White White Mist

1:00 AM

Full Moon – White, white mist rolls quietly over the valley, the atmosphere is razor sharp.  Black mountain silhouettes protrude from the ground – gently lit by the brilliance of the moon.  The slight variations of black on black, on gray over white sets a surreal backdrop.  Fireflies dance in the well-defined blackness of the woods; they seem particularly joyful this evening.  Total silence, not a whisper of wind, nor a gentle step in the forest, not a snap of a broken twig, just the sound of silence.  Sweet is the air that tells the story – freshly cut grass, the hint of flowers in the distance and the warming fragrance of past rains.  Eyes in the woods peering into the heavens – stopping time, wishing for the beauty to never end.  As time becomes the past and the future becomes the present – The mist lingers over the field slowly consuming all in its path, tress and mountains become one, white into gray into black

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Nicolas Ray

1986 (Revised 1-2000)

Marlboro Man

          Smooth clean natural cigarettes, with a taste like no other.  People say God! those things really stink, your clothes smell like smoke, your fingertips look yellow like your teeth, which eventually will turn black.  Not always…

The story of Griffin starts close to thirty years in the past when life was just a bit more sensible, when people weren’t so preoccupied with everyone else’s business, one could say we were all responsible for our own actions.

When Griffin was growing up, living all up and down the east coast, moving to this place and that place.  From school to school, neighborhood to different neighborhood, making new friends and leaving old buddies.  His experience’s growing, expanding, filling his eager brain.  He lived and did everything that all the other kids were doing and then he added a bit more.

Griffin did all the usual things, skateboarding, dating, experimenting with drugs, being suave with alcohol or not, new drivers license, and smoking.  It started of casually, he may have tried a puff or two from one of the older kids cigarettes, wheeze, cough.  Then moved up to good old dads smokes, Pall Mall’s, red, no filter.  Very, nice he thought, smooth and almost sweet in flavor.

Griffin had seen his father enjoy countless hours of work or play puffing on these factory rolled leafy white tubes of bluish smoke.  They had a wonderful fragrance when they weren’t lit, fresh and pleasant to his senses.  It is true that Griffin when he first started smoking gagged on the smoke, but within a few tries he grew to enjoy them as much as his friends and father.  He also enjoyed his new found status among the older kids in school.  Griffin’s social life seemed to really take off, cafe meetings with friends, sneaking around was almost enjoyable to him.  The real trick was to smoke during the day and somehow get rid of the smoky smell that emanated from his clothing, his mother was not to keen on the idea of smoking.  Youngsters seem to think they have one up on there elders when it comes to being really deceiving.  In Griffin’s case mom seemed to always, and I stress the word always, know when he was up to no good, or at least she new when to play the odds.

Griffin’s mom was a real character in her own right.  She never really showed anger, I wished that she was more able to express herself. it would have help in planning our mischief.  Mom was pretty lax on rules, she sort of adapted different rules for all of her kids, so our younger years were pretty easy.  I don’t believe we took advantage of anything, well at least not until we hit our teens.  When she said, “No” it meant no – period.  Besides dad would always say the opposite, I think just to spite her.  It was either a win/win or shit out of luck situation.  Back to Griffin.

One day during a cool and very sunny fall day, Griffin was in his bedroom and mom was downstairs in the basement, three floors down.  Griffin opened his window and lights up a smoke.  One deep drag, two deep drags, three – “ARE YOU SMOKING UP THERE?” yelled mom in a very confident tone.  “No”, said Griffin, cough! Cough!, shaking his hand in the air trying to motion the smoke out the window.  “How the Hell could she possible smell my cigarette?”, thought Griffin.  That’s it I should just pack my bags now and leave, when mom comes up I’m dead meat.  He heard her soft foot steps coming up, past the first floor, past the living room, almost up the second floor.  Griffin quickly jumps onto his bed next to the window and grabs a magazine pretending to read it.  Mom walks in and simply says, ” If your going to smoke, do it outside and pick up your butts.  I don’t approve but it’s out of my control”, she said, while she casually leaves the room.  At that moment Griffin new that he had reached a new frontier in his life, he was an adult, and this was good he thought.

Thwack! Griffin is awoken by hard knuckles across the top of his head, quickly ducking into his defense stance.  Dad’s only words were, ” Smoke your own God Damn Cigarettes, and stay out of my pockets”.  Griffin, dazed from the incident thought to himself, ” shit! I totally forgot about Dad, and wow! if that’s as bad as it gets, Great!”  Griffin drifts off to a peaceful sleep.

by Nicolas Ray