My day and evening during my first visit to the 2014 Iowa State Fair was already going very well even before I journeyed down the block on the concourse that separates the teen huddle that forms at the center of the fairgrounds after dark and the east side entrance to the midway. It was there that I spotted a group of teens (two guys and two girls) with an adorable petite blond as the only attractive one of the bunch, decked out in a white top and short jean shorts. I took a seat on a berm just outside the midway and watched her take the last couple of drags from her cork filter, featuring fairly modest draws, hold times, and exhales. As she dropped her cigarette to the ground and crushed it out, the thought even crossed my mind that she might just be a social smoker out smoking with her friends. Even so, that face was just precious, and she even had braces on her teeth that, when coupled with her diminutive size and soft facial features, made her look like she was about 15 even though the friends group helped convince me she was probably 17. As they drifted just a short distance away, I swooped in and IDed her discarded cigarette as a Marlboro Red. This was without question a memorable sighting and I was annoyed that I didn’t get to see more, but little did I know this sighting would shortly escalate into my best sighting of the day and one of my best Iowa State Fair sightings of all-time. To be continued…and continued….and continued….
About a half hour later, I was drifting to that seating area on the south side of the grounds. After dark, it tends to empty out almost entirely but it wouldn’t be the first time I came across underage teens sneaking a smoke in the area, and sure enough, there was a familiar-looking foursome hovering that night that included my petite blond Marlboro Reds smoker with braces who I had last seen about a half hour earlier. And what an eclectic foursome it was upon more isolated inspection. In addition to the adorable blond, there was a hip-looking black guy, a shirtless and muscular white guy, and this unattractive brunette female. Not sure what brought a group like this together in life but as I watched three of the four (the two guys and blondie) insert cigarettes in their mouths, it was bizarre how prophetic that common denominator would prove to be….
An unlit cigarette dangled in blondie’s mouth and it took about 30 seconds after I arrived and took a wide open bench before her lighter illuminated the dark corner of the grounds. The light-up itself was odd, with blondie producing a flame halfway between her and the shirtless white guy who both proceeded to lean forward into the flame until their cigarettes were lit. From there, the group started leaving the dark area, headed towards the main south side street. As I began to follow I noticed that the cigarette hadn’t left my little blond’s mouth since it was lit, and she was approaching the black guy with the lighter to fire up his cigarette. Her dangle, complete with at least two dangling drags, lasted at least 30 seconds before she finally removed it from her mouth. When I first saw this girl smoking up near the midway entrance, there was no indication there was anything special about her. That long distance dangle was the first evidence that proved my first impression was wrong, but it certainly wasn’t gonna be the last….
As they started walking down the south side, I thought it was the best-case scenario as it would allow me to watch from an inconspicuous side angle as they progressed, but I could never have imagined what weirdness was about to transpire. Blondie waved to the guy inside one of the food stands as if she knew him, and after walking about 15 yards down the block, decided she was gonna go back and talk to him. I didn’t know if she was gonna order food or not, but she didn’t. She just stood there talking to him and smoking her cigarette. It was just so cute seeing this 5’2” little blond with that cigarette in her hand, and as she took her first drag while standing there, the thought crossed my mind that her exhale might go inside the food stand, but if I was preparing myself for a homerun, what I got was a grand slam. Her exhale went straight into the food stand to the point that I could see the waves of smoke rolling inside even from across the street. Blondie realized a second after she exhaled what she had done and began waving her hand in front of her face in attempt to brush the smoke away, but the damage was done and her little boyfriend inside the food stand was being asphyxiated. I wish at that point I was closer so I could hear if she was apologizing to him or not. Whatever the case, her subsequent exhales were all directed to the side as she kept conversing with him for a couple more minutes before heading back to her friends group without making a purchase…
Finally I figured this sighting was gonna have some stability and predictability, but that wasn’t gonna happen. She began running back in the other direction again, and the shirtless guy playfully tried to stop her, racing her way and grabbing her by the waist as she held her cigarette out in front of her so she wouldn’t burn him. He let her go after a few seconds and she drifted, all by herself, back to the dark and empty seating area where this sighting had originated, sitting on a berm and texting furiously. The unpredictability worked to my advantage in this unusual situation though as I found a wide-open bench parallel to her to watch her smoke the rest of the cigarette in solitude…..
