all I could do was hope I’d see her again later in the evening.  And I would….she was hand in hand with the boyfriend when they stumbled upon another duo of apparent friends at the edge of the midway.  My jean-shorted cutie had a fresh beer in her hand and I thought with this social visit near the drinking fountain that it portended tremendous potential for a follow-up sighting.  Unfortunately…nothing.  They stood and talked to this couple for a good 20 minutes by the drinking fountain, and I took a few blurry evening pics, adoring her emotive face and effervescent charm whenever I walked past.  I kept close tabs the entire 20 minutes until one time I walked past and they were gone, never to be seen again last night.  It was really disappointing given her star potential, but I needed more than those four drags to declare her one of this year’s queen bees.  I figured fate was on my side when I ran into her the second time but it wasn’t meant to be.  Very glad for what I did see though as those four drags were remarkable.

It was just about 8:00 and the last wave of concertgoers were filling up on smoke outside the grandstand, and a duo of late 20s gals hovering near a food stand caught my eye.  Sighting #44 was a slightly chubby but decently attractive brunette in a very conservative plaid shirt and dark jean shorts and was the only one smoking of the two, but her style was such that I took note, her pacing solid and her exhales directed skyward with some pretty good force.  I actually got one of those exhales on camera.  She retired the cigarette to the pavement below her feet and crushed it out, and I figured that would be the end of the sighting, certainly not expecting that the blond would wait for the brunette to finish her cigarette and light one up of her own, but that’s exactly what happened.  The blond became Sighting #45 only seconds after #44’s show ended.  I stuck around for a minute or so, but the blond’s performance wasn’t overly memorable even though she was the better-looking of the two.

The sun had set and I hadn’t really seen anything yet last night that was really hitting me where I lived, so I was starting to get concerned.  Sometimes this leads you to take risks and chase white whales and other times it leads you to keep moving in desperate hope of finding something.  Last night fit the former category as I walked in front of Jalapeno Pete’s and the other main beer gardens joints on the concourse when I stumbled upon a trio that included a mid-20s guy smoking, a female brunette Juuling, and this intriguing strawberry-haired cutie in her mid-20s standing between them who wasn’t breathing anything into her lungs at the moment.  I had a really strong feeling about this girl though as I admired her impossibly wholesome look, the long strawberry hair flowing onto her back and onto a white blouse with a conservative pair of purplish-blue shorts on the bottom.  She was a mix of Chelsea Clinton and this wholesome girl named Kelsey who I briefly courted on an online dating site until she got back together with her old boyfriend.  Even if the best I got was her getting one drag off of the cigarette of the guy who I presumed to be her boyfriend, it would have been worth the short investment of time.  But I was about to do way better than that….

The strawberry-haired cutie leaned toward the boyfriend and put her hands into the pocket of his shorts, in seconds retrieving a pack of Marlboro Lights.  This girl wasn’t gonna bother to simply ask her boyfriend to hand her the pack….she wanted a nicotine hit right now on her own terms!  Seconds later, she lit up to officially become Sighting #50 and was it ever a great show, with nicely paced and indulgent drags always followed up with tilted-head exhales directed skyward at 45-degree angles with impressive smoke volume.   It was a fantastic show and I was watching and smelling it from only a few feet away, but it would get a most satisfying change of direction about halfway through the cigarette when the strawberry-haired smoker was suddenly walking hand in hand with the female Juuling friend through the dense crowd and toward the cluster of port-a-johns.  My smoker girl busted through the crowd with cigarette in hand, continuing to drag and exhale from it with reckless abandon until they ultimately got in line for a port-a-john near the back end of the cluster.  It was at this point a new player entered the sighting, some middle-aged guy who wandered in from the midway holding a giant stuffed animal.  Maybe his grandkid won it at the carnival or something.  Whatever the case, he came across as this gentle grandpa type who approached my strawberry-haired smoker and asked her if she wanted the stuffed prize.  It’s reasonable to assume as he approached that he didn’t see the cigarette in her hand, and simply called out the most wholesome young chick he saw in close proximity to see if she wanted to lug around this carnival prize, and only then noticed that the wholesome girl he beckoned had a half-smoked cigarette between her fingers.  I couldn’t hear the conversation but they politely bantered for a couple of moments when she declined his offer to take the stuffed prize.  Moments after that, she finished off the Marlboro Light and crushed it out beneath her shoe, forcing the hordes of people in line for the port-a-john to choke down one last exhale that spewed from her respiratory system.

I walked away from this sighting thrilled at my instinct that led me to be patient and wait this girl out even though she didn’t look at all like a smoker.  I was also thrilled to head off to a nearby bench and check out how well my pictures turned out as I was scoring stacks of upclose shots before she and the friend drifted away for the potty break.  Imagine my horror when I looked at my camera to see only one photo took and it wasn’t even a good one.  For the life of me I don’t know what happened and unfortunately it was the first of several photo fails of the evening.  I was sick about it….but the same instinct that led me to keep my eye on this girl in the first place also made me think I hadn’t seen the last of her for the night.

In the meantime I walked over to The Depot and, at the top of the stairs shared by the Depot and the adjoining Varied Industries building, stood an adorable petite brunette smoking a cigarette. Sighting #51 bid a brief farewell from her nonsmoking boyfriend who went inside the Varied Industries building as she stayed behind and smoked.  And damn was she sexy….her long dark brown hair flowing onto the shoulders of this yellow-striped bare-midriff top with several inches of exposed belly and a pair of tight jeans below.  Perhaps her diminutive size contributed to this impression, but she came across as meek and bashful standing there smoking her cork-filter cigarette without her boyfriend.  I suspect she was in her mid-20s but she could have easily passed for 18 she was so short and cute.  I attempted a couple of stealth photos, including one in mid-drag, but figured they wouldn’t turn out great with the evening lighting.  Turns out that like with the strawberry-haired hottie that preceded her, the photos didn’t take at all, so I didn’t even manage to get bad pics.  Still no idea what was going on but the boyfriend came back out and they walked back to the concourse, the brunette still finishing her cigarette and then tossing the butt into the trash can denying me a brand ID.  I saw the couple again about an hour later but she wasn’t smoking this time.  Here was another extra-base hit that had the potential to be something really special if I’d gotten to see more.

I continued to explore the grounds and hung fairly close to the grandstand as there was a spillover crowd listening to Luke Bryan from outside the gates.  Off to the side of this crowd was a cute early 20s dark blond chatting with a friend and opening up her purse.  Sure enough, out came a pack of Camel Crushes.  Sighting #55 was more engrossed in the conversation with the friend than the cigarette though, and it took her a helluva long time to take out the cigarette and get it lit, but when she did fire it up, it was pretty cool seeing how casually she continued to engage in her ongoing chat with this nonsmoking friend while inhaling drags from her cigarette in the moments when her friend was doing the chatting.  Still, with as much chatting as was going on, I didn’t have the patience to wait out the entire cigarette, particularly since I had a couple of other girls I was keeping close tabs on.

At the top of that list of girls I was keeping tabs on was the strawberry-haired wholesome girl in front of Jalapeno’s Pete.  I walked past that block of beer gardens and there she was again, not smoking but talking with a family she apparently knew and a young boy who looked about six who she was treating like a toddler.  Either she was already pretty drunk or her biological clock is thundering like Big Ben at high noon because she was fully engaged in youthful conversation with the young boy, complete with high-fives and overly complimentary responses to what he said.  At one point, she was introducing the child to others in her group and said “And this is Easton!” with a vocal excitement that matched her overall colorful expressions.  Some girls just explode with that IT factor in social settings, and she definitely fit the profile, her face and body language bubbly to a degree that it was impossible to look away even when she was not smoking.  But for all of her doting on the young boy, it was quickly clear that his presence was the only thing delaying her next cigarette…..because as soon as the parents with the young child walked away, it took about 10 seconds for the Marlboro Lights to make their next appearance.  And this time she plucked the pack from her own shorts pocket where they rightly belonged, as her boyfriend apparently had learned his lesson after the last time when she reached into his pocket and swiped them.  She was the only one in her group smoking during this sighting as well.  She lit up and took down this cigarette with the same great pacing and with the same 45-degree upward-angle exhales she treated the rods and cones in my eyes to on the previous sighting.  I was taking some pics on this one but was unable to replicate what I thought I’d gotten on that upclose original cigarette.  Still, it was an impressive show and she was definitely the top player of the night thus far.  I figured surely it would be a while till her next cigarette would be smoked so I took the opportunity to venture toward the Bud Tent a block to the east.

I made that quick pass through the Bud Tent and got a couple of good sightings, but I ended up wishing I had never left my old spot as when I returned, my strawberry-haired cutie already had another cigarette going, holding her pack of Marlboro Lights in her other hand as she smoked this one.  There were more people in her social group now, including a middle-aged lady I figured was either her mother or her boyfriend’s mother.  Just like before, the strawberry-haired cutie was the only one smoking.  I continued to adore watching her work the crowd with her highly emotive facial expressions, which came alive even further when admiring the pleasure on her face as she dragged from her cigarette.  I got a couple of marginally passable pics of her face but never anything while she was dragging.  Lack of excellent photos aside, she was now running away with the night.  A garbage truck was coming down the concourse, honking its horn to warn fairgoers in the middle of the street to move, which meant my favorite girl’s group moved closer to where I sat on the curb.  She wasn’t close to me for long before finishing up what was at least her third cigarette of the last 45 minutes, dropping it to the pavement and crushing it out beneath her shoe like the previous two just before subjecting the others in her group to a final blast of her secondhand smoke.

The sky seemed to be the limit for how many cigarettes she’d be consuming in front of Jalapeno Pete’s the rest of the evening, and I drifted off briefly once again to check on other hotspots closeby, but when I returned her group was gone….or else inside Jalapeno Pete’s.  I still held out some hope I’d see her again before night’s end, and I guess I did, but I’d seen the last of her smoking for the night.

Elsewhere on the grounds, on the block between the Bud Tent and Jalapeno Pete’s I noticed a duo of two guys posing with two fairgrounds police officers for an awkward photograph.  The guys didn’t seem particularly intoxicated so it was a little odd they’d be requesting a photograph with these cops, but it was only when I looked past those on the receiving end of the photo and toward the person taking the photo that I realized what the scene’s main attraction would be.  Holding the camera to take the snapshot with a mostly smoked cigarette protruding from between her fingers was Sighting #61, a cute mid-20s brunette.  After taking the pic, she gathered with the guys and the cops to check out how the pics turned out, taking a final drag from her cigarette and then polluting it on the pavement right in front of the cops.  It was a pretty cool novelty sighting, and got even weirder about 10 minutes later when I saw the same girl smoking another cigarette in the company of the same two guys as they approached another duo of fairgrounds cops to ask them for a selfie too.  It was one of the oddest storylines to ever accompany a sighting, and either this group was much drunker than they looked or they got off on persuading cops to take pictures with them.

From there I migrated back to the spillover crowd east of the grandstand for the Luke Bryan concert with excellent timing to stumble upon my third favorite sighting of the night.  Standing on the back steps of one of the bars outside the grandstand was this attractive mid-20s blond smoking in the company of an African-American nonsmoking boyfriend and what I presumed was her mother, who was also smoking.  Sighting #62 had a very pretty face and was a pretty good smoker.  Her ass a bit larger than I prefer draped in a pair of camouflage shorts, but she was still fun to watch smoke.  But a split second after my eyes took note of this mother-daughter smoking duo, I looked a couple of steps higher on the same fairgrounds bar to see another mother-daughter smoking duo, this one featuring an even more adorable and wholesome early 20s blond, puffing away on their cigarettes and becoming Sighting #63.  I hit pay dirt and settled a few feet down the cement where I could pretend to be part of the spillover grandstand crowd listening to the concert while my real objective was watching two different pairs of mother-daughter smokers.  It was pure heaven for a couple of minutes as my eyes darted up and down the stairs with new blasts of smoking coming from female mouths and dirtying up the airspace amongst this crowd of onlookers.  The original blond down the stairs and her mother finished up their cigarettes first, ultimately leaving the more wholesome girl up the stairs, and her mom, to drive this sighting home……

It was amazing how adorable this girl was, a sweetheart 21-22ish blond with curly hair hanging onto the shoulders of her lacy white blouse with pale blue jean shorts on the bottom.  But it was her smoking that really made the fire crackle, with the girl routinely taking intense drags with looks of sensual pleasure filling her face as she pulled the carcinogens into her body, the visual all the more electric with the backdrop of carnival lighting from the midway just behind her.  Her exhales showed the same bodily passion, turning her mouth to the right and releasing the smoke through her pursed lips as if she’d never felt anything more wonderful in her life, and all listening to the music of Luke Bryan of all people.  Every drag was like this.  Perhaps it was brought on by the alcohol as it seems like girls who are slightly or completely drunk seem to enjoy their cigarettes with much more sensuality, but this girl was not carrying herself as though she was overly drunk.  Either way, it was a real trip associating this wholesome face with such an electric bodily response from smoking.  I was really hoping for a butt ID, but unfortunately the cigarette would get dropped into the nearly empty remains of whatever adult beverage she was imbibing.  An encore would have been wonderful but almost immediately after mom and daughter finished their cigarettes they walked out right past me and left the spot, giving me a nice closing glance at her slender body in the white lacy blouse and pale blue jean shorts as it walked away.  A double mother-daughter sighting would have been nice enough, but when the hottest girl of the group puts on smoky performance art like this to enhance the visual further, it creates a moment no Luke Bryan song is capable of effectively capturing, try as he might.

I kept putting points on the board as I migrated west on the concourse to The Depot where a young Hispanic couple gave me a rare Hispanic sighting.  The girl was early 20s and very cute and petite with long, light brown hair and wearing a T-shirt and jeans.  Sighting #65 was a bearcat to pin down as she kept weaving in and out of the group clustered in front of the Depot and seemed to always be on the wrong side of her boyfriend for me to check out her drags, but just seeing her there holding that cigarette with the glowing cherry while singing along to whatever piped-in song was coming out of the speaker at the Depot was a great visual.  I finally got to see a single drag and it was nice if not particularly memorable in the execution.

When I returned to the grandstand area, that’s when I spotted the #40 girl with her boyfriend hanging out by the water fountains with another couple that I alluded to earlier, so I kept close tabs on her for awhile and stuck pretty close to the grandstand, midway, and Jalapeno Pete’s area for the next 20 minutes or so, also hoping I’d spot the strawberry-haired star of the night (#50) again.  Neither #40 nor #50 would come through, but new addition Sighting #70 sure left an impression.  Standing to the west of the grandstand was a mixed-gender group that seemed kind of oddball from a distance but ultimately appeared to be two couples.  But from afar, an even from upclose, the brunette Sighting #70 looked like she was about 15.  She was very petite and decked out in a girlish white tanktop and pale pink shorts, but her features were also very soft and pastel, appearing several years younger than what I assume she was as she smoked her cigarette and drank her adult beverage in the presence of the male smokers in the group.  I was in no position to take a photo but wish I could have just to study her features better and see if I could buy her being 21 or older.  One of the two guys had his arm around her signifying that he was her boyfriend, and he definitely looked early-to-mid 20s.  Coupling that with her drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette at such a public spot and I can’t imagine she was under 21 and run the risk of being arrested.  She was standing in a circle with the guys so it was hard to watch her show, but I did see a couple of drags, and it was impressive to see the contrast of this girl smoking while looking like she wasn’t even old enough to have a driver’s license.

I made a quick run through the midway before the Luke Bryan concert ended and got a cute little sighting from a duo of early 20s blonds, one of whom was standing and leaning against a carnival stand while vaping….and the other who was sitting down next to her and smoking a real cigarette, with the pack of Marlboro Lights next to her on the pavement.  Sighting #72 looked like she might have had a little bit to drink that night as well, and had a glamorous air about her with long blond hair and heavy makeup application, a gray blouse and medium-blue jeans on the bottom.  She was hitting that cigarette pretty aggressively, which was helpful for me as there was no good vantage point to observe this and I had to slow-walk a couple of semicircles around the carnival stand to see anything.  What I did get to see was three nice drags and cloudy exhales that accompanied them.

Luke Bryan was singing his encore performance (for some reason singing Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer”) and some fairgoers were spilling out of the grandstand early either to beat the traffic or get their nicotine fix.  It was at this time that a trio of extra-base hit sightings converged to give me a sensory overload moment at the edge of the grandstand…and my second favorite sighting of the night.  It all started when I saw this mid-20s couple settle into a dark crevice along the grandstand’s exterior foundation and extract cigarette from a pack that appeared from a distance to be Marlboro Blacks.  The long-haired blond in the black blouse and jeans who would become Sighting #74 was very pretty and very wholesome…..and VERY pregnant.  We’re talking at least eight months here.  She quickly sat down after getting her hands on the cigarette, presumably to hide her big belly from a judgmental public.  But then this duo of brunette women in their late 30s or 40s showed up and started talking to the young couple who by now were both smoking.  The blond was fishing out cigarettes for the two women who just joined them but I couldn’t tell whether she knew them or if they were just strangers bumming a cigarette.  I sensed a little nervous energy from my blond, pregnant smoker, indicating the two women were strangers, but later I’d conclude they had to have known each other in some capacity because they continued to sit there chatting for another 15 minutes.  This sighting would have been impressive even if I had just come upon it 30 seconds after I did and never saw she was eight months pregnant because the girl looked so wholesome, reminding me quite a bit of my favorite lady from Missouri when she was in her mid-20s, herself smoking throughout her pregnancy.  This pregnant blond didn’t mind inhaling very deeply when she put that cork filter cigarette up to her lips either, lighting up that dark corner with the steady glow of molten tobacco she was breathing into her pregnant body.  I had settled in for a good minute of this sighting when a new player emerged to my right….

Another young couple in their mid-20s settled in against the wall of the bar to my right and also lit up cigarettes.  The female of the relationship was a gorgeous mid-20s blond in a matching two-piece black and while striped ensemble.  Sighting #75 was one of the most beautiful smoker girls of the night with strikingly attractive features and didn’t look at all like a smoker, yet her she and her boyfriend were lighting up, giving me something to look at to my right when the pregnant smoker was between drags to my left.  But the moment was about to overload when a third player emerged almost right in front of me….

This trio that included an overweight 30-something or 40-something gal, a 19ish dark blond cutie, and a young girl who looked about 9 or 10 years old as they approached the corner of the grandstand exterior in front of me.  I didn’t give this trio much of a thought as they approached me with so much quality smoking going on to my left and right, until I heard a squeaky, girlish voice utter the words, “That’s fine.  I’m just gonna go out here for a cigarette too.”  My head shot up from whichever of this sighting’s two existing players I was currently checking out and quickly figured out it was the 19ish dark blond who uttered these words, her voice not at all matching the smoking performance I was about to see.  The blond was wearing glasses and a sexy pairing of a white tanktop and dark jean shorts, not the prettiest girl at the fair but probably the prettiest smoker who was this young. Moments later, a pack of Marlboro Reds emerged from the purse of the dark blond and an unlit cigarette was briefly dangling from her lips before she fired up and became Sighting #76.  The relationship between the trio was confusing as I figured the heavyset brunette, who also lit a cigarette, was quite likely the mother of the young girl, but where did this dark blond college-age girl fit in?  She seemed too old to be a daughter and too young to be a sister of the heavy brunette.  Whoever she was, damn could she smoke, dragging hard and fast on that cigarette with aggressive pacing that still didn’t seem rushed….it just seemed like the nicotine deprivation of a smoker who had gone more than two hours without a cigarette during a concert.  The air was full of smoke and the majority of it seemed to be coming from her exhales…..

So here I was, darting my eyes to the left and right in a way that may well have left me permanently cross-eyed, checking out the pregnant smoker to my left, the gorgeous blond smoker to my right, and this college-age cutie putting on the best smoking performance of the three right in front of me.  With as close as the younger girl was standing to me, I figured I might have an outside chance of getting some photos.  And while none of them were by any means great given the evening lighting, I did okay….and I even got a couple of dragging photos.   The pregnant blond to the left was also in the photos but was pretty much a complete blur.  The pregnant blond finished her cigarette first but the late teen blond in front of me finished hers in the shortest time, dropping the butt to the pavement in front of me and stomping it out before walking away with the mother and daughter and leaving me to officially ID her discarded butt as a Marlboro Red.  This left just one remaining player in the sighting and I walked to my right a few steps to see the final drags from the gorgeous blond.  I tried to score a pic of her as well but my phone was being extremely uncooperative and she finished the cigarette before I got my chance.  It was kind of fitting that all of this impressive smoking by these three very different blonds was happening with the backdrop of Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” booming out of the grandstand because it was the kind of sighting that seemed more likely to come out of 1987 than 2019.

While that triple-play sighting was easily the high point of the concert-related smoking moments, a few yards to the west also leaning against the grandstand was a cute sighting that involved a presumably drunk young couple in their early 20s scrapping.  Sighting #77 was a sexy long-haired blond in a tanktop and jean shorts smoking a cigarette as I came upon her with her boyfriend hovering in front of her.  I felt an all-too-familiar air of sympathy for the guy when I heard the girl explode at him with “Why would you offer to go buy me food when you don’t even want to be with me?!?!?  Why don’t you just buy some food for one of those sluts.”  The guy tried to calm the situation but I sensed the girl was inconsolable.  I suppose it’s possible he was the villain here but having come across girls on drunken nights out making these kinds of jealous statements before, I just had a feeling she was the one drunkenly unloading on him over some false perception.  This became even more clear when I returned about 10 minutes later and saw the couple in the presence of another guy and all smoking a second round of cigarettes, talking amongst each other like all was right in the world or not.  Whether or not she was crazy, she was a beautiful and sexy smoker, and I only wish I could have seen more but the boyfriend standing in front of her, combined with the darkness of their location, kept me from seeing much.

Unfortunately I wouldn’t get much else worth talking about in the 45 minutes after the concert’s dismissal.  It was 11:30 and I was poised to take off a little early since I was driving to Missouri bright and early the next day, but that plan was delayed at least a bit when I walked around the seating area behind the Depot one last time and came upon two late 20s or early 30s brunettes with cigarettes in hand.  It was a good opportunity to get off my feet for a few minutes and sit down on the bench in front of them to watch the show from Sightings #82 and #83.  The brunette on the right was the most attractive and the best smoker, and she would eventually fish out a cigarette and hand it to a third women in the group who would light up and become Sighting #84.  Unfortunately they seemed to be onto me watching their show–the most attractive gal of the trio in particular–and I didn’t want to go almost till midnight undetected and then get busted on my way out the door, so I walked off, this time certain I was on track for my shuttle bus at least 15 minutes earlier than normal….until I saw who was standing in front of the Depot.  The best-laid plan again fell apart…..

It was the strawberry-haired star of the night who dazzled with effervescent charm and three cigarettes smoked in a short period.  I figured for sure they must have left before 10 to beat the departing concert crowd, but now her group was on the block dancing to the last songs of the night coming out of The Depot.  A few members of her extended group were now smoking….but she wasn’t.  And given that she was struggling to even stand up after as much as she apparently had to drink, I didn’t think she would…..and even if she did pull out a cigarette to smoke, I didn’t know if she’d be able to get the thing lit before my last shuttle bus departed with as shit-faced as she was.  I stood there for a few minutes and much as I’d have loved to have seen her smoke another cigarette while she was this drunk, I saw it was 11:52 and I just had to go.  And who knows how many cigarettes I had missed in the two hours between my encounters with her.  I grumbled a little about having lost track of her, but I definitely made up for it with a couple of other incredible sightings moments during those two hours away from her.

I boarded my bus and it departed at 11:57.  I sat next to a mid-20s brunette who was actually sober and struck up a pretty good conversation with me, although she talked about her boyfriend so she wasn’t looking to get laid.  I was a little surprised my sweaty and sunburned appearance didn’t scare her out of initiating a conversation in the first place given the reaction I get from most people when they see me like that.  I got off the bus and back to my car at about 12:15, putting another year of the Iowa State Fair in the rearview mirror and already mentally preparing myself for Missouri the next day.

I’ve said in the past that I never know what to expect out of the Iowa State Fair as some years it’s incredible and other years mediocre to below-average.  This year definitely was closer to the “incredible” side of the spectrum, especially when graded on a curve for the culture of 2019.  That first Saturday was really something special, and last night was no slouch either.  Even the Wednesday night visit where I went in with zero expectations produced a few extra-base hits and more sightings that I ever could have expected.  Last year over one full day and one well-attended weeknight, I got 170 Iowa State Fair sightings.  And while it took me three days to get the 249 sightings I scored this year, even if I had cut out the third day altogether I’d have still beaten last year, which is impressive.  Slipknot, the grandstand performer from last Saturday, gets an honorary trophy for bringing out so much of the crowd I was looking for.  Luke Bryan did okay as well, but I went to the fair on a Friday this year specifically because I figured Luke Bryan would pull in the biggest and youngest crowd of any night, but I definitely underestimated Slipknot on that front.

But there is a gray cloud to this silver lining and in this case it’s the graying of the smoker community which is getting very few replacement smoker additions.  It wasn’t clear things would trend this way five years ago as the ascendance of vape products in the middle years of this decade was relatively slow and never hit a critical mass among younger people.  Through 2017, they still seemed like they were a novelty in my part of the country, making a dent in youth tobacco product sales but never appearing as a viable contender to overtake it.  My what a difference two years make, and it will be an amusing street fight over the product’s legality and level of regulation moving forward, and the degree to which it’s able to stop youth from vaping.  The issue is every bit as serious as the reports indicate, as I have to go back to at least the early 2000s since I saw as many teens smoking as I’ve seen Juuling so far this fair season.  So the future for tobacco is not looking bright, but either way, I still hung in there at Iowa this year, scoring some quality sightings on the downhill slope of the mountain, and I hope the momentum holds in Missouri and two weekends in Minnesota.




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2019 Iowa State Fair, Day 2

I went into an abbreviated Wednesday visit to the Iowa State Fair with low expectations as my intention was always to spend the core of the evening at a concert.  My real “second day at the 2019 Iowa State Fair” from a perspective of pursuing sightings was supposed to be Friday, two days later.  Everything on Wednesday night was just supposed to be looked at as a bonus.  I figured it would be a limited-attended evening being a Wednesday night with grandstand entertainment that didn’t seem poised to attract much of a crowd.  The free stage concert I was going to attend was 90s-era country singers Pam Tillis, Suzy Bogguss, and Terri Clark, who also seemed likely to draw an older crowd.   Ultimately, I must say it turned out a little better than I expected.  The 34 sightings I got between 5 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. isn’t a high number, but recall that for an hour and a half I was sitting at a concert and not getting sightings, which means last night in no way compared to my low-bar Wednesday visit in 2017 when I only got 37 sightings from 5 to midnight even without any distraction.  Honestly, I figured I’d be lucky to get any more than 15 sightings last night, so I was pleasantly surprised.

First of all, the crowd was bigger than expected….I suspect because it was a cooler day (highs in the mid-70s) which most people seem to prefer.  The grounds typically get ridiculously sparse on Wednesday nights after 10 p.m. but that was not the case last night.  Only by 11:30 were things starting to really thin out.  I got there shortly after 5 p.m. and was impressed by how many people were there, hoping that would produce some sightings in the three hours leading up to my concert.  And right away I got my first extra-base hit of the night….

Hidden in a grassy area next to the south side seating area was an early 20s couple where I immediately spotted a cigarette in the hand of the girl but not the male.  Sighting #1 was a little too alternative for my taste in the abstract, with reddish hair and hipster-ish glasses, but her body was incredible, draped in a purple bare-midriff tanktop and a pair of incredibly tight medium-blue jeans that perfectly encased her slender lower body.  I suspect the couple went to this isolated location so that she could smoke her cigarette out of public view, but the nonsmoking boyfriend ended up having the girlfriend posing for photos.  She didn’t appear to smoke on camera but was definitely holding her cigarette in every shot, and it was adorable to see her smile sweetly with her cigarette hand so close to those tight jeans as the boyfriend took pictures.  I was taking a few pictures of my own but I had a problem in that the bench I was sitting on, while close, had a metal handrail next to it that was impossible to avoid as it ran through the middle of all of the pics.  I still got a few good holding shots though and got to see her smoke most of the cigarette.  The boyfriend was never bequeathed even a drag from her cigarette and when she finished it the couple walked back onto the main corridors of the grounds, giving me a few final passing glances at just how perfect her body looked in those tight jeans.  It was my first sighting of the night and I’d already gotten more extra-base hits than I anticipated I would going into the night!

I was lucky I got such a solid sighting at the starting gate because more than two hours would pass before I saw anything else worth talking about.  It was about 7:30 and I only had a half hour until my concert started, and of course then things finally started to come alive at least a little.  Sitting on cement in the area east of the grandstand was a mid-20s couple where both guy and girl were smoking.  Sighting #14 was a bespectacled girl-next-door type with her auburn hair in a ponytail, decked out in a conservative gray tanktop and red athletic shorts.  She sat on the cement with her legs propped up like an upside down V and a cigarette in her right hand resting near her leg.  She was kind of an unlikely smoker and while there was certainly no glamour going on here, she was cute and I appreciated that girls of her pedigree can still be smokers.  I got a couple of quick holding pics but the couple was kind of isolated where they sat so I didn’t dare to get any more bold than that.  I stuck around for three drags, all of which were competently executed.

I was gonna make one final lap to the west side of the concourse and back and then head to my concert, and in front of The Depot I got an appetizer of a very unusual sighting. I came upon a group of two guys and two girls where the only smoker was the youngest-looking among them.  Sighting #16 was this really nerdy looking long-haired blond who carried herself like she was about 15 even though I suspected she was closer to 21.  If she wasn’t a bona fide farm girl, she was doing a very good job of faking it with her slender body draped in a plaid-patterned gray blouse with a pair of tight dark blue jeans on the bottom, the exact sort of outfit competitors in 4-H livestock competitions typically wear.  She wasn’t conventionally pretty but she had a lot of character in her face and struck such an odd profile as the only smoker in this group that I couldn’t help but be intrigued.  She had a mostly smoked cigarette between her fingers but I only got to see two drags before she dropped it into the street and crushed it out.  That would be my appetizer, but the main event came outside the Bud Tent around 10:00 after the concert ended.  She was outside with the early-to-mid-20s nonsmoking guy of her previous foursome who was quite clearly her boyfriend.  Just like the previous sighting, he was outside with a drink in his hand but she was only out with a cigarette in her hand.  This confirmed to me he probably didn’t smoke and that she probably wasn’t 21 since she wasn’t drinking either time.  Whatever the case, I got to see a lot more than two drags of this cigarette as she had just lit it up.  She was a solid smoker too with timely drags and cloudy exhales coming from mouth and nose.  The entire package was unique and I’d have been intrigued to learn how this girl ever became a smoker.  I snapped a few pics and while I got her in mid-drag, they were evening shots and the lights in the background kept them from turning out worth a damn.  I watched the entire impressive show until her final drag which she stomped out on the curb and then walked back into the Bud Tent hand in stinky hand with the boyfriend.  I checked out the discarded butt on the curb and suspect if may have been a variation of American Spirit with its white filter and green rings.  I could tell it isn’t a Marlboro Light Menthol which has a similar color pattern, but it was stomped out a little too much to get a definitive reading.  I would say this was the second-best sighting of the night given the girl’s unusual look and pedigree.

Back to before the concert, I was heading eastward on the concourse to the direction of the Susan Knapp Ampitheater where the concert was being held.  In front of the main beer gardens block was a couple featuring a very cute early 20s light brunette in mid-cigarette.  Sighting #19’s petite and shapely body was adorned in exactly the kind of outfit that I love to see on the girls of summer, a white and gray-striped top with some bare midriff and a pair of tight jeans on the bottom wrapped around her tight little lower body.  She was very sexy and sweet-looking, which made that burning cigarette between her fingers that much more pleasing to behold.  I stood to her side and snapped a dragging photo.  Unfortunately you can’t see her face in it but her full body in profile with a cigarette in her mouth is a very impressive image.  I stuck around for a couple of drags, which were both nicely executed, but then she sat down on the curb between two people making my job of watching her show much harder.  Plus I had another show to get to, a concert that was gonna start in only a few minutes.

I got to the seating for the free concert pretty much right when the show was about to begin.  I figured there’d be an overflow crowd and I was right, but I also figured I’d be about the youngest person there since most of the songs from these 90s country women (Pam Tillis, Suzy Bogguss, and Terri Clark) are more than 20 years old.  But there were a surprising number of 20-somethings there who seemed to know the words of most of the hits, which was heartening because the country music from that era was vastly superior to the country of today in my opinion.  Still, I was incredibly disappointed to arrive and see that the concert was the three women singing a capella with only acoustic guitars and a couple other minor instruments like tambourines.  This happened to me at another concert last year and it’s not the same experience without the full band.  Over the course of the show, I got over this somewhat as they all have great voices and sound like they did on the radio, and they put on a great show, but I’d have been very disappointed if I had paid money for tickets and gotten only an unplugged acoustic show.

I wandered around just a little during the show and only saw one young woman smoking in the background, but mostly I stayed put as close to the stage as I could get.  When a seat on the benches opened I took it, and got lucky seated next to a gorgeous 18ish long-haired blond in jean shorts, propping her bare legs up on the bench in front of me.  It’s been a while since I’ve sat next to a girl this hot at a concert, but she appeared to be with her family and may not have been of age so the prospect of any sparks flying was a definite zero.  The concert ended at 9:30 and since my feet were holding up pretty well I figured I’d explore the grounds till after 11:30 like I typically do.

The crowd was still quite strong as the grandstand performer, comedian Gabriel Iglesias, was going long in the main grandstand, and was up there until well after 10:30, meaning the grounds remained populated longer than is typical on a Wednesday night.  The demographics weren’t great for robust smoking sightings though, and the young females who were around mostly seemed to be Juuling.  It’s impossible to overstate how big of a crisis these things are.  We probably have to go back to very early 2000s, and more likely before that, since I saw as many teens smoking on the fairgrounds compared to how many are Juuling today.  All we can hope for is a Juuling crackdown comes that is so severe that all of the young people addicted to nicotine in the interim have no alternative but cigarettes.  That seems like a long shot honestly.

On a more positive note, my first sighting after the end of the concert came on the benches on the west side of The Depot, where a foursome was dancing just outside of the building in a way that made me strongly suspect they were out for a smoke.  Sure enough, the attractive early 20s light brunette in tight dark daisy dukes had a cigarette between her fingers.  Sighting #22 wouldn’t put on a long show as by the time I was able to sit down on an adjacent bench and observe, she was down to her last drag, which she dropped to the pavement and crushed out.  She remained outside with the rest of her group as they finished their cigarettes, and her sexy body was impressive in those tight shorts, but I did feel a bit robbed not getting to see more smoking from her.

Moving eastward from there in front of Jalapeno Pete’s, I saw from a distance a nice female body in white jean short cutoffs amidst a cluster of about five or six people and approached with some hope that the female inside of the shorts might be consuming tobacco.  It was a pleasant surprise when she was, as Sighting #23 graced my eyes with an all-white between her fingers.  She seemed to be a bit intoxicated as she hugged the friends in her group, her cigarette hand extended behind their backs.  She looked mid-30s upclose, older than I expected given her nice body, and she was still pretty attractive.  I stuck around for a couple of drags but she was a slow smoker, so I moved on.  A half hour or so later, I’d see this gal and her presumed husband smoking again, her ass stick looking great in those white shorts.

I continued east to the Bud Tent from there.  Chronologically, this was the point in the night I got the second sighting of the nerdy blond (Sighting #18), and after her show ended I walked down the corridor of benches on the west side of the Bud Tent and found a group of two late 20s couples.  Two of the guys and one girl was standing, but sitting on the bench was the group’s only smoker, a wholesome late 20s blond in a dress with one of those odd shawls covering it.  I took the bench next to her and didn’t have great lighting to see the face of Sighting #26, particularly since she really didn’t look my direction, but I was sitting close enough to pick up on the group dynamics, which didn’t really seem like a dynamic that would include this blond being a smoker.  I only got to see her take two drags before she dropped it to the ground and crushed it out.  Not long after that, the two couples went separate ways with the nonsmokers back to the Bud Tent and the couple that included the smoker girl heading for the fairgrounds exit.  I’d hoped for a little more from this sighting but it was still nice to see this very unlikely blond smoking, even if it was just socially.  Her discarded butt appeared to be some variation of cork-filter Marlboro.

The Gabriel Iglesias show had just recently dismissed and I was scanning the concourse outside of the grandstand to see if there were any hotties having their first cigarette since the end of the show….and it turned out there were.  As I was walking past, I took notice of this impressive rear view of a light brunette with very long hair going all the way down her back and onto her pale blue daisy dukes.  She was with an apparent boyfriend and another young couple, but it wasn’t until my next pass that I discovered three of the four of them were smoking, including both girls.  Sightings #30 and #31 would go on to be my favorite sightings of the night, with the first of the two I spotted holding a cigarette being the long-haired dark brunette in black leggings and boots.  That was enough for me to claim the open bench directly overlooking them, and while I was momentarily transfixed by this attractive dark brunette with the cigarette, I had to wonder about that aforementioned sexpot in the daisy dukes next to her who had her back to me.  In a couple of moments, she turned enough to allow me to see the cigarette in her hand as well.  The dark brunette’s boyfriend was smoking but the light brunette’s wasn’t….

As the sighting pressed forward, I was struck to see the light brunette’s face which wasn’t at all what I expected as she was Asian and fairly dark-complected, possibly Filipino, with a pair of glasses.  The look above the neck didn’t at all jive with what I anticipated based on that rear view, but the contrast itself was very sexy.  Even the ages of the girls was a question mark as the dark brunette looked late 20s but the Asian light brunette seemed more like 21 or 22, with her white nonsmoking boyfriend in particular having a baby face.  I was able to see a few drags by each girl, with the dark brunette finishing hers first and tossing the butt recklessly into the shrubs.  The Asian girl finished hers a minute or so later, at which point the couples separated and went different directions.  I knew the prospects for a decent picture at this hour weren’t great, but I just had to try to get a profile snapshot of the Asian girl with the incredible body as I walked, and did so.  It’s blurry, but not terrible, and shows off her curves to a limited degree. I figured this would be the end of the line for this sighting for the night, but there would be a more intimate second chapter less than a half hour later.

I walked past the grandstand area on the concourse and spotted this same couple on a bench, the white boyfriend now pulling on a vaporizer while the Asian girlfriend was eating fair food.  I made a strong mental note of this as I was making a lap to the west side of the concourse, knowing I’d likely be back in a few minutes when she was finishing up her junk food.  Sure enough about five minutes later when I was doubling back, there was my sexy Asian girl in the pale blue daisy dukes with a visible pack of Marlboros on her lap.  I couldn’t tell which kind given the darkness but the Marlboro logo on her pack was unmistakable.  The bench next to the couple was wide open and I took it, soon seeing the unlit cigarette in her fingers as she was engrossed in conversation with the guy.  Moments later, the unlit cork filter was between her lips and she was igniting it, a belch of smoke filling the night air.  I attempted a number of photos, including some dragging photos, but the distance and fairgrounds lighting were extremely uncooperative and all of the photos are blur, so I just put the phone away and watched the show.  As the baby-faced boyfriend who looked about 19 was hitting on his little vaporizer, his sexpot girlfriend was hitting on the hard stuff, the cherry from that Marlboro glowing bright red as her lips applied suction to the filter, with nice blasts of smoke pouring from her mouth and nose.  She held the cigarette in her left hand next to the smooth legs coming out of those daisy dukes, easily the sexiest smoker girl presentation of the evening.  I watched her smoke the whole cigarette over the next several minutes, eventually crushing it out beneath her feet with the couple quickly getting up to walk away after she finished it.  When she stood up, I could see her ass dimples underneath the cutoff of those pale daisy dukes, sexy beyond belief.  I moved to sit on their bench and ID the crushed cigarette butt, which certainly appeared to have the logo of a Marlboro Red.

It was 11:25 now and I planned to make one final loop through the midway and then one final loop through the concourse, but didn’t see much more when I did.  But in the very last stretch on the concourse I went into the seating area west of The Depot and spotted one of the workers, a 21ish brunette, placing an unlit cigarette into her mouth she soon planned to light as she began to leave for the night and becoming Sighting #33.  I would have followed her until I saw another Depot worker who interested me more a few yards up who already had a cigarette going, talking to a male coworker also out smoking.  The early 20s blond who would be Sighting #34 was very attractive and wearing a medium-blue denim miniskirt over her sexy lower body.  The area was very isolated now so I had to be careful, but I took a bench and watched her take a few drags before she positioned herself in a way that I couldn’t see much more from where I was sitting.  I doubt she spotted me….she was just moving around regularly while engaged in conversation with the guy.  I got up and left en route to shuttle bus at about 15 minutes till midnight.

On my way out, I saw the Asian smoker girl with the white boyfriend one last time, seated on another bench on the western edge of the concourse, although she wasn’t currently smoking.  It was such an unlikely contrast between her studious bespectacled face and dark ethnic complexion mixed and matched with that incredibly long hair and impossibly sexy lower body presentation in the short shorts with the creamy legs.  It was a great final image of the night from the evening’s best smoker.

I boarded my shuttle bus at 11:47, satisfied with the haul of this Wednesday evening where my primary objective was to attend a concert.  I anticipated less than 20 sightings but got 34, including a few extra-base hits and one that’s a contender for my year-end favorites list.  My feet held up pretty well switching back to my old shoes, which is a big relief after how much pain they were in last Saturday on the new shoes, which I had to retire after determining they were doing far more harm than good.  Hopefully the old pair will hold up long enough to get me through the big prizes in the days ahead  which include my third day at the Iowa State Fair on Friday, a night where Luke Bryan should draw a huge and demographically favorable crowd, followed by the Missouri State Fair on Saturday.  It’s an aggressive schedule, but I’m looking forward to it greatly.

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2019 Iowa State Fair, Day 1

By every objective measure, I had an exceptional day of fetishing at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, August 10, 2019.  It was the kind of day I would have considered pretty impressive even 10 years ago.  Especially in the evening, I had a steady drumbeat of extra-base hits, but even in the daytime hours I did pretty well.  And I got one sighting that can only be described as surreal.  It will be a controversial sighting among readers, but given the rarity of seeing something like this even a quarter century ago let alone in 2019, it’s the early frontrunner for 2019’s sighting of the year.  I got 130 sightings by night’s end, definitely above-average, and had I not an emergency issue with a badly cramping foot for the final four hours of the night, I may very well have beaten my one-day ISF record of 143 sightings.

I didn’t know what to expect going in, as there was an unforecasted shower at 8 a.m. and reports of pop-up showers possible in the afternoon and evening.  And the grandstand act for the night was rock band Slipknot.  I haven’t followed rock music for a quarter century so I didn’t know anything about this group beyond the fact that they’re from Des Moines.  Never would I have imagined they’d sell the place out and produce absurd crowds of favorable demographics.  There certainly wasn’t any sign of the tidal wave of fairgoers when I boarded my shuttle bus at 10:45 a.m. after waiting in a very short line and then arriving at the grounds shortly after 11 to clearing skies and rising temperatures.  It always feels great to enter the grounds and yesterday was no exception, but I made sure to keep expectations low especially for those early hours.

