No Smoking

by Mick Lindley

   When I was about 13 years old I was one of the few in our family who detested smoking in a big way. When we would go to family gatherings the smoke in the house would be so thick you could almost cut it with a knife. It would actually make my eyes run it was so bad. One Christmas when it was near freezing I opened the doors at my Mom & Dadís house and turned the attic fan on. I thought this was funny but no one else did, but at least I could breathe for a while. Smokers told me to go outside. Thank goodness itís the other way around today.

    One day while in a party store I found some cigarette loads. They came in a small metal can about 2 inches wide and about ľ" tall. They were small and the can held about 35 of them. The next time we had a family gathering I was ready. When no one was looking I would sneak one cigarette out of all the smokersí packs and put them in my shirt pocket. I would retreat to the bathroom and take them with me. The loads were about 3/8" long and looked just like a short piece of a wooden match stem. They were pointed on the end. I used a small nail to push them into the tobacco about Ĺ" from the end. I came out of the bathroom and sneaked them back into their cigarette packs and set down while I waited quietly for the show to begin.

    My Aunt Evelyn was first. She lit up a cigarette, a big bang occurred, and it blew the whole end off of it, and put it out. I always wondered where the fire went. All that was left was about half the cigarette and a jagged end with tobacco hanging down. It was only a few minutes until it happened to my Aunt Norma, my own Mom, my Dad, and my uncles. All the time I was trying to keep a straight face but it was getting harder by the minute. Everyone except the victim was laughing so hysterically they could hardily catch their breath. Not wanting to throw away a perfectly good half of a cigarette they tore off the jagged end of the tobacco and re-lit the cigarette.

    Now it was on to plan two. At family gatherings we were there all day, so after an hour or so when they thought it was all over I again sneaked one cigarette from all their packs. Noticing that they tore the jagged tobacco off and lit the remaining half of cigarette I had an idea. I pushed the first load into the cigarette almost to the filter. Then I pushed another one into the end about Ĺ" inch. This way it would set off both of them. My first victim was my Uncle LeRoy. He lit up his cigarette and it blew up. He tore off the end and lit it again, took about 3 puffs and it blew up again. By this time they were suspecting I was the culprit. One of my cousins told them I had some cigarette loads. LeRoy took them away from me and later hid them, but one of my cousins saw where he put them. She retreived them and now I had some team members. We discreetly got their cigarettes and placed all the remaining loads in them. Everyoneís pack had loads in about 5 to 6 cigarettes.

    It was time for another good show, which lasted several hours as they repeatedly blew up, again with everyone laughing except the victim. They started lighting them by holding the cigarette out at arms length so the cigarette would not blow up in their face. We destroyed a lot of cigarettes. Evelyn ran out so she borrowed one from Norma. What were the chances of getting one out of Normaís pack with a load in it? I donít know but it blew up. She threw it in the trash and didnít smoke anymore that day. They threatened to make me pay for the cigarettes but that would have been hard to do. I barely had enough money to buy the 39-cent can of loads.

    After many more such booms resulting in ruined cigarettes the smokers including my mother asked me to quit, so I said I would. They didnít know I was out of the loads. Not having any loads left I had another good idea. The nail I used to push the loads into the cigarettes was about 3" long and very small. I took one of Normaís cigarettes and pushed the nail all the way in so it was hidden by the tobacco. After a while she lit up another cigarette. The ash from the cigarette bacame an inch long as the nail supported it. A little later it became 2 inches long. She would shake it over an ashtray and it would remain on the cigarette. I was sitting at the table with her trying to keep a straight face while saying to her "that is amazing". By this time she called everyone in to show them this strange cigarette that had by this time a 2 Ĺ" long ash. She said, "look, this is amazing" and as she waved it over the ashtray the end of the nail struck the ahstray making a clinking sound as the ash fell off. Now she knew the secret of the "amazing cigarette". Her only response was to say loudly, "M I C K E Y".

    All the "victims" took the prank well. They never really got mad or even raised their voice at me. I guess they seen the humor in it just as we kids did. Years later they told me that some of them blew up as they took them from the pack days later. "M I C K E Y"