As I observed, I was struck that her style was generally pretty average, with medium-length drags and medium-sized all-mouth exhales, and certainly nothing like that long-distance dangle that began this second cigarette of hers for the evening, but she more than made up for the lack of stylistic flourishes with what the rest of the evening held for me. Her female friend finally showed up just as she was wrapping up the cigarette, which she flung in front of her in the dark without bothering to crush it out while wrapping up whatever oddball texting business she had to do all by herself in the dark. End of sighting right? Hardly. Not 10 seconds after this microscopic little blond princess stood up, she was foraging in her little purse again. She wouldn’t….would she? Unbelievably the answer was yes, as another cigarette came out and was placed in her lips. She fired up and confirmed my feelings that there was indeed something very, very special about this girl, the likes of which I had still just scratched the surface of even after a good 15 minutes invested in her at this point….
She was now out of the darkness and sat in a nearby bench with her group, smoking at least her third cigarette of the last half hour. I sat across the street on a bench of my own watching her smoke yet again, admiring that adorable face and racking my brain trying to think of who she reminded me of. It wasn’t until the bus ride home that it occurred to me that it was the mid-teen country singer Lila McCann who had a few hits in the late 90s before fading into oblivion. This girl’s features were just as wholesome as a 1998-era Lila McCann, right down to the braces, except this girl also had an adorable petiteness to her that lifted her above her country-crooning counterpart. Her group was hovering in front of her so I wasn’t seeing much….and I wanted to do some exploring elsewhere anyway so I finally proceeded down that south side block as far I could go, scoring a couple of mediocre sightings and then heading back the direction I came from, fully mindful of what I left behind but thinking for sure by this point the show had played out….
Sure enough, the foursome was still on that bench that they were on 10 minutes or so earlier when I abandoned the scene. And almost immediately when I got there, blondie was rummaging through her little white purse again. No way, I thought to myself! She can’t possibly be about to do it again. But out came an empty pack of Marlboro Reds that she tossed into the nearby trash can…..followed by a brand new pack of Marlboros that she starting packing against her wrist for the next 30 seconds ago. I nearly collapsed as I watched in awe as she opened the pack and started distributing cigarettes to her friends, offering one to the unattractive brunette girl as well who was the only one who took a pass. And then of course, blondie got a cigarette for herself, at least her fourth of the last 45 minutes, and lit up. Once again, I reclaimed my bench and watched her smoke at least half of the cigarette before the usual high risk of familiarity compelled me to leave. Besides, I wanted to make one more run down the midway tonight anyway with the 11:00 hour approaching….
I walked past the teen huddle and the beer gardens block and then into the midway, stitching together a few sightings but nothing particularly memorable over the course of the 15 minutes or so since I had migrated out of the south side. But when I exited the midway, I came out at the same area where I originally saw the teen foursome commandeered by the little blond about an hour ago….and they were back again….with my favorite blond on the final couple of drags of her FIFTH cigarette of the night, and that was just the ones I witnessed. I took a seat on the very berm in which I saw her take her first drag on that first cigarette, and she dropped this Marlboro Red to the ground and crushed it out. By this point I grew to expect the unexpected from this girl and while I didn’t want to jinx it by openly allowing myself to hope for yet another cigarette, I would barely have time to ponder the thought before her little white purse was opened again. My little cigarette Santa Claus opened that pack of Marlboro Reds and was again trying to corrupt her friends by handing them out….
