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Life & Times - Chapter 3


Chapter 3 - Johnny's Case




The five of them were in the ambulance, Eddie was unconscious. Blood was still dripping from his nose, regardless of what kind of treatment the paramedics did.

"This is some serious trouble. One of you should call his parents now, he may not make it." The paramedic said, exchanging cottons soaked with blood with a new one.

Johnny borrowed the paramedic's mobile phone, pressing for Eddie's parents' number. He is the only one who knew Eddie's families' number; he was Eddie's neighbour after all.

While he was delivering the news, Priscilla noticed something.

Eddie was holding Lily's hand so tightly, even though he's unconscious.

It was as though the only one he didn't want to let go was Lily.

"You better not leave us now, what will we do without you?" Lily said, staring at Eddie's hand gripping hers.

Tears were flowing from her eyes.

*End of Flashback*



From what I know, Eddie had been smoking heavily since Form 4. Every time I cycle around the neighbourhood, I would see him puffing smokes while sitting on the porcelain duck in the playground. The innocence of that was broken by the smoke coming out from his nostrils. Eventually, I stopped by and talked to him.

"Hey, what is wrong with you?" I said, while Eddie swung back and forth on the porcelain duck.

"Smoking lah. What do you think? Geez." Eddie replied, inhaling his Marlboro. "Can't a man have his little quality time here?"

"You are not even a man yet, for God's sake! You are underaged. Did your mom know about this?"

"Err, nope. Why would I break her heart, right?"

He was looking at me, full of cynicism. The smoke coming out from his rounded lips distracts me.

He was suggesting that I might kill his mother by telling her truth. Well, not literally. It's that sort of 'high blood pressure' thing going on with parents nowadays.

That moron, Eddie.



The next day, I went to him after school and seized his pack of cigarettes.

"That's it. From now on, I want to see you stop smoking." I said standing in front of Eddie, leaving him with only his lighter.

Like a child being taken away his candies, Eddie dashed around me, attempting to play monkey with that pack of cigarettes I was holding.

"Dude, you don't control my life!" Eddie shouted, trying to reach for his cigarettes.

"I'm doing this as your friend. I don't want to see you die of lung cancer!"

"Accidents happen. I would die before I could even develop that!"


The truth of Eddie's statement is heartbreaking.


He followed my demand, and he claimed that the first cigarette he smoked was an 'accident'. A bet from one of the seniors. And he got hooked up ever since.


The first day, he came clean. It was easy keeping track of him, since I was his neighbour. He's going for the cold turkey method.

"If I can get addicted so easily, I can drop that habit as easy as I started. Right?" It was Eddie's statement, on his first day.

Before I caught him strolling in 7-Eleven and stood in front of the counter without any purchase. Of course, I pulled him out.

"What are you trying to do?" I said, as Eddie secretly put his RM 8 back into his wallet.

"Nothing. I was buying drinks."

"And where's your drink?"

He was speechless.

"You need to wait for months to get it out of your system."

Months without cigarettes are like decades for a smoker.



Eddie was enthusiastic in getting rid of this habit too.

"Okay, Johnny. Listen up. If you see me reaching for a cigarette, punch me in the face as hard as you could. Don't hold back." Eddie said, on his way home from 7-Eleven.

"Sure. Just don't complain when I do so." I said.


Not soon before long, I caught him again, trying to light up a cigarette in the male toilet during recess.

Without warning, I walked towards him and slapped his face so hard he fell to the floor.

He groaned.

"Just keeping my promise, Eddie. No hard feelings."

"Ah. Are you the devil sent from Hell to destroy me?" Eddie said, still on the floor. He's poking his nose to see if there was blood.

"So, do you still have that urge to smoke?"

"Nope. Not when you are around."



That night, we sat on the playground. Eddie was sitting on his favourite porcelain duck.

"You know, Eddie? I can't keep on slapping you whenever you smoke. I could kill you before cancer did." I said, looking at Eddie.

That feeling you had whenever you need to hurt a friend is painful.

"I know. What can I do about it? It's my fault that I started smoking." Eddie said, slightly swinging on the porcelain duck.

"I won't stop you from smoking anymore. It's painful for me to slap you in the face."

"Yeah. My head was made out of metal."

"Just know that your parents need you. You're their only child. You don't want them to see you die before them, right?"

Eddie just looked at me, his face looking very sombre. It was as though he knew that he had a brain tumor in his head already.

"Yeah. I know that. Even if I knew I was going to die of other causes, I would never disappoint all of you."


He continued to smoke freely for the past year.

But then, funny thing happened.

He stopped smoking the moment he entered Form 6.

I asked him the reason why he stopped so suddenly.

And he said that it was because of you, Lily.



"It's time for you to continue."



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  • 1) that johnny surely is a very good friend. this story is really sad.

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