After a mediocre first sighting, I was near the southern gate entrance and spotted Sighting #2, a sighting with an interesting dynamic as it appeared to feature a modest age-gap couple of whom both parties were smoking.  An early 30s blond decked out in a gray T-shirt and black leggings who had full lips and a definite look of a smoker sat down on a bench with freshly lit cigarette in hand.  Her presumed husband looked at least 10 years older, but not old enough to be her father.  I was on a bench across the street watching her take a few nice drags and testing out the camera on my new phone with a couple of shots that were apparently too far away to offer much detail.  It’s a learning curve with new phones.  But most prophetic of the theme of the day was that the aforementioned gray T-shirt on the blond featured a Slipknot logo.  That was my first of many indications that Slipknot was gonna be the story of the day.

A few minutes later, also on a block on the south side of the grounds in the general vicinity of the livestock buildings, I’d get another solid moment for before noon when I walked past a bench and spotted Sighting #3, this sweetheart of an early 20s dark blond in a ball cap, orange T-shirt, and dark blue jean shorts sitting with her boyfriend.  She was smoking and he was not….always something I love to see.  The girl was not a perfect 10 but had a girl next door aura about her and definitely looked out of place with a cigarette this day and age.  I sat to the side and got a couple of pics that I figured would turn out better, but mostly just watched her show, with nicely paced drags and cloudy exhales, none of which was objected to by her lucky nonsmoking boyfriend.  She crushed out the cigarette and walked it to the nearest trash can before she and the boyfriend walked away.   Less than a half hour into the day and I was already on the board!

If Slipknot was the big story of the day, the second biggest was Presidential politics.  A full NINE Presidential candidates took to the Des Moines Register stage to stump for votes over the course of the day, and just walking around I was only a few feet away from Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, and Tim Ryan, along with Washington political reporters Dave Weigel and Dan Balz.  At one point my Presidential candidate count was higher than my smoker girl count!  That’s what Iowans get to put up with every four years, but for a political junkie like myself it’s kind of fun.

The south side of the grounds was the hotspot for late morning and early afternoon sightings, and I would come across my second-best sighting of the day in front of the horse barn of all places.  Three women stood in front of the building, and only one was a smoker, but damn if she didn’t put all of the other smoker girls yesterday on notice.  Sighting #5 was this exceptionally wholesome ponytailed blond wearing a casual red T-shirt and farm girl jeans, exactly the kind of girl you’d expect to see standing in front of a horse barn but about the last kind of girl you’d expect to see smoking a cigarette.  When I first laid eyes on her I figured she was about 18 but upon further inspection she was more likely 21 or 22.  The two nonsmoking women standing with her were both older, probably in their 30s or 40s but with no obvious indication that either was her mother.  It was such a badass image of this country cutie blond standing in front of the brick horse barn holding her cigarette in her left hand next to those scruffy jeans.  But as outstanding as this presentation was, it was her actual smoking that really floored me….

She held the cigarette to her mouth from the left to avoid the nonsmokers, taking a deep drag and proceeding to pump out the exhaust of her exhale while still dragging, and mostly with her mouth.  That’s a trick my favorite lady in Missouri does, exhaling while still dragging, although she usually exhales through her nose.  It’s pretty rare to see this trick done through the mouth since blondie’s mouth was already occupied sucking in the cigarette’s carcinogens, but she apparently pursed the lips on one side of her mouth while puckering up the other side to create this stunning visual.  And the best part was she did it on almost every drag!  And I say almost every drag because there was one where she was conversing with the nonsmoking women and turned to the right while still exhaling, creating a massive cloud of secondhand smoke right in their airspace.  It was a perfect combination of a unique and beautiful girl with a cool storyline and exceptional smoking optics.  I got to see about seven drags before she leaned over to crush the all-white cigarette on the pavement, regrettably tossing it into the trash can and denying me a butt ID.  And while I did get a number of photos of this one, including some dragging shots, I was unimpressed with the way they turned out.  I thought I was easily within range to get quality pics, but the images of her face are a tick blurry when I cropped them.  They’re not bad photos, but they don’t properly convey how much of a beauty she is or how great of a smoking show she put on.  Take my word for it though that my day was suddenly really on its feet and it wasn’t even 1:00 yet.

The momentum continued with another of my top-five sightings of the day which played out a block or so north near the big slide.  I knew I had struck gold again approaching from the west when I saw a really attractive mid-20s blond in a light blue tanktop and shorts lighting up in a grassy area with a bloody mary in her other hand.  But I’d get even more than I bargained for when I got there to find it was a two-for-one sighting, with young children standing in between the smoker ladies.  Sightings #7 and #8 didn’t appear to have a big enough age gap to be mother and daughter, but the blond who I saw light up first was clearly the younger of the two by several years.  The other gal was a brunette who appeared to be mid-30s with the weathered features of a long-time heavy smoker starting to take effect, but she had a great body draped in a black tanktop and white shorts.  Then there were the kids, a light brunette boy who looked about seven and a cute little girl who looked three or four, standing right below their mother(s) as they smoked their cigarettes and drank their bloody marys.  It was definitely a colorful sighting, both literally and figuratively, and while the brunette was at an angle where I couldn’t see a ton of her smoking, I sure could see the blond’s and she impressed me most anyway, taking nice indulgent drags with beautiful timing.  I scored a number of quality pictures for this one that also capture the kids hovering next to the carcinogen-spewing ladies.  It was a great five-minute show before the two of them stomped out their cigarettes, unfortunately never giving me an opening for a butt ID.  Scoring this sighting within a few minutes of the previous one really had my adrenaline starting to crank!

And while I wouldn’t quite live up to either of the previous two sightings for a while, within about a minute of the previous sighting I stumbled into a foursome that included what I expected was a set of parents and their likely daughter with her husband.  The 50-something mother was the only one smoking when I arrived, but in seconds, the late 20s ballcap-and-jeans daughter was breaking out a pack of Marlboro Lights and firing one up for herself.  So Sighting #9 consisted of a possible mother-daughter sighting where neither generation of males were smoking in the company of the women.  The daughter was modestly attractive but it was the storyline of this sighting that made it worthy of a writeup.

The streak continued with Sighting #10 near the south side seating area, where an attractive but slightly husky mid-20s blond had just lit up a Camel Light and was smoking in the presence of yet another nonsmoking boyfriend.  She was a little too chubby for me to be genuinely into, but she was cute and the dynamic of all these smoking women in the company of nonsmoking guys was really cute.  It was a pretty wild 15-minute stretch that the last several sightings played out, which definitely is not something you can take for granted on a day at the Iowa State Fair where some afternoons are entirely uneventful.

And while it took a while before my next marquee moment, it would definitely be another of the day’s more memorable finds when I found it.  I walked behind The Depot bar and grill on the northwest side of the grounds and saw this vaguely hippie-looking couple where the 20-something guy was fairly scruffy and was smoking a cigarette in an isolated spot under a canopy.  The light brunette girl sort of fit the profile too but was decked out in this blue and purple flower-print dress with a sunhat on her head, giving her one of the more unique presentations of the day.    It was also abundantly clear that the girl was at least five months pregnant with a considerable baby bump stretching out that dress at the belly.  There was an open bench and I sat down just in case the guy would pass his pregnant girlfriend the cigarette.  Within a minute or so, he did and Sighting #12 would be one of the more unlikely pregnant smoker sightings I’ve ever come across.  She took a couple of drags on the cigarette and then spit a lugie to the ground, passing the cigarette back to the boyfriend.  For the next few minutes this process would continue and the couple split the cigarette about evenly, with the pregnant light brunette spitting lugies after pretty much every drag.  Unfortunately, the aforementioned canopy and operator error on my phone robbed me of any good pics.  The canopy had a horizontal pole right in my line of vision and I kept fumbling the shots.  The best I could go was get a rear side shot when they were heading into The Depot after finishing the cigarette.  The day continued to run far ahead of where I was the year before at the ISF during those early afternoon hours.

I didn’t see too many teen smokers on Saturday but my next noteworthy sighting featured one.  A duo of nerdy-looking but cute young ladies wearing Harry Potter-like glasses who were almost certainly sisters stood near the bathroom area east of the grandstand, with the older, chubbier girl smoking a cigarette.  She was overweight to the point of barely counting as Sighting #19, but I did so anyway as she was young and cute, but intriguing me far more was the younger sister to her right who had the same cute nerd look but was slender, decked out in a white T-shirt and a pleated black miniskirt.  I’d guess she was about 17 or 18, and I had a strong suspicion she was gonna get her hands on big sister’s cigarette and become Sighting #20.  Sure enough, in about a minute, the cigarette would be passed along to the cute girl who took a few of her own drags, and the contrast between her nerdy profile with the pleated miniskirt and that cigarette she was dragging from cannot possibly be overstated.  They passed the cigarette back and forth to its completion and then tossed the butt, denying me the ID, and headed into the midway.  While I got some photos, it was once again a bit of a fail as the clear shots I got were when the older sister had the cigarette.  I smudged the lens on my camera at the worst time so the smoking shots of the younger girl were blurry.  I was definitely having some issues with the camera phone up to that point but I’d mostly get them worked out as the day went on.

While teen smoking wasn’t entirely extinct yesterday, make no mistake that the cool kids are vaping and juuling.  It’s crazy that I’d never heard of juuling 18 months ago and now it’s destroying my life!  At one point I’d say my vaping/juuling sightings count exceeded my smoker girl count, which has never happened before.  The only scenario where I can envision this ending well is if the FDA bans these things and a generation of teens that have experimented with them will migrate to cigarettes out of necessity.  That seems like a long shot though.  Most stunning was a long-haired dark blond who looked 13 at most sitting there in the same general area as my nerdy teen smokers, taking a hit from her Juul pod twice and hacking away both times.  I wonder if these things are as prolific in middle schools as they seem to be among high schoolers.

As usual, the Bud Tent on the east side of the grounds provided me my share of sightings yesterday, and during the daytime most of the smokers gravitate to the alleyway behind the Bud Tent, the source of last year’s best ISF sighting in the painted-on neon white pants.  I’d get my share of great stuff here in the evening, but the only Bud Tent daytime sighting that left a mark was Sighting #23, featuring a mixed-gender late 20s group that included a sexy light brunette in a blue tanktop and jean shorts with a bit of a cute redneck flair who was passing a Marlboro Black back and forth with a guy friend.  Her drags were intense and nicely timed with some cloudy and inconsiderate exhales plastering innocent bystanders in her way.  After smoking most of the cigarette behind the Bud Tent, they got up to walk away, and while I thought I got more pics of her than I did, you can sort of see the cigarette in her hand as she smokes while texting, her sexy body in full profile.  I thought I got a great dragging pic after that but it didn’t take.  The guy got the cigarette after that and finished it to its completion.

Behind The Depot I would get a slim cigarette sighting, possibly a VS 120 but I’m not quite sure.  Sighting #26 was an attractive mid-30s blond in a mixed gender cluster of four.  She was the only smoker, and she didn’t seem at all the type to be smoking 120s as she came across as brash and boisterous talking to her group, not dainty and feminine.  It was an interesting contrast and I had a nice bench to sit and observe the sighting play out for several moments as the blond tended to her VS 120 at a pretty regular pace while dominating the conversation with her friends’ group.

It was late afternoon by now and just like the previous year, things were starting to get a bit stale with the pace of sightings slowing at a time during peak attendance hours when you’d think sightings would be booming.  But seated on a hill on the east side was the girl who’d break the stalemate.  From a distance I spotted an attractive mid-20s blond with a cigarette in her hand talking to what I expected was a family cluster of four.  I ascended the hill to get a better look at Sighting #36 and she was definitely worth the closer look, a dark blond with long curly locks rolling onto a gray tanktop with dark jeans below.  She was very wholesome-looking but at the same time I wasn’t too shocked that she was a smoker.  And as I got there, the 50-something woman sitting next to her, who I presumed to be her mother, was also smoking.   I was a bit isolated on this hill which was a good news-bad news situation as I could sit up there and watch the smoking show, but I couldn’t sit close enough to take great pictures without getting busted.  I nonetheless took a pile of pics, including some dragging shots, but they’re not close enough to fully appreciate.  It was an awesome show though as the girl was jubilant and full of life, chatting with mom and the nonsmoking family members while intermittently dragging from the cigarette.  Her exhales always impressed, on a couple of occasions blasting out with extremely generous nasal force and producing a bountiful cloud.  After getting a number of snapshots, I set my phone down and unfortunately missed out on her standing up briefly with cigarette in hand and pulling her jeans up, which must have been giving her a wedgie, and then sitting back down before I could get another pic, but she did it all with a bubbly flair that was really needed at that point in the day after more than an hour of bland sightings and a rising tide of vaping.  She smoked the cigarette to its end but didn’t go anywhere for a while, leaving me to walk away without a butt ID.  A few minutes later though, I would return to see mother and daughter walking away, and now was my chance to get some closer photos walking by.  I got one really good profile shot that conveys how much of a girl-next-door she is and how unlikely it was to see a cigarette in her mouth not that much earlier.

The next sighting was certainly an interesting one.  There’s a young gal in her late 20s who works at my agency named Samantha.  I don’t know her beyond saying hello in the hallways when I walk past, but she’s a long-haired dark brunette with a pretty face.  I always got a bit of a smoker vibe from her, despite her wearing these matronly sweaters and dresses to work, but I’d never gotten anything to confirm that suspicion….until yesterday.  I had seen Samantha and her husband walking around at the fair earlier in the day, but it was in the midway a few hours later that I was really shook to my core seeing a young brunette’s lips wrapped around the filter of a mostly smoked cigarette…..and Sighting #39 was Samantha!  That was the last and only drag I’d see from her, but after several months working with her and never once seeing her go out for a smoke break, it was startling to say the least to see her smoking.  And it’s unlikely she’s just a social smoker given that she wasn’t drinking and was just hanging out on the midway with her husband, not the kind of setting a married woman would take occasion to have a smoke break if she was merely a social smoker.  Given that this gal gets off work the same time I do and I see her drive out of the parking lot at least twice a week, never once with a cigarette, it was confusing, but in a really nice way.  The only explanation I have is that she must be pretty deeply in the closet about her smoking and thought she was getting away with one in the back of the midway, but she wasn’t counting on the biggest smoking fetisher in Iowa to be walking around!  Now I wonder how long it takes her when driving home from work before she lights up a cigarette.

By this point in the day, Slipknot fans were standing in multiple lines up and down the concourse that were football field lengths long hours before the show started.  I’d never seen anything like it.  I walked along those long lines to survey the crowd but it was very inconvenient to navigate, so I sought some crowd relief by heading to the south side, keeping in mind to be sure to be in the vicinity of the grandstand by the time they started to let the crowd in.  For the time being, the trip to the south side paid off as I encountered a trio of two females and male.  All were smoking, but only one was of interest to me, a late 20s or early 30s ponytailed, long-haired light brunette in a black tanktop and jean shorts who would become Sighting #46.  She could have stood to lose a few pounds but was within the zone of attractive weight for me anyway, and was cute to see with a cigarette wearing her tanktop-and-jeans combo.  There was a certain light in her eyes that made her interesting to watch even though her smoking style didn’t have any real bells and whistles.  I hung around for about a half dozen drags and snapped a few solid photos before taking off, noticing by the green and white markings on her cigarette that it was a Marlboro Light Menthol.

Progressing along the south side past the livestock buildings and hooking around to the west side, I walked through the Ford display area toward The Depot when I spotted this attractive and studious looking long-haired dark brunette, who looked late 20s, stopping in front of this storage container where she lit up and became Sighting #49.  She struck an impressive pose with her glasses, gray tanktop, and medium-blue jean shorts with a lot of nice leg showing below.  The best part though was the smoking as she was pretty aggressive in her dealings with that all-white cigarette, taking deep and intense drags that drug on for several seconds.  She was distracted on her phone which made it easy for me to watch the show, and made it fairly easy for me to get some photos although her isolated location kept me from getting as close as I’d have preferred.  It was a great farrow-to-finish show and given how deep her drags were it really didn’t last overly long as she was walking away in about five minutes, her discarded butt a Marlboro Light.

I kept looking nervously at the skies as sunny conditions started to yield to the kind of humidity-fueled clouds that often fire up thunderstorms just as they warned might happen.  None looked immediately problematic and I never heard any thunder so I was never in imminent fear of a short circuit, but it was always on my mind.  It certainly was humid though, which would really become tangible after dark.

I’d get a rare treat next just south of the concourse when I got a sighting of a very attractive early 20s mixed-race girl.  Sighting #55 was unusual in many respects in that the cute dark-skinned girl was in the company of a middle-aged white guy who I can only assume was her father.  Both were wearing Slipknot T-shirts, with the daughter decked out in a matching pair of tight black pants and some stylish-looking boots.  From what I could see, her freshly lit cigarette was an all-white.  Unfortunately she was a slow smoker and it worked to my disadvantage in the end.  After 6 p.m., photos become less reliable and one action shot of her dragging was quite blurry.  From there though, she sat on the curb and her father lit a cigarette standing above her.  I got a few nice holding shots, but he ended up standing in front of her before I got a good dragging pic.  I was able to look to my right and catch a few of those drags, but her smoking pace was such that I didn’t want to invest 20 minutes in the sighting.  I’d see her and the dad again after the concert though, both smoking once again.  The future of smoking depends upon girls like her taking up the habit, but right now they’re few and far between.

And then came the moment that would turn a really good day into a great day as I once again saw the sort of sighting that I figured was already obsolete a decade ago but which I somehow keep getting.  I know my critics detest my reports of underage girl sightings so now would be a good time to avert your eyes if you’re offended by that sort of thing because Sighting #58 is an underage girl sighting for the history books.  A few hours earlier, I alluded to a 12-13ish blond who I saw taking two hits from a Juul pod and launching into a severe smoker’s cough after both.  Well now I was looking at that same cutie standing in line with her mom and presumably brother and friend, but her Juul pod was replaced with a cigarette.  This was all transpiring standing in a long line for the Slipknot concert so there was hordes of humanity in every direction, yet here was this girl who couldn’t be a day older than 13 publicly smoking a cigarette.  Her presumed mother, a mid-30s blond, was smoking too, but the other girl who looked about the same age as the smoker, and the younger boy were not.  Best of all, this was playing out just a few feet in front of the curb with the line at a stand still since they weren’t allowing anybody inside yet, meaning I had a perfect vantage point to sit there and watch it all.

And what a show!  Aside from a slightly alternative piercing in her eyelid, this girl couldn’t have possibly evoked the innocence of small-town Iowa youth better, her golden blond hair flowing all the way down her back and her slender body contained in a black Slipknot T-shirt and an entirely presexualized pair of dark jean shorts.  If there was any doubt by looking at her face that this girl was of seventh grade vintage, it was dispelled when looking at her twig-like legs coming out of those utilitarian jean shorts.  The girl’s smoker’s cough I detected when vaping earlier in the day was not on display here as she smoked, but it was clear this wasn’t just a “treat” cigarette mom gave her while waiting for the rock concert.   This girl was a real deal smoker, which was especially adorable on her exhales, which drifted into the face of her female friend and brother almost as a necessity in this tightly packed crowd.  At one point mom and daughter were both briefly looking down at her cigarette as if conversing about the awkwardness of smoking in this crowd.

My vantage point was almost perfect here, but she turned her head to the left when she took a drag, meaning that was the only pose of her I didn’t get on camera.  Toward the end of her cigarette I took a big risk and walked to her other side, and while I missed the pic of her drag by a split second, what I got instead was even better….a geyser of smoke blasting out of her face with the glowing sun as a backdrop.  I believe it was the final drag from her cigarette as the mother was soon taking pics of the girl, her friend, and brother.  Her cork filter cigarette butt was smashed under the heel of her sneakers and lying in the pavement with a black ash smear just like so many dozens of others on the pavement of the concourse, yet this one was almost certainly smoked by the youngest smoker of this year’s Iowa State Fair.  It was bonkers to consider that I started fetishing at the Iowa State Fair in 2006 and now I was getting a sighting from a girl who either wasn’t born yet at the time or was still being spoon-fed in her high chair.  I was on the clouds as I walked away from this one, always taken aback to my youth when I see girls this age smoking and remembering how exciting it was when I found out the first girls in my age range were smoking.  But of course that was 30 years ago when smoking was still culturally acceptable in some circles.  For any girl of her pedigree to be a regular smoker today, and allowed to do so at the most public venue in the state in front of tens of thousands of people, just completely defies belief.

While nothing would live up to that one anytime soon, or perhaps ever in the 2019 fair season, the dam was about to burst with a faster pace of overall sightings. Sighting #61 had quite a bit of potential as I came across a trio of two guys and a girl on the west side of the concourse.  The girl was an attractive, long-haired mid-20s blond in a black tanktop and jean shorts holding a mostly smoked cigarette.  Her group was obviously waiting for somebody and she was calling them impatiently to identify the location they were sitting…and unfortunately not attending to her cigarette.  I took a few distant pics but they were all blurry as it was now after 7 p.m. when the sun angle makes photos from any distance at all very challenging.  Finally, after a good two minutes, she took a drag and dropped the cigarette to the ground.  Was hoping for more from this one but the girl was hot.

More to my liking was Sighting #66, a very attractive early-to-mid 20s long-haired light brunette in a green tanktop and jean shorts with a very sexy body sitting on the curb smoking a cigarette next to a nonsmoking boyfriend.  Her presentation was stellar and she looked too wholesome to be a smoker, especially in the company of this boyfriend, but there she was puffing away.  I had a feeling she spotted me so I didn’t attempt a photo, but hovered in the area and watched a few drags before she got up and tossed the butt in the trash and walked away with the boyfriend.  At the very end of the night, this girl got on my shuttle bus and rode home with me.  I was excited about the prospect of her getting off at my bus stop and her lighting another cigarette once she got off the bus, and I figured this was a very likely scenario, but she didn’t get off the bus at the stop that I and just about everyone else got off so I wouldn’t get the opportunity for that encore.

I was keeping close tabs on that line for Slipknot, and particularly the middle-school rocker girl who was still at the exact same spot in the line which wasn’t moving yet but I figured would start moving any moment now.  I decided to get in line for root beer at the nearby stand and was briefly despondent about this choice as the line was long, but it worked out that way for a reason as there was a duo of early-20s cuties smoking cigarettes in between the lemonade stand and the root beer stand right in my line of vision.  I got to watch the performances of Sightings #67 and #68 while standing in line for my drink.  The girl on the left was a ponytailed dark blond in a black tanktop and tight jeans who was the better and faster-paced smoker of the two, and had a sexy badass aura as she placed that cigarette in her mouth and dragged as if warning emerging threats to watch their step.  The brunette next to her was just as cute, but her style was less memorable and she didn’t exude the same IT factor.  Still, it was a great double sighting and I got to see it play out for several moments while in line for root beer.  The line actually went faster than I expected and I had root beer in hand while the girls hadn’t yet finished their cigarettes.  It would be a real trick for me to get a photo at this hour of the evening while operating single-handed with my other hand occupied by root beer.  It wasn’t perfect but I got a nonblurry photo of the two of them, with the dark blond in mid-drag on what had to be the final throes of her cigarette.

Next came a sighting that impressed through sheer force of numbers more than anything specific about the girls, but as I ventured to the east of the grandstand I came across a cluster of no fewer than five 20-something girls smoking at the same time.  I hadn’t seen this many girls smoking at once at a fairgrounds sighting since the 2007 Minnesota State Fair when seven girls from the same group were outside the beer gardens smoking at the same time.  Unfortunately, the group that made up Sightings #69, 70, 71, 72, and 73 didn’t have any top-tier beauties amongst them.  There was an Asian girl in a black dress who was the best looking of the five smokers, and a couple of others who were attractive enough that I’d date them, but the fact that there were five girls and I couldn’t get genuinely excited about any of them was fairly telling.   There was only one girl in the group who wasn’t smoking, and of course she was the best-looking of the bunch.  Earlier in the day I’d have probably attempted a photo of this as the novelty of five girls smoking at the same time is impressive, but the logistics of snapping a photo of five of them with swarms of people crissing and crossing every direction just wasn’t viable, particularly at an hour when most photos were coming out blurry anyway.

Plus, I had a higher priority here.  The line for Slipknot had been moving some since I went to get my root beer a few minutes earlier, and the crowd had to pass through metal detectors before being allowed in.  I had a hard time imagining what a second act from the mother of the year and her middle-school daughter would look like under these circumstances, but once again I’d have storybook timing to find out.  I approached the grandstand gate in front of the metal detectors and once past the entry partition was a mother and three young kids who decided that the two nicotine addicts amongst them had better get a final fix in front of thousands of onlookers before entering the grandstand.  There was a line of people moving from the side in front of me so pictures would be (mostly) elusive, but there stood mother and daughter with unlit cigarettes in hand, and only seconds after my arrival the daughter was firing up what was at least her second cigarette in the last half hour.  And so she stood with that adorable early teen girl pose, her arms folded around each other except with a freshly lit cigarette protruding from her fingers, untethering those arms only when taking a drag from her cigarette.  It was surreal in every possible way, and the density of the crowd appearing to work in her favor as apparently nobody was paying attention to the 13-year-old girl openly smoking in the year 2019….except me.  I managed one cloudy holding pic at her new location but unfortunately one of the guys manning the metal detector probably screwed me from another farrow-to-finish sighting when he shouted, “I got room over here” as if letting the crowd know now was the time to approach.  The teen cutiepie bent over to crush out her half-smoked cigarette on the pavement and followed her mom and the other two youngsters to the gate, where I knew no additional smoking would transpire until the concert was over….

Every time I get a sighting like this I think “surely this is the last one”….yet they keep coming, if not once every year than at least every two years.  At a human level, it’s a bit distressing that there are parents enabling a behavior that when initiated at this young age very likely means a lifetime of health problems and overall limited choices, but the visual is just so otherworldly that I can’t help but be gratified at a gut level.  I’ll never forget being the sixth grader who lit up like a Christmas tree upon learning the first girls in my class were smoking….so it’s fun to know that there are at least a few girls out there providing the same thrill for budding male fetishers their age today.

It was now going up to 8:00 and I had a fast-escalating problem.  This was the first major test for a pair of shoes I got at the beginning of summer, and the test was not going well.  My right foot was starting to cramp up big-time and every step was increasingly painful….and I still had nearly four hours of sightings to go!  I wasn’t sure I would make it the rest of the night, but if there was any chance I could, it would require a lot of sightings to play out in a way that I could sit down and watch them unfold.  I’d be lucky enough to get my chance on that on numerous occasions during the impressive evening show.

Walking past the row of bar and grills on the main stretch of the concourse, I would come across the girl who would become my third-favorite sighting of the day.  Sighting #76 was a sexy mid-20s blond with long straight hair, dressed to kill in a skimpy top showing off several inches of perfectly toned midriff, and a pair of tight dark jeans that were sculpted to perfection around her hourglass figure.  She was standing amongst a mixed-gender group of friends….and holding a cigarette.  The image exuded femininity and I couldn’t resist going for a couple of pics.   And I was close enough that it turned out despite the darkening conditions and no flash.  Unfortunately the risk I took getting a frontal pic from her next drag would keep me from being able to stick around for more.  I don’t believe I was caught, but I snapped the shutter at the exact moment she turned my direction and placed the cigarette in her mouth for a no-handlebars dangling drag.  It was too perfect of an opportunity not to, although one of these times I’m gonna run out of luck.  Whatever the case, there was a modicum of blur here but the snapshot was quite fantastic in capturing her dragging and in a frontal pose.  I hightailed it out of there after the risky pic wondering if I’d have been better off just sticking around and watching the show.  Thankfully it wouldn’t be an either-or scenario as more opportunities would present themselves to see more of her in the near future.

From there I went to the east side of the grounds in hopes the Bud Tent would have some pretty faces with cigarettes sticking out of them.  The place rarely disappoints in the evening and tonight would be no exception.  I got a quick sighting from one of the employees of the food stand next to it who I’d seen working at several points in the day, and at one point thought I had seen her vaping.  Well the sexy and petite early 20s blond in the white top and maroon shorts was definitely smoking now and had become Sighting #79 while talking to three other people hovering in the area who she appeared to know.  Unfortunately I only got to see the last two drags before she leaned down to stub the cigarette out.  She was so pretty I tried to get a photo after she was done but it’s too blurry to bother with.  Still, one of the prettiest smokers of the day, and given that she works at the booth next door, there’s a chance I’ll see her again when I return to the fair on Wednesday and Friday.

I’d have a little better luck walking back in front of the Bud Tent where my eye caught an attractive 20-something brunette in a camouflage-colored dress sitting on the curb smoking a cigarette.  The camouflage dress may make Sighting #80 sound a little trashy but she pulled it off and didn’t really live up to the redneck girl image the dress would indicate.  She sat by herself smoking her all-white with great timing and solid drags and exhales, and to my left there was another exhibit vying for my attention as a cute mid-20s light brunette was smoking a cigarette in front of her presumed boyfriend.  Sighting #81 was several inches shorter than her boyfriend and at one point she took a drag and exhaled upward, pretty much nailing him right in the face.  This sighting was suddenly taking the lead in the competition between the girl to my left and the girl to my right, but after a couple of drags the girl on my left handed the cigarette to the husky boyfriend, at which point the brunette in the camouflage dress dominated my attention yet again.  She took several final drags and finished the cigarette, crushing the all-white butt on the curb and heading back into the Bud Tent.  Her discarded butt was a Camel Crush, still a surprisingly popular brand among the younger smokers in Iowa.  Toward the end of the night, I’d see her smoking again outside the Bud Tent.

A nonsmoking girl captured my heart before I left the Bud Tent as well, this wholesome early-to-mid-20s long-haired brunette in a sexy black leather miniskirt talking to three guys.  Despite the humid conditions yesterday, there were a few girls wearing black leather, possibly in connection with the Slipknot concert, but this girl’s sexy miniskirt was the marquee leather ensemble of the night.  The runner-up was a blond in sexy black leather shorts who I saw toward the end of the night.

It was back to the grandstand area next, and particularly the area just to the east of the grandstand where there are bathrooms and an area where plenty of spillover crowd members listen in to the concert from the grandstand.  And there’s always been a fair amount of smoking there too.  Last night would be no exception as I walked past this late 20s couple sitting up against the wall.  The boyfriend was already smoking a cigarette and, as luck would have it, the light brunette girlfriend in the sexy red top and tight jeans was plucking out an all-white and dangling it from her lips.  She was chatting it up with the boyfriend and lit it, and I sat down a few feet beside her for a pretty good vantage point.  Sighting #84 seemed pretty full of life, possibly enhanced by some alcoholic beverages but not necessarily, and she attacked that cigarette with some pretty fierce oral aggression, with long drags and cloudy exhales being major themes of her repertoire.  I was sitting close enough that I figured I just might be able to pull off a photo, despite it being past sunset at this point.  Not only did I get a good shot, I got one of my best shots of the day, with the brunette taking a no-handlebars dangling drag, the cherry glowing bright at the tip of her dangling cigarette puckered in her mouth as she ingested the cancerous fumes.  Unfortunately, the momentum would come to a crashing halt as she crushed the cigarette out almost immediately afterward with nearly half of it left, which was very disappointing given how smoothly the sighting had been going up to that point.  The couple sat there longer than I was willing to wait, but when I returned about a half hour later I checked out her discarded butt, which was an all-white L & M.

While that light brunette was the main event at that location, another attractive 20-something brunette was smoking to my left and would be Sighting #85, and shortly after she was done another young couple fronted by a wholesome mid-to-late 20s brunette in a ball cap and jean shorts came out of their respective bathrooms and fired up cigarettes as well to become Sighting #87.  Yet it was another returning player who stole the show in this general area a few yards away and forced me to vacate what had been a plum position….

The #76 blond with the perfect body and the bare midriff who I’d gotten an appetizer from about a half hour earlier was back….and smoking another cigarette.  She was with the same cluster of guys and girls, and was once again the only one smoking, her glowing cigarette protruding from her right hand so naturally that it seemed like an extension of her body.  I had to leave early during her last sighting in fear of the fallout of a risky photo, but there’s no better story in life than a second chance, and I was getting mine now.  She seemed to tend to the first cigarette a little more aggressively, but particularly with my foot situation, I was perfectly willing to sit there and watch the show as long as it took, and it was beautiful seeing a female in her prime practically dripping with sexual kinetic energy smoking a cigarette like this.  I got to see several drags before she finished it off, getting up to identify the butt as she discarded it but discovering as I got closer that I didn’t need to as a pack of Camel Crushes was poking out of the rear left pocket of her low-waisted jeans, where I knew she’d be tapping into it further as the night went on….and I’d be right!

It was after 8:30 now and the Slipknot concert was thundering from inside the grandstand.  I walked around the seating behind the grandstand expecting some hotties would be having a smoke while eaves dropping on the concert from outside.  And sure enough, I found one in Sighting #89!  Seated on a bench was this couple that was dark complected enough that I figured they might be Hispanic, but it’s possible they were just darker-toned whites.  Whatever the case, they were mid-to-late 20s and only the girl was smoking.  She was a light brunette in a black tanktop with green shorts on the bottom and a lot of bare flesh on display…which is exactly how I like it!  Unfortunately, she had this giant stuffed midway prize on her lap that kept her feminine features a little bit hidden.  She made up for it with outstanding smoking though, including long and indulgent drags and cloudy, extremely messy exhales.  Her first exhale involved something I hadn’t seen before.  She took a drag from her cigarette and then approached her cup full of beer to her mouth, exhaling her cigarette smoke as the cup approached her mouth.  It sure seemed as though the cup itself absorbed most of that exhale, which I guess is her way of consuming her smoke twice!  After that though, it wasn’t the cup that would take the brunt of her obnoxious exhales…it was that poor nonsmoking boyfriend who took it in the face the next three times as her giant exhales sailed right into his grill.  The whole presentation was very sexy and, once again, even though I had little to no confidence in photos turning out, my perch at the bench right in front of them was just so convenient that I snapped a couple of shots.  They were blurry and by no means “great”, but I captured the mass of smoke pouring of her face after her final drag, this being the only exhale where the smoke didn’t go into either her beer cup of her boyfriend’s face.  She crudely flung her spent cigarette butt to the pavement below her feet where the runoff from the nearby drinking fountain kept the pavement wet, her sizzling Camel Menthol butt producing creamy smoke as it commingled with the moisture below it.

Despite my agonizingly painful right foot situation, the evening was going very well but I’d have a rare moment of disappointment next when I caught the beginning of Sighting #93, a long-haired mid-20s blond in a fringy white blouse and white shorts walking westward down the concourse with two guys.  She had a cigarette in hand and I was able to follow, watching her take a drag from it…..and then hand it to the guy in the group I presumed was her boyfriend.  That was a bummer but I could live with a shared cigarette sighting if she got it back regularly, so I followed.  Unfortunately, she would never get it back.  A sighting that started with a ton of potential fizzled and took me along for an extended wild goose chase to the west side of the concourse.

But the gray cloud would have a silver lining…..because having followed her on that wild goose chase, I was in the right place at the right time to see my third and final sighting of the night from the hot blond with the bare midriff.  She was standing in the middle of the concourse with a guy from her group who I now presumed was her boyfriend.  She had been the only one smoking in the past two sightings but now he was too.  The lighting in the middle of the concourse was helpful in laying bare how sexy she was…..her weathered features indicating that she’s smoked pretty heavily for a while….her incredible body….and that cigarette in her right hand still being wielded with pride.  The last time a female wielded a flaming torch with this much spunk was the Statue of Liberty!  She appeared to be squabbling a little with the boyfriend as they stood there, but it could just be that they’d both had quite a bit to drink.  It ended quickly though and the duo began migrating eastward on the concourse.  I followed from the rear and got the opportunity to take the headwind of several of her exhales.  Her smoking pace continued to be a little slower than I’d prefer but that body was something impossible to not admire smoking or not.  I’d been having better luck with photos after dark than during the day so I took another close shot from the rear which really highlights how great her body looks….and how awesome that cigarette looks in her hand just to the right of her body.  She’d stop in the middle of the concourse again and they’d finish their cigarettes.  I’d hoped I might see her again, but that would be the last time.  Three cigarettes in less than an hour with such a supercharged presentation and some quality evening photos to boot though….I couldn’t really ask for much more from her last night!

The momentum continued into the midway…even though I hadn’t planned to make another trip down the midway last night.  I was hovering near the edge of the grandstand where the spillover crowd was listening to the Slipknot concert….and saw a duo of early 20s sexpots in tight jeans walking past en route to the nearby midway, and the taller of the two girls lit up a cigarette.  Sighting #98 was tall and full-bodied in a way that wasn’t at all fat but had some meat on her bones in a sexy way, her bubble but contained in a tight-fitting pair of medium blue jeans and her very long light brown hair hanging all the way down her back and onto her butt in curls.  It was a savage presentation made all the more sweet by the fact that she was walking down the midway dragging from her cigarette with zero inhibition, exhaling recklessly with negligible regard for any fairgoer in her path.  I took one rear photo but unfortunately didn’t get the cigarette in the pic. I guess one could say her face was wholesome but mostly it was that wild presentation that won me over.  And her blond friend wasn’t nearly as attractive upclose even though she had a more conventionally attractive body.  Her face was decent but she looked like she was high out of her mind.  Maybe she wasn’t but she sure looked like it.  The duo rapidly navigated the midway with my tall, curly-haired brunette incessantly smoking until they got to the back of the midway.  It was a bit of a surprise when at this point the blond decided to light up a cigarette of her own and become Sighting #99.  She didn’t do as much for me as the friend, but for a minute or so it was outstanding to see two young ladies walking down the midway so shamelessly with cigarettes in hand, unlike so many of their contemporaries who, if they smoke at all, seem to do so in hiding and in shame in the nooks and crannies of the grounds.  I’d see these two both smoking again about an hour later, this time on the concourse.

It was an absolutely miserable night with really high humidity and my clothes felt permanently damp, my sunburned forehead radiating heat and, particularly with the brisk walking pace I continued to keep, I was covered in sweat, my hair slicked back and probably making me look drunk or high.  I was certainly getting a lot of looks from random passersby as if thinking “what’s this guy on?” and I imagine walking around in pain made my discomfort that much more obvious.  Typically I have a disarmingly wholesome Captain America look, appearing many years younger than my nearly 42 years, that helps me go about these adventures arousing less suspicion than perhaps most guys my age would.  But judging from random people’s reaction to me last night, I wasn’t fooling anybody!

Yet what keeps me going even in the most miserable conditions is the kind of sightings night I was having last night, ticking off one memorable extra-base hit after another.  I’d hit the century mark in style shortly after 9:30 when I spotted a gorgeous blond in white shorts with cigarette in hand walking east from the midway with her boyfriend and another couple.  Sighting #100 was a tall drink of water and had a model’s beauty with a slight Taylor Swift resemblance.  She looked about 23, her shoulder-length blond hair flowing onto a black tanktop with a flower pattern and a pair of white shorts that nicely framed her ass and long legs.  But she still managed to look more girl next door than sexy temptress.  Her cigarette appeared freshly lit and she dragged from it at a nice pace, but I was disappointed when she surrendered the cigarette to the boyfriend.  Here we go again, I thought….another hot smoker who forfeits her cigarette to a guy after a sighting with a very promising start.  It didn’t play out that way though as she got it back after one drag….and kept it.  Seeing how adorable she looked strutting around with that cigarette in her right hand, I decided I needed to try for one more picture for the evening.  There’s typically nothing worse for photo-taking than carnival backlighting, and in this case the brightly lit ferris wheel was behind her from a distance…..yet somehow the two photos I took kind of worked.  There’s some definite blur, but you can certainly admire her feminine presentation, particularly in the second photo when she’s in mid-drag.  It was my last photo of the night, but I’m very impressed by how not terrible it was.  As for the sighting, it was poised to simply be a memorable extra-base hit worthy of the body of work I’d already put together, but it ended with a huge flourish as the two couples approached the Sky Glider to take an evening ride on the chair lifts overlooking the grounds that helped catapult the sighting into the day’s top-five for me……

But with a short line to get aboard the Sky Glider, my blond had quite a bit of cigarette left to smoke, and was getting no help from the boyfriend.  She rapidly escalated the pace of her smoking, dragging incessantly and belching out huge plumes of smoke.  She was very close to the pace of supersmoking as she turned that cigarette a fire engine shade of red, her smoke undoubtedly spilling into the plastic partition for the attendant inside the Sky Glider booth to choke on.  I gotta figure the cigarette was red hot on her lips as she took one drag after another, spewing smoke all over the place…..and I was lucky enough to stand there and watch it…and smell it.  The cigarette probably still had two or three more drags left in it, but the Sky Glider car was coming and blondie was out of time, pumping one final drag into her black lungs and then tossing the cigarette to the pavement where the hot ash continued to smolder after all of those successive drags.  She followed her boyfriend onto the ride, and he was about to ride this Sky Glider with one very stinky blond girlfriend!  This wouldn’t be my final great sighting of the night, but it would be the last magical sighting.

It was a short walk east from there to the Bud Tent, which delivered once again.  There’s basically potential for nicotine hotties behind, in front of, and on the west side of the Bud Tent, and last night it was the curb on the southwest side that delivered.  A trio of 20-something babes sat there with a guy on the right side.  Two of the girls in the group were extremely glamorous hotties enjoying a night out and the third girl, a light brunette who was talking to the guy in the group, was still attractive but not in the same league as the two biggest babes.  The gorgeous blond on the left and the third girl were both smoking cigarettes and became Sightings #103 and #104.  And with a fresh bottle of Pepsi in my hand, I was able to give my aching feet a rest and just stand there pretending to be listening to the music going on in the Bud Tent behind them.  The third girl’s cigarette was almost gone which made it easier to focus on this blond in the bare midriff multi-color top and black miniskirt chug away at her freshly lit cigarette.  I’d wrinkled my nose up to that point in the day to see girls share their cigarettes since it was usually with boyfriends or husbands, but in this case I was perfectly fine to see the blond hand the cigarette to the sexy brunette in the middle wearing this striped white and black two-piece outfit, who became Sighting #105.   The brunette was a great smoker, taking regularly paced drags and exhaling tight plumes that often had nowhere to go but into the face of the blond who handed her the cigarette.  She got about five or six drags from the cigarette, and even though she was amazing, that blond who had the cigarette originally just impressed me a little bit more.  Looking at the two of them, it was abundantly clear that both girls were three sheets to the wind and while that’s normally not my favorite look, it was cute here, particularly since their smoking seemed to be as blissfully obnoxious as the rest of their state of mind as the blond was now dragging intensely and exhaling into the friend’s face as she spoke.  Drunk or sober, it was a heavenly image to see these beautiful faces dragging from cigarettes.  The blond eventually sat the smoldering cigarette on the pavement without crushing it out and got a little help standing up.  It was pretty clear from the telltale blond filter that the cigarette left to smolder was a Camel Turkish Royal but I sat down to confirm as soon as they drifted a few yards away.

