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Smokin' New Life
|"One of who, dude?" Billy asked, his mind racing with a thousand questions.
"Call us whatever you want," Nick said, now taking a more authoritative tone than he ever had before. "All of us were like you once. Some of us were fat, some thin, some ugly, some REALLY ugly. A couple of us--Travis and Bryan and me--grew up together. One day, we thought it would be badass to go buy some cigars. Problem was, we were only 17, so we couldn't just go to a gas station or some shit.
"We had all seen this little hole in the wall tobacco shop in the historic district, and I'm not kidding when I say hole in the wall. The place looked like it hadn't been touched in decades, but the old man came in to work every day. Nobody ever went in, nobody ever left. But we were tryin' to be cool, so we went in.
"We looked around for a while, and then saw these really sweet cigars hidden in a corner. Black ones, looked to be pretty old. We brought them to the old man, he shook his head like he knew something we didn't, but we took them anyway. Later that night we smoked 'em up, all coughing and shit like you did. And the next morning, we were all different.
"Seems there's something in those stogies that changes people. And the more we smoked, the more we changed. So we went back and bought every last one the guy had, hundreds of them, maybe a thousand. We shared 'em with our friends, and now we're sharing with you, bro."
Billy couldn't begin to comprehend what he had just been told. His mind was a chaotic mess. He felt like there was a battle being waged, and whatever was going on, he was definitely not the same as he used to be.
"Fuck dude," Billy said, surprising even himself. "Fuckin' sweet, bro, thanks!" He gave Nick the very same handshake he fumbled the day before, but now it felt like he'd done it a million times.
"Alright, dude, let's go outside. It's a nice day." Billy looked around, and realized none of his old clothes would fit his new, ripped body. "Oh it's ok, man, take these." Nick tossed him a plain white t-shirt and some cargo shorts that hung below his waistline, exposing his swimmer's muscles to an extreme degree.
On his way out, Nick grabbed two cigars and a lighter, one black stogie and one brown. Billy was puzzled. "Yo, how come you guys don't smoke the black ones anymore?"
"Dude, if we smoke those anymore, we're gonna turn into fucking leather daddies." Both guys laughed, picturing that hypothetical situation.
Nick and Billy went out on the quad and lit the stogies. Guys didn't tend to sit out in the summer sun and smoke cigars at this university, so students walking by gave them a good amount of dirty looks. By now, Billy was handling the cigar like he had been a lifelong smoker. No one would ever have guessed it was only his second one ever.
"Alright dude, you need a nap if you want to see what happens next," Nick said when they were finished. The guys went inside, closed their door and stripped down to their boxers. Both guys passed out fairly quickly, and within minutes, Billy was having the same incomprehensible dream he had the night before. And still he couldn't remember it.
When Billy woke up, he felt something odd on his pillow again. This time, he could see it: his hair had fallen out. Jet black stubs were everywhere. He reached for his face and the stubble there was gone too.
Now he was worried. He had heard Nick mention that smoking too many of the magic cigars could turn him into a bear, but it couldn't happen after only two, could it?
Not even close. When Billy walked into the bathroom and looked in the mirror, he was even more shocked than he was before. His once milky-white skin was now a chocolate brown, and the hair on his pillow used to belong to a head that was now smooth and bald. His facial hair and most of his body hair was gone, while his nose and lips had enlarged to about twice their original size.
His musculature, previously a swimmer-like build, was even larger than before. Now, he resembled something more like an amateur bodybuilder. He had no way to know for sure, but Billy guessed he had to weigh at least 220 pounds.
"What da fuck, yo?" Billy said, though not intentionally. He had spoken that line as if he had grown up with black people all his life. Like he was one. Like he was now.
Just like earlier in the day, he went back into his room and woke Nick. "SHIT! Dude! You're a fuckin' thug, bro, sweet!" Billy was even more confused than he had been before. "Dude, we never know what these things are gonna do, but fuck man, nothing like this ever happened before!"
Billy was speechless. What had he gotten himself into?
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