The shirtless white guy (whose shirt was now on again) took it, but placed it behind his ear. He may be a smoker, but there was no way he was even gonna attempt to keep up with this tiny blond girl lest he be taken to the emergency room for nicotine poisoning. My little blond ashtray mouth was now lighting up her sixth cigarette in barely an hour…and that was just the ones I had witnessed. She did share a couple of drags off of this one with the brunette friend, who I hadn’t seen smoke at all up to this point, but blondie claimed most of the cigarette and got a couple of pics taken with the girl that made me wonder if those two were more than just “friends”. My blond certainly didn’t look like a stereotypical lesbian, but the brunette sure did. Either way, as soon as the photos were finished, the group zipped right on through the teen huddle, with the blond and at least one of the guys brandishing cigarettes as they did, and migrated to yet another isolated area in the dark where they sat by themselves and smoked. The isolation they sought validated my suspicion that some if not all of them are underage….
This was a sighting where everything just seemed meant to be, because as isolated as their location was, there was a series of mostly empty benches next to a food stand with a perfect vantage point to overlook them. The foursome kept chatting and horsing around as blondie finished off her sixth cigarette, the cherry glowing a bright red every time she took a drag in this dark location. She pitched the cigarette a good five feet to the side when she finished it this time, and sat waiting with baited breath if it was humanly possible for yet another encore. In less than a minute, I’d get my answer. As she prepared her seventh cigarette of the last hour and a half to light up, I was numb with a combination of elation and disbelief. How could I have ever imagined at 10:00 when I saw this girl smoking the last few drags off of that Marlboro Red near the midway that it would have snowballed into this. A real-life teenage girl chain smoker in the year 2014, a creature I had no idea even existed anymore, and an absolute adorable pint-sized one at that. As I watched her take her early drags off of this seventh cigarette, seated on that berm with her jean shorts so short that plenty of bare upper leg was touching that cement, I also found myself thinking that her standing on my all-time ISF greatest hits list was rising with each new cigarette list, and she was now positioning herself for the very upper reaches of my all-time list.
I was nonetheless getting anxious sitting here, wanting to see what this girl was capable of but also wanting to tick off more sightings. Given how close I was to the fairgrounds’ main sightings arteries, I decided to do small loops around to pick up some additional sightings but to be sure to come back to this spot every few minutes to see how high her cigarette number for the evening would go. And the craziest thing happened with blondie the chain smoker. After that seventh cigarette, she actually took a break. I hovered for about five minutes and she didn’t light up again yet remained sitting there BSing with her friends. This was my cue for another detour that would hopefully get my numbers up some, and I had already exceeded last year’s haul of 114. Had I not spent a good half hour at this point focused like a laser on this stinky little sexpot, who knows how high my number would have gone?!??!
After completing this latest loop and stitching together a few more modest sightings, it was back to my favorite cluster of benches yet again overlooking the isolated spot where Lila McCann’s chain-smoking baby sister was sitting. She was still sitting there, and before you even ask, the answer is YES! She was indeed in the middle of her eighth cigarette of the last hour and a half….and that was just the ones I saw. Remember a half hour passed between when I saw her smoke her first and her second, and she could have easily smoked three more cigarettes during that time. But alas, it was the eighth I had witnessed and I got there right before the two guys in her group were parting ways with the two girls, and I continued to get the lesbian lover vibe whether true or not just based on their body language around each other. Blondie’s cigarette continued to glow bright red in the darkness with her subsequent drags until she polished off that cigarette to her satisfaction and proceeded to spike it like a football on the cement. That in itself was cool enough but things got weirder when the brunette, who had taken no matter than three or four drags from any cigarette that evening, proceeded to jump off from the berm, pick up the still-smoldering cigarette off the ground and take another drag off of it. This was the oddest group of smokers I think I’ve ever come across, but I wouldn’t change a thing. A couple of minutes later, they both finally got up to leave, heading to the south side once again, and as 11:30 approached, I was prepared to abandon blondie for the night and make one loop through the main arteries of the grounds before leaving for my midnight shuttle bus.