Only a few yards to the east would come the next girl to impress, although Sighting #106 had a decidedly more girl-next-door image than the glam girls from the last sighting.  Appearing as though she was with family, including a middle-aged woman who appeared to be her mother, a pretty dark brunette in a black tanktop and pale pink shorts sat on a bench with cigarette in hand.  She bore a vague resemblance to a smoker girl whose videos I watch on You Tube named Caitlin Paige, although a little less chubby but not quite as pretty as Caitlin.  At first I figured this brunette was slightly under 21 as she didn’t have a drink in her hand, but later on she picked her drink up from the ground indicating she was at least 21.  Whatever the case, she was a fun smoker to watch as she bantered with her family in a playful/sarcastic way, nobody else of whom was smoking at the time.  I got to see about four drags before she flung the spent cigarette butt to the trash can a few feet in front of her.  I’d see her again about an hour later and while she wasn’t smoking the second time, seeing the contrast between the black tanktop and pale pink shorts that I hadn’t fully appreciated when seeing her sitting down was incredibly sexy.

The pace and quality of sightings seemed to slow down again for the last hour and a half of the night, and my personal discomfort was such that it was hard to stay fully engaged.  In front of Jalapeno Pete’s in the main beer gardens, a cluster of three 20-something chicks and a guy were sitting on the curb out front, with an attractive brunette in a black tanktop and jean shorts smoking a cigarette.  Sighting #110 struck a nice presentation with her long dark hair and sweet smile, but I sensed she was a social smoker having that occasional cigarette while out drinking.  The guy in the group seemed to be her boyfriend and she offered him a drag from her cigarette, which he took.  Her dragging pace was slower than I’d prefer and unfortunately the sighting would end prematurely as a friend came out from inside the bar and beckoned her and the others inside.  This meant the cigarette was surrendered to the curb only half smoked.  It was a Camel Light.

As 11:00 approached, I knew the Slipknot concert would soon end and I wanted to be there standing outside the gate when it did, knowing I just might get to see my favorite mother and early teen daughter exiting the concert.  I figured it was a long shot with the glut of people that would be pouring out of the grandstand from multiple gates, but I stood outside the gate they went in thinking that would be my best chance.  I put together a couple of sightings of fairgoers I hadn’t seen yet that day lighting up as they walked out but no sign of 13-year-olds with cigarettes this time.  Even so, it was helpful to just stand there for 15 minutes watching the crowd and not be walking as my foot situation had definitely not improved since before the concert.

Nonetheless, I soldiered on for the last hour, exploring the concourse east to west and back again since that would be where most of the smokers were hanging out.  In some cases, heavy crowds at their apex make fetishing harder since you can’t really see beyond your arm’s length with so many people and that was the case after the concert dismissal.  I still stitched together a number of modestly satisfying sightings though and would get delayed satisfaction from the girl who would become Sighting #126, a sexy mid-20s blond I’d noticed on the grounds before.  She stood out because of the torn-up acid-washed jeans draping her lower body, and now as she sat out on the curb in front of Jalapeno Pete’s, she stood out again because she was smoking a cigarette.

It was 11:47 and I needed to get from the northeast side of the fairgrounds near the Bud Tent to the southwest side where my shuttle bus loaded, so the night was very close to its end, but perfect timing allowed me to make my final walk down the concourse in the company of my last extra-base hit sighting of the night.  Walking in front of me was a light brunette who appeared to be a fair worker in some capacity who was celebrating the end of her shift in style, walking the exact same direction I was going with an unlit cigarette in her mouth.  Sighting #130 looked about 23 and was the embodiment of the girl next door, her long light brown her in a ponytail, wearing a T-shirt and carrying a book bag over her shoulders, with a pair of pale blue jean shorts on the bottom and long legs coming out.  This eyebrow-raisingly wholesome profile was soon corrupted when she flicked that cigarette to life, progressing eastward down the concourse with the cigarette in hand.  All I had to do was walk to my shuttle bus at the usual pace and get a free-of-charge farrow-to-finish sighting of her smoking this thing.  And so I did, watching that cigarette protruding from the fingers of her right hand as she hoofed it eastward, testing the limits of my belabored feet, but I always seem to find the adrenaline needed to press on when in pursuit of a hot sighting.  Her smoking pace was just as swift as her walking pace, pulling that cigarette to her mouth every 15 seconds or so and just letting the smoke pour out of her mouth and nose, occasionally right in my path as I walked behind her.  She was sometimes “changing lanes” as she walked and drifting northward as I kept pace, which made me think she may have been aware she had an admirer a few paces behind her, but then she was always drifted right back to my lane and was walking right in front of me again, rapidly smoking her cigarette.  She reinforced my impression that she was a fairgrounds worker as she briefly stopped and said hello to an acquaintance who was also wearing ISF garb.  The Depot is at the far west end of the concourse and after a full smoking show from one end of the concourse to the other, she finally arrived at her destination, perhaps for an evening libation, and stomped out the finished cigarette on the pavement before going outside.  She completely mutilated that cigarette butt with her shoe, but I was still able to identify is as a Camel Light.  I love it when a great day of sightings ends with a flourish like this, and in this case she took the literal hurt right out of the final two-thirds of the long walk to my shuttle bus.

I boarded the shuttle bus at 11:57.  Technically the last one is supposed to be out of there at midnight but on a night with this kind of crowd still at the fair I bet they kept hauling people out of there at least another half hour.  I’ve never wanted to test that theory though.  As great of a day of sightings as it was, I was still very ready to be out of there as the air conditioning on that bus felt like heaven with my face covered with sweat and my T-shirt sticking to me like Saran Wrap.  Beyond that, what a sensational day of sightings to be riding home from, far exceeding expectations when I got there that morning and setting the bar high for the remainder of the fair season.  And frankly, I would bet that Slipknot was personally responsible for about a third of my sightings yesterday. While there are still some serious worries moving forward with the overwhelming majority of those under 21 vaping and juuling rather than smoking, days like today are helpful psychologically in that the terms of surrender will at least be manageable and the collapse probably won’t happen all at once.  Good days of sightings, and even some great days, will continue to be possible.  And with 130 sightings today, at least a dozen of them qualifying as extra-base hits and one sighting I’d consider an all-time classic, it was pretty close to being an indisputably great day.

It’s an extremely aggressive schedule for me in the days ahead.  I’ll be attending the Iowa State Fair on Wednesday night for my after-work half-day visit, but I’m anticipating very low attendance and will only be visiting to see a trio of 90s-era women country singers performing on the free stage.  I suppose I’ll walk around before and after the concert just in case but it would be pretty shocking if I got many great sightings…or any at all.  I’ll make up for it on Friday when I’ll go back for what I will count as my official second day of Iowa State Fair sightings, heading there mid-afternoon and staying till midnight.  Friday’s grandstand act is bro country superstar Luke Bryan, and the crowd he’ll bring in makes for an opportunity I can’t resist even though it’s gonna create a massive logistical nightmare for me.  The nightmare will come from the fact that the first thing on Saturday morning I’ll be driving down to Sedalia, Missouri, for a day at the Missouri State Fair with country act Brothers Osborne performing in the grandstand and likely drawing a demographically favorable crowd as well.  This is the most aggressive fetishing schedule I’ve ever taken on and several things will have to come together perfectly for it to work out, including favorable weather and my feet holding up, which is no sure thing after the aches and pains of last Saturday night.  But with the sunset of smoking on the horizon, I can’t pass up opportunities to snatch some sightings before the hourglass runs out of sand.  If either day at Iowa or Missouri is anywhere close to as good as yesterday, it’ll have been worth it.







Posted in Real-Time Fair Sightings Reports | Leave a comment

2019 Local County Fair


Another fair season officially got underway on Tuesday, July 30th at around 6 p.m. as I crashed the gates of my hometown county fair in Minnesota.  I’ve been keeping expectations low for this fair season generally, but especially for this venue as plenty of trendlines are going the wrong direction.  It’s a struggling rural community with a declining population, they just passed a Tobacco 21 law which doesn’t really matter since nobody under 21 smokes anymore anyway, and tonight’s grandstand performer was someone very few people would have heard of which likely meant small crowds.   If I could salvage something at all memorable tonight, I’d consider it a victory.  So how’d that go?

A tick better than expected.  I only got 13 sightings overall, which isn’t exactly a stellar start to the week, but with the crowds every bit as modest as I expected and the beer gardens outside the concert area three-quarters empty during the show, I certainly averted disaster.  It’s always a bit of an adrenaline rush to walk through the gate that first night and to pick up one of the local gyros I’ve been devouring for decades, but the buzz wears off pretty quickly when I start making the rounds without any reward.  A downscale early 30s couple was sitting outside the main bathroom structure, which has long served as something of a de facto smoking, and they both lit up cigarettes.  The woman was just good enough to qualify for the first sighting of the year.

From there, the few and far between sightings in the two hours before I sat down for the concert were mostly young moms in their late 20s and early 30s, usually only modestly attractive without any IT factor but giving me just enough satisfaction in knowing that smoking still has some relevance among younger women under 35.  But I had a heartbreak when a standout early 20s blond, one of the most gorgeous girls I saw all night, had a boyfriend light up a cigarette while she just stood there holding a stuffed bear she won in the midway, never partaking in the cigarette herself.

As I headed toward the grandstand I walked past the Tom Thumb mini-donut stand, a source of a few choice sightings in the past, most prominently the adorable late teen employee from 2016 who made that’s year’s top-25 list.  This year, a decently attractive mid-20s natural blond was sitting behind the stand smoking a cigarette.  She was seated but I could tell she was quite tall and her long legs were draped in nice-fitting leggings.  She was only average on the beauty spectrum, but she was still a nice find and I was able to linger and see a couple of her drags.  After the mini-donut stand closed at 11, I was sure to be lurking near it and, sure enough, the blond stepped out and very quickly fired up another cigarette.  I wouldn’t doubt if I see her smoking again on subsequent nights of the fair.

I had six sightings by 8:15 before I went into the grandstand for the show that began at 8:30.  When I saw the slim crowd in the seating area for the show and across the chain-link fence in the beer gardens, I pondered the prospect of nothing memorable happening all night.  Worse yet, I was seeing friends and family left and right, including a cousin of mine roaming around the beer gardens who would have been joined at the hip with me the rest of the night had he seen me.  More on cousin interference later.

The grandstand performer was rookie country singer Ashley McBryde.  In one sense, she’s kind of an underdog worth rooting for as she doesn’t at all fit the profile of a glamorous starlet, overweight and not particularly attractive, regrettably defiled with considerable tattoo coverage.  And she had a few songs I really liked.  But the fact that she was the main event on a night at my county fair–which used to be able to pull in top country acts at the peak of their chart popularity–is very telling about the escalating difficulties in booking live music in the era of the “summer music festivals”.  McBryde has had two singles on the country charts with only very modest success….as in cracking the top-40 but not the top-30.  All of the acts that are having chart success are all priced out of the budgets of the county fair circuit because the record companies have organized these “summer music festivals” every weekend all over the country.  It’s one of many depressing trends in a popular music industry that has largely been incorrigible, and putting out a dramatically declining product, for at least a decade.  Whatever the case, the crowd was indicative of a singer who’s never cracked the top-30 on the charts.

The concert was about 15 minutes along and I was speculating I might get zero sightings the entire show aside from my 40-something male cousin inside the beer gardens who lit one up!  But then an angel appeared from the outfield…..a beautiful mid-20s dark blond who sat down at a picnic table outside the grandstand with a guy who was clearly her boyfriend or husband.  Her long blond hair flowed down her back onto a modest but attractive black tanktop with pale blue jean shorts on the bottom covering a nice ass and flowing into a perfectly toned set of tanned legs which she styled to perfection crossing them on the bench.  The couple had a funnel cake covered with strawberries and cream, which was insanely coincidental since in the past week I’d been writing a fictional story involving smoker girls eating funnel cakes covered in strawberries and cream!  This beautiful blond gave off a smoker vibe right away, but I figured tobacco use was unlikely to transpire right away since they were about to eat.  But the beauty of being at these concerts at the county fair is I had all the time in the world and could be patient and wait her out…..

Ashley McBryde cranked up the guitars for her most uptempo and best song of the night, and the blond began boogeying to the music as she ate the funnel cake and talked to the boyfriend, raising her currency as the IT girl of the night.  About five minutes passed before it was clear she was done with her share of the funnel cake, and then it happened as she opened her purse….and out came the Camel Crush pack.  She proceeded to place the all-white into her lips, performing an extended unlit dangle while foraging for her lighter and speaking to her boyfriend as the cigarette bounced between her lips.  She finally sparked up and was it ever worth the wait, a blast of smoke bursting from her face and flowing toward the boyfriend who was still eating the funnel cake.  She proceeded to plug away at the cigarette with impressively timed drags and consistently cloudy exhales, some of which went into the boyfriend’s face.  I kept thinking the boyfriend might light one up himself after he finished eating, but he never did, which made this beauty’s performance all the more electric for me.

I was sitting alone and attempted a number of photos while I sat admiring her impressive show, but I had three things going against me including distance, the fact that it was after sunset so the photos would likely turn blurry, and a chain-link fence directly in front of me that was nearly impossible to work around.  I got several pics, including some where you can see her dragging, but none are by any means great.  Her show didn’t last long given how quick of work she was making of the cigarette, but it was pure bliss to watch on this night with so little going on.  She took two quick final drags and then dropped the cigarette to the grass and stepped on it.  After she was done, the boyfriend sat next to her and they cuddled for a bit, his arm around her waist as she leaned into his shoulder, at one point leaning up to kiss him with her ashtray mouth.  It was a sweet scene from a young and very attractive smoker the likes of whom we don’t see much of anymore.

The fact that they were sitting here for several minutes after they finished eating–and after she finished smoking–gave me hope they’d stay out there for the whole show and give her a chance to smoke another cigarette.  Unfortunately, the guy seemed to be getting restless, at one point appearing to ask her if she wanted to go into the grandstand seating, and when she didn’t go, he apparently talked her into leaving.  It was sad to see her get up, but damn was it nice to see those long, smooth legs and those nice-fitting jean shorts one last time before she walked away.

The rest of the concert produced almost nothing, save from a brunette in the beer gardens getting one drag from a cigarette smoked by a male in her group.  Plus it was getting chilly in that grandstand.  Year after year, the temperatures seem to plummet for the week of my county fair, and while the sunny and 75 temps were perfect for the daytime hours at the fair, it cools off considerably after sunset and with the breeze sitting in that grandstand seating, it was uncomfortable in my short sleeves.  That made it easier to exit the concert a bit early, even though doing so would produce no additional sightings, at least not before a most unfortunate encounter with my cousin and her husband.

I know all kinds of people in this county of 30,000 where I grew up, so the high possibility of a long sidetrack is a cost of doing business here, but I took it on the chin hard shortly after the concert officially ended when I was exiting the midway and heard “Marrrk!” shouted by a male voice.  I turned around to see my cousin’s husband, and went to talk to him.  Nice guy….and usually someone you can break away from in about five minutes when I see him at the fair…..but he was super chatty tonight….right in time for my favorite girl of the night and her boyfriend to appear on a bench behind him to eat something else.  I kept hoping she’d light up again after eating and that standing there engaged in small talk with family, her smoking would eventually be in the background.  Unfortunately they wandered off before she lit up, and I wanted so much to follow thinking eventually she would and I wanted to be there when it happened.  But I couldn’t leave.  Worse yet, a cute 20-something brunette lit up in the distant background, but was too far away for me to get a great look at…and there were people walking in front of her at moments that denied me the chance to study her style points.  It was really getting frustrating and as the minutes ticked on, I was jumping out of my skin to get away.  I finally did, but at least 15 minutes of key fetish time were denied to me, very possibly denying me a second act to my favorite girl of the night, and things were already starting to wind down by the time I broke free.

Another contributing factor to my county fair’s decline is that the midway which ran till midnight and kept the place full of young people started going lights out at 11 starting five years ago.  Tonight, it was only 10:45 and the midway was already dark, portending a very early night before the place depopulated to the point of no longer being worth staying.  Thankfully, I’d get one more quality sighting before night’s end.  Last year, there was a 19-20ish duo featuring a long-haired light brunette with glasses and a blond who smoked together three separate times, and only narrowly missed last year’s top-25 year-end list with their body of work.  I recognized them again tonight hanging with other friends, the light brunette with a very distinguished look and a shapely body covered appropriately for the cool weather in a black sweatshirt and black leggings.  The blond, who’s a bit fuller-bodied but not overweight, was in a white sweatshirt and her own set of black leggings.  They were standing on a block of food vendors when I first saw them and I made a mental note…..

It was about an hour later when the grassy area near the main bathroom building, where they went to smoke the previous year, was lit up with the glow of a cigarette cherry that I observed in the hand of the light brunette.  I sat at a nearby bench and watched from afar, a bit surprised that she was the only one with a cigarette and not the blond friend, who was with her along with another attractive dark blond friend who had a young daughter.  It was sexy to see the cigarette protruding from the light brunette’s fingers next to those snug-fitting leggings though, and to see the cherry go bright red when she took a drag.  Her exhales were thin, at least from the distance I was at, but that often means the girl has more smoke sticking in her lungs, which I suspect may have been the case here.  And lo and behold, it would become a shared cigarette sighting as after a handful of drags by the light brunette, she passed it to the tall blond, who has IT factor all her own and is almost as attractive to me as the light brunette friend.  Her drags also impressed, and her exhales were cloudier and much more visible.  They passed it back and forth to its completion but the light brunette in the glasses smoked the majority of it.  It was the blond who dropped it to the grass though, before the group walked away.  After they left I swooped in in hopes of finding the butt to identify the brand but it was took dark to see much of anything where they stood.

I had guessed these girls were 19 or 20 last year when I saw them smoking three times, and when I saw them migrate from their cigarette break to the beer gardens area, it appears my timeline prediction was right as they were now old enough to drink with the big kids while last year were stuck by the 4-H building hanging with the under 21 crowd.  This doesn’t really work to my favor moving forward though since I don’t fetish inside the beer gardens at this fair, but I still think there’s a decent chance I see these girls smoking again in the remaining four nights of this week’s fair.

There wasn’t a ton else to report.  I saw a couple of vape spurts from teenage mouths but those Juul pods are so stealth it’s hard to really know how prolific they were.  I didn’t see many, but then again the teen crowd wasn’t very large tonight.  I suspect it will be larger on at least some of the subsequent nights.  On my final lap of the grounds, I saw an early 30s blond and her husband smoking….nothing earth-shattering but good enough to count.

Overall tonight, I got one really good sighting of a girl I hadn’t seen before and another nice show from that duo of returning favorites.  Despite the soft opening night number of 13 sightings, I’m pleased with that haul, grading on the unfortunate curve of the 2019 smoking culture.  Wednesday night’s grandstand show skews much older with a trio of country acts popular in the 90s.  I’ll likely enjoy the music as that was my era for country, but I doubt it will bring a very favorable demographic to the fair.  The grandstand acts later in the week and on the weekend should be a little better in drawing large and demographically favorable crowds, but nobody this year has my hopes too high.  One night in the books and it exceeded my low expectations.  If that keeps happening all five nights I’ll consider it a successful county fair.



Once again I had low expectations heading into Night 2 of the county fair on yet another chilly July night.  Wednesday is “senior night” at the fair and they typically book retro country acts geared toward older fairgoers, as was the case tonight.  Obviously this was not a formula for a demographically favorable crowd of smoker girls, yet I did okay, and okay in a way that was better than merely avoiding disaster.  I got 14 sightings overall, one better than on Tuesday night, even though there were no individual sightings that impressed as much as the night before.

I got to the fairgrounds around 6:30 and the crowd was larger than the previous night, although it skewed older with it being “senior day”.  I spent about an hour and a half exploring and didn’t come up with much, getting only three sightings before heading to the grandstand.  One of them was a tall, skinny, and attractive late 20s mother who I’d seen smoking at the county fair each of the two previous years.  I recognized her right away, or at least I thought I did.  Her hair was blond now, but I gotta say it wasn’t working for her the way it did when she was a brunette.  She never struck me as at all trashy-looking the previous two years, but she looked a bit trashy tonight while smoking outside the bathroom structure decked out in a T-shirt and jeans with her two kids running around nearby.  Two years ago I snuck in a photograph of this girl and she had a decidedly more glamorous look about her.  It might have just been seeing her unkempt hair in a ponytail but it was a bit of a disappointment, as was my positioning which prevented me from seeing more than two drags as I slow-walked my way past her.

I got my gyro and 7UP and headed up to the grandstand around 7:50, and immediately got an unexpected surge of activity.  Standing near the fence inside the beer gardens was an attractive mid-to-late 20s blond in a white blouse and blue jeans smoking with her boyfriend.  I was a bit late to the party though as by the time I got close enough to see her she was taking her final drag and dropping the butt to the ground.  Still, it seemed encouraging that she would be hovering near the beer gardens fence and firing up more cigarettes during the course of the concert so I had good reason to be optimistic that what I saw was just an appetizer.  I was mostly right about that but the girl did give me plenty of fits for the evening.  More to come on her…..

Almost after blondie extinguished her cigarette, I could see another duo of young women in the back of the beer gardens smoking.  Unfortunately, the back of the beer gardens is so far away from my seat that I had a hard time making out their faces.  From a distance they looked late 20s, with a more glamorous dark brunette with a fairly dark complexion wearing a black tanktop and dark jeans.  Her friend was a blond in a white blouse and jean shorts, slightly chubbier than the brunette but still looking good.  I could only see the blond smoking from the back and never saw her again.  I would see the brunette smoking again, and at one point she walked closer to the fence to give me a slightly better look, but before long it would be so dark that I lost both of them in the crowd never to be seen again.

The early hopes for a decent showing of sightings during the concert were thinning as the evening went on, but at least the concert was to my liking with 90s country hitmakers Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin, and Collin Raye on the stage.  Each singer had some songs I liked and disliked in their 90s heyday, but they put on a high-energy show and drew a larger crowd then expected, larger that Raye did for his solo show at my county fair in 2017.  As for smoking, there was a modest amount playing out inside the beer gardens, but much of it coming from women just outside the bounds of attractive enough for me to count.  And then there was the aforementioned blond in the white blouse and jeans I got to see one drag from when I walked into the grandstand.  She would become the biggest sighting of the night, but she definitely took a frustrating path to get there….

After a good 20 minutes completely out of sight, the blond and her boyfriend showed up…only to walk toward the back of the beer gardens.  Cigarettes were soon smoked, but from way too far away to get much out of, aside from seeing the cherry glow when she dragged and impressively filthy cloudbursts when she exhaled.  About 15 minutes later, they were about 10 yards closer in the center of the beer gardens, smoking another round of cigarettes.  This was better and I was able to admire those deep drags and impressive cloudbursts a little more, but I was still disappointed that they weren’t closer to the fence where I could see more.  The couple would sit just inside the pavilion talking to a couple of friends as the concert neared its finale, and I knew time was of the essence if I was gonna get a worthwhile close-up here, and thankfully she delivered in the clutch….

The concert was dismissing and there was a bottleneck of people exiting the grandstand.  Right around then, the blond came out by herself and flicked to life a cigarette….near the fence….where I could see her best.  But now my hope was to actually get out of the grandstand and claim a bench just outside the beer gardens where I could see her smoke at even closer range.  And I pulled it off, cheating a bit by descending the bleachers rather than exiting out the walkways, but it paid off as I found an open bench near the fence and was able to watch blondie smoke the second half of her cigarette from within a few yards away, and right in time for another 20-something blond I hadn’t seen that night come out to smoke a cigarette of her own.  The new blond was decent and had a pretty nice style, but the star was definitely the white blouse blond who was the flagship of this sighting, her features beautiful but weathered from what was likely several years of pretty heavy smoking.  She put the cigarette near the corner of her mouth and pulled in the carcinogens intensely, the cherry glowing bright before releasing those beautiful cloudy exhales into the night sky.  I salvaged a good five drags from her, more than I expected when I got there, from that upclose vantage point before she dropped the cigarette to the ground, bookending tonight’s concert experience nicely by having a smoke the second I walked into the grandstand and also as I was leaving, with two more deep inside the beer gardens just for good measure.

Given my low expectations going into the night, anything I got beyond this was just gonna have to be considered gravy, and thankfully there would be a few more moments of modest to decently satisfying material.  First came a second act from the two 21-year-olds who I saw the previous night outside the bathroom area, and a few times last year as well.  The two BFF cuties were standing together sharing a cigarette again tonight, their asses again draped in the tight-fitting spandex of their leggings just as they were Tuesday night.  Just as was the case the previous night, the long-haired light brunette with the slender body and the glasses was smoking first, and presumably she’s the one carrying the cigarettes because I always see her with the cigarette first between the two of them.  Their location is a real challenge for my observations, particularly since I’m nervous that they’re on to me and I don’t want to lurk too closely.  So I hovered further away than I preferred and the girls had their backs to me far more often than not, but I got to see a few drags by the brunette and then see the cigarette passed to the blond.  I still think I’m leaning toward the long-haired brunette being my favorite of the two, but they both have some IT factor, attractive and quality smokers with sexy bodies of differing body types, the brunette a tight little package but the blond fuller-bodied, yet body filling those leggings out with sexy feminine curves.  I walked away sooner than I wanted to, but after two fair seasons and multiple cigarettes between them, these girls are really putting together a quality body of work.

Next I’d return to the fence of the beer gardens in hopes of seeing the blond in the white blouse and jeans again.  While I wouldn’t see her, another party now occupied the same space just inside the beer gardens fence.  The star of the show was a tall late 20s or early 30s redhead in a black blouse and red pants who was smoking a cigarette.  A blond who looked a few years older but was still attractive decked out in a tanktop and shorts came out next with a cigarette, but it was still unlit and apparently nobody had a working lighter, so the tall redhead used her own burning cigarette to light the blond’s cigarette and then handed it to her.  Moments later, another late 20s gal came out and got the same treatment, the redhead using her cigarette to light yet another person.  The third girl on the scene disappointed, her face not overly attractive and one side of her head shaved in an extremely unattractive way, which was unfortunate because she was rocking a pair of white shorts that fit her beautifully.  I almost counted her because of the white shorts, but I just couldn’t do it when I looked at her face.  I stuck around for a couple of decent drags by the tall redhead and then took off.

One of the stories of this summer has been how challenging it’s been to locate the teens Juuling, and that trend continued tonight.  The kids walked around with these things cupped in their hand, took extremely stealth drags when placing their cupped hand up to their face, and then exhaled very thin streams of water vapor that you have to be very close to even see.  I don’t know which sucks more…..seeing teenagers and young adults mess around with these Juul pods and getting depressing about how they’ve replaced cigarettes….or not seeing them and thus being in the dark about how prolific they continue to be among young people.  For whatever reason, I had a much easier time picking it out last year.

But there was at least one teenage girl on my county fairgrounds tonight whose nicotine delivery system came the old-fashioned way.  Near the crowd of teens that gathers near the 4-H food stand where kids line dance to country songs late at night, I noticed a teen boy with a cigarette in hand standing in a group of two guys and two girls.  I didn’t even have time to be annoyed about my first impression seeing the guy with the cigarette because he immediately handed the freshly lit cigarette to a petite blond teen standing next to him.  Just based on her petite frame, I’d have figured this girl was about 13 when I first saw her take a drag from her cigarette and exhale, but a closer look made her look more like 17 or 18, with a cute face, dark blond hair, and a pair of glasses that made her look studious and a little nerdy.  On top of everything else presentation-wise, she also had braces covering her teeth, which is something I always associate with middle-schoolers!  I’m pretty confident this girl was at least 17, but she sure ticked off a lot of boxes for presenting herself as a young smoker.  Unfortunately, her clothing was frumpy yet weather-appropriate decked out in a white sweatshirt and a pair of baggy athletic-style pants, but the fact that she was likely underage and mercilessly taking down this cigarette handed to her by the guy moments earlier made the unsexy presentation easy to get past.  Her drags were timely but a bit shallow indicating she was probably a relatively new smoker, and it was unavoidable that her exhales splashed the two guys standing closest to her.  Not sure if it was her cigarette originally or if she just took it from the guy who I first saw dragging.  Either way, neither he nor anybody else in that group would be touching her cigarette again…..

I found a bench to observe this group, unfortunately with my back to the smoker girl for most of the show once again, but still able to see and occasionally smell her exhales.  She was modestly attractive, not enough to stand out in any crowd but pretty, with her petite size and braces really giving her some bonus points even beyond the generally endangered species of a teen cigarette smoker in 2019.  Now the other brunette in her group was a more conventionally sexy brunette in a tanktop and jean shorts and I was elated at the possibility of the cigarette working its way to this girl’s mouth, but that never happened.  I’d have loved to stick around for the butt ID on this one but the group was beckoned closer to the 4-H stand for a line dance.  They took off and by the time I saw them again the cigarette was gone.  I saw her again in the remaining 15 minutes I was on the fairgrounds but without any additional cigarettes.

While I was briefly thrilled at the score of an 18-ish girl at the fair smoking a cigarette, it was depressing to think back to 10 years ago, with 2009 being the first year where my fetishing at the county fair elevated to its current level of aggressiveness.  Ten short years ago, seeing teen girls smoking openly at the county fair was a certainty, not a matter of if you’d see an underage smoker but how many you’d see any given night.  We all like to lament the loss of the good old days of smoking from decades back, but even 2009 looks like paradise in comparison, and all the more so as I reflect on some of the specific sightings moments I got at the county fair that year.  A girl like this one would have been a cute find in 2009, but certainly not a big deal.  In 2019, a girl her age lurking amongst her crowd of teenage friends and smoking a cigarette was a very big deal, and it’s heartbreaking that things have fallen that far in just a decade.

It was after 11 p.m. now and once again the place was winding down fast, the midway going dark at about 10:50 hastening the exodus.  But I’d get one more quality moment in the remote north side of the grounds near the farm equipment and cattle barns walking past a young couple with a girl who looked about three years old.  The mother was a slender brunette in a red blouse and black leggings who looked about 23 and was decently attractive.  On first glance it looked like she had a cigarette tucked behind her ear, but when I got to a decent vantage point, there was nothing there.  My eyes must have been playing tricks on me, I told myself, yet still kept my eye on her as I walked past.  Sure enough, she stopped for a moment with her back to me and appeared to be concentrating on something in front of her face. In seconds, a plume of smoke burst from her face.  I turned around and observed her from the rear side for several yards, smoking her cigarette with some decent style points and cloudy exhales, her Hispanic husband/boyfriend not partaking in her smelly pastime.  It was a nice surprising ending to a night that worked out better than I originally guessed it would.

I left the grounds at about 11:20, satisfied with what I had seen tonight but still disappointed that what I had seen tonight was considered satisfying.  This fair has been declining faster than all of my state fairs, so the pinch is really felt when making comparisons to glory days of not so many years ago.  In 2010, I got 144 sightings at this fair over five nights.  That declined to 79 last year and with only 27 on the first two nights this year the odds are I’ll be down again overall.  But dealing with the cards I’m dealt, it’s nice to have a few images both nights that got my adrenaline pumping.  Friday is expected to be the biggest attendance night this year, but I have no idea what kind of crowd to expect from Christian rock group Casting Crowns and am I’m not simmering with confidence about it.  Still, the more bodies that enter the fairground gates, the more likely some of them are to be attractive young female smokers, so I’ll embrace whatever population growth I can get.



I had another night at the county fair that I can’t complain too much about in the context of 2019.  My three evenings have been remarkably similar in that there has been a star performer each night and a couple of additional extra-base hits as well.  Last year it wasn’t until the third night that I got my first great sighting of the 2018 fair season, so at least in terms of quality I’m a little bit ahead of last year.  Also similar night to night has been my sightings count.  I got 14 on Tuesday, 13 on Wednesday, and 15 on Thursday.

The night got off to a good start when I got a sighting on a residential street where I parked my car.  Ever since I was old enough to drive, I had free garage parking at my grandma’s place across the street from the fairgrounds, but as of last spring my grandma had to go to the nursing home.  But at least over the first three nights of the fair, I haven’t had to park too ridiculously far away, always finding a spot in the same general area on the same street.  Tonight, an oddball family was getting out of the car across the street, and it was hard to discern who was who as there was a gray-haired man who looked about 50 and a moderately attractive woman who looked early 30s.  Maybe it was his wife and he was just quite a bit older, but the kids in their company were also several years apart, the oldest looking mid-teen and the youngest about six.  Whatever their dynamic, the adult male and female were both smoking, and the woman was decently attractive.  I followed in her trail of smoke all the way to the fairgrounds gate.  It’s not too often I get my first sighting of the day before I even enter the grounds.

The sightings trickled in for the next hour or so before I went into the grandstand for the evening show.  I saw a duo of moderately attractive 30-somethings, one white and one Asian, in tanktops and shorts smoking on the south side of the grounds on my first loop around, followed by an alternative-looking but moderately cute 20-something wearing a flattering flower print dress and sporting that bluish-gray hair that’s popular among so many young females these days.  A duo of decently attractive 20-somethings who appeared to work in the carnival in some capacity were sitting in the grass near the bathroom area smoking on a break.

With six sightings under my belt, I went to take the seat for the concert shortly after 8:00.  The grandstand act tonight was Hairball, a Midwestern-based rock band that alternates costumes for the various 80s rock acts they cover.  It’s a popular regional band, but my county fair is hitting below their weight scheduling them for a grandstand performance usually limited to national recording artists.  It’s a sign of the times that the Minnesota State Fair last year and now my county fair this year is giving such prime real estate to this local band that used to be limited to street festivals in small towns and free stage shows at bandshells.  Anyway, I didn’t know what kind of crowd they’d draw but figured it would likely skew older.  It did to a degree but there was potential in the crowd and beer gardens for some quality material.  Unfortunately it mostly turned into a litany of frustrations and missed opportunities….

Almost right away when I sat down, I could see a cute and young-looking blond in the far back corner of the beer gardens with a cigarette.  She was a long distance from me already, but then she sat down on the grass and I lost all visual of her.  Realizing it was still at least 20 minutes till the concert started and there being little chance of me losing my seat in the grandstand, I walked outside and around to the north side fence of the beer gardens hoping to get a better look at her.  I did get a better look but it was only a nominal improvement because she was sitting with her boyfriend in the grass with her back to me.  She was cute though, mid-2os with her long blond hair flowing down her back in a thick braid, decked out in a tanktop and black shorts.  I definitely wouldn’t have guessed she was a smoker.  I lurked beyond the fence awkwardly and took in a couple of drags, which were solid.  Unfortunately the show was cut short as two other 20-something blonds came right into my line vision and lit up cigarettes of their own.  That helped my sightings count but they were standing in front of the girl I wanted to see and they made eye contact with me immediately, giving me no choice but to leave and head back to the grandstand.  I’d see the blond with the braid inside the grandstand later on, but only briefly and not smoking.

There were some cute 20-somethings in the front part of the beer gardens and I kept close tabs on them during the Hairball show, but two of the front and center girls that interested me most didn’t smoke….they vaped….repeatedly…for well over an hour.  It was so frustrating, as was the near-complete lack of activity in the smoking area.  On two occasions, once early in the show and once at about the halfway point, this mid-20s couple showed up and stopped in the middle of the smoking area, the female half of the couple an absolutely gorgeous long-haired blond in a tight pink top and even tighter dark blue jeans.  She gave off a definite smoker girl vibe and her boyfriend, who was almost a full head taller than her, also seemed like a smoker.  But after a brief period of hovering in the smoking area, they walked away.  The second time, the girl even started digging into her bag, making me think tobacco consumption was a near-certainty, but then they walked away with nothing again.

It was about 9:45 and I figured the concert would soon be over.  I wanted to get some mini-donuts before the grandstand crowd departed, and since the smoking area and beer gardens were so dead, it wasn’t a tough call to leave early.  My timing was great, because a late 20s blond with a long ponytail and a Tom Thumb mini-donut hat was quickly walking toward a port-a-john with a recently lit cigarette hanging from her mouth, exhaling through the dangle as she walked.  She stepped into the port-a-john with the cigarette still in her mouth.  I took a nearby bench to try to get a closer look when she came out, and she would in less than a minute, the cigarette still in her mouth.  She walked back to the Tom Thumb stand and I followed as best I could, catching a few of her drags near the rear entrance to the stand, but I didn’t get a particularly close look at her.  Luckily for me, I was going to get mini-donuts in the first place!  I waited a few short minutes and walked up to the window in time to get helped by the young lady I just saw smoking.  She was attractive, albeit with the weathered look of a long-time heavy smoker.  She took my order, and the other blond inside the stand who I saw smoking twice on Tuesday night handed it to me with a sweet “thank you”.  Neither of the women were perfect 10s by any stretch, but the streak of the Tom Thumb donut stand producing attractive young smoker gal workers continues.  I’d see the late 20s gal walk out again later in the night, once again dangling a cigarette from her mouth as she walked.

I was in close vicinity of the grandstand entrance with my bag of mini-donuts in hand and decided to lurk outside the Hairball concert and peek into the beer gardens to see if anything had changed.  I had outstanding timing when I left the grandstand a few minutes earlier, and I had absolutely storybook timing when I went back in.  Sitting on a bench in the smoking area, the lead singer of Hairball was telling the crowd that he was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer but had gotten treatment and was currently in remission.  As the crowd was applauding, I looked inside the beer gardens just on the other side of the fence, noticing a very familiar looking blond beauty.  Just as I put together that it was that gorgeous blond in the pink top and tight jeans who had eluded me twice during the show, I saw her place a cigarette into her mouth and take a drag.  Magically, I had a front-row seat on this bench and she was right there smoking on the other side of the fence, less than three yards away, and doing so as the band’s lead singer was talking about surviving cancer!  She was so beautiful, one of the prettiest girls at the fair, with an outfit that accentuated her beauty and her bodily curves, but definitely had the features of a smoker which I had picked up on right away when I saw her earlier in the night.  Now it was confirmed as she took deep and well-timed drags and being as courteous as possible with her skyward-directed exhales, although given that most people surrounding her were taller than she was, including her boyfriend, they were all forced to choke on her secondhand smoke despite those efforts at courtesy.  I got to see five drags from close range before she dropped the cigarette to the grass and stepped on it.  I was thrilled to have gotten the opportunity, but I sensed there would be more.  I couldn’t just linger on this bench looking inside the beer gardens, but what I could do was go back into the grandstand and reclaim my seat which overlooked the area she was standing in case she lit up again.  I didn’t expect to go back into the Hairball concert tonight, but I was on my way now.  And I wasn’t at all disappointed that the concert was going long.

I got up to my old seat and kept close tabs on the gorgeous blond who turned my night around.  About 10 minutes passed and I knew the concert would be winding down soon so time was of the essence.  Unfortunately, the blond had her back to me for a while, but I was thrilled when I saw her digging into her purse and handing the boyfriend a cigarette only moments later.  I thought for sure she would light up again too, but didn’t right away.  I still had a good feeling though, and it was vindicated a few minutes later when I saw an all-white placed in her lips.  Adorably she looked up to the considerably taller boyfriend, her unlit cigarette bobbing up and down in her lips as she spoke to him, and then eventually brought the cigarette to life when it met the end of her lighter.  She was turned into my line of vision again with full lighting illuminating her gorgeous face.  I had gotten a close-up sighting of her on the previous cigarette but this one was almost better as I got to see it farrow to finish, her nicely timed drags glowing in the evening sky and her exhales reliably coming out of her mouth and nose at upward 45-degree angles.  With her purse now hanging over her shoulder pressed against her chest, her ample breasts bulged inside that tight pink top that went so nicely with dark jeans that hugged her beautiful hips and ass.  The presentation was just stellar and I got to see almost two full cigarettes smoked from her before she crushed it out under her feet.  The girl that had teased me twice earlier in the concert had made good on her potential and really came through in the clutch.

The concert still wasn’t entirely over but I left before the glut of people did.  It was about 10:15, later than most fair concerts dismiss and I wandered to the drinking fountain for a sip of water, noticing an attractive early 30s dark blond in black shorts sitting on a bench smoking.  I wasn’t in much of a position to lurk but I’d see her later inside the shaved ice stand where she worked.

After my drink of water, I wanted to check out the departing concert crowds and see if I could get another glance at my favorite blond in pink.  But before I even got back to the grandstand, she was coming to me!  The blond and her boyfriend were walking past me and quickly got in line for barbecue.  After they ordered I could see they were going to sit at a group of benches nearby and I readied my camera.  It would be a blurry evening shot but I wanted to get some image of this girl for the record, capturing a rear shot of her and the boyfriend walking away.  Not much, but a needed visual.  I took a mental note of the table they sat at and proceeded to take a half loop of the grounds, just enough time to give the blond time to eat.  When I came back about three minutes later, she was still eating her barbecue sandwich, but I took an adjacent picnic table in hopes she’d smoke again when she finished eating.  She was distracted in conversation with her boyfriend and another duo of friends who joined them, so I opted for a risky set of pics of her sitting on the bench.  They’ll probably be blurrier than I’d prefer but the thumbnail I’ve seen of it looks serviceable…..certainly no worse than nothing at all to remember her by.  I couldn’t hear much of her conversation but at one point she reminded her boyfriend, “That’s my grandpa’s birthday”, which I found a cute little anecdote for such a sexy smoker girl.  It seemed to take quite a long time for her to eat that pork sandwich and I could tell her friends were getting restless.  I was getting restless too, but likely for different reasons.

I was encouraged to see the boyfriend with a new cigarette and figured that after such a big serving of barbecue, blondie would probably want something to wash it down with.  Between her attempts to find a garbage can and clean her hands she was walking all over the place, but in a few moments she was standing with the boyfriend in a clearing and she was plucking another cigarette out of the pack for herself.  Unfortunately I still didn’t see the pack which didn’t come fully out of her purse, but before I knew it an unlit cigarette was again dangling from her lips.  The last great image I’d get from her tonight was seeing the flame from her lighter applied to the end of her cigarette, an eruption of filthy smoke blasting from her face and into the night sky as she took her first drag from the dangle.  I was confident the couple would stand in this spot and give me yet another farrow-to-finish sighting, but unfortunately they started walking to behind the food trucks to a dark and isolated area near antique tractors, presumably believing they were smoking in a forbidden area.  Or it’s possible they were just heading toward their car because they could cut through the area they were going into the parking lot.  Either way, a girl that I pegged as a hot smoker the first time I saw her gave me fits of frustration for more than an hour and then made up for lost time considerably, providing me my best sighting of the fair so far.  She didn’t look familiar so it’s unclear whether she’s a local that I might expect to see more of on Friday and Saturday night, but even if I don’t, she’s the girl to beat from the 2019 county fair after three nights.

