An exchange of e-mail between authors...
Date: 11/5/01 3:48:10 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: Alexis in Alaska
Dear Gary ~
First, don't say that I didn't warn you. This is a story idea that you need to write.
There, forewarned is forearmed.
So, Shon and I were talking the other night about turning vices into stories (I happened to be in the throes of a chocolate attack, so you can see where the subject idea came from), and Shon boasted that he could turn ANY vice into an assm story. I said no way, 'cause Gary's a chain smoker and there's nothing sexy about that (sorry, but it had to be said).
"Pshaw," he said. "Too easy. Gimme something harder."
"Nope, pony up the idea, story-boy," I replied.
"Okay, easy. Apparently a cigarette after sex is supposed to be infinantly more wonderful than cigarettes normally. So, the story is about a man who is so addicted to the after-sex smoke that he becomes sexually obsessed just for the smoke."
There. Added to your hopper. It's now your responsibility.
Subj: Re: Idea
To: Alexis in Alaska
In a message dated 11/05/01 3:48:10 AM Eastern Standard Time, AlexisInAkaska writes
>Dear Gary ~
>First, don't say that I didn't warn you. This is a story idea
>that you need to write.
>There, forewarned is forearmed.
>So, Shon and I were talking the other night about turning vices
>into stories (I happened to be in the throes of a chocolate
>attack, so you can see where the subject idea came from), and Shon
>boasted that he could turn ANY vice into an assm story. I said no
>way, 'cause Gary's a chain smoker and there's nothing sexy about
>that (sorry, but it had to be said).
>"Pshaw," he said. "Too easy. Gimme something harder."
>"Nope, pony up the idea, story-boy," I replied.
>"Okay, easy. Apparently a cigarette after sex is supposed to be
>infinantly more wonderful than cigarettes normally. So, the story
>is about a man who is so addicted to the after-sex smoke that
>he becomes sexually obsessed just for the smoke."
>There. Added to your hopper. It's now your responsibility.
Oh, no. You don't get to drop that one on me. You and Shon thunk it up - you and Shon take care of it. I'm not writing a story that associates sex with smoking.
Besides, it hits too close too home.
Did I tell you that PJ and I were both smokers? That she smoked as a teen, but I didn't take it up until I was twenty? That and coffee were two of the nasty habits I picked up in the Navy.
What I probably didn't mention was that I had seen a therapist about quitting. Well, PJ had seen therapists on and off for years, for depression (this was long before she was diagnosed as a multiple). I went with her occasionally, when one therapist or another needed to meet me or felt I needed to be a more active participant in the therapy.
At one such session, habits were discussed. I won't list all the annoying little things that married people don't realize they do that annoy the hell out of their partners. Some of them are too personal. Most of them are trite, though. You know the ones. The position of the toilet seat, asking for directions, four hours to dress to go out to a two hour party, nylons on the shower curtain rod, cap off the toothpaste, socks on the floor instead of in the hamper, not emptying an ashtray until it was ready to overflow (or had)...
That last one led to smoking, and both of us expressed a passive desire to quit. PJ did, on her own, for months at a time, but I was a little more hardcore. That particular therapist admitted that chemical dependence was not her specialty, but she had heard from a colleague that substitution therapy was common. Some people chew gum whenever they get the urge to smoke. Telly Savalas was well known for his Tootsie Pop substitution. He did that television show with a sucker in his mouth the whole time ("Who loves ya, baby?").
We discussed potential substitutes. I hate gum - I'll smoke a cigarette just to get the taste out of my mouth. Lollipops and suckers were out. It only takes me three licks (crunch) to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. I remembered that before I smoked, I used to chew up a box or two of pencils a week. It helped explain why I so quickly went from non-smoking to a pack-a-day.
Other substitutions were suggested, discussed, and dismissed, for a variety of reasons. I think the therapist was at wits end (the topic had strayed far afield of PJ's problems) when she suggested sex. Not with her - don't get the wrong idea - but as a substitute for smoking. There was some embarrassed humor, the inevitable "Do you smoke after sex?" question, and the equally inevitable answer, "I don't know, I never looked." Ha, ha.
But there were no admissible objections to this substitute. Unlike food, this activity was non-fattening (okay, one of us could end up getting temporarily fat without proper precautions, but you know what I mean.). It was something we could both enjoy, and help the other with. And it beat the hell out of walking around with a pacifier in my mouth.
What we agreed to, PJ and I, was that there would be no smoking until after an orgasm. Ask a smoker which cigarette is the hardest to give up, and if they're honest, that's the one. I could give up lighting up with my first cup of coffee. I could give up that butt that went with a beer (by giving up beer). But that afterglow with a little red glowing cherry in the dark? Fuggedaboudit.
It never would have worked if I had been due to go to sea anytime soon, but I was at the time stationed aboard one of the "Forty-one For Freedom", a Fleet Ballistic Missile submarine. They have two complete crews, designated Blue and Gold, so that the ship can be on station nearly all the time while a crew has a chance to rest and recuperate for their next deterrent patrol. It was my crew's turn to be home, and this therapy session took place in the first two weeks of that 98-day "off-crew" period.
Let me digress a little more. The off-crew period is broken up into discrete periods. The first two weeks is called "R&R". The Navy has a policy that no more than 96 hours of liberty can be granted at any one time (Liberty is authorized absence, time off, that doesn't require dipping into your vacation leave balance.) During the R&R period, every member of the crew is required to phone the office twice each week to "muster". Technically, you were expected to be in the immediate area during that phone call, but people have mustered from the other coast.
The next two weeks is the "Admin" period. There isn't a lot of difference, except that three musters were required, and these were "sign in" musters for two, and a formal mustering of the crew for the third, where the crew was inspected, information was disseminated, and then dismissed. (The crew, not the information.)
The remainder of the off-crew was the "Training" period. Classrooms were provided, and members of the crew took turns lecturing their departments or divisions about ship's systems and procedures. Crewmembers were sent to formal training at the Submarine School in Groton as well. At the end of that period, we would muster one last time with sea bags and tearful goodbyes, and fly to wherever the ship was to relieve the other crew.
.... There is more of this story ...