We funded our cigarette smoking by stealing money from Ethel’s purse. She always had a lot of quarters in there and cigs were only thirty-five cents a pack. Candy bars and dill pickles were a nickel. This was down at Art’s corner store. We went in there a lot. We also got some money from collecting bottles — five cents a piece. Art offered to pay us twenty-five cents a head for killing black water moccasins from the pond behind the store but the first time we brought him one he didn’t pay up so fuck that.
If we didn’t have money then we just stole what we wanted. We were excellent at sticking shit down our pants when no-one was looking and we hardly ever got caught. At Art’s we could only steal candy bars because it was a small store and they kept the cigarettes behind the counter. Two better stores to steal from were the Fernandes grocery store and Bradlees over in Medway.
Fernandes was best for cigarettes, cigars, pipes, tobacco, matches, lighters and lighter fluid. Bradlees was best for fishing supplies and highway flares. At Fernandes we would go in with a large empty paper bag and carry it as if it were full. Then we would fill it up on the cigarette aisle and walk out with our ‘already full’ bag. Bradlees was wise to that trick, though, and they wouldn’t let us in if we had a bag so it was down the pants all the way. Highway flares were tricky and you had to walk super careful or the spike would scratch your leg. If you’re wondering why we stole highway flares then I’ll assume you never held a burning one in your hand before.
Also, basically, if we weren’t supposed to do it, we had to do it. Ergo ipso facto. We tried chewing tobacco and snuff but those were gross.