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Extra Heavy Smoking Room Please
by Wayne Hepburn

At the check in desk, she asked me, "Light, medium, or heavy smoking?"

I said. "Darlin', if you've got extra heavy, give it to me."

"Let me see. ... There is a unit on basement ninety-one.
You want that?"

I told her I did ... registered ... stepped over to the hellevator shaft ... and dropped ninety-one floors. The unit door was closed, but smoke was seeping out around the edges. I pushed it open and walked in. I stood there a moment in the smoke, thick as wet concrete, and inhaled deeply. A voice called out, "Dammit! Shut the door! You're wasting the smoke."

I was startled, thinking the unit was not yet occupied. I expected to be first in. While I was thinking this through, the voice came again, louder, "Shut the blasted door, will you?"

I called back, "Okay! Okay! I'm closing it. Keep your shirt on." That last an expression I picked up during a tour of Earth duty. I waited for my eyes to adjust to the smoke. When I was able to see through it, I saw her. She was stretched out on the floor, her head near a vent. A steady stream of very thick smoke poured from it. She was inhaling and exhaling slowly, getting the maximum from each breath.

I laid down next to her and said, "Sorry. I just got here. I'm a little disoriented. I see you don't have a shirt to keep on in any case."

"No. I don't. Why would I?" she asked.

"It was a stupid thing to say. I just blurted it out, meaning, 'be patient', or 'hold your horses', like some of those other stupid expressions humans use in conversation. I did not mean it literally, of course. I realized, even as I said it, you would be naked like I am." She accepted this explanation.

She asked me, "Just come in from a tour?"

I said yes, and told her where I had been. She laughed. "I've fallen for that one myself. Saw this map with the legend Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and thought, wow, smoking mountains. Almost as good as home. But you found out the same way I did. Ha!"

"Yeah", I said. "Water vapor that looks like smoke. Very disappointing. Even more disappointing, I only picked up thirty two points. The middle of the so-called Bible Belt, you'd expect to find a lot more hypocrites willing to come over to our side. At this rate, I'll never make senior level."

She said, "I've given up on promotion. Now, I just go where the smoking is good and do what I can to recruit. I've done three tours of China. Everybody there smokes something. You can sit in a bar and it's almost as thick as one of our medium units."

"I've thought of China" I said, "because of the smoke stories I've heard from other recruiters. But the pickings are slim. Most of them are bound to end up with us as it is. The few Christians there are really tough. I mean, with the amount of persecution they get, you'd think they would welcome what we can offer them."

"You're right on", she said. "They are one stubborn bunch. Hard to convert. On my next tour I'm heading to France. My supervisor says it's just as smoky as China, but there are a lot of people on the fence. Especially former Catholics who are spiritually adrift and searching for something to believe in. They'll believe just about anything if you can convince them it will get rid of the Muslim hordes infesting their country."

"Cool", I said. "I might put in for France too.
I'll be reassigned in a fortnight."

She said, "Really? You just got here.
You don't have a month's vacation coming?"

"No", I said. "They docked me for a bit of a screw-up on the tour I did before I did the mountains gig. I only get two weeks R&R for the next two vacation breaks."

She looked me in the eyes. I gazed back into her deep scarlet ones. I could see her mind working, churning up something. She said, "You know what we could do?"

I didn't know. "What could we do?"

"What we could do is, go in as a team. Husband and wife missionaries. We can infiltrate some large congregation and lead a whole big bunch of them astray. We'd rack up hundreds of points."

"Pretty fantastic idea", I said.
"But how do we know we're compatible enough to work it?"

"Easy. You've got two weeks here. I've got three left. We can copulate a couple of times each day for the next fourteen days. If we're good together, and we like it, we'll be naturals as a team. What do you think?"

I said, "I think that is a wonderful plan. We would also get in some really good training for the duty tour. We might set up a swinging couples ministry inside the church ... you know, make it a breakthrough religious experience for married couples. When we've got a hundred or so hooked into regular adultery, all we need do is bomb the church one Sunday, and we'll collect the lot of them all at once. We'll get promoted for sure."

She was shaking her head no. .
"You know we're not allowed to kill them."

"Not us. If we play it right, one of our recruits will do it. Heck, I mean hell, we can find some deeply committed member to do it for us. Convince him the church is rotten at the core and needs to be obliterated. Especially if we could bring the pastor, or his wife, or both, into the swing group. This could work", I said.

"Sounds workable to me", she said. "Let's get on with the copulating and see if we can work together. I've got a good feeling about this. A very good feeling."

She was right. It felt great. Two weeks of it in the offing. We got right to work on it. Now it's a week later. With only a week left, I'm enjoying it so much I might not even tell her I'm an internal affairs department investigator, just checking her out for a loyalty rating. She feels pretty loyal to me.

Copyright ©2009 by Wayne Hepburn - All Rights Reserved
Story may not be copied, edited, downloaded, reproduced, or distributed in any manner or form without the express written consent of copyright holder.

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