I had a game plan for my final lap of the day about 10 minutes later, and the plan was going swimmingly as I proceeded down the south side but the evening would have one more detour from the day’s most familiar little blond. It would be one thing if I was consciously following this chainsmoker around all night, but I wasn’t…..I just kept randomly running into her with that ever-present cigarette in hand, and this time would be no exception. Standing right in front of the entrance to the horse barn next to her brunette friend, my adorable little blond was polishing off her NINTH Marlboro Red of the last two hours (again, her ninth that I had seen…there was plenty of opportunity for her to have smoked a few more that I missed). I would catch her right in the middle of her final drag before she dropped the smoldering butt to the ground and walked inside the horse barn with her friends. Once inside, she met back up with the two guys who must have gone in in front of her while she had to stand down to smoke her latest cigarette. And once inside, the guys were taking more pics of the two girls which set off a light bulb in my own head. I hadn’t even thought about trying to get a photo of my own up to that point given that it was dark and I didn’t want my flash to go off, but with my girl now inside a well-lit horse barn, this could be my chance. Unfortunately, there was no way they missed my lurking presence in the last two hours and I’d really be pushing my luck trying to score a photo, even as stealth as I’m able to be snapping pics with this camera phone. I opted to dance close to the sun and try to score a couple of photos from just outside. Neither of them ended up being close enough to truly capture this girl, but one at least gave a general sense of her size and pedigree.
I crossed the street to the south side beer gardens and foraged through the crowd to score another couple of modest sightings, but then migrated back to that horse barn to see if my favorite Iowa State Fair girl in years was still there. She was, lingering with the friends towards the back of the horse barn. Adorably, the little blond appeared to be talking to one of the horses inside the stall, and I felt sorry for the horse as his own manure had to have smelled better than being face-to-face with this chain-smoking little girl for an extended period. Seriously though, seeing her talk to this horse really got me to thinking about how erotic it would be to make out with this girl after she had just smoked nine Marlboros in two hours….
Was this a special occasion “partying at the fair” thing or does this girl really smoke at a comparable clip day in and day out? I’m inclined to believe it’s more likely the latter, and assuming she was going back to her senior year of high school in a couple of weeks, I can only imagine what a torturous adjustment it will be for her to struggle through a full day in class without the nicotine her body demands in such massive quantities. I once again strongly considered going inside and snapping a pic but it was just too risky with her friends right there with her. A close-up photo would have been the perfect icing on this multi-tiered cake, but even without one, how could I ever forget the face of the most prolific chainsmoker in my two-decade history of state fair fetishing? A sighting that started so unassumingly only two hours ago had morphed into an all-time classic, and if I walk away from state fair season with one “classic” on any given year, I feel like I’ve achieved a major victory. To have scored it on this day that I began with such limited expectations only made the victory that much sweeter…..
Now obviously as I left the Iowa State Fairgrounds that Saturday evening, it seemed certain that I had seen the last of my favorite new chain-smoking teen girl, but the damndest thing happened four nights later when I showed up on Wednesday night for my second day at the fair…..
It was approaching dusk as I ventured to the south side and slipped by the seating area once again that has been so rewarding this year. And I could see from afar that it was about to be again as I saw from behind two teenage girls with cigarettes sitting by themselves on a berm. And lucky me, I had my choice of benches across from them to get a front-row seat. I planted my ass on a bench directly across from them to get as close as possible, about to get one of the biggest pleasant surprises in the history of fair fetishing. Even though there were two girls smoking, I was only going to be able to count one of them as a sighting, and that was the decently attractive brunette in a red top and dark jeans. Now the reason that I didn’t count the other girl was not because she wasn’t attractive….she was in fact the more attractive of the two. I couldn’t count her because I never count a girl I’ve already counted before as a sighting earlier in the same year. In this case, it was a girl from Saturday night…..THE girl from Saturday night. I was staring right back at that innocent face of a petite blond who looked like 90s country singer Lila McCann….a face I couldn’t forget even if I got a full frontal lobotomy. As very close to unprecedented as it is for me at least in state fair sightings, I was seeing this same Marlboro Reds-chaining cutiepie again who smoked nine cigarettes in two hours on Saturday night. It was surreal enough to keep running into her on Saturday night, but now I was running into her yet again four days later!!