With the concert having gone long, it was already 10:50 and I wanted to make a midway run before its inevitable close at 11:00.  With teen smoking near zero, the midway has been a bust all season and has been trending down for years.  At the end of my pass, a modestly attractive late 20s dark blond was entering the midway with a freshly lit cigarette, and even made eye contact and said hello to me in passing.  But it was after the midway went lights out the area produced its big sighting of the night.  Earlier in the evening, I caught a passing glance of a tall and slender 18ish girl in a red top and black pants who was smoking.  She looked at least half Hispanic and wasn’t memorably gorgeous but wasn’t unattractive either, and I had to give her props as one of the few teen smokers to be found this year.  As the midway went dark, I recognized this same girl again amongst a mixed-gender group heading toward the midway exit.  I figured it would be worth my time to follow having seen her smoking earlier, and before I even had a chance to give it much thought, I spotted a pack of Newports in her hand.  A cigarette was soon plucked out and she was walking northward with her group, holding it for many yards before pausing to light it up.  I had to watch from behind but was pleased to see a blast of smoke erupt from her mouth after the drag, and I was able to walk through it seconds later and smell the mentholated aroma of what was expelled from her lungs.  She would be the only smoker of the two guys and two girls in her group, all heading hastily toward the parking lot in a way that limited my time to observe.  But as they headed toward the darkness in the lot, I spotted two additional drags from the light brunette, both with cloudy follow-up exhales that were beautifully visible in the night air.

That would be the end of the smoking portion of the evening, but on the final couple of passes I took down the main loop of the fairgrounds, I got a delicious dessert for the evening when I spotted a cluster of teens seated on these benches near the food trucks.  This attractive 16-17ish dark brunette was decked out in a bare midriff pink top and a pair of very stylish black leather shorts.  Leather is second only to smoking in my fetish pecking order, and this was the sexiest pair of black leather shorts I’ve seen.  Too often, leather shorts are overly bulky and frumpy but this pair was smooth and perfectly sculpted her ass, waist, and crotch.  I took a seat to admire her for a few moments, and just like the wild coincidence of my favorite smoker girl on Tuesday night emulating my recent fictional writing about a smoking character eating a funnel cake with strawberries and cream, the same character in the same recent fictional story I wrote was also wearing a pair of black leather shorts that perfectly sculpted her ass.  I’m hoping the rest of this story starts coming to life in the next two nights at the fair because there’s nothing more satisfying than when fetish fiction becomes reality!

I left the fairgrounds at about 11:30 with some spring in my step, with tonight being my favorite night of the three so far.  I can’t complain having had three nights at the county fair in 2019 that all featured marquee moments, including a homerun each on Tuesday and Thursday.  I have 42 sightings so far, which is less than stellar but not too far outside expectations.  My overall numbers have been plummeting in recent years, with last year dropping to 79 over five nights.  I’m on track to fall below that this year, but it’s possible a highly populated night could keep my numbers elevated to at least last year’s level.  Friday night’s grandstand performer is Christian rock band Casting Crowns.  I didn’t know what to expect from them in terms of crowd size but the fair organizer said they’ve sold the most advance tickets for them of any of the performers, which is kind of crazy to me as I didn’t think there’d be that degree of interest in Christian rock in my decidedly secular hometown.  Very curious to see how it goes.



Based on positive early indications for Night 4 at the county fair, I allowed myself to raise what have been low expectations thus far, and I got bit for it.  The early hype was that Friday evening’s grandstand act, the Christian band Casting Crowns, was selling a tidal wave of reserve seating and was poised to sell the place out.  It seemed a little too good to be true as my home county is not particularly religious and I had a hard time imagining there’d be many young people into Christian music.  Turns out my instinct was right as the crowd wasn’t nearly as massive as predicted and skewed older, with virtually nothing of significance sightings-wise coming from the concert portion of the night.  It was easily the weakest night of the four thus far, and one of the weaker nights I’ve ever had at my county fair, producing only nine sightings.

The night also had more sidetracks and distractions than any other night in recent memory as I ran into no fewer than three old high school classmates and got into extended conversations with each of them.  Did I miss a flurry of sightings while engrossed in these conversations?  Probably not, which is why I didn’t feel like jumping out of my skin to get away from them the way I have on previous occasions where I’ve been cornered by family or friends at this fair.  Still, I was probably out of commission a good 45 minutes tonight and more likely than not missed something I would have otherwise caught.

It was after my first lengthy detour with a former classmate that I finally got my first sighting of the night.  As I walked in the direction of the livestock buildings, a couple was emerging with cigarettes in hand.  They looked late 20s, but the guy was tatted up and trashy-looking.  His girlfriend had a decidedly softer and more wholesome look.  She had long blond hair and was wearing a white blouse and dark blue jeans, a half-smoked cork filter between her fingers walking through one of the more heavily populated stretches of the fairgrounds.  Unfortunately I only got to see one drag as she was gonna snuff out the cigarette before migrating deeper in the crowd.  While that was sort of a metaphor for the night overall, the way she snuffed out the cigarette was intriguing….right on the leg of her jeans.  They were dark jeans so the discoloration wouldn’t have been as problematic as on a lighter shade of denim, but it was still fascinating that a young woman would defile her clothes this way with a cigarette.

I got two more mediocre sightings before migrating into the grandstand just after 8:00 to find a solid but unspectacular crowd in the grandstand along with a much more distressingly paltry crowd in the beer gardens on the other side of the fence.  Even the low-turnout Tuesday night performer had a bigger beer gardens crowd than this.  The second of the three former classmates found me and chatted me up when I took my seat, and it was just as well because there was nothing going on below, with reality setting in that a dismal night was likely ahead of me.

Exactly two smokers of note appeared during the concert, both of whom I’d seen before.  The first was last night’s Tom Thumb Donuts smoker who walked into the port-a-john with a cigarette dangling from her mouth.  She was back tonight standing in front of the port-a-john and smoking a cigarette, but this time having to wait for someone else to come out.  Her drags were impressive and one exhale went straight down from her mouth into the cleavage of her low-cut tanktop.  She finished the cigarette before the occupant of the port-a-john exited and gave her a chance to go inside. I get the feeling this gal is a pretty heavy smoker

The other player during the grandstand show was the blond who snuffed out the cigarette on her jeans about a half hour earlier.  I was pleased to get a follow-up from her, but unfortunately it was from the back of the beer gardens where I could barely see her.  I saw the light-up and one subsequent drag, but beyond that she was too far back and had someone standing in front of her when smoking the rest of the cigarette.  And with as far back in the beer gardens as she was, I lost her completely after dark.

And that was it for the worthwhile smoking during the concert.  The band Casting Crowns was about what I expected, performing pleasant-sounding but unspectacular music punctuated by lengthy and heavy-handed sermonizing in between songs.  They seemed perfectly harmless and if they bring joy to listeners of faith, more power to them, but they were not my thing and I exited the grandstand by 9:30, about two-thirds deep into their show.  Unfortunately it was during this time frame when I ran into Ryan, a long-time bugaboo at the county fair who gets into extended conversations at inopportune times.  In this case, I missed some of the departing 10 p.m. concertgoers before we parted ways, but given how few in this audience were smoking, I doubt Ryan cost me a half dozen quality sightings.

Not long after breaking away from Ryan I had my heartbreaker of the night.  My dream scenario going into this night was to see a number of good young Christian girls and young ladies out in the smoking area puffing on a cigarette while praising Jesus.   That certainly didn’t happen, but I took a mental note during the concert of a cute 17ish light brunette wearing a “Jesus Freak” TV shirt who had features that boosted my radar of her possible smoking status.  As bad as you think the story ends, it’s actually gonna end worse.  The girl was standing next to her blue-collar dad in line for a concession stand, both wearing “Jesus Freak” T-shirts….and both dragging from their Juul pods.  I’ll give the teen Juuler credit for one thing (beyond doing it publicly in front of her dad) in that she produced the largest exhale of vapor I’ve seen from a Juul pod, which usually ejects an extremely scant quantity of vapor on the exhale.  What would have been a storybook “father and daughter in Jesus Freaks shirts smoke cigarettes as they leave Casting Crowns concert” sighting instead gets updated downwardly for the modern times to something entirely lacking in sex appeal.

Thankfully a few food vendors up the block, an actual cigarette was being smoked by a mid-20 blond who stood next to her apparently nonsmoking boyfriend with cigarette in hand while deciding on what menu item she wanted to buy.  After placing her order, she handed the two-thirds-smoked cigarette to her the boyfriend to hold while she waited in front of the vendor’s window.  The blond was mid-20s and a bit of a plain jane, but had a cuteness about her and an outfit of a white tanktop and pair of light jean shorts that made her seem too wholesome to be a young smoker.  When her order was ready, the blond reclaimed the cigarette from the boyfriend.  She took the only real drag I saw from her and it was solid with a cloudy follow-up exhale, but then quickly dropped the all-white butt to the ground.  The next time I walked past where she stood I checked out her littered butt.  It was a Marlboro Menthol Light, which I’ve always found to have attractive coloring with the white filters and the green rings.

The night had one more moment I could generously qualify as an extra-base hit just because of how exotic it was.  I sometimes encircle the open-air pavilion where they play BINGO just to see if there are smokers on the outer seats.  There are on occasion, and while they’re usually older ladies, you’ll sometimes see a younger woman smoking on the bench on the edge of the pavilion.  Tonight, I happened to see a late 20s Hispanic woman who had an unlit cigarette between her fingers that I presumed would soon be lit.  I had to get creative to find a place to observe and only when I sat down did I see her light the cigarette.  She was modestly pretty but had a surprising ethnic flair to her look, a look that tends to reduce smoking prevalence to footnote-like levels among Hispanic women with limited Americanization.  Whatever the case, she put on an interesting show here, standing up off the bench and hovering a few feet behind her BINGO card, attempting to be as courteous as possible while smoking her cigarette.  On two occasions, she took a drag while standing, leaned forward at the calling of the latest BINGO number and checked her cards for a match, while holding the cigarette smoke in her lungs the whole time.  After sufficiently playing her card she leaned back up, turned around, and exhaled.  Quite a workout to smoke a cigarette while playing BINGO, but I admired her quirkiness adding a minute or so of personality to an evening producing so very little.  She only smoked about half of it before crushing it on the ground and saving the rest of the cigarette for later, indicating she was perhaps a pretty heavy smoker and conscious of any possible way to save some money.

And that was it.  There were a couple extra modestly attractive 30-somethings after 11 p.m. who I counted but had no emotional attachment to and barely qualified for my list  I knew it was time to leave when I passed the teen huddle by the 4-H building where the kids line dance to piped-in music and found a cluster of cute and hip teen girls passing the Juul pod around.  In just two years, it seems to have become unthinkable for a hip young teen to be seen dead or alive with a cigarette.  I suppose maybe it’s a situation where the same kids experimenting with Juuling are trying the occasional cigarette in social situations and are thus not going uninitiated entirely, but for purposes of this public setting, opt to take the easy route and vape/Juul the night away.  Whatever the case, it’s hard to see how five years from now there will be many attractive smokers at all because the would-be replacement smokers are all primarily vaping or Juuling while the last generation of actual smokers (a declining number through last decade and this one) ages out of their peak attractiveness years.  Hard to imagine what any hypothetical microcomeback of cigarettes would look like actually.

So after three nights where my sightings exceeded expectations, I had a fourth night that badly undercut expectations.  With nine additional sightings from tonight, that puts me at 52 total sightings for the 2019 county fair, which would mean I’d need a robust 27 sightings on Saturday to match my previous-record-low 79 sightings I got last year.  The crowd showing up for country group LANCO has a tall order in front of them and it seems like quite an ask for a group that has had only one real hit along with a couple more minor hits.  Sometimes these country acts geared toward younger audiences surprise with how many people they turn out so it’s a roll of the dice.  There are a number of specific issues as to why this fair is declining more than most in my summer tour and I expect it to continue to, and a night like tonight really reinforces that speculation.



The last significant night of my county fair in 2019 was more bust than boom.  While it produced 17 sightings, technically my strongest-performing night of the five, the numbers were disappointing considering how young the crowd skewed, especially in the beer gardens during the LANCO concert.  The localized nature of my county fair in a state with extremely high cigarette taxes is perhaps too anecdotal to glean far-reaching conclusions about the relevance of smoking, but it’s nonetheless chilling to see how steep of a decline smoking has been at this fair in the last five years and I suspect it will be at least somewhat backed up by what I see in my other fair venues.  I’ll go briefly to the fair on Sunday and it’s possible I’ll pick up another sighting or two, but in all likelihood what I saw through Saturday night will be the extent of what I get at the county fair in 2019.

I got there early on Saturday (before 5:00) to meet up with long-time friend Corey who I used to hang out with more at the fair until he got married and had a kid.  Now he only comes on Saturday afternoons pushing a stroller, which is convenient for my fetishing since I can spend a couple of hours in his company, send him on his way when his kid starts getting sleepy, and then have the evening to fetish.  It worked out that way again tonight and I actually got three modest sightings of late 20s and 30-something mothers smoking while I tagged along with him and his wife and kid.  At 7:00, they were gone and I was encircling the grounds in pursuit of sightings.

I didn’t see anything spectacular before heading to the grandstand, but on the periphery of the midway I got three separate sightings, the first a young couple smoking outside the mini-circus at the back of the midway where the 20-something wife took four solid drags before I walked away; the next of a family cluster that included a 20-something dark brunette in a matching black blouse and shorts who I saw take the last couple of drags from a cigarette; and about 50 yards from there a couple near the bathroom area with a modestly attractive dark blond in a red blouse and jean shorts smoking with her presumed husband.  Nothing to write home about and perhaps wouldn’t have been worthy of consideration 10 years ago, but with the current slim pickings it was worth making a note of.

From there I picked up my gyro and walked up into the grandstand for the upcoming concert.  The crowd was good but not great for the show, but the beer gardens seemed to hold a lot of promise with a younger-skewing crowd full of some first-rate hotties.  Surely, I figured, a fair number of them were bound to smoke.  Unfortunately it was mostly a complete bust, with only a handful of girls actually lighting up in the densely packed beer gardens, a terrifying indication that even the early-to-mid 20s set never has and never will touch tobacco.  Of the few girls who did smoke, the beer gardens would produce one devastating heartbreak and one pleasant surprise.  I’ll start with the heartbreak….

Before the show started, this couple that looked about 30 came out to the most perfect front-and-center spot inside the beer gardens for my sightings vantage point.  The dark brunette wife/girlfriend was decked out in a black blouse and skin-tight white pants that sculpted her feminine form gorgeously.  I instantly got a smoker vibe from her and after about five minutes of standing there, she started digging around in her purse….and digging…and digging.  I was convinced she was foraging for her cigarettes and lighter….and she produced a rectangular yellow box from the purse which she stuffed in the left back pocket of those tight white pants.  It had to be a pack of American Spirits I thought.  I was too far away to know for sure but was 99% convinced based on the markings.  Then she went back to her purse and dug around some more, presumably in search for her lighter.  But after another minute or so, she and her husband walked under the beer gardens canopy….and disappeared for the rest of the night.  I thought for sure they’d be standing in this perfect spot for the entire show and she’d be lighting up multiple cigarettes, her body sizzling in those white pants.  Instead I wouldn’t see her again, smoking or not.  She may well have stayed in the beer gardens and migrated to the other end, but with the darkness and the massive crowd during the show, there was no chance I’d see her if she wasn’t up front.  This was easily my biggest missed opportunity of the night.

But as I was gritting my teeth about that, I got a pretty sweet consolation prize.  Ever since I was a teenager, I was aware of these two sisters from my home county named Miranda and Molly, both very attractive.  Miranda was the older sister and I recall from stalking her old Myspace page back in the mid-2000s when she was 18 or so that she was a smoker.  Miranda must not live in the area anymore as I haven’t seen her in many years.  As for younger sister Molly, she’s probably about 30 now, is still single, and still lives in this county.  Almost every year I see her at my county fair, and despite looking like she’s smoked three packs a day since she was about eight years old, I’ve never seen her smoke, even when in the company of smoking friends.  Would that change tonight?  Sort of….

Near the front of the beer gardens a cluster of 20-somethings that included Molly was among the many groups of young people at the concert tonight pissing me off by not smoking.  Molly was talking to a very attractive mid-20s long-haired blond in a black tanktop and dark jeans but after keeping tabs on them for about 15 minutes and not seeing anything I was losing hope.  But lo and behold, the hot blond friend had Molly hold her beer while she foraged through her purse.  Moments later, an all-white cigarette was dangling from the blond’s lips and she lit it and reclaimed the beer from Molly.  As soon as I saw Molly handed the beer, I figured that meant she wouldn’t be getting a cigarette of her own, which was consistent with my past observations of Molly never smoking.  The blond friend was smoking hers with generally soft drags and minor exhales, leading me to believe she only smoked a little while she drank.  It was still nice to put a face that pretty with a cigarette on a weak night like tonight, but the moment I had been waiting to see for a good 15 years but had nearly become resigned to never seeing was suddenly happening as Molly reached out for a drag from her friend’s cigarette.  I didn’t know what to expect but Molly knocked it out of the park with an intense drag that make the cherry glow bright red, producing a dense exhale of smoke.  Unfortunately she handed the cigarette back to the friend and would never get it back but what a great feeling it was to finally see Molly smoke, if only for a drag.  While Molly is probably not a regular smoker, the ease and depth of the one drag I saw leads me to believe she’s at least a semiregular social smoker.  In this day and age, I’ll take it.

Molly’s friend finished off the cigarette, and her style points improved in the moments after Molly’s drags as well, with longer drags and cloudier exhales.  I was pleased it was dark because it helped distract me from the nasty tattoo ink the friend had all over her arms, which was reducing her stock for me despite being the only genuinely pretty girl in the beer gardens smoking.  She finished the cigarette and the beer gardens would cease to produce anything else worth mentioning for the rest of the night since she never lit up again inside the grounds during the course of the show.   The next best beer gardens sighting came from a duo dressed alike in candy apple red blouses and dark jeans.   I couldn’t get a good look at their faces from the distance but one was brunette and one was blond.  From afar they looked early 30s, so when I saw the blond light up and smoke a cigarette I couldn’t it….but I had to take that back when I saw the red-bloused blond in question outside of the beer gardens walking around.  The gal I guessed was about 35 looked more like 50 up-close, and even if my standards are dropping because of how limited sightings are, I’m still not gonna be counting smokers in their 50s unless they look like Jennifer Aniston.

As for the LANCO concert itself, it was just okay for me.  If I hadn’t known they were considered country before I showed up to the concert, I’d have never believed they were a country band because the music seemed aggressively pop with no fiddle or steel guitar to be found anywhere that I could tell.  They did a cover of the uber-twangy mid-90s John Michael Montgomery song “Sold” and even managed to make that sound not country.  I guess I’m happy for any low-profile act who starts at the bottom and manages to get a few hits on the charts before fading into oblivion, but there’s little indication to me that these guys will have any staying power in country music moving forward.  Anyway, their limited set made for a short concert and they were all done around 9:45, which was fine by me since I had zero momentum going in the grandstand smoking area and beer gardens so I was desperate to change locations and get different vantage points of the grounds.

Within a minute or so I was lurking around the main bathroom structure on the fairgrounds which is a popular destination after concerts for fairgoers who need to relieve themselves.  An attractive blond who looked mid-to-late 30s was standing near the dumpster foraging through her purse, presumably waiting for her husband to come out, and eventually fetched out an all-white cigarette.  I wasn’t in a good position to lurk so I did a couple of mini-loops to see how long it would be till she lit it.  Unfortunately when her husband came out of the bathroom, she lured him to the grass on the side of bathroom building so she’d be out of sight before she fired up her cigarette.  I was still able to get creative and circle back to take in a few drags of the sighting of the gal who was probably the oldest gal I selected for write-ups.  Sometimes I hesitate to pick women that appear older than 35.  This gal likely was over 35 but it was a no-brainer to select her as she was still attractive.

In the remaining hour and a half I ticked off a handful more sightings, two of which were noteworthy.  Potential was high for a girl I saw near the south side 4-H building sitting on a bench and rummaging through her purse.  It was too dark to see her face where she sat but the white cigarette produced from her purse that was held between her fingers was quite visible.  But then the sighting got weird as she walked through the dark in between two fair buildings to an isolated bathroom, where she went inside with the unlit cigarette still between her fingers.  Watching her hair swoosh and the general way she carried herself as she walked, I was thinking she might be as young as 17.  I waited her out to get a closer look, but wondered if she was smoking inside the bathroom since it didn’t make much sense otherwise for her to pluck one from her pack before going in there.  She was in the bathroom quite a while but eventually did emerge, lighting her cigarette and then walking quickly down an odd path behind the BINGO stands and then into the midway.  I followed but with as fast as she was walking I still hadn’t seen her face.  She was still a mystery from behind, her long light brown hair with frosted tips and her body type draped in an orange tanktop and tight jeans just screamed teenage girl.  Her drags were infrequent given her fast walking pace but when she did drag she was quite reckless about exhaling a huge plume of smoke into the air, which I was all too eager to walk behind.  Finally as she was deep into the midway, the overhead lighting gave me the opportunity to see her face.  Now she wasn’t bad but looked more like 21 or 22 upclose, and didn’t quite have the innocent teen girl look I hoped to see and that would have matched the way she carried herself.  And then, for some reason, she kept on boogeying into the parking lot area behind the midway, where it was too dark and isolated for me to follow without either getting caught or creeping her out, so I relented.  It was the best sighting after the grandstand show, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for more from this one.

After that there was just one more quality sighting.  I had seen a 20-something trio on the midway consisting of a guy, an unattractive heavyset gal, and a more attractive light brunette in a tanktop and jean shorts.  I had seen the guy and heavy girl smoking earlier in the night but was frustrated to not see the cuter girl.  The situation would be rectified around the time the midway went lights out because a wedding party was posing for photos in front of the ferris wheel and a crowd gathered that included the aforementioned trio, and this time all three were smoking.  Even with the cover of pretending to watch the wedding party get their photos taken, it was challenging to see much detail because the heavier guy and girl seemed like they were always standing in front of my preferred light brunette smoker.  I still got to see a few nice drags with cloudy exhales though.

Right around the time I was about to leave, Molly and the blond friend who smoked during the LANCO show walked out of the beer gardens and went to get a corn dog.  Given that neither one of them showed signs of being heavy smokers during the show, I wasn’t confident of a smoking performance accompanying their corn dog consumption, but I hovered in the area just in case.  As sexy as I’ve always found Molly, the blond friend was probably a few years younger and even cuter, but those ridiculous tattoos on her arms took quite a bit away from her beauty.  As expected, the girls ate their corn dogs without lighting up cigarettes, and while I lost track of Molly the friend was chatting with some people outside the beer gardens as she took the final bite of her corn dog.  I held out hope she’d smoke there but unfortunately she went back into the beer gardens in a couple of minutes, and that was my cue to call it a night.

I still have a brief mid-afternoon sojourn to the fair on Sunday but barring a big surprise, that’s likely to be game, set, and match for this year’s county fair.  I’ll get into overarching thoughts in the Sunday writeup but the last two nights were definitely unimpressive after a better-than-expected haul from Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  No two county fairs are the same but I followed the same track in 2014 with a strong start that faded by the weekend.  Last year I had a lackluster county fair in the first four nights but Saturday night came alive and produced three of last year’s four top-25-worthy county fair sightings.  I anticipate the multiple state fair visits will produce more worthwhile stuff than the fast-declining county fair, but I don’t want to take that for granted either.  Whatever the case, it would have been unthinkable not that many years ago that a night that produced only 17 sightings would be the most prolific sightings night of the week.  With as well-attended as the fair was on Saturday night and with as young as the beer gardens crowd skewed, I would imagine a night like this would have produced at least 40 sightings a decade ago.  That’s how far things have fallen.



Well I’ll say this….today was my most productive mini-jaunt to the county fair on a Sunday afternoon I’ve ever had, producing five new sightings to wrap things up for the week.  I cheated though….I usually go in the early afternoon when traffic is light and stay for about an hour.  This year, my schedule allowed me to go in the mid-afternoon when the demo derby started, drawing in a larger and more redneck crowd and a few smoker girl sightings.  The first was a brunette concession worker sitting in the area outside the main bathroom enjoying a cigarette.  And while not a new girl, I saw the heavy-smoking late 20s Tom Thumb mini-donuts blond smoking again today, and did on Saturday evening at closing time as well, making her the most prolific sighting of the 2019 county fair at five cigarettes over four days, her shapely body draped in jean shorts for every one of them.

Another new sighting took place at the ring toss area where a couple in their early 30s was standing behind their 10ish son tossing rings onto the bottles.  Mom was a decently attractive blond in a purplish tie-dye tanktop and light blue jean shorts puffing on a half-smoked all-white cigarette behind the boy.  When he got a ring around the bottle and got a bottle of pop as a reward, Mom congratulated him with a “Good job, Brody,” before she took a final drag and crushed it out on the pavement below her foot.  I’d actually see her smoking twice more in the hour and a half I was there, both times with the husband and in the designated smoking hours on both the north and south sides of the grandstand before the demo derby started.  It looked like some variation of Marlboro Light Menthols that they were smoking based on the brief glimpse I got at their pack.

I briefly walked into the grandstand at the beginning of the demo derby and the crowd was impressive.  Almost right away, a young mom stepped outside into the smoking area for a cigarette.  She looked downscale and a tick trashy, but she was kind of cute and had a nice body that was draped in a skimpy white tanktop with a bare midriff and black shorts.  Her dark blond hair was in a long braid going down her back.  I got a farrow to finish sighting from her in the smoking area, making this the second-best show I got in the smoking area all week!  And during the show, she kept waving up to her presumed nonsmoking husband and son who were sitting only three bleachers in front of me.  When she finished her cigarette, she came back up and sat down with them, the Marlboro Menthol pack stuffed in the back pocket of her jean shorts.  My 15-minute interlude at the demo derby paid off.

But my timing when I left the demo derby paid off even better as I came across my final and favorite of the five new girls, albeit only for one drag.  A very attractive mid-20s blond in an orange top and black athletic shorts was walking toward the main block of food vendors in the company of her boyfriend and she had an all-white cigarette in hand.    I had to take a second look at her face as she seemed way too upscale and classy to be smoking this day and age, but there she was wielding that all-white just like the much more blue-collar-looking local girls.  And the boyfriend she was walking with wasn’t smoking.  Unfortunately she wouldn’t be much longer either, taking a single drag and then dropping the cigarette to the grass and crushing it out, leaving well over half of the Camel Crush lying there on the fairgrounds pavement.  I followed them briefly to a food vendor where they ate and then migrated to the commercial exhibits under the grandstand.  I’m glad I was able to see enough to know this most unlikely girl was a smoker, but it was painful to walk away not being able to see more.

Alas, that finally puts a wrap on the 2019 county fair.  The extra five sightings boosted me to 74 sightings this year, down from last year’s 79 and part of a consistent downward track from this venue, which peaked in 2010 with 144 sightings.  In the last several years, the trajectory has gone from 110 sightings to 101 to 98 to 89 to 79 to this year’s 74, barely half what it was a decade ago.  To put this in perspective, on the night of the Hinder concert in 2010, I got 52 sightings in a single night at the county fair.  And somehow I’ve managed no rainy days to screw things up worse in the last several years.  If I get stuck in a rainy weather stretch one year, there’s no telling how much things will fall.  Still, I got out of this year’s county fair about what I expected going in….continued decline but a few genuinely impressive sightings that kept my morale from completely cratering.  The first three nights this year were better than I expected but I crashed back to reality on Friday and Saturday, with Juul pods more visible in the teen huddles by the end of the week than they were in the beginning when I was holding out some hope those things were past peak.  Even two years ago, there was still a semblance of a teen smoking culture visible in the hometown and I hadn’t seen my first Juul pod yet, but last year was a wakeup call to the fast-changing norms and this year’s haul didn’t do anything to indicate those norms are reversing.  I’m still hopeful I’ll get some iconic moments out of this fair season, but with the declining Summerfest and county fair kicking off fair season, things get off to a really slow start nowadays.  I’m six days away from Day 1 of the Iowa State Fair as I write this, and can only hope things step up at least a little closer to the baseline than they have been thus far.

Posted in Real-Time Fair Sightings Reports | 2 Comments

Trevor’s Mom Brings Home The Bacon

Becky McPherson took a fierce drag from her Marlboro Red as she sat in the small, dimly lit bathroom facility designated for hospital staff, holding her cell phone to her ear and listening to her husband speak.  If the wrong person caught her smoking in this bathroom, there would be hell to pay, but the immediate hospital staff who worked with her was always good to look the other way, and she trusted that would be the case again today, even though she wasn’t working with her normal crew.

“I told you yesterday…..” Becky reminded Steve, her sandpaperry smoker’s voice expressing just the mildest frustration over her husband’s selective memory, “…..Sherri had to go to visit her family in Wisconsin this weekend and I volunteered to work her ER shift.”

“Ah, yes,” Steve responded, recollecting what his wife had told him before in regards to her unusual overnight weekend work that kept her from being home that spring Sunday morning.  “And you’re done at 1?”

“Right.  After work I’m gonna stop and visit mom so I’ll probably be home around 3:30.  Then I suppose I better figure out what to make for supper….” Becky thought out loud, dragging from her cigarette rather robotically while mentally lost in her unrelenting schedule as a nurse and a mother, her exhale adding to the intense air pollution in the already hazy enclosed space.

Before Steve had time to respond, 15-year-old daughter Haylee slogged into the kitchen in her pink pajamas with what he presumed was her first cigarette of the day dangling lazily from her pouty teenage lips.  When she spotted her father on the phone, Haylee asked, “Is that mom?” to which Steve nodded affirmatively.

“Happy Mother’s Day, mom!” Haylee exclaimed with as much energy as she could muster through her talking dangle, the first blast of cigarette smoke filling the McPherson family kitchen that morning before she fished out a box of cereal from the pantry.

Joy filled Becky’s face as she heard her youngest daughter’s greeting from afar.  “Awww…..tell my little sleepy head thanks and that I’ll see her in a few hours,” Becky relayed to Steve to pass on to Haylee, and then asked, “Are Courtney and Trevor home?”

“Yeah, Trevor’s in his room doing homework.  I think Courtney might be too but I know she has some graduation preparation stuff today.”

Becky took another intense drag from the three-quarters-smoked cigarette and a confused look emerged on her face.  “Hey this was the fishing opener weekend, wasn’t it?  I thought you said a while back you and Courtney were gonna go up to the cabin for that this year.”

Steve was glad this conversation was happening over the phone so Becky couldn’t see his nervous response, composing himself as quickly as possible and answering, “Oh she’s so busy with school, work, and preparing for graduation, we just decided to hold off until after Memorial Day.”

Becky mulled the answer and thought it made some sense, but nonetheless briefly recalled that she hadn’t seen Courtney and her father interact much in recent weeks, which was kind of odd for them.  “Well don’t let time slip away and miss the chance before she starts college,” she finally responded.

“Right….we’ll get on it this summer,” Steve said, hoping it would bring closure to this terribly awkward conversation without tipping off just how strained the relationship had become with Courtney since the night she attempted to initiate sexual relations with him.

“Well, hun….break’s over.  Gotta get back to work,” Becky said, taking the final drag from her Marlboro Red and then dropping it into the toilet and flushing it.  “Remember I’m heading to see mom before I come home.”

“Sounds good.  We’ll see you then.  Love you,” Steve responded.

“Love you too,” Becky said before ending the call, the final wisps of smoke escaping her mouth and nose with those last three syllables.

Through the smoky haze, Becky took a look at her reflection in the bathroom mirror, ostensibly to see if she really looked like she was old enough to have a child graduating high school in two weeks.  She had recently turned 42 and as she looked at the draw lines around her lips and deepening crow’s feet around her eyes, along with the scattershot selection of gray hairs peeking through her naturally brown hair, she decided nobody was likely to confuse her with Courtney’s sister.

An air of guilt quickly emerged on her face as she looked down to her phone for a final order of business, scrolling through her texts and stopping at a number with no saved setting.  She began texting, “Can we meet at the usual place today at 1:30?” and then waited a few moments before a response rolled in reading, “Yes.  C U there.”  Becky made a clinical affirmative nod before putting her phone in the pocket of her scrubs and exiting the smoky bathroom, ready to resume with her job for the final three hours of the shift.

Seconds later, Becky was walking down the hallway of the bustling emergency room en route to her work station, slipping out of the way as two nurses hastily wheeled a gurney down the hall.  She was startled as another nurse called her from a room down the hall.

“Becky, I have a 48-year-old female who claims to be a patient of yours in family medicine….named Donna Green.  She’s having a severe COPD attack!” exclaimed the nurse as she waved Becky into the room, at which point Becky turned around and raced into the room.

As Becky walked in, she noticed the familiar middle-aged Donna hooked up to oxygen equipment, nearly passed out but gasping for breath with her lips turning blue and her chest in obvious pain.  “I know she has a bronchidilator.  Dr. Meirose prescribed it for her last year. Do you know if she used it during the attack?” Becky asked the nurse she barely recognized with the name tag Sharon.

“Her husband said she did but it wasn’t enough to settle her down.  He drove her down here as fast as he could,” Sharon responded, pausing to turn the dial on her oxygen treatment as her hyperventilating persisted.

It was a nervous five minutes or so as Donna’s COPD attack persisted, at times settling down to the point where it looked past peak but then flaring up again to the point that Becky and Sharon thought they might lose her.  Finally, her breathing slowly began to get under control and they adjusted her oxygen downward accordingly until the attack finally relented.  Donna spent several minutes coming down from the close call as Becky and Sharon tended to her respiratory needs.

“Thank you, Becky….” the still-winded Donna offered with a smile after observing her favorite nurse.  “And you too, young lady,” she added for Sharon’s benefit, even though all three of them were in the same general age group.

“You gave us quite a scare there Donna,” Becky said while observing the patient’s comeback, pulling up her patient data on her computer and reading the specifics.  “Looks like we got you on 50 milligram corticosteroid tablets twice per day.  I think after this attack we might want to raise that to two 100 milligram tablets per day.”

Donna cringed a bit and explained herself, “They get me all wound up and agitated when I follow the prescription.”

Becky nodded and added, “I’m sure but wouldn’t you rather be high-strung for a couple of hours a day if the alternative is coming to see me again in the middle of a full-blown COPD attack?”

Donna nodded as though she couldn’t dispute the risk-reward balance heavily favored following the nurse’s orders, letting loose a fierce smoker’s cough accompanied by a stew of phlegm being discharged in the closing phase fallout of the COPD attack.

Becky then progressed to the topic she knew would be more challenging and where she wasn’t exactly a credible preacher.  “Now I can smell the cigarette smoke on your jacket here, Donna, so I know you haven’t given it up.  I hope this attack was a wake-up call that you have to quit immediately.  We’re not playing with you on this.”

Sitting slightly up in her bed, the unattractive, overweight, and clearly downscale Donna cut a crude profile as she briefly concurred with an “I know!” seconds before deflecting blame.  “Not sure if you’re the one in the best position to scold me here though, Nurse Becky,” pausing to burst into an aggressive laugh that morphed into another extended wet cough, and then adding, “From what I’ve seen, you smoke more than I did before I got sick.”

Becky politely laughed in agreement, but seemed unflappable in response to the fair points made by the patient.  “Oh I’m sure I’ll get mine too, but at least for today I’m not the one who was brought to the ER for a major COPD attack.  Donna, every cigarette you light up after a situation like this exponentially raises the risk of you being back here very soon.  I would advise cutting the cigarettes out cold turkey but if you can’t do that, no more than three or four cigarettes per day until you ween yourself off completely, okay?”

Donna nodded in a way where it was unclear to Becky whether she would comply.  Nurse and patient commiserated for a few more minutes before Becky had to move on to the next emergency.  Even though she had been seeing a litany of patients with diseased lungs for years that should have been cautionary tales, Becky always managed to detach her own lifestyle from what was impairing her patients.  For better or for worse, it didn’t phase Becky to see this woman not much older than her with a similar smoking history whose lungs were so damaged that she probably wouldn’t live more than five more years.  Becky turned at the doorway before walking out and verbally signed off to Donna Green, closing with “You know I love to see you Donna, but not this way.  Let’s make sure the next time we see each other it’s at the clinic for your regularly scheduled appointment next month okay?”

Donna and Becky exchanged smiles and farewell greetings before Becky headed off to aid the next emergency that came through the ER doors.


A few hours later, Becky’s ER shift was over and it was time to follow through with the meeting set up via text message on her morning break.  She drove her tan car down a commercial stretch in a slightly run-down neighborhood in the suburbs just west of Minneapolis.  She didn’t know why she was nervous after all of this time, but it was clear the way she was pumping on her Marlboro Red that the tension of this biweekly routine had not yet become normalized for her.  She put her turn signal on and made a left turn into a mostly abandoned alley, pulling up to a black van with slightly tinted windows waiting for her.

Becky tensed up further as she took a final deep drag from her Marlboro Red, tossing it out the window of her foggy vehicle and then exhaling to add another plume of nicotine and tar to contribute further to the yellow-ish tint on her windshield.  She then honked the horn three times and stepped outside, letting the second party know it was her.  In seconds, a tall, young black man stepped out of the van and approached her, a growing smile on his face upon seeing his best customer awaiting his services.

“Miss Becky,” the man greeted in a thick East African accent.  “I understand you’re interested in some of my wares,” he added with a smirk.

Becky’s nerves were calmed by the man’s charm offensive.  “Abdullah, I’m sure glad you don’t have any place better to be on a Sunday afternoon than hanging out with me in this dirty alley,” Becky played along as Abdullah opened the back of the van, nervously looking over his shoulder to make sure the coast was clear and then extracting a large box.

Abdullah sat the box on the hood of Becky’s car and responded, “With as much money as you spread my way, I make sure to clear my schedule for you!”

Becky laughed as she cracked open the box to take a peek, seeing three cartons each of Marlboro Reds, Marlboro Light Menthol 100s, and Camel Pink No. 9’s just as she ordered almost every two weeks, on some occasions on very short notice when she or the girls were running low.  She smirked approvingly at Abdullah as she put the box inside her car and then opened up her purse.  “The usual?” Becky asked in reference to the cost of the purchase, pulling out an envelope full of $20 bills she just withdrew from the ATM machine.

“Yes….500,” he responded, taking the envelope as Becky handed it to him and rummaging through it to make sure the count was right.

“Oh what’s the matter, Abdullah.  Don’t you trust that I can count?” Becky teased, reaching back into her purse to light up another Marlboro Red.

“Just the right amount once again,” he said with an approving smile before stuffing the envelope full of cash into the pocket of his hoodie.  “Nice to do business with you as always.”

Becky nodded back with a smile before making some small talk.  “So are you gonna visit your mom for Mother’s Day or doesn’t she live in Minnesota?”

“Nah,” Abdullah responded.  “She’s in Somalia.  Haven’t seen her since I came to America eight years ago.”

“Wow, that would be hard.  I’m sure she misses you,” said Becky sympathetically.

Abdullah nodded, adding  “I’m hoping to bring her here one day but it’s quite a process.  And I don’t want to get too public with immigration officials about how I make my money if you know what I mean.”  As Becky nodded in response, Abdullah asked, “How about you?  Is your mother still with us?”

“She sure is,” Becky responded.  “I’m heading over to visit her next actually.  What do you got planned for the rest of your Sunday?”

Abdullah flashed a mischievous smile and replied, “Good afternoon for a road trip to North Dakota.”

Dragging from her cigarette, Becky let loose a quick laugh from which wisps of smoke spilled out of her mouth and nose, knowing Abdullah’s reference meant he planned to pick up another vanload of black market cigarettes in Fargo that he could sell in Minnesota.

“Well I won’t keep you, then.  You have a long drive in front of you,” Becky closed.

“Say hello to your mother for me,” Abdullah closed before exchanging final friendly greetings with Becky and climbing in their respective vehicles to part ways for the day.

As Becky began to drive off still working on the cigarette she’d lit during the conversation with Abdullah, she thought back a few years earlier when she first did business with him.  She had become infuriated after Minnesota’s Governor signed a gigantic new tax hike on cigarettes to pay for a professional sports stadium and reached her breaking point, asking some of her smoking friends if they knew where she could get a discount.  One of them told her that there was a growing smuggling industry taken on primarily by Minnesota’s Somali refugee population, trucking in cigarettes from low-tax North Dakota and selling them in high-tax Minnesota.  She thought long and hard about whether it was the worth the risk but ultimately made the connections to get in touch with a smuggler who could cut her cigarette bill by a good 40%.  And so was born a legend.

Becky did her research before making the contact, almost scared away when she read that many involved in the cigarette black market were affiliated with either mobsters or terrorist cells who used the quick cash raised from cigarette smuggling to fund-raise for terrorist operations at home and abroad.  She didn’t want any part of that, but after meeting Abdullah, it became impossible for her to reconcile this charming and well-mannered young immigrant being associated with anything that pernicious.  And while she preferred to remain in denial about where the money Abdullah made went, Becky had at this point convinced herself that it couldn’t possibly be going to anything sleazier than what Minnesota’s state government had earmarked their own cigarette blood revenue for.  Cigarettes were still around $1.50 a pack in the late 1980s when she started at age 12, and in her mind there was absolutely no justification for why they were now nearly $10 a pack, so even though she and Steve made enough money to afford paying the prices the state of Minnesota insisted she pay, it was a matter of principle for her to refuse to.  She may still get nervous every time she approached Abdullah for a black market transaction, she always drove away satisfied that she was denying the state of Minnesota more than $300 in tobacco taxes every two weeks.

Becky took a victorious final drag from her cigarette as she turned left out of the alley, tossing it out the window and onto the street.  Her Mother’s Day had already been extremely exhausting, but the most emotionally exhausting part of the day was coming next.


It never stopped being haunting for Becky to walk down the long, lonely corridors of the West Branch Community Nursing Home even though she’s been visiting her mother here for the past seven years.  Becky had been a nurse for nearly two decades now and had seen all kinds of soul-crushing images of human suffering, but walking past these rooms and seeing lonely senior citizens lying in bed watching TV by themselves filled her heart with sorrow more than just about anything else.   Today was perhaps better than most as being Mother’s Day, there were occasional bursts of human interaction in a few of the rooms, with the families of the elderly residents doing their duty and paying a visit.

Proceeding past the kitchen area, a cluster of the more functional residents sat amongst each other in their wheelchairs, mostly watching television in silence.  As lonely and unfulfilled as they seemed, these were the lucky ones, Becky thought to herself, making the final march toward the room that her mother Ann stayed in and tensing up with an even greater anticipation than she felt when she was pulling up to Abdullah’s van to purchase illegal bootlegged cigarettes for herself and her daughters.  She knocked on the door to announce her presence before stepping inside the room, even though doing so didn’t really make much sense at this point.

Ann was sitting upright in her wheelchair, her face motionless upon her daughter’s entry and her lifeless eyes projected downward to the floor.  The age marks on her face were minimal as she was undoubtedly one of the youngest people in the nursing home, but despite that relative youth, it was equally clear she was nearing the sunset of her existence, the will to live drained from her after nearly a decade of frontotemporal dementia.

Becky said “Happy Mother’s Day, mom” out of tradition, fighting back a tear as she always did upon seeing her mother now in the advanced stages of a condition that had begun fully sapping the life of her for the last few years.   Becky opened her purse and removed a Mother’s Day corsage, crouching to her knees and pinning the corsage onto the lapel of her mother’s blouse, the tear she’d been fighting back up to this point now rolling down her cheek.  She reached up to Ann’s forehead and stroked her hair, partly for grooming purposes to make her look as good as possible with the corsage, but also hoping to see a glimmer of life from her.  Regretfully, there was nary a blink of the eye response from Ann so Becky pulled back, sitting on a chair in the room and sliding it up toward her mother.

Ann looked as pretty today as she was capable of looking, her once lustrous mane of brown hair now thinned down to a mostly silver-hued coiffure that glistened with the sunshine radiating in through the window behind her, and decked out in a nice blouse that Becky called in advance to arrange having Ann dressed in for Mother’s Day. Becky briefly contemplated taking a photo to capture the moment, but held back as she really had no desire to remember her mother this way after she passed.  She leaned forward to speak to Ann, fully realizing she would neither understand the words nor talk back.

“Well mom, you’ve now officially celebrated one more Mother’s Day than your mom did,” speaking in reference to the grandmother who’d also suffered from frontotemporal dementia for years and had been bed-ridden throughout most of Becky’s memories, dying at age 62.  “And you outlived your sister Karen too.  That’s something to be proud of,” Becky added, not believing her own words but hoping the tone of her voice would convey the faintest hint of empowerment to her mother for the pyrrhic victory of perseverance in the face of this horrible genetic disease that had haunted females in the Gunderson family for generations.  Becky rarely brought the kids to see grandma, knowing that some very hard questions would come from it and that her answers would be intensely morbid.  She may have been old enough to need to come to terms with it, but they still had too much life in front of them to concern themselves with the Gunderson matriarchal curse at this point.

Becky stayed with her mother for the better part of an hour, letting her know she’d see her next week, a commitment Becky tried her best to maintain even though it took all of her willpower to keep the promise.  As she made the same long walk down the hallway from which she walked in an hour earlier, Becky didn’t hesitate to open her purse and ready her pack of Marlboro Reds, both because she was seriously jonesing for a cigarette and because the last hour reinforced her long-held belief that the reward of finding pleasure from whatever gives it to you in the time you have in this life vastly exceeded the risk of deferring that pleasure in pursuit of happiness at some arbitrary time in the future that may never, and in her case probably wouldn’t, come.

Becky loved the feeling that smoking cigarettes gave her, and her daughters seemed to love it just as much, so there was no point in denying it to herself or to them.  She knew the world judged her as a terrible mother for it, but most of them didn’t know her experience and none of them had lived a day in her shoes.  In her profession, she had witnessed so much human suffering on a daily basis, but at least in her mind it was a zero-sum game.  And whatever health consequences awaited her, Courtney, and Haylee down the line from years of heavy smoking, Becky still figured it was a less devastating outcome than what she’d just spent the last hour seeing in her mother.

She picked up her pace as she approached the nursing home exit, opening her pack of Marlboro Reds and inserting one into her mouth.  She dangled it for the last 15 yards before going through the exit, sparking the cigarette to life almost instantly after stepping outdoors.  She took an intense drag from her cigarette, applying maximal suction to satisfy a nicotine craving nearly an hour in the making.  After seven seconds of inhalation, she removed the cigarette from her mouth and exhaled a monstrous plume of smoke in front of her, which was followed by a hoarse and phlegmy cough the likes of which were increasingly common for her in recent years.  Perhaps this foreshadowed her laying in the same ER gurney with a COPD attack that Donna Green did a few hours earlier and denying her the opportunity to hold her first grandchild, but with as good as that hit of nicotine felt hitting her brain, she decided as she did so many hundreds of times before that it was worth the risk.

As she progressed toward her car, dragging from her Marlboro with higher-than-average frequency, her mind gravitated to her family and what she could make them for their evening meal.  She was dead-on-her-feet exhausted, but appreciated every opportunity she had to spend time with them and care for them, as she kept getting that weekly reminder that the time to do so was probably fleeting.


Becky spoke to Steve on the phone during her 20-minute commute from the nursing home to their own home, and he told her the kids were all gone but that he’d text them to be home before 5:00 for the obligatory Sunday evening McPherson family dinner.  She pulled into the driveway, her mind fully immersed in meal preparation as she dragged from her third cigarette since leaving the nursing home.  As she walked in the front door holding the box of cigarettes she’d picked up from Abdullah, she was legitimately startled to hear the collective chorus of “Happy Mother’s Day!” from Steve and all three of her children, and even more shocked at the delightful smell of food cooking which even managed to overwhelm the odor of stale tobacco smoke that typically dominated the McPherson home.

An aura of joy filled Becky’s face for the first time since she heard Haylee wish her a happy Mother’s Day over the phone that morning, only her face was beaming twice as bright now as she looked at the bustling activity in the kitchen.  Trevor was frying bacon in a skillet over the range while Haylee was doing her best to not break the yoke on the eggs she was frying and Courtney was whipping up pancakes a few feet down the counter.  That’s my girls, Becky thought to herself as she watched Courtney and Haylee both dangling cigarettes over their respective skillet and bowl as they cooked, smoke billowing from their mouths and noses and ashes lurking over the food that could at any point drop into it.  She rarely saw the girls prepare food, but it didn’t surprise her in the least that when they did, they followed her lead and smoked while they cooked.

As Becky started to walk in to help, Trevor held her back, “Nope.  Not today mom.  You just sit down on your favorite chair and let us do the cooking today.”

Becky dragged from her cigarette with a pleasant confusion.  “Who are you guys and what have you done with my teenagers?” she asked, and they laughed in response while continuing to shoo her out of the kitchen.

“Well you’re owed one day per year to be as selfish as we are the other 364,” Courtney added, the cigarette bouncing up and down as she spoke, the granny ash coming ever closer to falling into the pancake batter as she prepared to put them in the griddle.

Becky did as her children asked and scurried into the living room, walking past Steve who was setting up TV trays for everybody to eat there rather than the kitchen table, knowing Becky would relax better there.  Steve smiled at Becky and said, “You got home a few minutes earlier than expected.  They were hoping to get the timing right and have it ready right when you walked in but obviously it was better to be a little too late than too early and have it cold when you got here.”

Becky smiled back and responded through a talking exhale, “Well they got the timing just right.  I’m starving.”

“The original plan was to have breakfast ready for you first thing this morning, but that kind of got blown up when you had to work overnight.  That’s what’s up with the breakfast menu,” Steve explained.

“Works just fine for me,” Becky responded, taking a final drag from her Marlboro Red and crushing it out in the living room ashtray.  “So you put them up to it right?” she asked.

Steve nodded his head in the negative.  “Nope…this was all Trevor’s idea.  He brought it up to me a couple of weeks ago.”

“Aww, what a sweet boy he is,” Becky responded, reaching for her pack of Marlboro Reds and preparing to light another one, but then pausing for a quick epiphany.  “Hopefully this isn’t just his way of getting on my good side before he announces Lauren’s pregnant,” she added with a husky laugh that morphed into a smoker’s cough.

Steve laughed in response, but only for a moment before giving her a scolding look as if to nonverbally convey that she shouldn’t even joke about that.

“Dad, can you get in here and help with these eggs?!?” called out a distressed Haylee from the kitchen, clearly making this announcement with a cigarette in her mouth stunting her speech.

Steve smirked at Becky before turning around to go help the kids in the kitchen.  Becky watched from her chair to admire the moment, but didn’t fail to notice the awkward body language when Steve crossed paths with Courtney, avoiding each other without a word and without eye contact.  She didn’t know what was going on between those two, but she’d seen enough of these moments in the last month to recognize there was a problem.  After that moment had passed, however, Becky just relaxed and took in this rare moment where her family was waiting on her, the haze of cigarette smoke that filled up the kitchen area that was for once coming from the lungs of someone other than herself.

A few minutes later, the kids and Steve prepared the trays to bring out to the living room, and making sure Becky got the first one.  They all began entering the living room at once decked out in their casual mix of sweats, shorts, and leggings, with Trevor leading the way holding a tray with two plates teeming with bacon, eggs, and pancakes with a jug of maple syrup, a glass of milk, and a butt can ashtray.  He sat it silently on the TV table in front of his mother as she fought back the tears for the second time this afternoon, albeit this time tears of joy.

The five members of the McPherson family were soon sitting down to eat the food they prepared, with regular blasts of conventionally unsavory cigarette smoke expelled from the respiratory systems of Becky, Courtney, and Haylee as they ate, but which Steve and Trevor took fully in stride as always.  As the starving Becky consumed the meal, she decided the bacon was a little burnt, the eggs were a little runny, and the pancakes thicker and doughier than she’d prefer, but whatever the meal’s deficiencies, no meal she’d eaten this year had meant more to her.


Posted in Fiction | 4 Comments

Trevor’s Birthday Girls Share a Party

Trevor McPherson was barely even trying at this point to focus on his older sister’s tax form tutorial as he sat at the kitchen table between his sisters, a haze of fresh cigarette smoke engulfing his personal space from both sides.  An unkempt Courtney, her hair in a ratty ponytail and decked out in a T-shirt and sweatpants, leaned in from one direction and Haylee leaned in from the other, with Trevor sitting in the middle supposedly getting a lesson in filing taxes but unable to get his mind off of the olfactory assault imposed upon him by his typically tone-deaf sisters.

Trevor didn’t know the details of why Courtney was suddenly trying so hard to make the peace with Haylee, but after multiple awkward weeks they had begun to communicate again recently, and he figured this morning invitation from Courtney to teach them how to file taxes had more to do with staying on Haylee’s good side than any serious good will gesture.  Still, any situation where he got to sit at the kitchen table for a prolonged period with his sisters smoking on both sides of him was perfectly fine by him.

Nudging the form toward them just a little further so they could both see what she was doing, Courtney’s Marlboro Light Menthol 100 was for a moment directly under Trevor’s nose until she placed it between her lips and picked up the pencil, explaining through a talking dangle that “Now you subtract line 8 from line 5 to get the taxable income to write on line 9.”

Trevor looked intently at Courtney, pretending to care about her math lesson but instead focusing on the cigarette bouncing up and down between her lips and the steady spray of smoke pouring out of her mouth and nose like a garden hose, again filling his airspace with a direct haze of filth as she proceeded to write the number on line 9 in the tax form with her pencil.  As Courtney finished writing, Trevor looked over his right shoulder to see Haylee looking on with glazed-over eyes, clearly having even less of a reason to pay attention than Trevor did to Courtney’s attempt at an informative gesture in tax preparation.  But like Courtney, Haylee had a cigarette of her own hanging from her lips, a half-smoked Camel Pink that was the third she’d smoked in the half hour or so that Courtney had them gather at the table, and a fitting accessory to go along with Haylee’s pale pink pajamas that she still hadn’t gotten out of after sleeping till 10 that morning.  Just as Trevor was recovering from the smoke assault he’d gotten from Courtney, a blob of smoke burst into his face from Haylee’s mouth and nose.  It was a vicious cycle ongoing for the last half hour…only for Trevor the cycle was all too virtuous.

Looking past Trevor to make eye contact with Haylee, Courtney addressed her younger sister directly, sensing her mind was elsewhere.  “Get that Hales?” Courtney asked.

“Yeah, I guess,” Haylee responded half-heartedly, the pink and white cigarette bouncing to life between those lips for the first time since they sat down.

“I know you guys would rather be doing other stuff on a Saturday morning, but it’s not often we’re all here at the same time and I figure you guys should know this for when you have to file yourself.  It’s only three weeks till they’re due,” Courtney followed up, wisps of smoke still spilling from her mouth and nose with every word spoken as she did the math in her head to make sure it was three weeks until April 15th.

“Yeah, thanks for showing us,” Trevor volunteered, putting on a veneer of gratitude even though the tax paperwork had nothing to do with what he was grateful about with this encounter.  As Courtney pressed forward with further explanation, rummaging through the papers in front of her and proceeding to confuse herself more than she was teaching her younger siblings, Trevor and Haylee further trailed off, finding themselves much more interested in the dialogue ensuing on the other side of the table.

“That’s right.  She’ll be 15 already next Sunday,” their mother Becky said to a relative on the phone in her husky long-time smoker’s voice, in obvious reference to Haylee’s approaching early April birthday, then pausing briefly for the response on the other end before responding, “Right, her party’s next Sunday at 3:00 at our house.  Just cake, ice cream, and presents.  Nothing too elaborate,” Becky added with a nervous laugh that really showcased the depth of her vocal husk before taking another drag off of her Marlboro Red and adding to the haze of cigarette smoke at that table.

Haylee kept her game face, tightening her lips on her Camel Pink to camouflage her mixed emotions about this birthday party her mom was setting up.  She felt she was too old for this sort of thing, but appreciated her mother’s effort to do something special for her.  It seemed par for course, however, that the only time of the year Haylee felt special to her family came in the form of a juvenile birthday party that she’d long ago outgrown.

Becky wrapped up the conversation with whichever relative she’d been on the phone with, waited for a pause in Courtney’s relentless tax form lecture, and then directed a question to Haylee.  “Have you asked Susie to come to your party yet?  If not, I’ll call her mom.”

Haylee shrugged and responded, “I haven’t asked her.  We’re really not that close anymore,” with a hint of sadness in her eyes about yet another friend she’d drifted away from.  Becky paused for a moment listening to Haylee, realizing that Haylee’s comment about Susie was true of several of her old friends.  Only Trevor seemed to put two and two together that Haylee’s heavy smoking was a large part of what had driven her isolation.  Both Trevor and Haylee perked their ears up as Becky got on the phone to call Susie’s mom.

The conversation was brief and it was quickly evident by their mother’s body language and responses that she’d gotten an abrupt no when inquiring about Susie’s presence at Haylee’s party.  Becky looked awkwardly at Haylee, putting her on the spot and asking, “What happened with you two?  We couldn’t tear you two apart a couple of years ago.”

Haylee shrugged, dangle-dragging from her cigarette and eventually responding, “Just grew apart I guess.  It happens,” with the smoke flow spilling from her mouth inadvertently telling the real story of what drove them apart, with Susie not responding well to Haylee’s lifestyle choices.

Becky pressed forward.  “Have you talked to any of your friends about coming?  I want to know how many to expect so I know how much food to make.”

Haylee largely avoided eye contact, dangle-dragging again with her cigarette down to its stub.  Sensing the cigarette was at its end, she finally removed it from her mouth and approached the filter and the half-inch granny ash to the nearby butt bucket to crush it out, finally getting around to responding with the smoke still bursting out of her mouth and nose.  “I haven’t talked about it a lot I guess, mom.  I’m not all that close with too many people in the high school.”

Trevor and Becky both sensed this response was equal parts defiance and a cry for help, and Courtney had by now given up trying to hold their attention and was listening to Haylee as well, also concerned about the relative isolation Haylee seemed to be creating for herself at such a critical phase of her socialization.  Only Trevor seemed to connect the dots that in today’s culture, the smoker-friendly island that was the McPherson home provided Haylee the only sanctuary where she could indulge her ferocious addiction to nicotine, and that by itself was making it easier for her to shut the rest of the world out.

Finally, Becky broke the awkward silence and threw out a few more names of old friends that she thought Haylee should invite, getting continued halfhearted reaction from Haylee who nonetheless agreed to ask the suggested friends just to get her mom off of her back.

Suddenly a light went off in Trevor’s head, and before he had time to fully think through the implications of his suggestion, he went with his gut and spoke aloud to his mother, “You know Lauren’s birthday is on April 6th…only two days after Haylee’s.  I bet she’d be up for sharing a party with Haylee….” Trevor offered, then turning to Haylee almost as an afterthought and adding, “….if Haylee would be okay with it.”

Becky’s eyes lit up, liking the sound of what she heard as she dragged from her Marlboro Red.  “That’s a great idea, honey.  If we did that the Nelsons could pay half and we’d be more likely to get rid of all of this food I just ordered.”  Becky looked to Haylee and asked her, “Would you be okay with having Lauren over and have a party for two?”

All eyes were on Haylee, with Trevor getting only a split-second to contemplate the perfect smoking fetish fantasy of Lauren and Haylee together for the same teenage birthday party, but then immediately sensing from Haylee’s body language that she wasn’t having it at all.  “Yeah…whatever,” Haylee said, in a tone even more sullen than usual, reaching for her pack of Camel Pink No. 9s for yet another cigarette.  Trevor knew he had overstepped, and Courtney was immediately sensing Haylee’s escalating unhappiness as well, interrupting on Haylee’s behalf to address their mother.

“Mom, this is supposed to Haylee’s day.  I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Courtney offered, watching as Haylee lit her cigarette and sensing that she was correctly relaying Haylee’s thoughts.

But Becky seemed to have been instantly sold on the idea Trevor pitched to her, looking to Haylee as if hoping Courtney’s take was wrong, trying to talk Haylee into it by adding, “You and Lauren get along great, Haylee.  Maybe you could make some new friends meeting some of her friends.”

Trevor was kicking himself for bringing it up as it was obvious that Haylee was furious about this development, even if she couldn’t bring herself to say so and reveal how much the birthday party actually meant to her.  “It’s fine, mom.  Invite Lauren.  The more the merrier, right?!” Haylee snapped with a faint battle cry that she hoped would be obvious enough that her mom could read between the lines, puckering her lips around her dangling cigarette and expecting the hint to have been taken.

But a split second after Haylee’s subtle act of defiance, the nearby back door was opened and McPherson family patriarch Steve walked in, instantly diverting everybody’s attention, especially that of daddy’s girl Courtney.

“Hey dad”, Courtney exclaimed in the perkiest tone anybody had heard from her all day, instinctively reaching for her pack of Marlboro Light Menthol 100s in her father’s presence and extracting a cigarette.  “They got you working Saturday morning huh?”

“Hey Courtney,” Steve responded, delight in his eyes over the warm greeting from his oldest daughter, keeping his eyes locked on her as she sparked up her long cigarette and produced one of her stunningly long exhales directly off of the light-up.  “Unfortunately yeah.  The server crashed overnight and the entire IT team got woke up by the call at 5 a.m.”

Courtney and Becky continued to direct their attention entirely upon the latest entrant to the room as Steve walked up to the table and inquired about Courtney’s tax forms still sprawled all over the table in front of her.  Everybody had already forgotten about Haylee’s birthday party conflict except for Trevor, who looked to his right just in time to see Haylee get up from the table and quietly walk away with no pushback from those she was leaving behind.  Trevor couldn’t help but watch her slink away, struck by the oddball image of his sister’s adolescent appearance in the baggy pale pink pajamas and its contrast with the trail of smelly cigarette smoke that lurked in the shadow of her every footstep en route to the stairs.

Trevor sat there listening to Courtney and Becky talk with Steve, but couldn’t get Haylee’s reaction out of his mind, or the secondary epiphany that just hit him of why it would really be awkward for Haylee to have Lauren there.  He got up from the table and ascended the same stairs Haylee had just moments earlier.  He didn’t know if he could make this right but felt obligated to do something, knocking on Haylee’s door, asking if he could come in a split second before taking the initiative and opening it.

Haylee was lying in her bed and looking at her phone from a near-horizontal position, her cigarette perched in her lips as always while casually belching out spurts of smoke. She gave Trevor a gaze that was equal parts icy and indifferent.  “What do you want?” she snapped with middling-level disgust, temporarily distracting Trevor with the extra burst of smoke spilling out due to her talking exhale.

Trevor hesitated as if searching for the right tone.  “I just wanted to apologize.  I had forgotten why you might not want the Nelsons over again for your birthday, knowing that Brian will be with.”

Haylee’s head snapped Trevor’s direction, not even putting together the implications till just now but being even more concerned that Trevor apparently knew far more than she thought he did.  “What about Brian?” Haylee finally asked, her tone indicating that her brother had touched a very unexpected nerve.

Trevor realized he’d dug his hole even deeper but having gone there, he figured he might as well ride out the storm and at least get more details over his sister’s activity that had piqued his curiosity for the last three months.  “Well…..I heard you two in the closet on New Year’s,” Trevor offered, nervous about Haylee’s response but unable to look away.

Haylee was clearly caught off-guard, her face turning a deeper hue of pink that her pajamas or the camel logo on the cigarette she finally removed from her mouth in order to make a forceful rebuttal. “All we did was kiss.  I don’t know what you think you heard but unlike others in this house I can keep it in my pants!” she barked, the wisps of smoke from her talking exhale escaping her mouth and nose at a much quicker pace than usual due to how worked up she was.

Trevor began to respond, “It’s none of my business.  I just wanted–”

“You’re right!  It is none of your business!”  Haylee then reached for one of the pillows on her bed and tossed it aggressively at Trevor, exclaiming “Now get out of here!” with a fury in her eyes above and beyond anything he’d seen from her recently.

Trevor made eye contact with her one last time after the pillow hit him in the face.  “Just let me talk to mom and get the double birthday party out of her mind, okay?”

“Just forget it okay.  It might be less miserable if Lauren is here.  At least then everybody will have someone to talk to that isn’t me!  Now LEAVE!” she finished, raising her voice to its highest level yet.

Trevor turned around and walked out the door, feeling a wave of mixed emotion from the exchange.  If he had it to do over again, he probably wouldn’t have suggested to his mom to host a double birthday party with Lauren.  On the other hand, it sure would be sweet to have so many people from their mutual social circle under the same roof if he could pull it off.  He also felt a little bit of relief that his kid sister hadn’t lost her virginity to his girlfriend’s younger brother, but on the other hand, it had been kind of hot for him to imagine young Brian being seduced by Haylee in the storage closet of his house on New Year’s.  He also couldn’t get Haylee’s words out of his mind about “everybody in this house not being able to keep it in their pants” and figured she was implicating Courtney as well.  Trevor didn’t know the details but figured with as long as Courtney and Haylee had been feuding after New Year’s, something big must have gone on.  As he walked back toward the kitchen to catch up with his dad, he was pretty pleased with how productive the morning had gone, but couldn’t wait for seven days later when the two birthday girls might be together under one roof again.


Monday morning during lunch break at school, Haylee was up to her old tricks, darting her eyes nervously side to side and hoping to get lost in the mass of students as she eyed the janitor’s closet up ahead.  With bookbag in hand, Haylee leaned briefly against the wall next to the unlocked door and then slipped inside when she thought nobody was paying attention.  Once inside she maneuvered her way through the crawlspace until she was in the stealth, isolated, and dirty vent shaft area that had been her secret lunch time smoking area since September.  She opened up her bookbag and removed three items with an escalating sense of urgency.  Coming out of the bag first was a bottle of flavored water followed by a bag of potato chips, but she saved her best for last when she hastily extracted her pack of Camel Pink No. 9s and wasted no time removing a cigarette and inserting it into her mouth, dangling it for no more than a split second before applying the flame from her lighter to the end of the cigarette.  The sensation of nicotine relief after four hours of deprivation splashed across her youthful face, the cherry glowing a neon shade of red as she puckered up her lips to consume as much tobacco as she possibly could in one breath.  As she finally exhaled and began to expel all of that smoke that had been inside her body for the last several seconds, she wished for a second that she had a mirror so she could have seen the look on her face as she took in that first blast of nicotine.

She followed that first drag up with several more intense drags and had more than a third of the cigarette put away in less than a minute, at which point she finally got around to opening up that bag of potato chips almost as an afterthought.  For the next couple of moments, she sat there contentedly, taking a couple drags from her cigarette for every bite of potato chips, but her peaceable enclave suddenly became corrupted for the first time in more than six months as she heard the door open.  After the initial shock of hearing the door open, Haylee quickly removed the cigarette from her mouth and cupped her hand to contain the smoke as much as possible, knowing it was a lost cause if it was the wrong person.  Haylee could see the feet of the likely male intruder step inside and then close the door behind him.  In a hushed tone, the confused male voice called out, “Haylee…are you in here?”

Relieved that it was a familiar and nonthreatening voice, Haylee responded “Jacob?” with even more confusion about his presence.

“Where the hell are you?” Jacob inquired.

“Just crawl through the crawlspace to your right.  I’m in the vent shaft.” Haylee responded, her original terror quickly transitioning to excitement based on who it was.

Jacob Roth, Haylee’s dance partner from the Valentine’s dance, worked his way inside, the stench of cigarette smoke becoming more intense with every inch closer he got to Haylee.  He struggled to work through the small space and found it was definitely not made for two people as he wiggled right up to Haylee, whose cigarette stub was now parked in her mouth again with a subtle but flattered smirk visible despite the cylindrical tobacco obstruction between her lips.

Haylee looked him up and down, taken again by his tall, dark, and handsome look and muscular upper body just as she had at the dance.  She then pointed to the nearby vent and warned Jacob, “The girl’s bathroom is right on the other side here so we gotta be quiet”, she whispered in a setting that reminded her of New Year’s Eve night with Brian Nelson in her parent’s storage closet.

Jacob responded with a shoosh gesture, evoking the same charm that made Haylee’s heart melt at the Valentine’s dance.

“What are you doing in here anyway?” Haylee asked, finally addressing the obvious.

“You’re one hard girl to find.  We had such a great time at the dance last month that I’ve been keeping my eye out for you ever since.  I noticed a couple of weeks ago you slipped into this closet, but then I saw it again today.  I finally put together that it must be your smoking sanctuary.”

“Creeeeper!!!” Haylee responded only half-jokingly but maintaining a smile because as creepy as it would have been with just about everyone else, she loved the idea of this hot senior guy stalking her at school.  She took a final puff of her cigarette and crushed it out in the corner of the dirty space, with Jacob’s eyes following her every gesture.

“I don’t want to seem creepy but I really wanted to talk to you again.  We really had a great time and I wanted to hang out with you more,” Jacob responded.

Haylee had already extracted another cigarette from her pack and placed it between her lips, responding, “Yeah right….” pausing to flick the cigarette to life with her lighter and then resuming, “….I know all about you, Jacob Roth.  You just want to get down my pants!” teasing him by turning her ass draped in black leggings with hot pink stripes toward him.

Jacob struggled to maintain his focus and charm as he choked on the thick haze of cigarette smoke filling up the cramped space, but pressed forward through watery eyes, “I know….I know.  I’ve probably created a bit of a reputation for myself in the past, but wasn’t I a perfect gentleman toward you on the night of our dance?”

The smile on Haylee’s face widened and her eyes narrowed as she puckered her lips around the cigarette filter for another drag, indicating heightened attraction and signaling to Jacob her interest even before verbally confirming it by responding, “Yes you certainly did” through a messy talking exhale that wandered right into Jacob’s face.

“All I’m asking is to give me another chance to prove I can be like that all the time with you,” Jacob said in a tone that seemed less than fully sincere, reminding Haylee to not put her guard down and let this guy think he had her where she wanted him.

“Maybe,” Haylee responded coyly, the cigarette bouncing between her lips with each of the two syllables and smoke continuing to spill from her lips and mouth.

Jacob smiled, not wanting to press too far too quickly and instead enjoying a moment of attracted body language with this cute freshman girl who he’d been unable to get out of his mind for the past six weeks.  He finally broke the silence and extended his hand toward Haylee.  “Can I have a drag?”

Haylee laughed and then took the half-smoked cigarette out of her mouth, asking “Have you ever smoked before?”

“I’ve vaped,” responded Jacob.

“Totally different thing!” Haylee exclaimed.

Jacob extended his hand closer to her, requesting again through his charming smirk, “Just let me give it a try and I’ll let you know, huh?”

Haylee handed over the cigarette, adding “This should be good!” as the cigarette approached Jacob’s lips.  He took a quick puff and Haylee eyeballed him closely for his reaction.  She could tell he wasn’t digging the taste as he blew out the smoke without inhaling.

“Meh!” Jacob shrugged, trying to seem disinterested without seeming disgusted.

Haylee wasn’t gonna let him off the hook that easy though, responding “Dude that’s not smoking.  You gotta inhale!” reclaiming the cigarette and placing back to her lips to show him.  “Like this,” she added, showing him her full drag and follow-up exhale and then handing it back to him.

Jacob took the cigarette and this time followed Haylee’s lead, completely unprepared for his bodily response when he ingested a snootful of smoke and launched into a violent coughing fit.  Haylee let loose a laugh that was quite a bit louder than she’d hoped it would be and was becoming concerned that it might be heard through the vents in the girls’ bathroom before reminding herself and the still-recovering Jacob to lower their voices again.

The continued look of disgust was tangible on Jacob’s face as he handed Haylee back the cigarette.  Haylee showed him up by taking a final drag from the cigarette and exhaling the smoke with a cocky sense of empowerment, adding “I hate to break it to you, tough guy, but these cigarettes are designed for girls,” showing him the pack of Camel Pinks to emasculate him a little more as she crushed out the cigarette and immediately plucked out of the pack her third cigarette of the lunch break.

All Jacob could do was nod with his douchey smirk, trying to salvage whatever dignity he could following his bad miscalculation, seeing in Haylee’s eyes how much she was loving the altered power dynamic of this freshman girl who’d just made a fool of him.  As Haylee proceeded to light the next cigarette, Jacob now had an odd respect for her that was only increasing his attraction.  He broke the awkward silence and addressed the obvious by being as charming as possible, pointing to the cigarette hanging out of Haylee’s mouth and the bag of potato chips she was semiregularly dipping into and saying “I used to think my lunches were pretty unhealthy,” pausing to observe Haylee smile before adding, “Do you smoke in here every day?”

“Every day since September.  Haven’t been caught yet…until today at least!” Haylee responded.

“Impressive,” Jacob said while nodding affirmatively.  “You been smoking a long time?”

Haylee nodded, coyly responding, “For a few years.”

“Pretty heavily too it seems?” Jacob continued to inquire watching Haylee take another of her regularly timed drags.

Haylee nodded again, responding, “Oh yeah!” with a vocal flourish that was reinforced with an inadvertent smoker’s cough a second later.

“I’m assuming your parents know.  They must be pretty cool to let you smoke like that…” Jacob pressed.

Haylee’s look shifted from flirtatious to agitated as Jacob brought up her parents.  “Don’t even get me started!”

“Parent issues?” Jacob continued to press.

“You have no idea!” Haylee fired back.

“I’m a captive audience if you want to vent,” Jacob followed up, trying to show Haylee he had a sensitive side and wasn’t the kind of guy she thought he was.

After a couple more exchanges, Haylee let her guard down and started spilling about how disrespected and invisible she felt, and once she got started venting, she couldn’t stop, ultimately landing on the latest episode of contention….the birthday party.

“….so now it’s gonna be MY birthday and my parents are gonna let my brother’s girlfriend steal the show by having a party for two.  Her birthday’s a couple of days later.”

Jacob had tried to be silent and let Haylee do most of the talking, but chose the moments when he asked questions that propelled her bitching session along, inquiring “You don’t like your brother’s girlfriend?”

Haylee took another drag from her cigarette and responded through a talking exhale, “Actually I like her a lot, but that’s not the point.  My parents treat her different from me even though she’s only one year older.  They even let her drink wine on New Year’s and told me I couldn’t.  I don’t want that rubbed in my face again at what’s supposed to be my birthday party!”  She paused and then continued, “And the party was supposed to be on Sunday but in order to be on Lauren’s family’s schedule, they’re moving the party to Saturday.  My sister has to work that day so she won’t even be able to be there.  So things are already fucked up!”

As Haylee continued to vent, she was impressed by how much of an interest Jacob seemed to be taking, but always kept reminding herself that this could all be part of his act to get toward the ultimate goal of deflowering her.  Still, Haylee needed somebody in her life who she could talk to after bottling everything up so long, and Jacob had patiently filled that need for the nearly the entire lunch period.  As she crushed out her fourth cigarette since arriving, she looked at her phone and determined she had time for a fifth today, storing up on the nicotine she’d need to get through another long afternoon in classes, and bantering a little more with Jacob who reached his hand out again when he saw her looking at her phone.

Haylee saw Jacob’s extended hand and asked sarcastically, “Oh do you want to try my cigarette again?”

Jacob smirked and responded, “Definitely not!  But I’d like to see your phone.  It looks like mine.”

Haylee had an idea what he was up to and handed it to him with a faux look of exaggerated distrust.  As expected, Jacob proceeded to punch in digits onto her phone, hand it back to her and say, “You got my number now.  If you ever want to talk, I’ll be happy to listen.  If you ever want to hang out, that’d be even better.”

Haylee nodded with a smirk she couldn’t wipe off of her face even though she wanted to, not ready to green light Jacob for anything beyond the vent shaft crawlspace they shared during today’s lunch period but unable to stop herself from sending the visual signals of her continued interest through her body language.  She powered through that last cigarette as they exchanged final comments before Haylee led the way to attempt a stealth escape from the janitor’s closet.  She slipped through the door and got immediately lost in the hallway traffic herself, walking about 20 feet toward the lockers and then looking over her shoulder to let Jacob slip out.  She smiled and then let him catch up.

“We probably better not make a habit of meeting like that every day but I hope you don’t mind if I crash your lunch hour again some time.”

Haylee didn’t directly answer him, but looked his attractive profile up and down one more time and responded, “I really enjoyed your company today, Jacob.  Thanks for listening.”

As they exchanged farewells and Jacob began to walk away, Haylee got an unpleasant surprise when a familiar voice approached her from behind.  A startled Haylee was looking at older sister Courtney, who herself reeked of cigarettes that she’d probably smoked in her car during lunch period, and Courtney was giving her a deeply concerned sisterly scowl.

“Jacob Roth!” exclaimed Courtney after seeing the fellow senior bantering with the freshman Haylee.  “That guy is bad news, Haylee.  He’s already gone through the senior class and is now chasing after every underclass skirt in the high school.”

Haylee was visibly annoyed about being busted and responded defensively, “I know about his reputation, Court.  We were just talking.”

“It always starts that way Haylee.  He’s grooming you.”

“Don’t worry Courtney,” Haylee snapped back.  “I’ll make sure you get to fuck him first just like my other boyfriends!!” playing the Grant card as aggressively as possible to remind Courtney of her nonexistent moral high ground.

Courtney knew she deserved that rejoinder but was nervously looking around hoping none of her acquaintances had heard Haylee call out Courtney for what she did on New Year’s and a few times afterwards with Haylee’s ex-boyfriend.  Courtney recovered as quickly as possible though and tried to cool Haylee’s temper, calmly responding, “Haylee, we gotta get to class, but trust me that I’m looking out for you here.” Courtney put her hand on Haylee’s shoulder in a reassuringly big sister sort of way adding, “Please just stay away from him, okay?”

Haylee could tell Courtney’s concern here was sincere and responded with a nonhostile and matter-of-fact, “Okay!”

Courtney smiled, knowing she still had a long way to go to get back to the terms she was on with Haylee before the New Year’s incident but was pleased that she seemed to be breaking through at least a little on an important sisterly exchange.  They parted ways as the two girls headed for their respective early afternoon classes which were moments away from beginning, but as Haylee walked toward class the smile re-emerged on her face as she recalled her lunchtime banter with Jacob.


The following Saturday afternoon, the McPherson home was filled up with family and friends who came to celebrate Haylee’s birthday, along with a dozen or so perfect strangers who came for Lauren’s birthday.  Lauren was not yet here, with Trevor and her parents agreeing it would be fun to surprise Lauren by having some friends bring her over to the McPherson home without knowing it was for a birthday party in her honor.

Haylee walked around mingling with the crowd, extremely displeased with the “surprise party” angle for Lauren that would be coming at any moment.  She was decked out in pastel colors, a white blouse with tight, pale pink pants that matched the profile of a girl turning 15, in sharp contrast to the cigarette in her hand or dangling from her lips more often than not as she greeted and chatted up the relatives and family friends, many of whom gritted their teeth through fake smiles of their own seeing Haylee smoking so openly and heavily but knowing from experience with her mother that this was the culture of the McPherson home and would never change, and that this was the wrong place to protest.

For his part, Trevor’s attention was divided, looking out the front window for the arrival of his friend’s car knowing a very surprised Lauren would be riding along, and also taking in this crowd of which Trevor was far more tuned in to than Haylee in terms of reading their body language in this smoky environment.  He recognized most of his own family and friends, a couple of whom were smoking themselves, but was really attentive to the strangers in the group who he believed were connected to Lauren, most of whom seemed visibly repulsed by the tobacco stench in the home and couldn’t seem to take their eyes off of Becky and Haylee as they smoked amongst this crowd without giving it a second thought.

Of particular interest to Trevor was the mid-teen blond who he’d already met a few times sitting next to her mother.  The blond was Lauren’s cousin and BFF Carly, who was responsible for sneaking Lauren’s earliest cigarettes with her a couple of years earlier.  Trevor couldn’t help but notice that Carly was leering at the chain-smoking Haylee with obvious jealousy, and Carly’s mother was leering at Haylee for different reasons with an entirely unamused look on her face.  Neither of them had smoked in the half hour since they’d arrived and Trevor was only too eager to see how this dynamic unfolded when Lauren arrived.

Moments later, a familiar car arrived but it wasn’t the one transporting Lauren.  It was Lauren’s mother Michelle and brother Brian, walking up the street and arriving at the front door.  Trevor, Becky, and Steve all approached the front door to welcome them, and as they stepped inside, Becky motioned Haylee over and called out in her raspy voice, “Haylee, come say hi to Michelle and Brian.”

Haylee reluctantly approached, expecting it to be awkward and confirming the suspicion as she saw Brian looking to the ground as she approached, unable to make eye contact after their oddball wine-induced romantic episode from New Year’s.  Introductory greetings were nonetheless passed along with everybody but Trevor finding it odd that Haylee and Brian refused to even look at each other.

“Craig not coming today?” Steve asked in regards to Lauren’s father and his own friend.

“Oh he’s definitely gonna be over but a bit later,” Michelle answered with a flourish that intrigued everybody, especially Trevor.

But before Michelle’s response could be given any context, everybody’s attention was diverted by the sight of a familiar approaching car, to which Trevor called out, “Here she comes!” to briefly quiet and focus the crowd.

The silver Toyota pulled up into the driveway, which had been left open per Becky’s request, and Trevor stood at the doorway to see his friends Nick and Lacey in the front seat and a confused, Marlboro Light-wielding Lauren in the passenger seat.  Nick was one of Trevor’s best friends and he and Lauren had hit it off with Nick and his girlfriend Lacey at the Valentine’s dance….and they’d been hanging out with Lauren ever since.  Trevor had gotten off on the four of them driving around on weekends with Lauren being the only smoker in the group.  He was now getting off on the fact that Lauren’s smoking had already become so normalized to them that she was smoking in the backseat of Nick’s car en route to her own surprise party.

Finally, Lauren stepped out of the back seat car door, decked out in a black blouse and Trevor’s favorite pair of white pants which he hadn’t seen on her since Thanksgiving, with a look of bewilderment that was all too familiar and all too adorable to Trevor, the confusion finally broken when a crowd of people from inside, including Trevor shouted, “Happy sweet 16 Lauren!!!!”

Lauren’s confused look didn’t dissipate completely but nonetheless slowly transitioned to excitement, albeit with Lauren’s face turning a candy apple shade of red from embarrassment.  As family and friends spilled outdoors to greet her, Lauren clearly felt especially awkward holding the half-smoked Marlboro Light 100 in her hand while family members and friends who either didn’t know she smoked at all or didn’t realize how normalized it had become for her, were approaching her for personalized greetings.

Finally, Trevor walked up and said as quietly as possible, “Happy birthday baby.  We thought we’d throw a double birthday party for you and my sister.”

Lauren seemed overwhelmed and still shy, but couldn’t help but pull in and give Trevor a heartfelt smooch from her nicotine-stained lips for the gesture, to which the crowd made a collective “Wooooo!” sound that only intensified the awkwardness for the couple.

As Lauren surveyed the crowd, she spotted Haylee, who didn’t seem to be having such a great time.  Lauren offered a warm smile and a wave, saying “Happy birthday Haylee!” loud enough that Haylee could hear.  Haylee put on her fake smile again as she waved back, but Lauren could tell from the body language that Haylee was extremely unhappy.

As Lauren followed the crowd inside, still holding her cigarette in hand, she came upon cousin Carly and her mother Gina.  Lauren sat down to talk to them, but the dynamic felt as off to her as the dynamic with Haylee seconds earlier.  Even though Carly was technically the one who corrupted Lauren by talking her into trying smoking, the tables turned as soon as the girls were busted.  Gina was mortified that Carly was smoking and decided to quit smoking herself so she could deny Carly with a clear conscience.  Meanwhile, Lauren’s parents let her smoke.  But neither Gina nor Carly had realized things had gotten this out of control watching Lauren discreetly take puffs from her cigarette in a stranger’s home right in front of family and friends.

Trevor was watching, listening in, and occasionally interjecting in the conversation between cousins.  He’d seen Lauren give Carly cigarettes when they hung out in the past and had been under the impression that Carly didn’t have access to cigarettes at home, but the scenario playing out directly in front of Carly’s mom with Lauren openly smoking in front of them was more delicious than he could have ever imagined.  He paused to silently congratulate himself for coming up with the idea for a double birthday party and convincing his mom to agree to it, even though he knew he’d done no favors for himself with Haylee as he was reminded of whenever he made eye contact with her and saw how unhappy she was.

Trevor was in heaven for the half hour or so, as lunch and cake were served followed by the opening of presents.  Haylee proceeded to smoke at her usual pace throughout, with the largely appalled crowd of guests biting their tongue.  Lauren smoked once more but Trevor could tell it was weirder for her than it was for Haylee, and he loved to see the reactions of some of Lauren’s family and friends when she smoked, as well as the look of Lauren’s mother who felt judged for being the one who allowed Lauren to smoke.

The two birthday girls went back and forth opening their presents, with Lauren’s girlish happiness being largely genuine as she evaluated her gifts and then thanked those responsible for them, while Haylee’s response to her gifts was more muted.  This wasn’t a huge surprise to anybody there that knew Haylee, but both Trevor and Lauren were picking up on the subtext of Haylee’s increased agitation and displeasure.  But neither of them had any idea how much worse things would get for Haylee as they heard another car pulling into the driveway and then laying on the horn.

Everybody but Michelle was confused as they turned around to look out the window, but Lauren replicated the look of confusion that was on her face when she pulled into the surprise party, a look Trevor absolutely adored, as she surveyed the 2013 Toyota Camry in the driveway with her dad behind the wheel, motioning her and everybody else outside.  Lauren, still smoking her cigarette, led the way outside.  Her father stepped out of the car and held the keys in front of him.

“Here’s a little incentive for you to pass your driver’s test next week,” Craig announced, handing the keys to Lauren, whose look of  confusion transitioned to jubilant shock as she finally realized that this was gonna be her car once she got her driver’s license.  “Why don’t you get behind the wheel and see how it feels?” Craig added, watching his daughter sit behind the steering wheel and immediately defile the interior of her new car with the third-hand smoke from her Marlboro Light.

“I love it, dad!” Lauren exclaimed jubilantly.  “Thank you so much!”

As the crowd oohed and awed over Lauren’s new car, encircling it to check the car out and take in Lauren’s reactions, an enraged Haylee stood at the doorway realizing that her birthday party had now been completely hijacked.  She lit another cigarette and sat on the couch by herself, taking her phone out of the back pocket of her pink pants.  She paused as she saw the name Jacob Roth in her contacts list, but then followed her instinct and began texting.  “Gahhhh!  You gotta save me from this birthday party disaster!” she typed into her phone rhetorically.

Haylee was engrossed in her phone and didn’t immediately notice that someone from the crowd had re-entered the home and was approaching her.  It was Lauren’s cousin Carly, who requested in a guilty tone, “Would you mind if I had a drag from your cigarette?”

