I had an open-ended “date” with an ex-girlfriend who came back to Des Moines to visit family one Saturday in late October 2013, but since I didn’t know specifically when I would hear from her, I thought I’d take advantage of a nice fall day for sightings at central Iowa’s most upscale mall. Turned out to be a wise move as it was a good day of sightings, and my introduction to a new mall worker clearly stood out as the pinnacle of the day. As I walked past the mall’s rear side I spotted a bench outside a somewhat obscure entrance where a glamorous early 20s brunette was seated chatting on her cell phone and smoking a cigarette. Luckily, this location has another bench not far away so I sat down for a front-row seat, unaware of how impressive she’d be. She was decked out in a light jacket and a short black skirt, which was clearly the work uniform of wherever she worked, and I had a hunch (later confirmed) that she toiled at the jewelry store just inside the mall’s entrance. Resting next to her was her pack of Marlboro Menthols. Even though she only looked about 22 years old, she had a very clearly weathered look of a heavy smoker, and I was about to find out why her look was so weathered as she took her first drag….
It was a pretty serious five-second drag that by itself impressed, but what really impressed was her epic hold time as the smoke took a nice midday siesta inside her black lungs before exiting her mouth a good 5-7 seconds into the future. Whoa! And my location couldn’t have been more perfect, particularly with the current angle of the sun, because I didn’t even have to stare at her while watching her smoke. I simply watched her reflection in the glass entryway of the mall and saw everything I needed to see completely under her radar. I knew I’d be in for a great show and she didn’t disappoint, following the same routine with every drag, impressing me most with the long-distance hold times which probably last longer than the process of coal turning into the diamonds that she sells in her jewelry store. Deliciously, the contrast between her extreme smoking and the girly voice I was listening to talking into the phone couldn’t have been more disparate. I kept watching her smoke the entire cigarette, enjoying the show but knowing it was almost over. Indeed, she took the cigarette and obnoxiously flung into the corner next to the bench, ignoring an ashtray not too far away. Show over right? Well, Phase 1 of the show anyway!
She took all of three seconds after flinging that cigarette to grab that pack of Marlboro Menthols next to her and light up a second one. Oh sweet Jesus. She continued to talk on the phone and I continued to watch her predictably delicious routine drag after drag. About halfway through the second cigarette, she told the person on the other line that her break was over and she had to get back to work. As she hung up, I figured she’d crush out the cigarette and put the rest of it in her pack….but she kept on smoking, apparently having lied to the person on the end of the line so she could have a few moments to enjoy her cigarette in peace. But even then there was a delicious distraction as somebody driving by the mall entrance was shouting from his car window to whoever could help him, asking where the Scheel’s Sporting Goods store was. My girl took the initiative to yell back his way, cigarette in hand, and instruct him to loop around all the way to the other side of the mall, adding that “it’s her boyfriend’s favorite store so she knows exactly where it is”. It continued to blow me away that a girl who molests her cigarette as much as she does has virtually no trace of husk to her voice. When she finished the second cigarette, she carelessly flung that spent butt into the corner as well, and then got up and went back to the mall. As soon as the coast was clear, I went over and checked out the two spent cigarette butts in the corner, one of which had by now burned into the filter while the other one she just tossed had nearly been smoked to the filter. I was also able to confirm moments later she was an employee of the Jared jewelry store when I walked back into the mall and peered into the storefront and saw her in there.
I discovered on my next trip to this mall three weeks later that this goddess would be a repeat offender. The next time, she was seated on the same bench, once again on her phone, wearing a similar outfit….only this time sexing it up even more by wearing a pair of knee-high leather boots. I hesitated to take my same bench and watch because she could easily recognize me from a few weeks earlier, and if she struck up a conversation with me, I’d be hard-pressed to explain my presence there twice in a row. But I caught a break in that a male mall worker sat next to her to have a cigarette of his own, meaning I figured she’d be distracted enough that I could stalk her under the radar.
And stalk her I did. When the dude mall worker sat down and began talking to her, she was almost done with her cigarette and, true to form, flung it to the side of the bench in the piggish way that raises the ire most strongly amongst antismokers. And once again, she followed that butt toss with a rapid-fire ignition of a second cigarette. I watched her smoke much of that second cigarette as she talked to the guy, even snapping a couple of fairly mediocre photos as she maintained her stylish flourishes of deep drags and looooong holds. I didn’t want to get busted so I figured I’d leave before she did, and then return to see if I could ID her cigarette butts, but when I came back about five minutes later, I was surprised to see the two of them were still on the bench…..and my brunette was now several drags deep into her THIRD cigarette of the break. Her face has the look of a hard-core smoker but she has managed to upstage my wildest expectations in both of her shows now. At this point I couldn’t stick around and had to walk away for until I knew they were gone or I’d totally get busted. When I finally showed back up to the now-empty bench, I checked her corner. There they all were…..three cork filter Marlboro Menthol butts that she piggishly polluted right outside the entrance of the very jewelry store where she’s employed. Don’t be at all surprised if this girl makes a repeat entry in the top mall sightings list of 2014 next year at this time as she definitely needs to keep this job at the jewelry store to maintain her ferocious smoking habit.