She was distracted on her smartphone when I sat down and since I knew she’d recognize me from Saturday, I quickly got up and moved a couple of benches away. The brunette friend, who by the way was a different and more attractive friend than the brunette she was with on Saturday, was just finishing her cigarette, crushing it out on the berm and that was the cue for the duo to get up and walk away, with my blond still clutching on to a couple of remaining drags on her cigarette. I followed at a bit of a distance, not wanting to get called out for two nights of familiarity, but I also wanted to get a couple of photos. After two more drags, she dropped the butt to the pavement, burning ash scattering all over as she halfheartedly crushed it out with her foot. Unsurprisingly, another Marlboro Red, now my 10th from her in two nights…..
I had one objective and that was to get photos of her since it was too dark to get good ones on Saturday night. Unfortunately, it was approaching dusk and I was at the danger zone where my photos start getting blurry without the flash. I managed a couple of rear photos that aren’t too bad, capturing her sexy body which tonight was draped in a more revealing black tanktop that exposed quite a bit of bare flesh on her back and a pair of very tight dark jeans. Now I preferred her short shorts from Saturday, but these jeans were sexy too, and the presentation made her look even more like Lila McCann circa 1998. I tried to take a couple side photos of her walking but they didn’t turn out, and I saw her looking my way both times and making awkward eye contact. I would definitely have to hang back at this point as the girl turned down the concourse and then headed into the midway….
I kept a distance as I followed, hoping she’d at least light up another cigarette. Instead, she met with her guy friends, at least one of them the same from Saturday night, and they stopped at some junk vendor in the midway and lingered long enough that I couldn’t risk hovering any longer and vacated, hoping and expecting I’d see her again later in the evening. As is the story all too often with this girl, to be continued…
Fast forward to 11 p.m. when I had an hour to go on the evening and was heading to the south side of the grounds. By this point in the night I had all but forgotten about her, thinking she had to have left early or I certainly would have seen her, but as I walked down the middle of the street on the south side and looked to my left, there she was…..my chainsmoking Marlboro Reds girl with the same friend as before…..and she was smoking another cigarette even though the friend wasn’t. This was the second cigarette I witnessed from her tonight and the 11th of two days at the Iowa State Fair, a record I suspect will hold for the rest of my life and for however short her life is likely to be. Once again, we made eye contact, which meant I had to tread carefully as I followed. Her cigarette looked recently lit so I should be in store for quite a show, and it turned out to be vintage unpredictability from my Lila McCann clone, who walked pass this cluster of middle-aged guys looking at this new statue of the couple from the American Gothic painting that was erected in the last year. For whatever reason, my smoker and her friend were prompting high-fives from these guys in their 50s . The guys awkwardly cooperated, touching the free hand of the teenage girl with the smelliest and most nicotine-stained fingers of anyone on the fairgrounds. She pressed forward on a near identical path that they took earlier in the night, on a direct line to the midway, as Miss Chainsmoker kept taking her modest drags and modest exhales from the cigarette…
Once in the midway, the girls continued their immature little game of high-fiving everyone they came across from random midway people to the carnies operating the rides and games. In between high-fives, she predictably attended to her cigarette. Finally, she finished off the cigarette and crushed it out right before high-fiving a guy with a jumpshot basketball game, who let her take a shot after the high-five, which she missed. The girls pressed on and I felt I was so exposed that I only dared to follow for another minute or so, in hopes she’d smoke another cigarette. When she didn’t, I turned around to fetish elsewhere, still hoping and fully expecting to run into her again with as empty as the grounds were becoming. Sadly I wouldn’t and her 2014 Iowa State Fair saga came to an end. But what an unbelievable ride with this girl who seemed next to impossible to beat for the for 2014 Sighting of the Year, and indeed it played out that way.