Haylee was pleased to have at least one person from the group more interested in her than Lauren, even if it was for a selfish reason, responding, “Sure I don’t mind,” handing Carly her Camel Pink No. 9.

Carly proceeded to take a drag that Haylee could tell was deeply satisfying, responding “Thank you so much.  My mom doesn’t let me smoke but I’ve had a killer craving ever since I got here and saw you and Lauren smoking.”

Haylee and Carly conversed for a few moments as Carly took a couple more drags, but right when they started to connect, a voice from outside that Carly instantly recognized as her mother Gina shouted, “Carly, get back out here and see Lauren’s car,” as if sensing that Carly was up to no good even without seeing her.

Carly nervously handed Haylee back the cigarette and abruptly thanked her again before heading back out, leaving Haylee alone again.  She continued to sit there smoking for several moments, a tear welling up in her eye over being all by herself at her own birthday party.  Suddenly a familiar guardian angel entered the room as six-year-old Jarrod Wagner came in, sitting on the couch next to Haylee and putting his arm around her just as he’d done that night in December after the unfortunate episode with Grant.  Haylee tried to hide her tears as she said “Thanks buddy” to the only person in the houseful of guests who picked up on the fact that she was hurting.

It seemed like an eternity that Haylee sat there with Jarrod, filling his airspace with endless plumes of secondhand smoke as always, but it had only been a couple of minutes, the entire crowd still outside lavishing attention on Lauren and her new car.  The silence in the room was broken when Haylee’s phone pinged.  She’d already forgotten that she sent the text to Jacob a few minutes back, but her mood perked up immediately when she saw the message was from him, reading “When and where??!  I’m at your beckon call, m’lady!” which immediately turned Haylee’s frown into a giggly smile that confused young Jarrod.

A few texts later and Haylee determined that Jacob was serious about “rescuing her” from this birthday party, and she was suddenly seriously contemplating allowing him to do it.  After a final moment to mull over the situation, she texted him back one final time, writing “Pick me up in the high school parking lot ASAP.  I’ll be waiting there for you!”

Young Jarrod was confused with as quickly as Haylee launched off the couch and darted out of there without a word, clearly no longer being in need of his comfort.  He watched as Haylee grabbed her purse and then another pack of cigarettes out of the carton in the refrigerator and then hightailed it out the back door.  He watched as she sneakily maneuvered through the backyard and through the neighbor’s yard, ending up on the parallel street where she wandered out of sight.  Jarrod was pretty sure whatever she was doing and wherever she was going would come to a shock to all the guests when the got back into the house, and he didn’t think it would end well for Haylee.


Twenty minutes later, Haylee stood in the empty Saturday afternoon school parking lot on the sunny and unseasonably warm day, feeling perfectly comfortable in the short-sleeved white blouse and pale pink pants she left home in and watching for an incoming car driven by her white knight.  She dragged from her cigarette nervously hoping that Jacob would get there before anybody from her birthday party went looking for and found her here in this lot.  Haylee was taken aback when a slick-looking blue Corvette came noisily zooming up to her in the lot, unaware that Jacob had such a hot car.

Jacob aggressively braked the car a few yards in front of her and then put the passenger-side power window down, charming Haylee instantly with the smile on his face as he beckoned her inside.  Haylee’s spirits were visibly lifted in an instant as she took a final deep drag from her spent cigarette and then tossed it into the lot before climbing inside.  Jacob recoiled a bit from the stench she brought into his car but recovered rapidly and flashed that smile again, catching Haylee in mid-swoon and then catching her off-guard by laying into the accelerator and peeling out of the lot.  Haylee’s birthday had just gotten a lot more exciting.  Her phone suddenly began ringing and she quickly saw “Mom” listed as the caller.  She muted the phone and threw it in her purse, never to be looked at again until her date with Jacob was over, consequences be damned.

As Jacob took to the streets trying to impress Haylee with his car, he could see that the novelty of the Corvette was wearing off quicker than he’d hoped. Haylee was still fuming about the birthday party and was rattling off the details louder and faster than he’d ever imagined her speaking before, with even more tangible anger in her voice than when she’d been describing the party at school in the vent shaft/smoking area the week before.  He listened as she carried on, being at least a little interested in her predicament and concurring that it seemed rude and tone-deaf.

Haylee reflexively opened her purse and reached for her pack of cigarettes, not even giving a second thought as she plucked out a cigarette and placed it between her lips.  Jacob was aghast at her nerve and verbally intervened, “Wait you’re not thinking about smoking in here, are you?”

Haylee looked surprised at the question and said “Well yeah,” as the unlit Camel Pink No. 9 bounced upon and down between her lips as she talked.

“Not in my car,” Jacob said in a pleading tone, not wanting to sound too aggressive but wanting her to take the hint, unaware who he was up against.

A sullen Haylee reverted to her level of fury from the birthday party, curtly responding “Take me home then.”

“Are you serious?” Jacob responded, shocked at her level of entitlement.

“Absolutely.  If you’re not gonna let me smoke where I want to around you, we’re not gonna get along too well.”

Jacob sat silent for a moment, letting the risk-reward calculus roll through his mind until he approached a red light, breaking the silence with a smile and responding, “You’re a different one, Haylee McPherson,” extending his hand to her lighter so she’d hand it to him.

Haylee’s frown turned into a smile again as she handed Jacob the lighter and welcomed the gesture as he sparked the lighter to fire up her cigarette.  “I get the feeling that a little different is exactly what you’re looking for,” Haylee responded as the flame hit the cigarette.

Jacob nodded in agreement, trying to hide his despair as her filthy cigarette smoke began to fill the inside of his beloved Corvette.  Never would have he imagined any scenario a week ago where he’d let someone smoke in his car….and the last person he ever expected it to be was a freshman girl at his high school.  “So what do you want to do today?” Jacob asked.

Haylee shrugged as the smoke just kept spilling out of her face and filling up Jacob’s car interior.  “Doesn’t really matter as long as we can talk,” she said, hoping it was understood that she expected to be able to smoke as she talked.

“All right,” Jacob said, his mind roiling for ideas.  “Maybe we can go out to eat a little later.”

Haylee nodded, “That sounds cool,” as she noticed a deepening smirk coming from Jacob and then added playfully, “what?”

“Before we eat, why don’t we go skinny-dipping!” Jacob wryly responded.

Haylee laughed, with smoke exploding out of her face from the respiratory force of the laugh as she contemplated skinny-dipping in the icy waters of still-frozen Minnesota lakes.  “You are crazy!”

Jacob fluttered his eyebrows and said “But it just might be a lunatic you’re looking for,” recycling lyrics from an old song he hoped she hadn’t heard while drawing a parallel to the comment she made to him a few moments earlier.

And Jacob kept driving till he arrived at an obscure access point of Eagle Lake, parking his car in the small and empty lot.  They got out of the car and Haylee lit another cigarette, following Jacob as she approached the shore of the lake and confirming what both of them figured, that the lake still had a thick crust of ice, albeit with a sloppy sheen of melted slush that had come about following what had melted in the last couple of 60-degree days.  It was a common look for a Minnesota lake in late March and early April, and Haylee said out loud what was obvious to both of them.  “No skinny dipping today.”

“Nope. Probably not,” Jacob said with a smirk, knowing all along it wasn’t gonna be thawed but had simply wanted to see how Haylee responded to the offer,  adding “I’ll take a rain check on that though, okay?”

Haylee smiled as Jacob began to test his foot on the icy surface of the lake to make sure it was firm enough to support his weight.  When he determined that it probably was, he leaped onto the ice, extending his hand to invite Haylee to follow him.  With her cigarette hanging from her lips, Haylee leaped from the shore onto the icy lake and taking Jacob’s hand to make sure she stayed upright.   Jacob proceeded further onto the ice, holding Haylee’s hand as Haylee finally asked playfully, “Are you taking me anywhere in particular?”

Jacob paused for a moment to punch some things up on his phone and then responded, “Actually, I was hoping we could dance,” smirking as he pressed play on his phone and launching immediately into the Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey song “The Middle”, to which he quickly responded, “And wouldn’t you know it, they’re playing our song.”

Haylee smiled ear to ear as she exhaled a snootful of smoke, recognizing the song as the first song she and Jacob danced to at the Valentine’s dance where they met.  Jacob pushed another button from his phone and synced the recording to the speakers in his Corvette.  The song was now blasting from his car a few yards away in the parking lot, and Jacob held out his hand asking, “May I have this dance?”

Haylee was glowing with a happiness she wouldn’t have imagined possible an hour ago as she took his hand and they started dancing to the music on the iced surface of this lake. Her seduction at the hands of this smooth-operating 18-year-old was proving more than her usual aloofness could withstand, her body moving in carefree jubilation and in rhythm with Jacob’s, intermittently dragging from her cigarette and occasionally letting it dangle from her lips as she danced.

Jacob kept hitting up one song after another on his phone, most of which were songs they’d danced to at the Valentine’s dance, and they continued to have the time of their lives dancing for well over an hour, with Haylee burning through cigarette after cigarette.  Jacob was surprised at the magnitude of her smoking and noticed how her smoked-out lungs were wheezing a bit after all of this dancing.

Jacob figured it was only a matter of time till it happened to one of them, and it was Haylee who lost her footing on the ice and fell backwards and landed on her ass in the slushy and cold water on the surface of the ice.  A comical look of temperature shock splashed all over Haylee’s face as the chilly slush on the ice seeped through her pants, the shock quickly transitioning to nervous laughter as Jacob held out his hand to help her up, but as she started to climb up he let her go and she splashed back onto the slushy ice, soaking herself again and playfully shouting, “You bastard!” as she placed her cigarette into her mouth for a dangling drag.

Jacob grabbed her by both hands and pulled her up grabbing her by the waist and pressing her body into his.  Haylee reached up to her mouth to remove the cigarette, recognizing where this was likely going.  Jacob pulled in and Haylee heartily accepted his lips as they kissed.  The kiss drug on for a good 30 seconds, with Haylee quickly appreciating the contrast of Jacob’s kissing technique versus the relative rookies she’d locked lips with before, and she dug in for the full experience.  Jacob was glad he’d tried Haylee’s cigarette the week before as it at least prepared him a little for the intense cigarette flavor on Haylee’s breath as she stuck her tongue in his mouth.  He tried to take his mind off the taste of her breath in hopes of reining in his gag reflex, not an ideal situation for a romantic first kiss but one he was willing to accept for the opportunity to move forward with this extremely intriguing girl.

The couple pulled apart with blissful looks on each other’s faces, Haylee pulling the cigarette back up to her lips for another intense drag but maintaining eye contact for several more moments.    Eventually, she looked down to see how much of a mess was made of one of her favorite pairs of pants, looking down and seeing the dirty water had definitely made a stain in a very unsavory spot.

“It looks like I pissed my pants!” Haylee said with a laugh, turning her head over her shoulders to see how bad her ass was, but unable to tell how bad the stain would be until it dried.  She also didn’t make a metaphorical connection to her own loss of innocence making out with this 18-year-old guy and the defiling stain on the crotch and ass of her light pink pants.

“Looks like we’re going to the drive-thru for supper,” Jacob commented as he pointed to her messed-up pants.  Haylee laughed as Jacob grabbed her by the waist and walked her back toward his car, with Haylee following suit and hanging on to Jacob by his waist.  The drama from her birthday party only a couple of hours earlier was now the furthest thing from her mind.


Two hours later, it was now after dark and the vibe in the McPherson home had grown orders of magnitude darker than it had been during the birthday party.  The sound of a parked car in the driveway and footsteps approaching the front entrance sent Steve and Becky to the front door, unable to disguise their disappointment when the door opened and Courtney walked through instead of Haylee.

Courtney, coming home from her work shift and decked out in her tight leather pants, immediately sensed the tension in the room and responded, “Sorry to disappoint!” then asking “Who were you expecting?”

Becky turned toward her with fire in eyes to explain the situation.  “Your sister decided to skip out of here in the middle of her birthday and has been gone for four hours now.  She’s not answering her phone and none of the friends we talked to know where she is either.”

Courtney made eyes with Trevor in the living room and both exchanged knowing glances expressing the magnitude of deep shit Haylee was in.  “Well I’ll try to get through to her,” she offered, writing a text that she hoped would break through in a way her parents’ hadn’t.

Trevor watched as Courtney approached him on the couch, sitting next to him and lighting a cigarette as she crossed her legs in that smooth buttery leather Trevor couldn’t quit lusting for, asking him how the party went and hoping to get some clues as to what might have happened to Haylee, but one name was going through Courtney’s head as she contemplated Haylee’s presence…Jacob Roth.  And Courtney didn’t know how to play this.  She was on thin enough ice with Haylee and did not want to rat her out to her parents about Jacob, but on the other hand, if Haylee was in any kind of danger she didn’t want to be the reason her parents didn’t find out who she was with.  She started texting Haylee again, writing “Haven’t told them about Jacob….yet!  Might be able to hold them off a little longer if you let me know where you are and that you’re safe.”

Courtney and Trevor sat there watching Becky and Steve frantically pace the floor, and as Courtney saw the fury in her father’s eyes, the thought crossed her dirty mind of a possible upside to this situation.  She couldn’t fully divest herself into the twisted thought yet until she heard from Haylee and knew she was okay, but she’d already made a mental note of her father administering corporal punishment on Haylee and she knew that that bell could not be unrung now and allowed herself to envision the fantasy.


Jacob and Haylee had been cruising around the streets of suburban Minneapolis in Jacob’s Corvette for well over an hour now, passing along stories about themselves and enjoying each other’s company.  They had eaten at the drive-up at Sonic and Jacob continued to be amazed and oddly impressed to see Haylee smoke her cigarettes even while in mid-meal.  And with each subsequent cigarette she lit thereafter, Jacob found himself looking forward to it, unable to detach his attraction to this girl from her incessant smoking even though she was stinking up his car in a way that he figured would take quite a while to remedy.  At the next break in the conversation, Haylee told Jacob she really should get home, dreading the nuclear fissure of righteous outrage that awaited her when she got there.

Haylee’s heart sunk as she realized she better look at her phone to see if she could get a sense of how bad things were and knew it was every bit as terrible as she feared when she saw 16 missed calls and 35 texts in the inbox she hadn’t checked since she muted her phone more than four hours earlier.  The most recent texts were from Courtney, and she looked at them first, particularly since she saw Jacob’s name in the text heading and knew Courtney had the power to get her in even deeper trouble if her parents found out about him.

Jacob looked at Haylee out of the corner of his eye, her cigarette parked in her mouth as she took dangling drags without even seeming to realize it, texting through the haze of smoke in front of her face and writing Courtney back, “Thanks for not telling them about Jacob” and then sending a separate text reading, “I’ll be home in the next 10 minutes.  Please use that time to calm them down a little.”

Haylee audibly gasped as she pulled her eyes away from the phone, turning to Jacob and saying, “I’d love to say I’ll see you again soon but I have a feeling I’m gonna be grounded till you head off to college!”

Jacob laughed and assured he that he had a great time as well and would wait as long as he had to to see her again, adding that “we’ll always have the vent shaft during lunch period.”

“True,” Haylee said, her voice tailing off as if finally coming to terms with her fast-approaching moment of reckoning.  “Could you do me a favor and drop me off a couple of blocks from my place?  Don’t want them seeing your car.” Jacob concurred as they quickly approached the drop-off point.

As he stopped at a residential intersection to let Haylee go as she requested, Jacob wanted to leave Haylee with one final memory of their night together before they parted ways, saying he “hoped he was a ray of sunshine on her dark birthday,” eliciting a final halfhearted swoon from a fast-declining Haylee who pulled in for a final good night kiss that lasted just as long as their kiss on the ice.  She got out of the car and began the long walk of shame home, the residue of a wonderful night still clear on her face.  Jacob looked in the rearview mirror and watched Haylee’s shapely body drift further away, a persistent trail of cigarette smoke rising above her.  An avalanche of naughty thoughts rolled through his mind, but he mentally checked himself with a reminder that he needed to have a different set of expectations for this very different girl.


“It’s Haylee!” Courtney announced jubilantly as the text came through.  “She’s okay and is gonna be home in 10 minutes,” she continued.

“Oh thank God!” Becky responded with impassioned relief, Steve wrapping his arms around her to console her over the good news as Becky stubbed out another Marlboro Red and immediately reached to light up another one, having been smoking this evening at a pace that was blistering even for her.

As they pressed Courtney for more details, she didn’t offer any, even though her tone was elusive enough that Steve, Becky, and Trevor all suspected she knew more than she was leading on.  Their worry about Haylee had now been replaced with unbridled fury, a rage Trevor and Courtney had not seen in them for quite some time.  Trevor had given a passing thought that his dad might whoop Haylee’s ass for this, but after finding out she was safe and almost home, it was now consuming Courtney’s every thought, her heart pounding and her body going numb at the mere thought of seeing Haylee on the receiving end of her dad’s firm hand.  It was happening with rapidly diminishing frequency in recent years at the same time as Courtney had come to realize how much her own spankings, and witnessing her siblings’ spankings, had come to define her sexual identity.  The last time she got to witness her dad administer corporal punishment on Haylee was the previous summer on their way up to the cabin.  She had feared she may never get to witness it again, but seeing how enraged her father was right now, she figured tonight might be one final opportunity.

The suspense ended for most in the room as Haylee finally walked in the door, looking as moody and aloof as ever with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth.  The screaming commenced right on schedule as Haylee walked into the living room, mainly to look at Courtney and see if she could tell by her body language how much she’d told them about Jacob.

“Where in the hell have you been, Haylee?!?” Steve shouted in a tone that reached a tone that made very clear he wasn’t playing, followed by a long pause awaiting her answer as she sat silently for a while.

“Answer your father!” Becky shouted.

“I went to visit a friend,” Haylee responded, revealing as little as possible knowing there was no answer that would satisfy.

“What’s his name?” Becky fired back, knowing there had to be a boy involved for this kind of deception.

Haylee didn’t respond, leading Steve to open her purse and take out her phone, handing it to Becky who proceeded to open her messages.  Near the top of the list of recent contacts was Jacob.

“Jacob huh?” Becky replied aloud, perking up Courtney’s ears and confirming what she figured was the case.  “Why haven’t I heard that name until just now, Haylee?”

“Because it’s none of your damn business!” shouted Haylee.

“Oh it isn’t?” Steve shouted back, trying to maintain his composure as best as possible but having a hard time.  “Our 15-year-old daughter wanders out of her own birthday party without telling anyone, stays out for four hours until after dark, and then tells us it’s none of our business.  Are you for real here, Haylee?”

Courtney and Trevor sat silently on the couch, hoping they wouldn’t be told to leave the room and miss out on all of this excitement, but realizing they likely wouldn’t given that their father tried to discipline the kids publicly for the most heinous offenses to shame the offender and send a message to the witnesses.

“Where did he take you?” Becky asked, keeping the interrogation alive hoping Haylee would incriminate herself.

Haylee cooperated too quickly saying, “Just to Sonic,” realizing right away she stepped in it.

“Oh to Sonic?  That’s clear up in Plymouth.  So he has a car?” Steve busted her.

“How old is he Haylee?” Becky followed up, frightened of her forthcoming answer.

Haylee paused for a second, fibbing by two years when she responded, “Sixteen,” through the talking exhale of the final drag from her cigarette which she crushed out in the butt bucket on the coffee table in front of her that Courtney was using.

Neither parents immediately responded, buying her answer but also laying some ground rules.  “Well you’re not going out with him again until we meet him.  You know our rules,” Becky demanded.  “But that’s the least of your worries right now.  You humiliated your father and I running out of this party we planned just for you.  And then you don’t answer your phone for four hours when we call.  This ‘Jacob’ will have forgotten all about you by the time you see the outside of your bedroom again.”

“Fine,” Haylee said, getting up to walk to her room before her father gave her a reality check.

“Oh you’re not getting out of her that easily, young lady.  Get your ass back here!” Steve barked.

Haylee had been hoping she had received her last ass-whooping from her father but figured if anything would have triggered another, this would be it.  She dug her hole deeper by sassing back, “Oh do I get 15 swats for 15 years or something. Happy birthday to me, right?”

“Ah you got jokes huh?  We’ll see how much you’re laughing in the next month locked up in your room,” Steve shot back as Haylee approached him.

Courtney held her breath with anticipation, feeling as euphoric about Haylee’s pending physical discipline as Haylee felt humiliated over it.  Courtney had been playing with her phone and pretending to text the entire time since Haylee got home, but was actually just preparing for the moment when it came and secretly pressing the record button, tilting her phone upward just before her father bent Haylee over his knee and hoping nobody would be paying attention to her perverted infatuation during Haylee’s discipline.

Becky couldn’t miss the stains on the ass of Haylee’s pants as it was sprawled over her husband’s knee for the whole room to see, angrily asking “What did you do to your clothes??!?!”

“I fell and they got dirty.  It’s spring in case you hadn’t noticed, mom” Haylee answered awkwardly from her vulnerable position laid out horizontally on her father’s knee, barely getting her backtalk out of her mouth before her father laid into her, applying swift and intense force from his heavy hand to Haylee’s ass.  As had always been the case whenever one of the McPherson kids got spanked, the others watched, only this time recognizing there may not be a next time given their respective ages.

Courtney kept her phone steady recording the act of aggression by her father on her younger sister, sucking hard from her cigarette and crossing her legs a little bit tighter inside of those leather pants to disguise how sexually aroused she was witnessing this and wishing it could go on forever as the swats applied to Haylee’s ass kept coming fast and furious.  Courtney held the smoke inside her lungs for many seconds until the spanking finally stopped and she finally exhaled, the smoke spilling from her mouth and nose serving as a marginal release of the sexual tension she’d built up inside of her.

Steve then helped Haylee stand up, with everybody in the room curious to see if she was either crying or red with humiliation when she got up, but all were surprised to see a stoic, unmoved Haylee staring at her father stone-faced, listening to Becky bark out “Now get your ass to your room and stay there till your next birthday,” just before Haylee turned around heading in that direction.  “Oh and I’ll be keeping this till you’re out,” Becky said in reference to Haylee’s phone which Becky held in her hand.

Haylee quietly walked toward the stairs, picking up her purse and opening her pack of cigarettes.  Trevor smirked as Haylee lit herself up en route to her bedroom, amused that her punishment once again did not include giving up her smoking freedoms.  Courtney slowly pivoted her phone downward and stopped the recording, trying to control her excitement as she and Becky both lit new cigarettes.  The excitement was over, and both Trevor and Courtney were suddenly eager to get out of that living room with their parents, albeit for entirely different reasons.

Courtney stood up from the couch and couldn’t get to the stairs fast enough, ascending them and heading into her bedroom where she quickly closed the door behind her and headed to her bed.  She wasted no time unzipping her leather pants and sliding them down to her thighs, along with her panties underneath them, proceeding to play back the recording of her father spanking her sister and touching her fingers to her vagina as she watched it.  The sexual tension built up seeing it live was now being released, with Courtney breathing directly from her cigarette as she masturbated, the show having lived up to her expectations completely, the scarcity of the spanking shows in recent years making it all the more satisfying to see this one.  She kept replaying that video over and over, pumping cigarette smoke into her lungs with each labored breath while her fingers worked her private parts.  Eventually her fingers weren’t up to the task any longer and she reached into her purse to take out her dildo.  She laid back on the bed and wasted no time jamming it into her pussy, producing something close to the level of satisfaction that her current state of arousal demanded, suppressing her moans through the cigarette she continued to torture between her other lips.  She would have time to feel guilty about this later, but for now she just needed to rub out this raging libidinous beast that raged inside of her.

Meanwhile, across the hall Trevor quietly approached the door of Haylee’s bedroom with cell phone in hand, knocking gingerly and then cracking the door open hoping to go unnoticed by his parents downstairs.  As Trevor poked his head in and then slinked inside, Haylee angrily muttered through yet another cigarette dangling from her lips, “My God!  What do you want?!?” before Trevor used his hand to gesture for her to be quiet, showing her the cell phone in his hand.

“Somebody wants to talk to you,” Trevor responded, laying his cell phone on Haylee’s nightstand and then leaving her room.

A curious Haylee picked up Trevor’s phone, puckering up her lips around her cigarette and seeing it was Lauren on the line.  She lifted the phone to her ear and muttered, “Lauren?”

“Oh Haylee!  I’m so sorry for how things went today,” Lauren cried out in response.  “The last thing I wanted to do is ruin your birthday and then have you get in trouble for it.”

“It’s not your fault,” Haylee responded through a messy talking exhale.  “I should apologize to you for all of the drama.  It was a big day for you too,” she added.

“Don’t worry about me.  I’m good.  But I really feel like I owe you and I want to be there for you when you’re not grounded anymore,” Lauren said, making Haylee emotional with her obvious sincerity.

“That will be a LONG time,” Haylee responded after taking another drag, poo-poohing the notion of a post-grounding world.

“Well when it does happen I’d like to have a good long talk to you about some things…and maybe introduce you to a couple of friends if you’re up to it.  How does that sound?” asked Lauren.

Haylee agreed to the terms, not necessarily believing that Lauren would come through but greatly appreciating her reaching out.  They bid each other adieu and Haylee let loose a smile about Lauren’s continued good nature.  And as she took a final drag from her cigarette, Haylee thought about Jacob and allowed herself to smile even wider.  As steep and embarrassing as the consequences of her dalliance were, she was nonetheless extremely grateful she took the leap of faith and texted Jacob to pick her up.


Three hours later, Kurt Collins was in a deep sleep in his apartment until the incessant buzzing of his telephone on the nightstand coupled with a repeated knocking on his front door awoke him.

“What the hell?” Kurt mumbled in his half-conscious state as he saw his phone lit up, picking it up and seeing Courtney McPherson was calling him.  He picked up the phone and answered.  “What is it Courtney?”

“Come to your front door!” Courtney exclaimed abruptly.

Kurt was wondering if this was a dream, half-annoyed at getting woke up in the middle of the night but half ecstatic that the 18-year-old sexpot who had broken up with him well over a month ago was suddenly back for what just might be yet another booty call.  He walked up to his front door and opened it, seeing Courtney standing there with Marlboro Light Menthol 100 in hand, still decked out in the leather pants she wore to work earlier, and sporting a lustful look in her eyes that was all too familiar.  He grabbed Courtney by the hand all pulled her inside.

Once the door was closed, Courtney passionately cried, “Fuck me Kurt!  Fuck me now!”

“Courtney, it’s 2 in the morning.  Weren’t the one who broke up with me?” Kurt halfheartedly protested, trying not to seem too easy.

Courtney leaned in, exposing Kurt to her heavy mentholated tobacco breath from upclose and planting one on his lips, “I really need you bad tonight Kurt.  Can you help me out?”

Kurt smiled, regaining his consciousness quickly and grabbing Courtney by the ass, her cue to leap into his arms.  He stepped backward into his bedroom as they made out, collapsing on his bed as he moved to unzip her leather pants, but she firmly placed her hand on his to stop him.

“Spank me first, okay?”  Courtney insisted.

It was a request Kurt had heard plenty of times from her in the past and he proceeded without protest, having no clue how perverted her reasoning for tonight’s request was.  It was obvious she was in the mood for some really rough sex tonight, and he was only too happy to serve it up for her.  Even the semiregular opportunity to copulate with this barely legal goddess who used to be his steady girlfriend was more than he ever would have imagined possible one short year ago.


Two weeks later, Trevor was ready to go when he saw his newly licensed girlfriend Lauren pulling into his driveway in the new car she was gifted for her birthday.  Trevor was generally known to contain his emotions as best as possible but radiated a smile upon seeing the ecstatic Lauren sitting behind the wheel holding a freshly lit all-white cigarette.  Lauren’s smile beamed brighter than ever as she felt the power of sitting behind the wheel of her own car for one of the first times as a licensed driver, especially with her boyfriend coming poised to ride shotgun.  Trevor would have loved to have had the Monday evening to themselves but, as expected, Lauren’s cousin Carly had ridden with her from Maple Grove and was riding in the backseat….and Carly wasn’t gonna be the only passenger that night…

Trevor opened the passenger side door and sat down, immediately stricken by how much Lauren had stunk up her new car with tobacco only days after getting her license.  He made eye contact with her as she took a deep drag from her Marlboro Light and then greeted Carly in the backseat.  Lauren wasted no time inquiring about the evening’s main attraction to Trevor, asking “Is she coming?”

“You know Haylee operates on Haylee time,” Trevor responded, eliciting a giggle from Lauren in which smoke spilled from her mouth and nose, along with Carly laughing more nervously from the backseat.

They didn’t have to wait long though until the front door of the McPherson home opened and a newly liberated Haylee walked outside, maintaining a captive audience of admirers as she inadvertently strutted toward the car as if a supermodel on a runway.  Her light brown hair was styled for the night out, whipping slightly with the spring breeze as it hung onto her bare shoulders in the low-cut white blouse she was wearing, while her salvaged light pink pants she wore on her night out with Jacob looked as good as new below her waist, her hips working the tight fabric nicely and her high heels giving her lower body that much more visual appeal.  And as always, a cigarette hung from her lips as she approached the car.  It was a presentation that captivated the carload of passengers who could tell she was revitalized and ready for mischief after two weeks of being grounded.

The momentum was briefly broken as Steve yelled out the front door, “Remember it’s a school night.  Be back by 10.”

“Got it, dad,” Trevor said as he gave his father the thumbs-up, leaving him to a rare evening to himself at the McPherson home.

After Haylee climbed into the backseat passenger side and found herself seated next to Carly who she barely knew, Lauren broke the ice first with an energetic compliment, “You look so beautiful, Haylee.  You look like a free woman!”

Still a little bashful, Haylee responded with, “I guess so.  It’s definitely been a long two weeks.”

“I told you that your parents wouldn’t keep you holed up any longer than that though, didn’t I?” Lauren reminded her.

Haylee nodded and then briefly confirmed, “Yes you did.”

“By the way, this is my cousin Carly.  I think you met her at the birthday party, right?” Lauren introduced.

“Hi,” Carly said with a hint of bashfulness of her own, even though they had a brief but memorable interaction at the party, feeling a little overshadowed in the car with the gorgeous Haylee and Lauren, contrasting their beauty and elegant presentations with her own more plain-jane appeal, her shoulder-length blond hair cresting on a conservative T-shirt and jeans.

“Nice to see you again,” Haylee answered as they smiled at each other, with Haylee taking a drag from her cigarette and not judging Carly with the harshness that Carly had just judged herself.  As Lauren began to drive off, Haylee asked, “So what are we doing tonight?”

“No set plans,” Lauren said through a talking exhale as she drove, adding through a laugh, “a girl who just got her driver’s license doesn’t need a reason to go somewhere….she just goes.”  Pausing for a moment, she continued, “Seriously though, I’d like to introduce you to our friends Nick and Lacey.  Maybe we can go into Walmart or the mall, get a bite to eat, find a boyfriend for you and Carly,” she said, half-jokingly, making eye contact with Haylee in the rearview mirror and seeing that Haylee really wanted to talk one-on-one with Lauren as they’d mentioned earlier on the phone.

They continued to banter amongst each other for the next few minutes, with Lauren doing most of the talking and trying to initiate Haylee into a comfort level with the group, which Haylee had seemed to agree was probably for the best, even though it wasn’t in her natural comfort zone.  Within a minute of tossing her previous cigarette out the passenger side window, Haylee was opening her purse to extract another.  As Haylee noticed the cigarette-free Carly looking lustfully at her taking that drag, Haylee found another opening to break the ice, extending the pack to Carly and asking, “Would you like one of mine?”

An appreciative look beamed from Carly’s face as she responded, “Sure,” taking a cigarette from the pack and placing it between her lips.  Haylee handed Carly the lighter who lit herself up and then handed it back to Haylee.  Carly took the first drag which reminded her of when she bummed a few drags from Haylee’s cigarette at the birthday party, and then complimenting Haylee on her brand.  “These are really good cigarettes,” Carly said through a shallow talking exhale, clearly the work of a girl who’d smoked far less than the other two smokers in the car but was definitely not a rookie either.  “They certainly taste better than Lauren’s nasty Marlboro Lights!” Carly said eliciting laughter in the car.

Lauren shrugged her shoulders humbly in a laughter-infused response as she opened up the very pack of Marlboro Lights 100s in question and inserted another one in her mouth, reflexively handing Trevor the lighter to fire her up.  From there, Haylee interrogated Carly about her smoking story, with Carly and Lauren exchanging anecdotes from when they first sneaked their parents cigarettes and the details of their dissonant trajectories in the two years since.

Trevor remained mostly silent amidst this smoke-filled discussion, having heard most of these stories from each of the girls before but still welcoming any opportunity for them to talk cigarettes.  He mused that once again, cigarettes proved to be a great topic to break the ice and fast-track friendship among smokers, his heart filled with joy watching and listening to the three teenage girls, all younger than him, talk at length about their smoking habits while filling the car up with a haze of cigarette smoke.  He may have started the evening disappointed that he couldn’t just hang out alone with Lauren, but suddenly Lauren’s suggestion to help socialize Haylee into their friends’ group seemed like a pretty great idea after all!


A few hours later at 7:20, Courtney walked into the front door of the McPherson home after an early evening shift at work, decked out in yet another pair of tight leather pants.  She pulled her white and green menthol cigarette to her lips and took a long drag, a faint look of confusion on her face as she expelled a long plume of smoke from her mouth, finding it odd how little light and noise were emanating from the home compared to when she usually got home.  She walked into the dark kitchen and all she could hear was the faint noise from the TV in the dimly lit living room.  Just as she was entering the room, she faintly called out, “Anybody home?”

Her father turned in his chair and muted the TV upon seeing her arrive, responding, “Hey Courtney.  Actually it’s just gonna be you and I tonight.  Your mother’s meeting up with the girls from work and Haylee and Trevor both went out.”

Courtney was in mid-drag and her face lit up with surprise at the last bit, asking again to make sure she heard what she thought she did, “Haylee went out?!?!” knowing that her sister was pretty much a homebody, particularly after her recent grounding.

Steve laughed briefly, observing Courtney’s exhaled smoke rapidly filling a room that had been unusually smoke-free for the last few hours, “Yeah, Trevor said Lauren wants to get Haylee out more and hang out together.”

Courtney nodded her head, “Couldn’t hurt.  She’ll probably be more likely to stay out of trouble if she’s hanging out with Lauren and Trevor and their friends rather than this Jacob guy,” Courtney responded, continuing to behave as though she knew less about “Jacob” than she did.

Steve nodded in steadfast agreement, “Completely agreed.”

As her father smiled at her, Courtney felt awkward.  Ever since she saw him spank Haylee two weeks ago, Courtney had felt differently in the presence of her father…differently in a way that made her feel extremely guilty and dirty.  She felt the need to cut this conversation short, putting on her daddy’s girl smile one last time and dragging from her cigarette before saying, “Well I better get going on my homework.  Big chemistry test tomorrow.”

Steve seemed disappointed but nodded, “Okay, but when you need a study break let’s catch up a little bit before everybody gets home, alright?”

Courtney’s smile beamed again as she responded, “Sure dad,” through a final messy talking exhale, turning around to head to the stairs toward her bedroom.  She made a point of wiggling her hips a little extra in those tight leather pants as she walked away for her father’s benefit.  She didn’t know for sure if he was admiring her body as she left the room, but she hoped he was.


An hour later, Lauren had already dropped Carly off as they drove around the west metro after dark.  Trevor now had the backseat to himself while Lauren and Haylee were sitting up front, puffing away on their latest of many cigarettes in their four hours together in Lauren’s new car that had gone from zero to smoky at record speed.  It had been a fun night, and Trevor enjoyed seeing Haylee hit it off so well with Lauren and Carly, and to a lesser extent with his nonsmoking friends Nick and Lacey who met them all at the pizza parlor.  But Trevor had been picking up on nonverbal cues from Lauren and Haylee all night that they wanted to talk alone, and as they now sat next to each other in the front seat, it was becoming all the more obvious.

Lauren finally addressed the elephant in the room, giving Haylee a “play along” gesture that Trevor witnessed, after which Lauren addressed Trevor teasingly, “So you know how much Haylee and I like having you around Trevor, but I think I’ve chosen the wrong McPherson sibling to spend most of my time with,” unable to complete her little prank without a giggle.

Trevor feigned disbelief and responded, “Lauren, are you dumping me for Haylee?!”

Lauren giggled again as she pulled into the empty parking lot of the park nearest Trevor’s home.  She parked the car and then turned to address Trevor in the backseat, smoke spilling out of her face and towards him as she responded, “Just for tonight.  Haylee and I need to get some girl talk in, okay?”

“No problem,” Trevor responded, disappointed that the night was gonna get cut short and he wouldn’t get in on whatever gossip was ahead, but taking the hint and being willing to leave it up to his imagine as he went home.

“Thanks baby.  Do you want me to drop you off or can you walk home from here?” Lauren asked.

“I’m good with walking,” Trevor responded, bidding Lauren adieu for the night and pulling forward from the backseat to kiss her in the front seat, savoring her Marlboro Light breath as Haylee closed her eyes.

“Love you,” Lauren reminded him as he opened the door to walk home, with Trevor responding in kind and Haylee unable to contain herself from groaning out loud.  Trevor had a two-block walk home and occasionally leered over his shoulder to see Lauren and Haylee converse, dragging repeatedly from their cigarettes while talking, and dying to know what the two of them were talking about.


Courtney sat in her smoke-filled bedroom with her chemistry book open and a sheet of paper in front of her, plugging away at the homework examples that she hoped would prepare her for the test.  Chemistry formulas did not come easy for her but she felt like she was working up some momentum after her hour of studying since she got home.  She’d just crushed out her last cigarette in her overflowing bedroom ashtray, but the stress of schoolwork made her cravings especially strong and she lit up another one, balancing the Marlboro Light Menthol 100 in her left hand and the pencil that she worked out the equations with in the right hand.

A knock on her bedroom door startled her, and she turned to see her father standing at the doorway.  “I hate to interrupt you but do you mind if I come in?” Steve asked with a smile.

“Sure, dad,” Courtney said in a daddy’s girl-style vocal tone far beneath her 18 years, a tone that really contrasted with the sexualized leather pants still draping her lower body and the wisps of cigarette smoke spilling from her mouth and nose as she spoke.  “What’s on your mind?”

Steve walked in and sat down on the bed that was right next to the chair Courtney was sitting at in front of her desk.  “I was just thinking about the fishing opener coming up next month.  It’s been a few years since we went up to the cabin and fished together on the fishing opener weekend like we used to do.  Since you’re graduating in a couple of months, this may be our last chance to get some quality father-daughter time in before you head off to college.”

Courtney’s face lit up at the offer and she quickly agreed, briefly reminiscing on their good times fishing but finding her mind continuing to drift back to the same perverted thought, a thought she felt like tonight represented the perfect opportunity to consummate despite the extreme awkwardness required to bring it up.  She couldn’t hold back any longer as her father stood up and hovered over her to take a look at her homework, the smoke from her cigarette rising directly into his face from below.  She just had to mention it, saying, “It’s really weird to talk about but do you know what else I miss?”

“What’s that?” Steve said innocently, having no idea the creepy place this conversation was about to go.

Courtney’s face was flushed with embarrassed anticipation as she slowly found the courage to get to the point, with she and her father now both so distracted that neither of them heard the front door open as Trevor arrived and began working his way silently upstairs.

“Well,” Courtney began, shyly.  “When I saw you spank Haylee a couple of weeks ago, it made me kind of nostalgic for when you spanked me.”

“Huh?!” Steve responded with legitimate shock.

“I know it’s weird,” Courtney said, hoping her tone would blunt at least some of the creepiness of the request she was building up to, “…but there was something reassuring about when you disciplined me.  I miss it.”

Steve stammered and stuttered for a moment, finally getting around to saying, “Here all of these years I thought I was teaching you a lesson with the spankings.  The last thing I would have ever imagined was that you liked them!”

Now at the top of the stairs, Trevor heard these words from his father and he froze in his tracks, quickly putting together that he was in Courtney’s room.  He gingerly stepped toward his own bedroom and slinked inside, closing the door and keeping it open a crack where he could hear and partially see his father talking to Courtney, perking up his ears to make sure what he thought he was hearing was indeed the conversation at hand.

“Oh I did so much!!!” Courtney exclaimed in response, grimacing as she was finally about to verbalize the request she’d been building up to, taking a long drag from her cigarette for a final hit of nicotine courage.  “Would you mind spanking me one last time?”

Steve didn’t know whether to laugh at Courtney or scold her, again stammering at the indecent request, but looking at the suspense in his oldest daughter’s eyes as she eagerly awaited his response with a slow spill of cigarette smoke again exiting her beautiful face, he eventually came around to it, shaking his head as he said, “Well….this is the last thing I expected to be doing when I came in here to ask you to go fishing with me, but come on over my knee.”

Courtney got positively giddy as she launched out of her chair, mumbling “Okay!” in a tone that struck Steve, and Trevor watching from across the hall, as jubilant in a far too sexualized way, but before Steve could reconsider, his cigarette-wielding daughter laid herself out over his knee, the skin tight leather clutching her cusp-of-womanhood ass now directly in front of Steve’s face sprawled out in his lap.  Trevor at least took solace that his father seemed to be increasingly uneasy with what Courtney kept insisting he do to her.

Steve could feel his daughter’s body shaking with nervous anticipation and wanted to get this over with, delivering his hand to Courtney’s tight leather-draped ass for the first swat and then delivered one after another from there, doing so gingerly but soon directed by Courtney to be more aggressive, as she shouted, “Harder!” every few seconds.  Steve found himself spanking her with escalating force, but with Courtney continuing to demand “Harder!”, at one point approaching her cigarette to her lips and dragging from it intensely in a way that made Steve even more uncomfortable.  Steve kept swatting for more than a minute, until Courtney shouted in the most sexualized tone yet, “Oh God!  Use your belt!  Hit me with your belt!” at which point Steve couldn’t take it anymore.

“Courtney, that’s enough.  This is wrong.” Steve said, his discomfort level dialed up to at least a 9 by now while Trevor’s was at least as high watching from a few yards away.

“Don’t stop!” Courtney cried with sexual passion, at which point her father began to stand up off the bed, effectively dumping her off of his lap.

Courtney could feel him rising and was turned on now to the point that she was out of control.  The lustful look in her eye terrified Steve as he rose to his feet, with Courtney placing the cigarette between her lips and dangling it as she dropped to her knees and reached for her father’s jeans.

Trevor was breathless as his father pleaded, “Courtney, no.  This is not happening!” but she refused to listen, unbuttoning his jeans with a fire in her eyes, pumping cigarette smoke into her lungs with every breath and producing a haze of smoke right in front of Steve’s crotch.  For a couple of seconds, silence filled the room and Courtney was briefly convinced she had consent but as she began to unzip his jeans, her father formally put a stop to it, grabbing her wrists in a tight clutch, immobilizing her.

