Peter was never the type of guy who cared about his health, let alone improving it. But after what happened to him earlier, it became his number-one priority. That morning, Peter finally had the courage to ask Jessica from Marketing to go out with him. Her response was devastating:
Sure, I’m training for the 5k coming up next month. You should come run with me!
So now, for the fourth time in thirty-one years, Peter is going for a jog. Nobody forced him to do it. This was his decision.
Peter’s sweaty red face winces with agony. His noodle arms swing back and forth in the breeze. He thinks about how fit he’ll look after six months of making healthier decisions. How he’ll look so good crossing the finish line with Jessica.
Peter stumbles through his front door and collapses on the floor in exhaustion. He tries to catch his breath and starts coughing uncontrollably. His phone buzzes:
Peter collects himself and reaches into his drawer. He takes out a dirty pipe, a small bag of flower and a WWE-branded lighter. He calls it Bic Flare.
“Woo!” Peter says, followed by a violent cough. “This calls for a celebration, buddy.” He raises the bowl to his lips, lowers Bic’s flame…and stops. Jessica’s painful rejection echoes in his head. “I’m sorry, Bic,” says Peter. “We can’t…do this anymore.” He heads toward the bathroom to flush his remaining stash and discard his beloved lighter.
“Peter!” says a muffled voice. “What are you doing!?”
“Huh?” Peter opens his hands and looks down at his lighter. “Bic, is that you?
“Yes!” says the lighter. “It’s me, Bic Flare. Named after WWE Superstar, Ric Flair.”
“Oh my god,” says Peter. “How is this happening!?”
“We smoke A LOT,” says Bic.
“I know…” says Peter with a cough. “And I can’t keep smoking if I want to impress Jes…If I want to be healthier. I feel like…I need to move on.”
“You don’t have to do this, Peter,” says Bic. “We can still be together.”
“How?” says Peter. “Our relationship is toxic and unsustainable. You make smoke. Smoke makes tar. Tar sticks to my lungs and…cough..remember health class? The healthy lung next to the black lung? It turns black because of you.”
“Peter…” says Bic. “What’s health…class? Is it hotter than me?”
“What? No,” says Peter. “Look, what we had was great. Cannabis has a lot of benefits, which makes this really hard. I just need to think about me right now,” he says with a violent cough.
Bic is destroyed, but he realizes that he knows something Peter doesn’t. Something that might change their relationship forever. Maybe this knowledge could salvage things. Maybe Peter would forget about Bic all together. Whatever might happen, it didn’t matter. Bic couldn’t spend his remaining two fluid ounces without Peter knowing the truth.
“There are healthier ways…to consume cannabis,” says Bic. “Much healthier than smoking.”
“What do you mean?”
Bic unlocks Peter’s smartphone and Googles “cannabis vaporizers”. “This gets rid of all the tar that you’re worried about. You’ll smell better. You can stay under the radar. And you can use it anywhere. Best of all, your lungs will be able to start healing—especially if you keep ‘running’.”
“Why did you use air quotes when you said running?” says Peter.
“Air quotes?” says Bic. “I’m a lighter, Peter. I don’t have hands. I can’t make ‘air quotes’.”
“You just did it again.” Peter rubs his eyes.
“The point is,” says Bic, “you can still enjoy the benefits of cannabis without harming your lungs.”
Peter smiles, “Thanks, Bic!” He adds the dry-herb vaporizer to his cart and checks out. “This will change my life.”
“It will change…both our lives,” says Bic with sadness. “You don’t need me anymore.”
“We can still be friends,” says Peter. “In fact, I know someone who’d love to meet you.” Peter grabs a big candle that his mother gifted him last Christmas. “Big Candle, this is Bic Flare. Bic, this is Big Candle.”
“Hi there,” says Big Candle.
“Well hello,” Bic lights up with joy and looks over at Peter. “Now, we can both be happy and healthy.”
Peter gives Bic a thumbs-up. He takes Bic Flare and ignites Big Candle with a slow-burning flame. All three of them spend the rest of the night on the couch together watching Property Brothers reruns. Peter’s new vaporizer will arrive in 2-3 business days.
6 months later…
After a long morning run, Peter bursts through his front door. This time, he’s standing tall with his chest puffed out and his hands on his hips. He wipes his sweaty forehead and inhales deeply without a single cough. His phone buzzes in his pocket:
Peter smiles. He takes a long pull from his vaporizer and exhales a non-toxic cloud of cannabis. He steps on the scale and laughs, “I did it!” he says, throwing his arms in the air. To mark his achievement, he snaps a selfie and posts it to his profile. He grabs a banana and heads to work. As he walks through the doors of his office, he feels his phone buzzing: