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Here Light My Cig
When Life Hands You Lemons, Have Yourself a Dirty Little Cigarette
KIDS DO A LOT of stupid stuff. Like smoke cigarettes before the age of ten. Okay, maybe not all kids; just me.
When I was nine, I discovered that I had three younger cousins from Texas: Luke, Lance, and Loren. They were triplets. Or at least I thought they were. They dressed alike and even bathed together… past the age of seven.
When their parents decided to move to California, I befriended the triplets. We hit it off almost instantly, having sleepovers and pool parties and endless games of tag. One time, my mother took us to the movies to watch Rugrats, except we illegally snuck into Charlie’s Angels instead. The triplets (or shall I say the midgets, since they were so small) were instantly hooked. We came home that day and decided to play Charlie’s Angels. I was the tough Drew Barrymore character and the munchkins fought over the other two characters. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe the two “younger” ones tied two of their arms together and posed as Cameron Diaz’s character.
After our roles were properly assigned, we did kicks and flips all over my yard, jumping over the dog house and broken-down motor-home. We shot each other with our guns made out of our fingers and performed our so-called Kung Fu moves on each other, surprisingly, not seriously injuring anyone. We even took our leg-powered scooters up and down in the streets chasing after each other.
One thing that was lacking as a part of Drew Barrymore’s character was the lighter and cigarette that she constantly carried with her. Jeff was a heavy smoker and I knew where he hid his lighters… on the dressers, on the TV stand, on the counter, in between couch cushions, etcetera. I decided to walk around with one to add to my badass-ness. One thing that was a tad harder to find was an actual cigarette. Since we couldn’t find a fresh pack, we decided that the ones all over the ground in the backyard were just as good.
Since we all wanted to be “cool,” we each grabbed a lighter and each grabbed one of the old, half-smoked cigarettes off the ground. We decided that we would make one of the triplets the designated lighter. He would light the cigarettes and we would “smoke” them. Though we weren’t really smoking them since they were used and old and germ-infested and no longer properly lit. Which contrasted our baby-sitter, who was obviously very well lit.
We literally rode our bikes and scooters up and down the street while “smoking” with our cigs in hand and lighters in our pockets.
“Here, light mine again,” I would tell Loren.
“No, light mine first. It’s running a little low on smoke,” Lance would follow up.
Not only was what we were doing beyond unsanitary and disgusting, but our babysitter was doing a terrible job. I have no idea where she could’ve been if we were literally in the street in front of the house lighting cigarettes. Maybe we were playing hide-and-go seek again. She would often tell us to go hide while she counted the empty beer bottles and then passed out somewhere. Which is when we’d go “seek” the cash in her wallet. This is when the neighbors should’ve been calling Child Protective Services. But knowing them, they were probably just as wasted.
Eventually our cig-capade blew out when the triplets went home and their mother found all of their lighters in their pants pockets and the little rodents ratted on me saying that I was the one who initiated the idea and “forced” them to smoke. I forced them? Really? I forced them to take the muddy butt and place it into their mouths and them make them inhale? There were three of them and one of me. They could have easily over-powered me. They were just weak. I was always the “bad” kid. Bad is such a harsh word. I always considered myself the powerful one out of the four. The only one with a whole brain. I was the one who came up with all the good ideas. Granted, this was one of my not-so-good ideas.
After I got ratted on, my mother then sat me down and told me how wrong what I did was and how I should never again do something so stupid. Like she was so bright to have left us with that godforsaken supervisor.
“You could have burned the house down. What would you have done if that happened? How would you have saved your baby brother EJ? He could have been gone. What you did is very serious.”
I thought that I could use my Charlie’s Angels skills to hop through the window, grab EJ, throw him on my back, and breakdown the front door making it out unscratched. I didn’t know that it was impossible to really do that outside of the movies. I obviously now have more sense in me and haven’t touched another cigarette, used or new.
Copyright © 2012 by Zack Gonzalez
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author.
The stories in this book are told to the best of the author’s memory. For protection purposes, names, dates, events, and descriptive characteristics and details may have been changed, altered, reordered, and/or compressed. Any resulting resemblance to any persons living or dead is simply coincidental and unintentional. Reader discretion is advised.