#16. Gretchen Comes To Life In The Mall Parking Lot


I came to terms with my smoking fetish in the spring of 1999.  A monster was born and I became completely obsessed with it the following year…my senior year of college when I wrote about a dozen smoking fiction stories that were fairly well-received by the online smoking fetish community.  My most enduring character from these stories was the chain-smoking blond college girl “Gretchen” who would become my girlfriend over the course of the three stories I wrote that featured her.  This context is necessary to appreciate what I would run into in June 2000, just a few months after I had written the Gretchen stories.  I had finished college and had moved back in with the folks for awhile as I looked for a full-time job.  On Sundays, I would go to church with my mom and this particular Sunday she went into the mall afterwards to shop and I remained in the car, a chore that didn’t seem so problematic in the post-coming-to-terms-with-my-smoking-fetish era.

Only a few moments after my mom went inside, a red car pulled into a nearby parking stall.  I immediately made a mental note of the blond beauty behind the steering wheel with a cigarette between her fingers.  But it wasn’t until she got outside that the magnitude of this sighting hit me. Out stepped this bodacious 21ish blond….a complete bombshell…decked out in a tight white tanktop and skimpy jean shorts.   And she proceeded to ruffle through her purse looking for something in my direct line of vision….while dangling the cork-filter cigarette from her lips the entire time.  This girl was Gretchen personified!!!

I was praying my mom would be awhile in the mall and that Gretchen 2.0 would not be in there long….because I just had to see a second act from this babe.  In the meantime, looking at her red car sitting there two car lengths away, I had a mischievous little investigation in mind that I had to follow through with.  I slinked out of my mom’s car and walked towards hers.  As I passed I peeked in through the passenger window.  I was momentarily breathless as I saw a cluster of about five or six empty packs of Marlboro Reds on her passenger seat.  This girl was an absolute dream come true.  Now it was just a matter of waiting her out and hoping I’d see her again.  Unfortunately, her timing would coincide with my mom’s about a half hour later, and the logistics were such that I wasn’t able to get a good look as she was returning to her car.  I was practically jumping out of my skin in panic, but finally, as she was pulling out of the parking stall, I was able to catch one last glimpse of my fantasy girl Gretchen come to life….and as expected, she was holding another freshly lit Marlboro Red between her fingers.

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