“What the hell is wrong with you Courtney!!?!?!” Steve shouted, tightening his grip on her wrists even further in a way that terrified her.  They made sustained eye contact, with Courtney’s lustful look quickly transitioning to terror as she glared into her father’s shell-shocked face.  “You are sick!” he exclaimed, trying to find the words needed to express the magnitude of disappointment and fear he felt right now.  “How sick must you be to do this to your family?!  And not just me!  How will you ever be able to look your mother, brother, and sister in the eyes again?!??!”

Steve finally released his grasp on Courtney’s wrists, letting her fall backward onto the floor but maintaining laser-focused eye contact on her as the range of emotions in the nonverbal interaction shifted from terror to agonizing sorrow.  Steve buttoned up his jeans, gave Courtney one final look of intense disappointment, and then walked out of the smoky room, with Trevor pulling quietly away from his observatory post as well, praying that nobody would ever figure out that he witnessed this moment.

Courtney sat on the floor alone, the cigarette still dangling from her lips with a long granny ash on the end.  She was only just beginning to process how much permanent damage she had done in her relationship with her family, especially her father.


Two blocks away, a decidedly different vibe was unfolding with the occupants of the Toyota Camry parked in the empty lot in the neighborhood park, a haze of gray smoke filling up the interior that was visible from outside with the faint illumination of the overhead street lamp.

“Oh Haylee.  That’s sooooo sweet!” Lauren exclaimed with wisps of smoke escaping her facial orifices, her voice an octave huskier than when Trevor had left the car a half hour and three cigarettes ago.  “You definitely made the right decision to ditch me and the party to have that experience,” Lauren continued, in response to Haylee’s detailed description of her extended evening date with Jacob Roth that got her in so much trouble with her parents.

Haylee was glowing as she relayed the juicy details to the girl that had become her best friend.  It was a look Lauren had never seen from the usually reserved and aloof Haylee, who extracted a fresh cigarette from her pack of Camel Pink No. 9s and then took the stub of the mostly smoked cigarette dangling from her mouth, using the first cigarette to light the second and then stubbing the former out in the fast-rising mountain of cigarette butts sitting in the console of Lauren’s car.  As another fresh blast of smoke spilled from Haylee’s face, Haylee finally got around to responding to Lauren after letting loose a smoker’s cough from the nicotine binge.  “The only problem is I don’t know when I’ll get to see him again….outside of school anyway.”

Lauren took a drag from her mostly expired cigarette, mulling over the situation for a moment as a ball of smoke in her mouth was vacuumed inside of her respiratory system when she inhaled, and then reassured Haylee, “There’s no way I’m gonna let that happen!  You have to have another date with this guy!”  Lauren paused as she took a final drag from her latest cigarette, filling the car up with yet another expulsion of smoke as she crushed her own cigarette out in the butt bucket, which was now a surreal spectacle of Lauren’s all-white butts commingled with Haylee’s pink and white butts, mixed together almost equally after a full night of heavy smoking together.  “Was he the first guy you’ve been with since Grant?” Lauren asked, fishing yet another Marlboro Light 100 out of her pack only seconds after finishing the last and then lighting up.

Haylee’s giddy vibe briefly came down to Earth, first thinking about how things ended with Grant and then remembering that she had gotten to third base with the kid brother of the girl in the driver’s seat.  “Umm, yeah,” Haylee answered dishonestly, being nowhere near ready to share the story with Lauren of her dalliance with Brian and probably never would.  She changed the subject immediately and circled back to Lauren’s previous comment.  “So how exactly do you think I’ll be able to date Jacob again without my parents knowing?” she asked.

Lauren was deep into another drag and her face became animated as she pondered a plan that reminded her she’d been going out with the devious Trevor for too long.  Expelling smoke with every breath, Lauren responded, “We’re friends, right?  And our parents know that.  I have a driver’s license now, so I can say I was hanging out with you after school when you hang out with Jacob.”

Haylee had been hoping Lauren would volunteer an alibi for her, but this plan really gave her a lot of latitude for multiple after-school dates.  Haylee puckered up her lips for a dangling drag while she pondered the possibilities and all that could conceivably go wrong, the cigarette going limp and the smoke flowing smoothly from her mouth and nose.  “We’d have to be sure we kept our stories straight…and I’d have to be sure to make it home before too late so we don’t get caught in a lie.”

Lauren nodded, the permanent haze of smoke still hovering in front of her innocent 16-year-old face with a constant litany of reinforcement every time she exhaled.  “Right and it can’t be every night obviously….but we’ll work it,” she said with a beaming smile, on the clouds to see Haylee so happy for the first time since they’d known each other.

Haylee beamed again herself, exclaiming, “But he’s eighteeeeen, Lauren!!!” with equal parts excitement and anxiety about the implications.

Lauren shrugged.  “Age is just a number.  When he’s 30, you’ll be 27!” completely brushing off the legal consequences of an 18-year-old having a relationship with a 15-year-old.

“I know.  I know,” Haylee responded through the talking dangle of yet another cigarette approaching its end.  “I just don’t want him to get in trouble over me.  Plus I’ve been warned he’s a big-time playa.”

Lauren paused to take another big drag and then responded, “Well you’re a good judge of character.  Don’t do anything unless and until it feels right.”

Haylee nodded, inhaling a finishing drag off of her cigarette and throwing out a request disguised as a response.  “Tomorrow after school with Jacob sure feels right,” Haylee said coyly, crushing out her cigarette in the butt can while giving Lauren a look reinforcing her need for Lauren’s help to pull this off.

Lauren eked with excitement at the thought of playing a role in Haylee hanging out with Jacob after school the next day, clasping Haylee’s hands in a way that would have caused Haylee to recoil at any time in the past.  Whatever debt Lauren owed Haylee for the Valentine’s dance intervention was about to be paid back.  Lauren took a final drag from her cigarette and added yet another butt to the can in her console.  The clock in the car read 9:00, and the two of them had another hour, and multiple additional cigarettes, to commiserate before their Monday evening girl talk would end.


The next afternoon, Trevor was taking a long walk after school on the first genuinely warm spring day of the season, with blue skies beaming sunshine and warmth down on him as he progressed down the sidewalk of the residential streets.  But the positive energy of the day sharply contrasted with Trevor’s visibly downcast vibe, with images of his sister’s incestuous advances on their father the night before rolling over and over in his mind.  Having processed all the troubling details from the encounter and successfully avoiding detection until his mother and Haylee got back later last night, Trevor was now internalizing it through the lens of his own perversions.  Given his long-standing lust for his sisters, Trevor had always assumed he was the black sheep of the family, but now he wondered if the entire McPherson family was a bunch of irredeemable perverts.  Was his relationship with Lauren based on anything real?  Or was it all a manifestation of the same incestuous impulse that nearly drove Courtney to have sexual relations with her father last night?

Trevor’s lengthy period of reflection and self-pity came to abrupt end with the honking of the horn from the car creeping slowly next to him on the street.  As Trevor turned toward the car, the driver laid on the horn repeatedly and braked the car on the residential street that was currently traffic-free. Trevor immediately recognized it was Lauren’s car just as she leaned over and opened the passenger door, immediately letting out a whistle, then feigning a lustful voice to catcall him, “I want to take you back to my place, bad boy!” quickly transitioning to her trademark girlish giggle.

As down in the dumps as Trevor was, his face lit up with a smile at Lauren’s surprise visit, and the smile stayed lit as he leaned forward to check out her presentation.  The recent sunshine had illuminated her long, dark blond hair to a more golden hue that flowed onto her scantily clad upper body draped in a skimpy blue tanktop, with a pair of very short denim cutoffs on her lower body that showed off her leg all the way up to her upper thigh, the well-toned thigh muscle flexed as she held down the brake pad with her right foot.  It was an image of summer that Trevor hadn’t seen from Lauren in a good eight months, and never since they’d become sexually active.  The image was perfectly complemented with the freshly lit Marlboro Light 100 resting in her left hand that she held the steering wheel with.  At least for a moment, all of his troubles from the previous night disappeared.

As Trevor finally gained his composure, he asked Lauren the obvious question.  “What are you doing here today?  I thought we were meeting tomorrow.”

Lauren flashed a flirty look as she took a drag from her cigarette before responding, “I felt kind of bad ditching you last night and thought I’d make it up today.  Want a ride back to your place?” fluttering her eyelashes to make her intentions hopelessly obvious.

“Haylee could be home any minute,” Trevor said, wondering why she wasn’t home already when he left for his walk.

“Oh I don’t think Haylee’s gonna be bothering us today,” she added, clearly indicating to Trevor that she knew something he didn’t before friskily continuing, “So are you gonna get in this car or leave a girl waiting on the street all afternoon?”

Trevor smirked and stepped inside the car, taken aback by how much more intense the tobacco odor was even since he last rode in it the previous night.  Then he looked at the butt bucket in the console and could see why, observing the pyramid of cigarette butts that had elevated a few inches higher than the emerging tower of last night.  Seeing both Marlboro Light 100 and Camel Pink No. 9 butts stacked up well over the rim, he was genuinely impressed with how many cigarettes both Lauren and Haylee had to have smoked that night while having their girl talk.  As Lauren pulled away en route to Trevor’s house, Trevor asked the obvious question, “So why do you know Haylee won’t be home?”

Lauren side-eyed him playfully and added, “I’m sworn to secrecy,” while releasing the final spurt of a considerable exhale.

Trevor didn’t like the sound of this but figured it was none of his business, his smile from Lauren’s greeting starting to fade and the troubled look slowly re-emerging on his face which Lauren immediately picked up on.

“Is everything okay?” Lauren asked with her typical elevated level of genuine emotion, sensing that her boyfriend was unhappy.

Trevor shook it off and feigned a smile, reassuring her saying, “It’s nothing,” before looking up to an approaching car crossing in front of them in the residential intersection and abruptly alerting Lauren to “Watch out!”

Lauren refocused her attention on the car in front of her and immediately applied the brakes with the overzealousness of a rookie driver.  While they easily avoided a collision, the lit cigarette dropped from Lauren’s hand and singed the driver’s side seat next to her bare leg…and the contents of the butt can in the console went airborne, with two packs worth of cigarette butts and ash spilling all over Trevor’s shirt and pants.

After the initial shock of the traffic incident subsided, Lauren had all she could do to suppress a laugh seeing Trevor covered in the contents of her and Haylee’s filthy cigarette debris.  She couldn’t suppress a brief giggle any longer looking at Trevor, apologizing through her laughter.  “I was gonna dump that at the gas station on the way here but I was so preoccupied with getting down your pants I forgot about it.”

Trevor smirked and pointed to his ash-covered jeans, half-jokingly saying “You sure you want to get down these pants now?”

Lauren giggled and said, “I’m not so sure!” seconds before finally noticing the burnhole on her seat and saying “Shit!”

“Wow…a cigarette burn in your new car after only two weeks.  That’s gotta be a new world record!” Trevor teased.

“Shut it!” Lauren fired back playfully.  “I gotta figure out a way to explain this to my dad!”  She then looked up to Trevor, finding herself strangely aroused upon looking over his clothes still covered in cigarette butts and ash as he opened the door to stand up and get the worst of it off his clothes and out of the car.  As he got back inside, he saw Lauren biting her lower lip before she added, “We gotta get you home and out of those dirty clothes, Trevor McPherson!” giggling as she continued driving, only a couple of blocks from Trevor’s place.

Moments later, Lauren led Trevor into his own front door, holding him by his hand with an elevated friskiness, unsure why Trevor didn’t seem to be as into it today as he almost always was but figuring she’d get him in the mood quickly enough.  Trevor excused himself to go into the bathroom to change clothes, and as Trevor closed the door, Lauren giggled to herself as she prepared to surprise him, removing her tanktop and then pulling down her jean shorts, leaving only her matching aqua blue bra and panties partially covering her shapely mid-teen body.

Trevor looked in the bathroom mirror as he tossed his dirty clothes into the hamper and put on a new T-shirt and shorts, his previous insecurities rushing back as he looked at his reflection.  After a few moments, he opened the bathroom door and stepped back into the hallway, where Lauren hid behind the door as it slowly opened.  As he walked toward his bedroom, Lauren crept up and engulfed him from behind with her body, raising her voice to say “Surprise!” as she pressed the front of her body into the back of his.

Trevor’s reflex and the gasp that followed went beyond the typical startled response, and as Lauren leaned over his shoulder to match his face with his PTSD-like reaction, it really hit home how unlike himself Trevor was today.

“Baby, what’s wrong?” Lauren said with maximal concern in her voice, turning Trevor around to face her and noticing a tear welling up in his eye.

Trevor shook his head but was unable to downplay his low-level despair any longer, his quivering voice finally getting out, “It’s not something I really want to talk about right now.  But I’m just not in the mood today,”  pausing before reassuring her,  “Has nothing to do with you.”

The sensitive Lauren was now more emotional than Trevor,  pulling him in for an extended hug and eventually saying, “That’s okay baby.  Maybe we could just lay together for a while.”

As Trevor nodded approvingly, Lauren led him by hand two doors down to his bedroom, lying on her back in his bed and then beckoning him on top of her.  Lauren almost always liked to rest her head on Trevor’s chest after sex, but today it was gonna be Lauren providing comfort, guiding his head onto her breast to just rest there peacefully.  Trevor hadn’t been close to tears up to this point, but was fighting them back now after this loving gesture from his girlfriend, his cheek softly pressing into the fabric of her aqua blue bra and her smooth upper breast while his eyes admired her flat stomach and the gorgeous curvature of her panty line.  He put his hand on her stomach and slowly stroked it much like Lauren frequently did to his chest.  There was only one thing missing and it was rectified a split second after he thought of it, hearing the flicker of a lighter and quickly smelling the cigarette smoke spewing from Lauren as he felt her chest rise up and down with her relaxed breathing and the gentle wheezing sound of her smoked-out lungs.

They laid together for at least a half hour enjoying each other’s touch, and Trevor reassured himself that his love for this girl went far beyond any perverse sexual association with his sisters as he had spent most of the last 24 hours fearing.  There was something much deeper here.


Meanwhile, Haylee and Jacob walked on the trail encircling Eagle Lake, the same lake they danced upon two weeks earlier.  While they had the obscure rear access point of the still-frozen lake to themselves that weekend, the walkway was bustling with walkers on this warm weekday afternoon, the lake now fully thawed and its blue water glistening with the sun’s reflection.  The couple walked hand in hand, exchanging flirty glances as they chatted, with Jacob admiring Haylee’s beautiful face and body, the latter of which was more openly displayed today than he’d seen her before, decked out in a hot pink tanktop and tight white shorts.

Haylee stopped in her tracks and fished around in her purse, with Jacob knowing what was coming next.  He’d taken note of multiple “no smoking” signs dotting the perimeter of the lake, including one not even 10 feet in front of them, but Haylee breezily extracted a Camel Pink No. 9 from her purse and inserted it between her lips, trying to entice Jacob to light her up but quickly deciding to do so herself.  Jacob couldn’t help but feel a little bashful as multiple sets of scornful eyes settled judgmentally on his underage girlfriend as she took her first dangling drag from her cigarette, and he was wondering if any kind of confrontation would ensue over her rule violation.

But Haylee was entirely oblivious to the smoking prohibition, tightening her grip on Jacob’s waist and welcoming his tighter grip on hers, even as he lowered his hand to where it was now touching the side of her ass.  While she enjoyed the grope, it also reminded her of the conflicted feelings she’d had about Jacob since that first dance they shared two months earlier.  She trusted him more than she did then, but not had by no means fully divested her trust in him.  Still, now seemed like the perfect time to set the ground rule she’d been pondering for days but had been fearing Jacob’s response to.

Puckering her lips around the cigarette filter yet again for another dangling drag, Haylee interrupted Jacob’s small talk to throw out a proposition that Jacob could tell was serious by her tone.  “I was thinking, Jacob,” she opened, then pausing with obvious trepidation before continuing, “Some couples have a ’90-day rule’ before they have sex.  I think I’d like to do that.”

Haylee held her breath nervously awaiting his answer, the cigarette smoke bottling up inside her lungs until Jacob responded.  “You want to wait three months?” Jacob asked, just to be sure he heard right, with a wave of disappointment crashing upon his face.

Haylee cowered a bit as the imposing Jacob, standing at least six inches taller than her, looked down upon her, but she soon found the courage to respond with, “I think so.  Please don’t hate me!”

“Wow,” Jacob muttered softly, pondering a premise he’d have never entertained for more than a second with any girl he’d been grooming before, but as he watched the trembling Haylee’s lips pucker around the filter of that pink and white cigarette filter, the cherry glowing red as her innocent body filled up with toxic carcinogens, the decision was made for him.  “You know…I think you’re worth the wait, Haylee,” he responded in a sincere way that melted Haylee’s heart.

A giddy smile emerged on Haylee’s face that Jacob agreed to this ‘test’ to help assuage her doubts, neither of them appreciating that even three months from now, their sexual courtship would still be a criminal act.

Jacob pulled in slowly for a kiss and Haylee took the hint, removing the cigarette hanging from her mouth.  He could taste the overflow smoke spilling from Haylee’s mouth and nose into his own mouth as she breathed, and it was just as intense as it had been two weeks ago.  He felt his male parts stiffen as the kiss continued, and much as he was enjoying it, he was reminded of how much of a struggle these next three months would be for him.


The next Saturday afternoon, a mixed-gender huddle of a dozen or so people, ranging in age from teen to middle-aged, was gathered around the coffee table of a suburban residence, with a few of the people wielding cigarettes.  The 40-something woman sitting in the middle of the couch and serving as a master of ceremonies pointed in the direction of the nervous new girl in the group and told the rest of the group, “And we have a new member who joined us today.  She talked to me on the phone the other day and said she needed some support.  I’d like to introduce you to Courtney and let her introduce herself to all of us….” the woman said with a warm smile directed at the conservatively dressed teen blond in the sweatshirt and jeans who was about to make her introductory statement.

Courtney was mortified and felt like a fish out of water, taking an intense drag from her Marlboro Light Menthol 100 before speaking.  “Hello, my name is Courtney.  I’m 18 years old and this is my first meeting,” Courtney opened, a blast of exhaled smoke sailing nearly two feet in front of her and producing a haze in front of the coffee table, very likely generating the worst possible response from some of the members of this particular group.  She continued, “…..I’ve had a problem with my sexuality for a few years now.  I crave risk.  I crave danger.  I crave being inappropriate and forcing my partner to be inappropriate with me. Even in situations where a guy isn’t my type or if a sexual relationship would be the absolute worst thing for me and the guy, I just can’t seem to stop myself from going for it…..”

She paused for a moment upon feeling some emotions rush in, taking another drag from her cigarette before continuing through a messy talking exhale, “….and recently it’s been causing serious damage to my most important relationships…at work and at home.  I’ve hurt my coworkers.  I’ve hurt my sister.  And I’ve hurt my father.”  Really fighting back the tears at this point, she began to wrap it up, “I made my father a promise to go fishing with him before I graduate high school.  Even though he can’t even look at me right now, I am committed to keeping that promise to my father.”

Emotions fully got the best of Courtney as she closed through her tears, “My name is Courtney…and I am a sex addict”, her hands and lips quivering as she raised the cigarette to her lips for her most deeply intense drag yet, tears rolling down her cheek amid a chorus of greetings, accolades, and kudos from the crowd about Courtney’s gutsy introduction to the group of fellow travelers.

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All Other Fairgrounds Overview

I’m adding this new category to account for additional fairgrounds sightings venues beyond my original three.  It started in 2013 when I stumbled into the Brown County Fair in Aberdeen, South Dakota, when I happened to be staying overnight there on a night the fair was on and scored some memorable sightings.  As of 2015, I made my maiden voyage to the Missouri State Fair and scored one of the best sightings of my life.  It was clear a new category had to be added to account for these new venues and to make room for future sightings I score from fairgrounds outside my Big Three.  I returned to Sedalia, Missouri in August 2016 for another day at the Missouri State Fair and again in 2018.  And in 2017, I visited the Indiana State Fair for the first time.  At some point, I’ll return to Aberdeen, South Dakota, as well.  Enjoy the new material….

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AOF #1. The Show Me State Welcomes Me With Daylong Chainsmoking Show By Distinctive Sexpot Trio

I had been to the 2015 Missouri State Fair for an about an hour without a single sighting under my belt thus far, but in the early afternoon I was ultimately taken aback by how dramatic of an entrance this fairgrounds was about to make when that first sighting came upon me.  Walking by the livestock barns and frustrated by the not-exactly-predicted intense heat and the lack of sightings, my day and indeed my entire summer took an abrupt turn for the better when my eyes focused on the approaching image.  If you’re a fetisher, you are lucky to get one image per summer as fantastic as this.  Twenty yards in front of me was a trio of 21-22ish summer hotties in tanktops and shorts–a visually perfect cluster of feminine youth in the summertime without a single defiling tattoo amongst the three of them–all wielding freshly lit cigarettes between their fingers.  I quickly readied my camera to capture this moment.  Aligning a perfect photo while not looking at the camera and thus telling on yourself is never easy so none of the dozen or so photos I would get of them was perfect, but I still feel that I successfully immortalized their images…..

Instantly, this sighting took me back to my best Minnesota State Fair sighting of 2014, with three sexy smoker girls that each had a distinct visual identity to differentiate them.  In my Missouri trio, there was a long-haired blond with sunglasses in a red blouse with white shorts.  She was hot as hell, but in this group passed for the plain jane.  There was a perfectly coiffed sexpot dark brunette with long, curly hair, a revealing white tanktop and denim cutoffs showing off tremendous flesh and a beautiful chiseled body that flowed into a pair of cowgirl boots.  And then there was the third girl who immediately captured my imagination best, a slender light brunette with shoulder length hair wearing a pink blouse and short jean shorts with cowgirl boots, who had the most wholesome and heartwarming face I’ve seen all season, albeit with a faint hint of hardening suggesting she’s been a heavy smoker for a while.  Nearly five hours worth of driving to Sedalia, Missouri, was already worthwhile and I hadn’t even seen them smoke yet!

After they walked past me, I turned around, watching them from behind while taking rear snapshots of their asses and the cigarettes between their fingers.  Doing so I was able to see their smoking technique, all of which were vaguely similar at least in this context of walking with their backs to a decent south breeze which scattered their cloudy exhales northward.  This vantage point behind them was also perfect for allowing me to see the reactions of others walking past them.  Virtually everybody took note of this sexy young trio, and judging from the direction their eyes went, they also took note of the cigarettes in their hands.  One woman seemed visibly annoyed and shook her head upon observing all three girls were smoking.  I also took note that my wholesome light brunette had a pack of Camel Light Menthols stuffed into her jean shorts, ready to do business for the entire day!  These girls were nothing if not cooperative on Saturday and came to a stop at a perfect vantage point where I could lean against a fence and snap more pics as they stood there smoking.  It was only when the girls stopped that I realized this steam roller had a fourth wheel….a clean-cut college age guy….but you’ll forgive me for not putting his presence together with this trio of girls for a variety of reasons, the most substantial being he was not smoking himself!  This man, folks, is the luckiest nonsmoking guy on the planet and I hope he realizes that!  I got the sense that the group, especially the guy, was wise to me but if ever there was a time for taking risks, this was it as I snapped several more pics from this sedentary location and watched these beauties continue smoking.  Just fantastic!

The blond finished her cigarette first and appeared heading for the dairy cattle barn of all places, dropping her cigarette to the pavement without crushing it out and then vanishing inside that dairy building.  The rest of the group had other destinations to visit though and pressed forward, giving me the chance to identify blondie’s smoldering cigarette as a Camel Blue.  I pressed forward to see my wholesome light brunette had just finished her cigarette as well, also dropping it to the pavement without bothering to crush it out.  I could tell by the pack in the back of her jean shorts that her brand was Camel Light Menthols, but confirmed it looking at the smoldering remains of her cancer stick.  Now it was just a matter of that sexy dark brunette, the slowest smoker of the trio.  I got to watch a few more drags from her over the next 50 yards or so before she also retired her smoldering butt to the ground.  Hers was a Marlboro Light Special Blend.  Three different distinct beauties with three distinct brands all smoking together.  The imagery and quality of the girls being what they were, this sighting would have been my best so far of the 2015 fair season if it had ended right there, but suffice it to say it was nowhere near over.

An hour or so went by after that as I stitched together a few more modest sightings on the grounds, but right around 1:00 the day’s trajectory dramatically reversed, and it was all courtesy of a girl who by herself was a pretty impressive find.  A trio of two girls and a guy in their mid-to-late 20s were walking towards a small fairgrounds bar called Chuckie Dee’s and one of the girls was a brunette with sunglasses, a white shoulderless tanktop and dark jeans who looked ready for the party, particularly with a freshly lit cigarette in hand.  She waltzed right into the bar with her cigarette and asked somebody something, which I would quickly discover to be a request for an ashtray as she was handed one before retreating to a table near a wall with her two friends.  The female friend was a light brunette in a purple tanktop and pale blue jean shorts who I found hotter than the smoker, and I was taking a bench outside ready, willing, and able to wait as I needed for her to produce cigarettes of her own, but my plans got changed when I looked one table to their right and saw who was sitting there…..

Three of the four participants in my great original Missouri State Fair sighting occupied that table, including the guy, the sexpot brunette, and the wholesome light brunette cutie.  The blond who went into the cattle barn earlier was not there.  The only problem was there was a partition obstructing my view of them from the bench where I sat.  I scrambled and searched the perimeter of this open-air bar for another more accommodating bench….and I found one!  At the front entryway of the bar was a wide open bench where I could observe the bench where this trio sat, close enough to appreciate the imagery but far enough away that I didn’t stand out like a sore thumb to them.  The second I sat down I could have sworn I saw a plume of smoke exhaled from the mouth of the dark brunette.  I figure my eyes probably didn’t deceive me and that she did in fact take the final exhale from a cigarette she crushed out outside of my sight range.  Either way, I just had a feeling that if I waited here for a while, I’d see more smoking from one or more of these girls.   An otherwise tempting sighting walked by right in front of me, a family where a 19ish skinny brunette daughter had a pack of Newports stuffed into her back jeans pocket, but especially considering that girl wasn’t smoking, I wasn’t about to vacate this bench overlooking my best find so far in the 2015 fair season.

I had to wait no more than five minutes before the wholesome light brunette inserted an all-white between her lips and fired up.  I don’t often get the visceral flourish of excitement where my heart skips a beat seeing a girl smoking a cigarette but it sure happened at that moment.  This time, I was gonna get to watch her smoke the whole cigarette!  Even though this bar was open-air, the context was exactly like an old-fashioned bar setting, complete with the ashtray, and the imagery of her smoking evoked that.  I never got much of a chance to admire her style when I saw her smoking by the livestock barns earlier but that deficiency was being amended now.  Her drags were rock-solid, lasting a good five seconds and exposing a pleasured sensation on her face followed by generous exhales that she usually tilted slightly skyward to release, which the aforementioned south wind scattered into the bar.  It would have been hard to imagine this girl could upstage the imagery of her first cigarette with her friends outdoors but my front-row seat to her bar setting cigarette pulled it off, and I savored every moment until she extinguished the cigarette’s remains in the ashtray in front of her.  Was this the time to walk away?  Perhaps for an ordinary duo of fair girls, but these two were not ordinary, and I just knew that there would be more rewards for staying where I was at.  And it wouldn’t take long for those rewards to be realized….

No more than three minutes passed before the sexy dark brunette took out another cigarette and lit up, and this motivated her wholesome light brunette friend to light up another one too.  Oh sweet….both girls smoking at once again!  But of course there was one member of this trio not smoking….and that was the guy who never did light up even while in the presence of all these heavy-smoking females.  If ever there was a case study on whether secondhand smoke kills or not, it would be this guy.  If secondhand smoke is as dangerous as they claim it is, this guy should be dead in the next few years!  And his would-be killers couldn’t have been happier about their method of execution as the two girls smoked copiously, each producing beautiful clouds of smoke that were carried further into the bar by the wind.  The wholesome light brunette was the better–and faster–smoker of the two with cloudier exhales and better pacing, but the dark brunette looked so damn badass in her sunglasses dragging from her cigarette and typically exhaling straight ahead, making no effort at all to spare the guy sitting across from her the exhaust from her dark lungs.  The wholesome girl crushed out her cigarette a couple of minutes before the slower-smoking dark brunette friend.  And in the biggest irony of the day, the piped-in music coming from the bar’s speaker was now playing Alan Jackson’s late 90s hit “Everything I Love” of which the song’s hook is “everything I love is killing me….cigarettes, Jack Daniels, and caffeine”.  Clearly these girls don’t listen too closely to the lyrics of the country bars they frequent as they were a few years from the emphysema ward at the rate they were going! Right after the dark brunette finished hers, she got up and I figured the whole group was leaving…..but it was only the dark brunette.  I don’t know where she went but now it was just the guy and the wholesome light brunette at the table by themselves.  I began to suspect they were boyfriend and girlfriend but was later dissuaded of that impression.  More on that later, but in the meantime since my favorite girl of the group was sticking around, I was gonna do the same and see how high the cigarette count would go!

This was actually a perfect situation for me because my feet were still sore from 8 1/2 hours of walking at the Iowa State Fair that ended Thursday night at midnight.  My feet would be hard-pressed to handle a full 12 hours of walking on cement again all day and night Saturday, so my extended sit on this bench overlooking my favorite girls in the bar allowed me the best of both worlds….fantastic sightings from the comfort of my easy chair.  I was a little concerned that I was missing great stuff elsewhere on the fairgrounds but I definitely made the right choice to stick around and I would formalize my stay by approaching the bar and ordering a pulled pork sandwich, giving me something to eat while being entertained by the smoker girl and a live band that was now performing and was quite good.  Again, my timing couldn’t have been better….because as I was standing there waiting on my sandwich, the wholesome light brunette smoker was standing at the bar right next to me ordering another beer.  This was the closest I was all day physically to this perfect female specimen….and frankly she kind of reeked of smoke!  I retreated to my bench while she was still in line waiting for another beer, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her perfect ass and those great legs with the cowgirl boots at the bottom, the breeze whipping around the bottom of her loose fitting pink top and showing off some midriff.  Her sex appeal was off the charts.  She walked back to her seat with the fresh beer, and I knew that with the new beer another cigarette was about to be smoked.

She made me wait about five more minutes but didn’t disappoint when her fourth cigarette of the last two hours (at least, I probably missed at least one!) was ignited.  While I had sort of appreciated the old-fashioned bar setting of this sighting up to this point, something I hadn’t experienced to this degree since Cousin Jamie’s wedding in 2002, it was after she lit this latest cigarette that it really hit home for me, and for a very specific reason.  For the first half of the cigarette, she rested her elbow on the table and held her cigarette close to her face as it smoldered.  With indoor smoking sightings having all but disappeared in my part of the country, an already visually appealing pose for a sexy smoker gal became that much more stunning because of its scarcity.  I honestly can’t even remember the last time I saw a girl smoking in this pose, and it was tearing me up inside with excitement.  The visceral thrill I mentioned that this girl gave me when she lit up before was occurring every couple of minutes at this point and I couldn’t get enough of it.  She took a good 6-8 drags with her elbow on the table before retreating to her previous position of holding her cigarette hand to her side next to her chair but I appreciated the hell out of those throwback stylings for as long as they lasted.  And sometimes this girl would flash a smile or have a certain look in her eye that just melted my heart witnessing it, reinforcing my notion that she was one of the most perfect smoker girls who ever lived, a perfect combination of heavy and unashamed smoker with a fun and charming personality.

She finished that fourth cigarette and I was determined to ride this show out as long as I could.  I know I had been spotted again by the girl and the guy with her but the presence of this live band performing behind them gave me a reason to be looking their way.  It was one of those perfect fetish days where absolutely everything was going my way. Nonetheless, the band’s arrival posed a logistical challenge when more people came to listen to them, including some who sat in my line of vision of the chainsmoking babe, at least partially obstructing me from seeing more of her.  I found myself fidgeting on my bench trying to find holes in the crowd where I could see the girl.  Thankfully, this crowd’s formation occurred in between cigarettes but I knew with this girl that period wouldn’t last long so I was hoping for some kind of break or that she would actually hold off before firing up her next one.  About 10 minutes passed when I saw an opening just large enough that I saw her nose and mouth in between two other customers…..and she was placing an unlit cigarette in her mouth, her fifth so far today that I observed.  It sure was a weird yet oddly satisfying experience watching this cigarette being inserted into a female mouth yet not being able to see the rest of her face.  And it played out this way for her first couple of drags too before a brief parting in the crowd allowed me a better vantage point where I could observe the rest of her face smoking too, never disappointing even for a second.  Was this girl an anomaly even in small-town Missouri or was she not necessarily the exception to the rule of being such a heavy smoker?  I also observed that she was very gingerly sipping her beer, which was in an ordinary plastic cup.  She was only on her second beer since I arrived here more than an hour ago.  Some more casual smoking girls say they smoke when they drink, but with this girl I think she would be more inclined to say she drinks while she smokes!

There was some unsettled activity during this fifth cigarette as the guy got up and walked off, perhaps to go to the bathroom….or else he finally reached his breaking point tolerating the girl’s incessant smoking.  Either way, I briefly abandoned my bench and retreated to a rear position behind where the girl sat.  The half-smoked cigarette was in her left hand as she continued to watch the band while sitting alone, and from this rear position I got to admire something else.  I mentioned earlier how when she was standing at the counter waiting for a beer the breeze was whipping around her blouse.  It was still doing that now as she sat with her back to the wind, but since she was sitting an inch or more of her black panties were exposed above the belt line of her shorts.  This girl just never quit finding ways to turn me on!  She took three back-to-back-to-back drags from her cigarette before crushing it out and continuing to sit there.  It was now 3:00 and I wanted to at least see what else the fair had to offer, thinking I would check in on a very regular basis to see what my wholesome light brunette was up to.

I did just that and was back in no more than 10 minutes.  Surprisingly the table was vacant, but I hustled on up to see if I could get a closer look at that ashtray provided it wasn’t cleaned out yet.  I got there and saw an ashtray with nearly a dozen butts in it, the majority being my favorite girl’s Camel Light Menthols.  But I also saw her pack of cigarettes and a half-empty beer still sitting there, signaling to me that she was planning to return.  I left the scene and returned in a few minutes.  Sure enough, all three of the original party were now back….the nonsmoking guy, my wholesome light brunette, and that impossibly sexy dark brunette, who was smoking another cigarette, her third or probably fourth cigarette of the afternoon.  My bench was still mostly open so I seized it, wanting to see more of the dark brunette’s style.  She didn’t smoke as quickly as I’d prefer but she was a great smoker with long indulgent drags and cloudy exhales.  And I love the dark brunette’s presence because every time she lights a cigarette, she inspires her heavier-smoking friend to light another.  Two-thirds way into the dark brunette’s cigarette, the light brunette fired up another of her own, her sixth so far this afternoon that I witnessed.  I stayed once again until both girls finished their cigarettes before making another attempt to take off, planning again to return and see when they smoke again.

I felt a little guilty for neglecting the rest of the grounds in favor of one girl (or group of girls), as incredible as they were, but when I returned to the grounds I realized I hadn’t been missing much.  There still wasn’t much going on out there, in particular in the midway when I finally made another trip through there.  I was heading back to Chuckie Dee’s to keep tabs on those smelly sexpot chainsmokers, but when I got halfway there, I discovered they were coming to me!  They finally left the bar and were now heading in the direction of the midway without any cigarettes.  And this time, the original blond was back.  The band was back together, with all three girls and the nonsmoking guy.  I had assumed with all the alone time that the guy spent with the wholesome light brunette that she was his girlfriend, but he was putting his arms all over the sexy dark brunette as they walked.  What gives here?  Maybe he’s fucking both of them!  Whatever the arrangement, I’d pay my life savings to spend one damn day in this guy’s shoes!  I was torn between following them into the midway and risking being called out with as familiar as my presence was at this point or returning to their table at the bar to do an official cigarette butt count in the ashtray.  Considering it might be a while before the girls lit up again, especially if they were about to ride midway rides, I decided to check out the ashtray.  I probably made a mistake as I got there to find the table still empty but the ashtray already gone.  And when I returned to the midway, I didn’t find them again.  I certainly wasn’t in a position to complain about what these girls, and the wholesome light brunette in particular, had already delivered for me.  And you never know, it’s possible we haven’t heard the last of them….

Fast forward about five hours.  It was around 8:30 p.m. and since the smoker girl trio last departed the day offered mostly only modest rewards to put it generously. I was hoping to finally find something worthwhile on the midway, which had thus far been a disappointment despite my high early hopes of evening sightings of mid-teen girls.  I got three-quarters way through the midway when a voice inside me told me to turn right at the midway exit leading to a series of fair buildings that I hadn’t explored much that day.  Occasionally my instincts lead me to something worthwhile, but never could I have imagined the reward I was less than a minute from stumbling into.  As I approached a foursome that included three girls and one guy, an air of familiarity struck me instantly but it took a couple of seconds to realize that the trio of sexpot chainsmokers who started my day at the Missouri State Fair and occupied the majority of the afternoon were back….and had changed clothes!  This led me to believe they must live right here in Sedalia as they appeared to have left the fair to change their outfits, but I suppose it’s possible they simply brought a change of clothes in their car.  Either way, imagine my luck to have been in the right place at the right time to catch up with these girls AGAIN after five hours between encounters, extending the best sighting of the 2015 fair season into an evening encore…..

The guy in the group was talking to another guy and motioning the girls to go do whatever they wanted to do, apparently under the terms that he’d catch up with them later.  What the girls wanted to do was apparently get some food as the three of them drifted towards a corn dog stand and I followed.  So what outfits did they change into?  The blond was now wearing a white top with a fringed midsection that largely covered the jean shorts she wore below the waist.  She was still sexy, but continued to come in third place in this high-end threesome.  My favorite wholesome light brunette in the Midwest who smoked the most during the day appeared to be wearing the same pink blouse along with a pair of tight jeans.  I guess I preferred her short jean shorts from earlier but she was rocking these tight blue jeans as well and seeing her in another outfit made this already wildly comprehensive sighting encounter all the more comprehensive.  But winning the outfit wars in the evening was that sexpot dark brunette, somehow managing to outdo her country girl ensemble from the daytime now decked out in a maroon tanktop with painted-on short black shorts that fit her muscular lower body like heaven.  I just may have been following the sexiest trio of early 20s gals in all of America!

The girls walked up to the corn dog stand and I had to be discreet not to get busted stalking them again, but found a bench across the street from their stand to observe and even snapped a couple of distant photos of them in their new outfits.  The pics didn’t really turn out but it was still kind of worth it for me.  They walked away with a single corn dog in the possession of my wholesome light brunette.  I had to keep my distance and ended up losing them in the crowd for less than a minute.  I’m assuming the girls collectively devoured the corn dog because it was gone by the time I caught up with them again, and they were progressing past the farm equipment on a now-vacant side street when it happened.  The cigarettes were coming out yet again.  A lighter ignited a cigarette to life in the blond’s mouth first and the fires kept popping up to ignite the tobacco cylinders in the other two girls’ mouths as well.  For the first time since noon, I was seeing all three of them smoking again.  It was only the second cigarette I had seen the blond smoke but this was the fourth cigarette of the sexy dark brunette, and the seventh cigarette of my favorite girl, the wholesome light brunette.  I had to follow from about 15 yards behind so as not to get busted but was able to see clouds of smoke exhaled from their mouths one after another during that joyous walk.  Where were they heading?  The very crowded beer gardens block of course.  I was hoping they’d hover outside the bar so I could watch them smoke the rest of their cigarettes, but what happened instead was almost as good.  The three sexpots with fresh cigarettes in their fingers weaved right through the crowd and strutted right into the bar with cigarettes in hand, where I can guarantee you that they turned most heads inside the bar because of both their beauty and their boldness.  I approached the entryway of the open-air bar and looked inside.  It was so crowded that I couldn’t see where they went…..but this story STILL hasn’t ended!

I stayed pretty close to that beer gardens block most of the rest of the night because I knew that was where most of the smoking action was gonna be, and plus I wanted to keep tabs on “the trio”.  I always weaved my way towards the entryway of that country bar the girls walked into and about 15 minutes after they arrived, there “she” was….that same wholesome light brunette, now in her pink blouse and tight jeans, standing there talking to a guy who also looked pretty wholesome sitting there on a chair across from where she was standing.  Once again, she was smoking a cigarette and he was not.  Apparently wholesome nonsmoking guys are the only kind of guys this girl fraternizes with, and as I watched her smoke her eighth cigarette of the day while sipping on a beer, it hit me that it could have been me sitting there flirting with this heavy-smoking cutie.  The price one has to pay at these fairs for obsessively tracking sightings is that you become too familiar to the smoker girls and look like hell from racing around the grounds in the hot sun becoming a pile of sweat to the point of having no chance of engaging socially.  Obviously I might not have been her type anyway, but I was really jealous of this guy who was in a position to watch her smoke from an even closer vantage point than me.  Her smoking style stayed consistent, taking nicely paced five-second drags with a pleasured look on her face followed a slightly skyward exhale right inside the bar, flashing that beautiful smile and infectious giggle regularly while socializing with this lucky guy who apparently had no problem dealing with her stench.

I even hit a sensory overload point in the middle of cutie’s eighth cigarette because, all at once, a bunch of other hotties were spilling out of the bar with cigarettes and lingering in my immediate area.   Where were all these girls around 6 p.m. when I would have been able to appreciate them more!?!??!  I was positioned nicely to look to my left and watch these girls smoking outside, and then look to my right inside the bar to see the wholesome light brunette girl of the day releasing another blast of smoke to contaminate the air in the bar.  It was a few minutes of pure bliss until the outside smokers finished their cigarettes one after another and the wholesome light brunette disappeared further inside the bar….

This beer gardens block was just off the midway which was convenient for me as it allowed me to explore the midway in a fruitless pursuit for young teen smokers yet still never be far away from that beer gardens block.  As for my favorite country bar with my favorite trio of girls inside, it had a back entrance that was also open-air and when I looked inside next I would see my wholesome light brunette line dancing to “Copperhead Road” with the guy she had just been talking to towards the front of the bar a few minutes earlier.  No cigarette in her hand while she danced but it was still a beautiful image and made me wonder how exhausted her black lungs must be at the end of that line dancing workout….

About a half hour later around 11:30, I made my final pass down the midway with one more journey on that beer gardens block which was single-handedly making my evening.  And the evening would not be complete without one more fantastic sighting of the two star players of the “trio”, who were now outside the front entryway of the country bar smoking in the company of two nonsmoking guys, one of whom being the same guy that the wholesome light brunette was talking to and line dancing with earlier.  You gotta figure the girls stepped outside to smoke to enjoy a cool breeze and escape the heat from inside with all the sweaty dancers as it seems very unlikely that it was out of any inhibition about smoking inside given their body of work for the day so far!  Either way, there they were smoking their ninth and fifth cigarettes of the day that I witnessed, standing there puffing in front of these wholesome, nonsmoking guys who were enduring their ashtray aroma with smiles on their faces.  I hovered from a respectable distance admiring what I knew would be the last cigarette I’d see smoked from that beautiful light brunette who continued to drag fiercely on her beloved Camel Light Menthol while directing her cloudy exhales skyward.  I’m guessing this girl is a very heavy smoker even on a regular day but within the context of this beer-soaked day at the fair I bet she smoked at least two full packs on August 22, 2015….

And I also felt blessed to get one more upclose look at that scorching hot dark brunette friend in that smoldering maroon tanktop and tight black shorts, the hottest outfit of the entire Missouri State Fair, as she smoked away on her own cigarette with a typically slower pace than the more wholesome friend with blobbier and straight ahead exhales from her Marlboro Light Special Blends.  The final cigarette count from this trio would be nine cigarettes from the wholesome light brunette, five cigarettes from the sexpot dark brunette, and two cigarettes from the blond who only made cameos over the course of the day.  The nine cigarettes from the light brunette rivaled last year’s Iowa State Fair teen chainsmoker, albeit over the course of an entire day rather than just a couple of hours like last year’s girl.  A sighting that started out resembling last year’s #2 fairgrounds sighting ended up being a hybrid of 2014’s #2 and #1, which is not at all a bad place to be.  Without a doubt, this “trio” who represented my Missouri State Fair baptism served me up the most comprehensive and longest-lasting sighting encounter of my life and will be immortalized forever on my blog as a result.

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AOF #2. Teen Blond In Painted-On Jean Shorts Gives Comprehensive Three-Cigarette Performance

As the Cole Swindell concert was playing during the 9:00 hour at the 2018 Missouri State Fair, I ventured south to the block full of bars where I came upon a hottie with a cigar, but she frustrated me by crushing it out on her shoe before taking a single drag. All things happen for a reason though, and in this case, that short-circuited cigar sighting would lead me to something incredibly special as I progressed towards the bathroom area just to the south….

I’d traveled about 10 yards from the source of the last sighting when this tight rear package graced my eyes and I thought to myself “Damn! Now that’s a backside!” as I scanned this young female in a huddle with two guys, one of whom was smoking. A layer of thin, pale blue denim wrapped itself around the perfectly sculpted bubble butt of this blond like Press ‘N’ Seal plastic wrap, unforgivingly clutching her ass in a way that seemed incredibly uncomfortable. I’d seen a handful of teen girls over the course of the fair season wearing shorts that fit like this, and had always thought to myself how great it would be to match that image with a girl smoking a cigarette. I looped around the huddle to get a look at the girl, who looked about 17 or 18 and was the personification of everygirl Midwestern wholesomeness with undeniable IT factor, reminding me of an early 2000s Beverley Mitchell, the actress who played Lucy on “7th Heaven”. I didn’t give her a second thought as I pressed forward to the bathroom area in case any smokers were lingering there. When I saw nothing, I doubled back the direction I came from and nearly lost my footing when I watched the teen blond with the incredible ass place a cork filter cigarette in her mouth and light up. At first, I figured I would struggle to find a good position to watch it play out, but one of the guys in her group said he was gonna walk up to the nearby beer vendor and the girl followed. What??!?! There was no possible way this girl was 21, I thought to myself! I was right on that and would get confirmation later on, and partial confirmation now as she stood up there at the beer vendor waiting on this older guy to buy one, and presumably, chat up the vendor as he did. And now I was able to hover in the background and relaxedly enjoy the show…..

There was a fan running inside the beer booth as the teen smoker stood there, her long blond hair whipping with the breeze and distracting me for a moment until I realized the cigarette was parked right there in her mouth where it dangled for a good 20 seconds. By now the guy in her company had finished his cigarette, but this smelly teen was standing right up there with a fan spreading around her cigarette smoke every which way for people inside and outside to choke on. She removed the cigarette and held it to her side after that extended no-purpose dangle but for some reason continued to linger there. Maybe she knew the beer vendor and was chatting with him in the presence of this older guy. I have no idea, but it allowed me to watch her smoke about two-thirds of the cigarette before she got moving, leaving the general area.

I followed but was taken aback when she started really boogeying eastward past the block of bars, separating herself from the crowd and allowing me a little less risk as I followed since she was walking alone. It was a special treat to see her move so fast in those ridiculously tight shorts, with every movement of her ass putting at risk the structural integrity of that fragile denim. It was a challenge to keep up with her though as she maneuvered through the large crowd, continuing to drag from the cigarette she held to her side. I figured that cigarette had to have been down to the filter when she finally dropped it to the pavement, pressing forward without crushing it out. Indeed, when I got there, I couldn’t make out the brand because it had been smoked to the edge of the cork filter. There was a free stage across the street from the grandstand playing live music, and my blond teen smoker boogied right on up into the seating area and stopped when she got to a little old lady sitting in a wheelchair, talking to the old lady with her fresh cigarette breath? WTF? I’d get more context on this later…and believe me, there will be a later….

I made a quick call to my parents away from the grandstand to touch upon my travel plans for the next day but would return to the grandstand area within 10 minutes or so. A familiar face with a familiar posterior was suddenly walking in front of me with a middle-aged woman who was clearly her mother. I had assumed the most heavenly sight in the world to behold was her ass in those painted-on jean shorts but I was wrong as there was at least one thing more heavenly to behold….her ass in those painted-on jean shorts with a pack of Marlboro Reds poking out! This perfectly wholesome-looking Midwestern blond teen was now cutting into the area overlooking the stage outside the north end of the grandstand to see what was left of the Cole Swindell concert. Considering the concert was soon to get out, presumably with stacks of sightings on the immediate horizon, I was really taking a risk as I followed mom and daughter to see if I could get more, but this risk felt like the right one with the potential for a tremendous reward….

I stood to the left of the mother and daughter admiring the daughter’s outrageous ass and taking a few photos standing there, with the lighting being just sufficient to where the pics turned out decent without considerable blurring. She had pushed the pack of cigarettes down so they were no longer peek-a-booing out of her pocket, but standing there listening to Cole Swindell’s encore it continued to feel like I was in the right place for something magical to happen…..and then it did! After about two or three minutes, I noticed the mother was lighting up a cigarette. I had about two seconds to let the momentum build in my chest before the daughter started reaching into her shorts pocket to dig out a cigarette of her own.  People started walking into the area and killed my chance for a light-up photo but I certainly saw the light-up and had all I could do to contain my excitement watching this teen girl smoking with her mom as they both sung along to the music….

The concert was officially ending and mother and daughter were progressing back onto the street, shamelessly smoking their cigarettes for any and all to see with the huge crowd about to pour out of the grandstand en masse. There was a “General Store” booth near the grandstand selling a number of items, including cigarettes, and the two of them strutted right up to it. I managed to get a couple of pics of the daughter dragging, even though they turned out too blurry to fully appreciate. They waited briefly in line before it was their turn, with mother and daughter walking on up, both continuing to smoke their cigarettes and having zero inhibitions about it. It was surreal watching the daughter pull the cigarette up to her mouth and exhale slightly to her side, making just the slightest attempt to spare a vendor from her secondhand smoke…mind you, this being the second vendor she’s asphyxiated with cigarette smoke in just the last 20 minutes! I was really hoping they’d buy more cigarettes since this vendor was selling them, but all I could see that was purchased was a bottle of water for the daughter, reaffirming my suspicion she was a teenager well under drinking age.

As they walked away and weaved through the crowd en route to the seating for the free stage where they emerged from about 10 minutes earlier, it struck me that this was likely going to be my best sighting of the 2018 fair season. The daughter walked up to the back edge of the standing crowd and took a final drag from her cigarette before dropping it to the pavement, and just like last time, she didn’t bother to crush it out, leaving it to smolder where it laid. She smoked the last one to the filter so I didn’t know she was smoking Marlboro Reds until I saw the pack in her back pocket, but looking at the cherry burn there below my feet I knew which brand it was this time. The two stinky ladies sat back down at the table where they sat before amidst a huddle of other presumed family members, including that old lady in the wheelchair who was still there. Content that this sighting had played out, I now had to head off and check out that departing grandstand crowd….

And while I ticked off several more quality sightings in just a few minutes as I ventured off, I was so on the clouds thinking about that mother-teen daughter sighting that not much else was breaking through mentally. For the entire 10 minutes or so that I was away, my heart was still at that free stage seating area where I knew a sweetheart of a teen smoking blond was sitting there with her family. It was time to go back…just in case. And so I did, settling into where the family sat and being startled to see the mother and a couple others in the party already smoking more cigarettes. I looked the daughter over hoping she was smoking another too, but at least for now she wasn’t, still nursing that bottle of water she bought at the General Store. I figured if I waited long enough there was a very good chance she’d light up again, but things got complicated as her phone was lighting up and she soon stood up to talk to the old lady in the wheelchair again, who appeared to be her grandmother, presumably bidding her adieu for the evening as she was meeting up with friends. She got up and was walking in an odd circle as if looking for the friends but ended up returning to the seating area as though they didn’t show up. I continued to hover at the seating area for a few more minutes waiting for her to light up again, but I ultimately screwed up. I figured I’d make a quick pass down that block of bars but be sure to get back  in two or three minutes, so if blondie had lit another cigarette, I’d still be able to see her smoke most of it. Indeed, I was only gone for a couple of minutes, but when I returned the blond had flown the coop. I realized I screwed up royally and walked all over in the immediate area seeing if I could find her….but I didn’t. I was furious with myself for taking this pointless risk and betting against a sure thing. And I was running out of time because it was almost 11:00 now and I wanted to get out of there around 11:30….

I was stringing together some decent sightings but nothing overly memorable in light of what I had just seen so I figured I’d make one more loop through the midway and call it a night, as I wanted to get some fast food before they closed at midnight and get some sleep before a long day of driving the following day. I did just that and was mentally checked out for the night right around 11:30, heading past the block of bars one final time and hoping to check off a couple of quick, final sightings on my way to the exit. But a certain fairgoer wasn’t gonna let me leave just yet. I made it about halfway up the block of bars when I spotted the sweetheart blond in those impossible-to-miss painted-on jean shorts with a mixed-gender group of four friends who all looked 17 or 18. As she walked past me, I knew my night would have one additional act. I grimaced with regret as I checked out her ass and saw the pack of Marlboro Reds was now stuffed in her right back pocket rather than the left where it had been, suggesting I probably missed at least one cigarette in the half hour or so since I lost track of her.

I quickly picked up on the fact that she and one of her girlfriends got separated from the other girl and the two guys, and they briefly had a look of confusion on their faces until blondie looked back and finally identified her departed friends several yards behind. The purest and most innocent giggle emerged from blondie as her group reconnected, the kind of giggle that made her seem even younger than I suspected she was. The group of five pressed forward into the midway from there and I followed, hopeful but not confident, believing that I missed my chance during that period of separation. But my fears were assuaged only a few yards into the midway when that pack of Marlboro Reds was extracted from her shorts pocket. I was overcome with excitement as I watched her take out a cigarette and her lighter from the pack, but I couldn’t have possibly imagined how great her third chapter would be…

The carnival lights were briefly overshadowed by the flicker of blondie’s lighter as she brought yet another Marlboro Red to life. She crammed that pack back into her left ass pocket, and every time she put those cigarettes in and out of her shorts pocket I held my breath in fear that the slightest provocation would stretch the shorts beyond their limit, ripping them to shreds and getting her arrested for indecent exposure! As a plume of smoke flowed from her mouth after the exhale, a guardian angel emerged from the sidelines. A carnival worker saw her with the cigarette and shouted, “Are you underage?!?!?” as she walked past. She turned around with that classic look of teenage girl exasperation every bit as age-appropriate as her giggle two minutes earlier. “No!” she shouted back, her cigarette animated in her right hand, “I’m 18!” she continued as the carnival worker apologized and then said “We’re supposed to ask”, apparently indicating the carnival workers are de facto teen smoking cops at the fair. That was depressing generally, but wonderful for the added context of this incredible sighting….

With the confrontation settled, blondie pressed forward through the midway, casually dragging from her cigarette with a steady litany of timely and quality drags, the cherry glowing and her cheeks hollowing every time she pulled in smoke. As for her exhales, suffice it to say she wasn’t any gentler to her nonsmoking friends than she was to those adult men at the beer vendor booth or the General Store booth who choked on her secondhand smoke earlier. In fact, her next exhale drifted right into the face of a petite brunette friend, who proceeded to use her phone to wave the mess of smoke from her face that blondie just exhaled, a look of annoyance on her face that she failed to pass on to the smoker responsible for her discomfort. As for the guy who was walking closest to blondie, he got his even worse. She was slightly in front of him when she took another quality drag, exhaling the snootful of smoke that proceeded to flow directly into his face and absolutely plaster him. Unlike the girl before him, he didn’t respond at all. If he has a brain in his head, he loved every nanosecond of it….

The group was now at the back of the midway and looping around to the other side, with still more than half of blondie’s cigarette left. I had been nervous that she was knew I was following at various points in the night, but she and her friends now seemed oddly oblivious as I was following fairly closely and don’t think they had a clue I was taking it all in. Being so close, I couldn’t help but get some final admiring glances in at that ass so snugly contained in those shorts. They were so short that as she walked, there were several occasions where I could see “above the fold”, the bottom centimeter or so of her asscheek before it transitioned to upper thigh. You see a lot of girls tugging at their shorts from time to time, but this girl was doing it constantly. It was clearly an endless struggle for her to dislodge the repeated wedgies that her shorts were giving her just by walking or even by standing still. The sacrifice she was making to look sexy as hell was paying off in spades for me, but there was no sacrifice at all on her part in terms of the sex appeal that her smoking provided because it was clearly all pleasure for her. She was in the final throes of her cigarette as I followed her group into a more crowded part of the midway, but she was still as carefree as ever in terms of where she took a drag and where she released the exhale. She took a final drag and flippantly tossed the butt to the ground again…of course failing to crush it out. This girl laughs in the face of crushing out her polluted cigarette butts, and as I walked past the still-glowing cherry on what little was left of that cork filter Marlboro Red, my heart was as full as her lungs were….

I picked up my pace and took one last look at her ass and then one last look at her face before wandering off entirely, realizing I had seen the real-life version of the idealized sighting I’d been hoping for every time this fair season that I saw an innocent-looking teenage girl in such outrageously tight and short shorts. Here was an 18-year-old girl who over the past couple of hours had comprehensively showed me that she can and does smoke a cigarette wherever and whenever she damn well pleases, in front of family, friends, and complete strangers. We’re nearly a generation removed from a time when that kind of smoking behavior would have been considered normal, especially for a girl of such a wholesome-looking pedigree. And I couldn’t help but wonder how young she started and how long she’s been openly smoking in front of family and friends. Just try to top this sighting for the remainder of the 2018 fair season, I thought to myself, setting the bar extraordinarily high for the next week’s Minnesota State Fair. Needless to say, topping this sighting wasn’t in the cards for 2018…or perhaps any year to come!

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AOF #3. Mid-Teen Smoker Cutie Tries To Ask Out 20-Something Guy With Cigarette In Hand

Not five minutes after I arrived at the Brown County Fairgrounds in Aberdeen, South Dakota, on that accidental visit in August 2013, I was heading up to the grandstand area as country singer Brantley Gilbert was putting on a concert and I wanted to see what kind of crowd was near the grandstand, but before I even made it there, I spotted a huddle of mid-teen girls that included a total cutiepie of a long-haired light brunette in a pink tanktop and dark jeans with an all-white cigarette between her fingers.  After a combined 19 hours at the Iowa State Fair in the previous seven days, I had not once seen a girl this young with a cigarette.  And not only was she young, she was cute as a button.  And this girl was as beginner as they came as evidenced by the way she held her cigarette and her very shallow and infrequent drags.  A style queen she was not, but what a face to attach to a cigarette in the year 2013, particularly since she was the cutest girl in the group yet the only one smoking. And the sighting was about to get a honey of a storyline over the course of the 5-7 minutes that it played out….

A couple of wholesome nonsmoking South Dakota boys gathered amidst this group of four girls, including the smoker, not too long after I spotted them.  The smoker girl was conversing with one of the guys and it was hard to tell whether this was a serious “request and rejection” or if the girl was just teasing, but I heard her say “Give me a reason why!” to which the guy responded lightheartedly “Me 20, you 16!”  Holy shit!  This adorable teen smoker was lusting for this older apparently nonsmoking guy and asking him out with cigarette in hand and fresh tobacco breath.  Nothing audible was said after that but the girl didn’t appear particularly devastated.  Wish I could have smacked some sense into that 20-year-old guy.  If you get a chance to hit a smoker girl like this, it’s worth going to prison!!!  Anyway, the smoker girl and one of her friends drifted to the midway.  I got to enjoy a couple more of her shallow drags before she dropped the butt to the ground and pressed on.  The cigarette butt was a Marlboro Light Menthol, one of my favorite brands aesthetically with that green and white color scheme.  If this was the only sighting I got that evening, it had have been worth it, but it definitely wasn’t, even though it was the best one.

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AOF #4. Kimberly Perry Doppelganger Smokes The Day And Night Away With Multiple Packs In Her Purse

I was nearly five hours into my Saturday afternoon at the 2018 Missouri State Fair without having seen anything too earth-shattering. But finally, a little after 5:00, I’d get my first rock-star find of the day at a remote grassy area behind a food stand and some “old-time picture” stand where group photos are adorned with Old West-style framings for those willing to pay the price. Apparently two sets of mid-to-late 20s couples had done just that because they were lurking behind the booth, and I’d later discover they were waiting to get their photo. I saw that both guys were smoking which gave me hope for the sexpot blond seated on the grass against this electric outlet box fixing her shoe, decked out in a black tanktop and very nice-fitting medium-blue jean shorts advertising a long set of legs. Unfortunately she wasn’t smoking, but when she stood up, I stuck around just in case because I got a vibe from her, a vibe that grew stronger when I got a better look at her face which, even partially covered by sunglasses, I could tell had some of the typical weathering you see in a late 20s heavy smoker. It was a pretty face too, and while I couldn’t put a finger on it at the time, I thought later that she looked like Kimberly Perry, the lead singer of the country-pop crossover group The Band Perry.

Anyway, luck was upon me as she opened up a bag she had been carrying with her and I knew I hit the jackpot when I saw at least three packs of cigarettes, all Marlboros but some bearing the colors of Marlboro Red Special Blends and one bearing the colors of Marlboro Lights Special Blends. Either she brought cigarettes for her whole group of four or this girl was one helluva heavy smoker!!!! She made it official in spectacular fashion as she got a cigarette out for herself and the unattractive female friend, firing it up and then dangling it for an absurdly long period, perhaps 30 seconds…

For some context, the Missouri State Fair has booths everywhere selling $1 bottles of water and I was already on my third of the afternoon at that point. I mention this because photo-taking was a huge struggle as I had to do it with one hand while trying not to avoid dropping the water bottle with the other. I missed the dangle, but I did get a few passable photos, including one of her in mid-drag. They continued to linger in that grassy area for another minute or so before they got the photo they bought, at which point they started moving into the well-populated streets of the fairgrounds. The men had now finished their cigarettes but my sexy blond had just gotten started on hers, treating hundreds of fellow fairgoers to a visual feast of her sexy body and an olfactory feast of her secondhand smoke. Dangling drags were a common feature, resting that cigarette between her lips, puckering up and ingesting the carcinogens, and then removing the cigarette before exhaling said carcinogens. The group weaved through some buildings en route to the south side of the grounds and ended up standing in line for lemonade. My blond smoker babe held back a bit near a tree, taking her last couple of drags before dropping the butt and formally getting in line. I was able to check out her discarded butt and pick out the cork filter, ensuring it was indeed a Marlboro Red Special Blend and not a light. I had a higher degree of confidence that I’d see this girl smoking on the grounds again that day than some of my previous above-average finds…and I would definitely be proven right on that prediction!

Less than 20 minutes since my Kimberly Perry lookalike had smoked her previous cigarette, there stood her group with the addition of another mediocre gal, all smoking another round of cigarettes. They were right in the middle of the street amidst the block of bars and grills and it was very crowded so it wasn’t the easiest job in the world to watch undetected but I managed to see a few more of her drags, although this batch more conventional without the dangling drags. They started moving eastbound towards the end of the sighting and I snapped a holding pic of her that isn’t too bad, probably the closest-up photo I’d get of her, although not the most flattering as her head is looking at the ground for some reason….or else to the cigarette in her right hand. Not long after that she’d drop it to the pavement and crush it out like the last one….another Marlboro Red Special Blend butt left to decorate the state fairgrounds. And don’t worry….I’ll still be seeing quite a bit more of her!

The crowd was getting bigger heading up to 7:00 as the grandstand was starting to let people inside the gate for the opening act to the Cole Swindell concert, and suddenly my sightings numbers were rapidly ticking as the crowd outside the grandstand was proving to be decidedly different than the overwhelmingly nonsmoking demographic from the Thomas Rhett concert attending the Iowa State Fair only three nights earlier. But the main event would be going on inside the gate from some of the first arrivals to the concert, the group that included my Kimberly Perry-ish late 20s blond. The Missouri State Fair has this grandstand arrangement where smokers are allowed to smoke under the grandstand inside the fence, meaning I can hover outside the fence and pick off sightings like fish in a barrel, and it was no surprise that this group was getting an early nicotine fix, and I got there just in time for the bag to come off blondie’s shoulders and see her select from one of the multiple packs of Marlboro Red Special Blends inside of it. I thought I had seen the best dangle off of a light-up I was gonna see for the day on her first cigarette an hour and a half earlier, but little did I know that was just a warm-up act for the main event…..

She lit up her third cigarette I’d seen from her on Saturday and then let it hang from those sexy lips. And it just kept hanging there…as she played with her hair…as she knelt down to either put something into her bag or take something else out…and as she stood back up. The dangle had to have run at least 45 seconds, at one point about halfway through producing a burst of airborne smoke as she was dragging in mid-dangle. Now I had found a great spot to watch this performance, playing out inside the fence as I watched between two vendor booths, but it was not a good spot for taking photos as it wasn’t close enough and too obstructed by the way the booths were set up….so again I didn’t get any of that magical dangle on camera. I was still walking on the clouds though and watched most of her smoking performance, hoping for more dangling but having to “settle” for her more traditional drags and exhales that would follow. She would eventually finish the cigarette and drop it to the pavement where it smoldered just below the fence. The group lingered there for a couple more minutes, and I changed positions to get a final frontal pic of her. The bars on the fence obstructed her face a little but it’s not bad, showing off her beauty and her sexy, shapely body in those jean shorts. In moments, they turned around to walk into the concert and I checked out her third discarded Marlboro Red butt of the last couple of hours, fully expecting I’d see her again and that she’d be the sighting of the day. I was correct on the former…but not on the latter. Stay tuned for more on both!!

Once grandstand opening act RaeLynn ended her set at around 8:15, I made sure I was near the grandstand gate for the intermission smoke break crowd, and there was one group in particular I knew I’d see, with one girl in particular. Sure enough, I got to the north side of the grandstand and peered inside, expecting to see the Kimberly Perry-ish dangling queen back at her spot, but she and her boyfriend were actually further ahead in line for the bathroom. Now perhaps smoking is technically permitted in the line for the bathroom under this grandstand, but pretty much everybody I’ve ever seen down there chose to take their smoke break to the gate to spare innocent bystanders from the secondhand smoke. Not this girl! She was smoking while standing in line a good 20 feet away from the fence, and I’m sure there were plenty of people in the line not too pleased to be breathing in her secondhand smoke while innocently attempting a bathroom break. Unfortunately, as the line moved, the girl would end up behind a giant cement pillar out of my sight range, so I took the opportunity to walk away and check out the other side of the grandstand for their intermission crowd.

After that brief detour, I walked to the north side of the grandstand a final time and the Kimberly Perry blond who had been smoking in the line for the bathroom less than 10 minutes earlier was now back smoking AGAIN in the location I predicted she would in the first place. I was able to stay for most of her cigarette but she and the boyfriend looked my way as if I was looking a little familiar by that point in the evening, so I had to cut it short before completion, unfortunately without seeing any more world-class dangling, and I wouldn’t see her again for the rest of the night. But it was a five-cigarette sighting with her over the course of a little over three hours, and judging by the multiple packs she brought with in her bag, I’m betting she smoked far more than that during the time she was at the fair on Saturday. I was pretty certain she’d be the big story of the day at the Missouri State Fair but shockingly she ended up only being the second-best of the day. My favorite was still to come!

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AOF #5. Blond Teen Outsmokes Friends And Later Hangs Out With Mom’s Friends

It was dumb luck that led me to the Brown County Fair in Aberdeen, South Dakota, in August 2013.  I was taking a three-day road trip through the area and stopped in the small isolated city to stay overnight when I tuned in the local radio station and discovered the county fair was going on and that musical entertainment that Friday evening was Nashville recording artist Brantley Gilbert.  Only two days earlier I had attended the Iowa State Fair but couldn’t let the opportunity pass to head to the fair, which thankfully had free parking and attendance.  Within about 40 minutes after my arrival, I had already scored a trio of fantastic sightings, and this was the third in succession.

I came upon a group of 17-18ish girls in the midway seated on a bench smoking cigarettes.  There was a blond and a brunette sitting there smoking, and two friends standing in front of them, one of them a hot dark brunette sharing the cigarette with the seated light brunette.  They were both sexy and attractive smokers, but the star of this show was the blond in tight blue jeans sitting down, who had a sexy combination of petite cutie and weathered badass smoker girl.  And whenever I saw her tending to the cigarette, it was clear just how hard-core she was compared to the other two girls smoking.  Her drags were merciless extended pulls of toxic smoke into her black lungs, pulls so hard you could watch the paper burn away over the course of her lengthy drags.  It was humorous that blondie managed to suck down her entire cigarette more rapidly than the two brunettes combined were able to finish theirs.  I spotted where she dropped the butt and hung back for awhile until they got up from the bench to identify her butt, which was a cork filter but smoked too close to the filter to be identifiable.

I didn’t see any of those three girls smoking again, but about two hours later at a picnic table was a middle-aged woman smoking a cigarette….and across the table from her was the blond and light brunette, the two from the bench smoking earlier.  They were both eating slices of pizza so I hung as close to the area as possible thinking there was a very good chance the teen smokers would light up after eating.  While that didn’t happen, my return to the area around the tables brought a cute moment where another middle-aged woman came to talk to the three of them, and proceeded to ask some inaudible questions directed at the blond.  She was clearly family or a friend to the mother and after their exchange ended, she hugged the blond in an affectionate way, and the only thing that crossed my mind during the hug was whether this woman had any idea that the blond she was doting on routinely rapes cigarettes with pulverizing drags.  Mom had to know because even if the daughter wasn’t smoking in front of her at that moment, it’s unthinkable the daughter could have developed a smoking habit that serious under mom’s nose.  I hung by them for a good 15 minutes hoping against hope for a mother-daughter sighting but it didn’t materialize, but still felt I got my money’s worth after seeing that daughter smoking on the midway earlier.

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AOF #6. Sexy Late Teen Blond And Mom Puff Away In Front Of Nonsmoking Father And Boyfriend

My otherwise horrific day at the Indiana State Fair in 2017 produced three very strong sightings overall including one evening sighting that was genuinely captivating. I was on the west side of the grandstand area when I spotted a middle-aged couple where the mother was smoking. But lingering behind the parents were two 18ish girls, one of them mixed race and the apparent friend of the “other girl”, a knockout blond in a white bare-midriff tanktop and high-riding jean shorts that sculpted her perfect, tanned body. And best of all, she was the first stunning beauty I’d seen all day smoking a cigarette. Blondie was obviously the daughter of the smoking middle-aged lady, and for a snapshot in time I was glad I made the long drive to the Indiana State Fair and got the chance to witness this. They stood around a table, indicating somebody had just finished eating some fair food, and I was able to lurk with a clear vantage point to watch two generations of females smoke….and do so in the presence of a nonsmoking husband/father as well as a nonsmoking teen friend. The sighting remained sedentary for about a minute before the group started walking eastward….

I followed and readied my camera for a long shot pic. It was well after dark by now so it wasn’t gonna turn out great, but I did about as well as could be expected capturing a side shot of this sexpot with cigarette in hand. Unfortunately, her beautiful face was blurred out by a street light. I put my camera away and just followed to enjoy the show, confused why this smoking daughter was walking about 10 yards in front of the rest of her group. It made my job of following her more dangerous and it seemed like strange behavior generally. She ended up walking parallel to this black guy about her age and at first it just seemed like they were walking separately next to each other, which was fantastic since she was persistently dragging from her cigarette and exposing him to her secondhand smoke. But after a longer stretch of walking, it began to become clear they were together, either as a couple or as friends. I continued to follow and watch every delicious drag this platinum blond angel took, expelling her filth into the forbidden air of the Indiana State Fairgrounds without a care about potential consequences. My final priority of the sighting was IDing her butt when she finished it, but the sighting blew up on that front at the last second. The girl and the black guy turned around at the tail end of her cigarette and at first I thought they were wise to me following them since they were eyeballing me…so I just walked on past as discreetly as I could, but then realizing they were looking back to the family behind them as if wondering what the hold-up was. The blond handed the cigarette to the black guy for a final drag and the cigarette disappeared out of their hands amidst the crowd. I walked over but was unable to identify it. Nonetheless, it was a small setback to the most exciting sighting of the day.

I’d catch this family again only about 20 minutes later when walking through the midway. The blond and the mixed-race female friend were standing in line for a carnival ride. I made a couple of passes near them to get a close look at that stunning face and killer body that matched, wondering how many other girls of her pedigree in Indiana were smokers….and my conclusion was that it probably wasn’t many. The dynamic I had seen early that night of mothers pushing strollers smoking was applicable in this sighting, as the daughter’s smoking was likely enabled in some way by her mother’s smoking….and most girls as hot as this one probably don’t have mothers that smoke. I’m sure glad I ran into one who did though.

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AOF #7. Long-Legged Corn Dog Stand Brunette Uses Employer’s Property As Ashtray And Foot Stool On Multiple Smoke Breaks

The numbers sure were coming slowly in the early afternoon hours on my maiden voyage to the Indiana State Fair in 2017 and I had yet to figure out why, but all would be forgiven around 1:30 when the girl who came to define an otherwise dreadful day made her first appearance with a cigarette. Stepping out of this corn dog booth with cork-filter cigarette in hand was this 19-20ish brunette working the booth and briefly leaving the young male coworker to cover the stand himself. The brunette wasn’t conventionally gorgeous, at least in her work uniform, but she had a twinkle in her eye and an innocence about her that fascinated me. She wore her long brown hair up in a bun on top of her head to keep the sweat off her face as she worked, with a red T-shirt and medium-blue jean shorts on the bottom. Her long legs were fully exposed from the upper thigh on down. Plus I was getting a kick out of the fact that she was about to smoke her cigarette directly outside the booth where she worked, which I figured would be frowned upon by just about about everybody, especially her employer.

I got lucky as she was chatting with the guy as she slow-walked her way out, allowing me to get my camera ready and snap the shot where she was lighting up. She was standing in the shadow of the fair booth so the lighting isn’t ideal, but it was as good of a shot as I was gonna get. From there, she put up a folding chair to sit on and propped her right leg up onto the stand, maximizing her relaxation on company time and using their own equipment to lean upon as she smoked. She took long, heavenly drags sitting on that chair with considerable hold times and exhales entirely from her mouth that fired downward at consistent 45-degree angles. The back of the line for the milk stand was overlapping with where I stood so I blended in nicely and I was certain that I was snapping a number of close-range pics when she was dragging in this relaxed break-time position, but I just sensed something was going wrong with the photos again (I was right…for whatever reason, none of them after the light-up pics took..and I was sick about it). Nonetheless, I got an amazing farrow-to-finish sighting of a young cutie committed to her smoking to the point of consuming it directly in front of would-be customers. She dropped the butt in the trash can next to the stand so I was denied the butt ID, but still walked away with a needed boost of adrenaline at that point in the day.

This corn dog stand was front and center in the grounds so I walked past it multiple times that day. The inconvenient layout of the grounds limited my ability to cover it as much as I’d like to, but I found myself walking past it as often as possible as the afternoon went on, figuring there was a very good chance I’d see more of her. The guy in the booth got to have his own smoke breaks at various junctures of the day, but it was the girl I was holding out for, particularly with the hope of a second chance at action photos in that adorable position she was in before. About an hour and a half later in the day, I’d get my chance, walking upon her in mid-cigarette seated at the same place she was before, although unfortunately she wasn’t propping her right leg up on the side of the stand this time. I’d only catch the last few drags of this cigarette, but was able to get that second chance I’d hoped for with the photos. The shadow from the booth again kept the lighting from being perfect, but I certainly captured her essence in this round of snapshots. That was the end for this girl’s daytime body of work, but like a nicotine vampire she would be back in the evening.

In fact, my timing with her during those evening hours was even more perfect as I came upon her smoking three separate times after dark, all within a couple hours of each other. By now, she had traded in the folding chair she sat on to smoke her daytime cigarettes for some cardboard box. I took one additional blurry nighttime pic that didn’t turn out, but mostly just stood to the side and watched, the dark sky and backlighting making her cloudy 45-degree downward angle exhales all the more visible. At one point, some nonsmoking fairgoer asked her directions to something while she was in mid-cigarette, possibly being mindful that the girl was breaking the fairgrounds smoking rule at her location. Her third cigarette of the day ended up getting stubbed out against the corn dog stand itself, and I got off on the idea of her defiling her employer’s property by using it as an ashtray….on top of the questionable frequency and location of her smoke breaks.

At around 11:00 I began a very long walk back to my shuttle bus on sore feet, and the last bit of tobacco consumption I’d see for the night was my corn dog stand girl as she smoked her fifth cigarette of the night as I walked past for the last time. She wasn’t the prettiest girl of the day, but she was the most prolific and a beacon of smoking security in a day that offered little of that. When factoring in that I likely missed quite a few daytime smoke breaks from her, it was clear she was a pretty heavy smoker, and if she works that corn dog booth in that kind of heat for more than two weeks, it must be horribly oppressive and qualify those smoke breaks as the highlight of her very long workdays.

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AOF #8. Teen Blond With Bare Midriff And Suggestive Belt Smokes A Couple Cigarettes

There were many dead points in the day and early evening at the 2016 Missouri State Fair, but I finally hit my stride during the intermission of the Lady Antebellum concert in the grandstand where I stood outside the fenced-in grandstand for a few minutes at around 8 p.m. checking out some hotties taking this built-in break period to have a cigarette, but the ultimate reward I’d get would actually come when I turned my head to my right to scope out the scene outside the grandstand…..

As I turned to my right, I spotted a fresh-faced teenage blond in a white bare-midriffed top and daisy dukes I had seen earlier on the grounds and gotten a smoker vibe from.  She and a boyfriend illuminated their isolated walking spot when they both lit cigarettes.  Suddenly I was vacating the grandstand fence in a hurry to get a look at this show, and I finally got the timing and logistics right for a quality sighting.  I had figured she was 18 but she may have been younger given how sneaky she was being about smoking, lurking in the sparse southeast side of the grounds and walking between buildings with the boyfriend as she smoked.  It was now dark, especially in the poorly lit area these two were walking, so photo-taking was out of the question, but I followed at a comfortable distance and was impressed with her pacing and how the darkness illuminated the cherry every time she dragged.  She and the boyfriend migrated to a better lit area as they got towards the end of their cigarettes and I was able to see her face.  She wasn’t a classic beauty but she was a girl-next-door type with an innocent face and it was so wonderful to know she smokes, and appeared to be a pretty adept smoker at that.  She dropped the butt to the pavement and crushed it out, finishing her cigarette quite a bit sooner than the boyfriend finished his.  The butt was a Marlboro Red Special Blend.  This was the burst of adrenaline I needed for the evening hours where things did get better.

Most of the last hour of that evening was a blur as I was so obsessed with seeing this one girl smoking who I ultimately wouldn’t, and most of the rest of the new sightings I was scoring were all pretty modest in scope compared to the primary target, but I did get a nice consolation prize from another teen smoker girl.  The 17-18ish dark blond cutie who I had seen smoking with her boyfriend an hour or so earlier was now out on the better-lit street full of bars amidst a huddle of teen friends and this time she wasn’t bashful about smoking publicly rather than hiding in the shadows like before.  The lack of lighting earlier limited my vantage point of her smoking style, but as I was able to get really close to her now, that was no longer a problem and her exhales were sublime, with dense blasts of smoke rocketing out of her mouth and nose after each drag.  This girl was the real deal, and I had noticed earlier that she had this belt on her daisy dukes with some writing on it but couldn’t read the message until now.  It said “Come Get Me, Bros” that couldn’t have possibly been more suggestive.  Couple that with the impressive smoking show and the contrast between this good-girl-gone-wild presentation and her girl-next-door look made for the day’s most striking storyline.  The second sighting of this one really made it something special and thus elevated her to my favorite girl of the day.

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AOF #9. Redheaded Smoker Girl Rummages Through Vendor’s Clothing With Cigarette In Hand

It had been a slow afternoon at the 2018 Missouri State Fair but I had a feeling that in advance of the evening Cole Swindell concert in the grandstand, it might start to come alive and did it ever with a chain of about two dozen sightings in an hour of fairgoers who were mostly headed to the grandstand show. But one girl in particular in this wizbang litany of sightings would throw me off balance with an eyebrow-raising gesture that lifted what would otherwise have been merely an extra-base hit into a sighting worthy of the year-end greatest hits package….

The sighting kicked off conventionally enough, with an early-to-mid 20s trio of two girls and a guy walking northward, away from the grandstand. The only smoker of the three was one of the girls, a wholesome cutie with her long strawberry red hair in a ponytail resting onto a pale green blouse with tight dark jeans on the bottom tucked into a pair of cowgirl boots. She couldn’t have possibly looked more “Missouri” and it was a hoot walking to her side watching her smoke her cigarette and interact with the nonsmoking guy and girl on both sides of her. I got the sense the guy was her boyfriend but couldn’t tell for sure. It was late enough in the evening that I wasn’t confident about the multiple pics I took not coming out blurry or dark, but I got some solid ones including a holding and dragging pic. Her style was solid but not showing off and everything about the sighting was intriguing without shaking me to my core….until the final quarter of her cigarette when she made her big move which was particularly timely for me for reasons I’ll explain below…..

Her group walked past this Harley Davidson vendor booth selling a variety of clothing with Harley branding. My redheaded smoker stopped right in front of the middle-aged couple peddling the products. With her cigarette hand, the redhead picked a jacket off the rack by the hanger, the butt end of her cigarette nearly touching the fabric of the clothes. Last winter, a video from 1982 circulated the web and the smoking fetish community, an old Charles Kuralt documentary on the rise of the shopping mall, with a suburban Kansas City mall profiled. In it, a 15-year-old girl named Pam who was a stereotypical 80s mall rat (and an adorable one at that) was constantly smoking cigarettes inside the mall, which was common at the time, but I was taken aback when she walked into a clothing store and started taking clothes off the rack with cigarette in hand, which seemed so far removed from the current cultural experience. Fast forward 36 years and I had my own redheaded early 20s version of “Pam” doing the same thing at the Missouri State Fair with seemingly nobody taking exception to it as she was chatting up the middle-aged vendors while wielding her cigarette only inches from their merchandise….

And while still holding the jacket, she proceeded to take a drag from her cigarette, exhaling it thoughtlessly and saturating the jacket with a haze of her secondhand smoke. Still conversing with the strangely oblivious vendors (maybe they were quietly shooting daggers at her for stinking up the clothes they were trying to sell), she took one final drag where the exhale wasn’t quite as scattershot before dropping the butt to the ground and crushing it out, treating the Harley vendors’ work area like her personal ashtray. The three of them talked to the vendors for another minute or so after that before pressing on, not buying anything but possibly rendering the merchandise they crossed paths with unsellable because of the stench of the redhead’s smoke seeping into the fabric. It was unbearably hot to witness and I had to wait for the vendors to be distracted by another would-be customer before I could walk past her butt and ID it as an L & M menthol. I never know what to expect from a sighting when I get my first look at it, but never in a thousand years would I have expected this!

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AOF #10. Teen Cutie At Missouri Fair Shares Older Gal’s Cigarette And Later Has One Of Her Own

My maiden voyage to the Missouri State Fair in 2015 was a mixed bag.  One incredible sighting dominated the day but when that sighting was dormant, there was little else going on, especially before dark.  But right after sunset early in the 8:00 hour I scored my only other electric moment from the day.  It was the only “hunch” I followed that day that ended up bearing fruit for me.  The sighting started on the block full of bars when I saw this 19ish redhead who was too chubby to even count as a sighting smoking a cigarette in the company of this sweetheart of a 17-18ish wholesome and slender long-haired blond in a black T-shirt and dark jeans.  The duo drifted behind a barrier to a hidden area where I figured just maybe the young girl would smoke too.  Instead, the two girls met this late 30s brunette gal who was smoking and seemed to know them….possibly a relative.  The setting was so conspicuous and the blond teen was so adorable that I hovered in a very awkward spot to keep tabs on them.  A couple of minutes passed and there was no smoking to be seen by the young blond.  I drifted away figuring I wasn’t gonna get anything out of this but couldn’t resist looking over my shoulder towards the same group a minute or so later, just in case.  And my instinct finally served me well for the first time that day as I finally saw the impossibly adorable teen blond placing the half-smoked cigarette into her mouth….

I caught her at exactly the right time because seconds later the group was back on the block heading eastward, only now with the young girl holding the cigarette in her hand.  Where did this half-smoked cigarette come from?  The only place it could have come from was the late 30s brunette (possible mother) who apparently let the young blond finish her cigarette!  I followed closeby and was able to witness some very impressive smoking, with long drags and hugely cloudy exhales, one of which whacked an innocent fairgoer in the face as she walked.  This girl was no rookie and whatever inhibitions I originally suspected she may have had about smoking in public were dispelled.  I got to see four drags before she did what apparently all Missouri smoker girls do….she dropped the smoldering butt to the pavement without crushing it out and kept on walking, allowing me to easily ID the butt as a cork filter L & M.  I continued to follow and even though I knew my camera phone wouldn’t work well after sunset, I snapped a rear and side photo of this nicotine angel that, while blurry, turned out better than I expected.  The trio proceeded to the fairgrounds exit and went past the gate, leading me to believe I caught them in their final minutes at the fair that day….

And that certainly was my suspicion until I was back on the beer gardens block around 10:30 that night and suddenly spotted a group of 18-19 year olds hovering outside the “dance club” playing hip-hop music.  The chubby friend was there, along with my high school-aged blond beauty queen, and two other decently attractive girls both under 21.  There was only one problem.  It appears likely that I just missed the hot girl smoking.  The chubby friend was finishing her cigarette while the two other friends were just lighting up, both of them impressive enough to count as sightings but neither holding a candle to my blond.  As for the blond, she proudly held a pack of Marlboro Nxts in her hand…..but as I said I must have just missed her smoking.  The upside was that it was now official that this girl was a regular smoker who carried around her own cigarettes and that her generic L & M from earlier was simply one that she bummed.  The other upside was that I was standing so close to her in a very well-lit location that I was able to score a couple of photos of her that, while not entirely perfect, turned out better than any other photos I’ve ever taken outdoors at 10:30 p.m.  What a sweetheart she was…..but unfortunately she and the friends wandered into this dance club never to be seen again that night and I wouldn’t get the chance to see her smoke another cigarette.  If I had, this cutie would be much higher on my list.

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