Caught in the Act!

Young Darcy Surprised 5.25.13
So then…I slooowly slide a cigarette out of the pack in the drawer, careful not to make any noise that might alert my brothers or sisters or parents to my theft. I ease a pack of matches out — and slip them into my pocket with the cigarette, gently close the drawer, then silently slither off to my room.

Stage 1 of the Great Smoking Experiment – done!

I’m bound and determined to lose my Lung Virginity tonight!

For years, my Mom has vehemently lectured us 5 kids: “Do as I SAY; don’t do as I DO.” But surely smoking must be some magical mysterious marvel if she’s doing it 20 times a day!

Well, I’m 12 years old now and I will find out exactly what is so alluring about smoking tonight during Stage 2 of the Great Smoking Experiment.

All day long, I’m skittish as a cat on a hot tin roof, certain that everyone in the whole house must suspect my nefarious plans.

Finally, Mom drops me off at the Perkins house to babysit their two young sons. Mr. and Mrs. Perkins leave for date night, so I sweat through the next few hours with the kids – because clearly, I can’t light up while they’re still awake!

When the tykes are safely snuggled up and sleeping, I tiptoe out to the living room. I extract the lone cigarette and book of matches.

My heart is pounding. If my parents find out I smoked, they will kill me. Then ground me. Then kill me again. And I will go straight to hell. Because this is SMOKING – and DISOBEYING MY PARENTS – and STEALING. That’s the trifecta right there.

But I MUST find out what is so amazing about this smoking thing. Why does Mom do it all the time if it’s so bad for you? Is she addicted to it? If I smoke one cigarette, will I become addicted too?

I sit on the couch, twirling the cigarette back and forth in my fingers. My knee is shaking up and down a mile a minute. I bite my lip. Should I really do this?

If I smoke this cigarette and become addicted, how will I get more cigarettes? Mom will notice if hers start disappearing.

Can I buy some when I ride my bike to 7-Eleven? Do I make enough money babysitting to support my habit? How much do cigarettes cost? Will I have to cut back on Slurpees and Heath bars?

Is smoking BETTER than Slurpees and Heath bars?

I smell the cigarette. It must be AMAZING.

I glance toward the hallway. What if the kids wake up and see me smoking? They’ll tell their parents; I’ll be fired; and they’ll tell MY parents.

I bite my fingernail. My heart is hammering.

OK, let’s do this.

I strike the match and light the cigarette. I put it to my lips. I inhale a tiny bit. Nothing.

I inhale again, more deeply. Nothing.

I inhale 3 more times. It tastes tobacco-y. And dry.

I sit on the couch, waiting for something magical or delicious or incredible to happen.


I hold the cigarette out and look at it hard.

Well, this is stupid.

What’s so great about this?

I take one last drag just in case the 6th time is the charm.

When suddenly, I hear a car in the driveway.


They’re home! They’re home!

I jump up and run to the bathroom . I throw the cigarette in the toilet and flush. Please go down, please go down!

I hear the garage door open – they’ll be here any minute! But the living room smells like smoke! And they DON’T SMOKE! So they’ll know I smoked!


I fling open the cabinet under the bathroom sink. There MUST be air freshener in here! Please, please, please let there be a can of air freshener! I’ll spray it EVERYWHERE!

I’ll just pretend I took a massive smelly dump. That’s much better than admitting I was SMOKING!

But there is no air freshener! The only thing I see is a big can of Raid Roach Spray!

So I grab it and run, spraying Raid Roach Spray all through the house, the hall, the living room – just as the Perkins walk in.

The overpowering foul odor of bug spray surrounds us, descending like a misty cloud all around the room.

They look at me quizzically as I stand there — wild-eyed, panting, and waving the can.

“Um, are you OK?” asks Mrs. Perkins.

“Yeah, yeah, sure,” I stammer. “I…uh…saw some bugs, so…uh…I sprayed them.”

“OK,” says Mrs. Perkins, as she puts down her purse. “But you know you usually spray the bugs, not just spray it up in the air, right?”

“Oh, yeah, yeah,” I say. I shrug and say “Pfft. Of course. Yeah, of course I know that.”

As I skulk off to the bathroom to return the spray, I see them exchange a look. A look that seems to say, “We’re entrusting our kids to this knucklehead?”

If only they knew.

I was almost a cigarette-addicted nicotine-addled smoking fiend!

— Darcy Perdu

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(Do you remember your first forbidden experiment? Was it as amazing as you thought it might be? Were you terrified of getting caught? Do tell in the Comments!)

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52 replies on “Caught in the Act!

  1. Ha ha ha ha!!! I love how desperate you were to cover up the smell. What a scene that must have been!!! I used to steal my mom’s cigarettes and just *pretend* to smoke them. My friends and I thought we looked so cool with real cigarettes but we never lit them! Crazy.
    Allie recently posted..Cardio Kickboxing Workout Video & TrailHeads Winner!My Profile

    • that’s so funny — we did the same thing with candy cigarettes — (we weren’t fooling anybody!)

  2. I was exactly the same way. It was like my mother could see right through me so anytime I wanted to try something forbidden, it made me a total nervous wreck…… which probably made it even easier for her….. sigh. I experimented with smoking too and never could figure out the allure of it; thank goodness!
    Kat recently posted..Ten YearsMy Profile

    • It’s amazing how our Moms seemed to have a 6th sense about our actions, or our PLANS to act, or even our THOUGHTS about MAKING plans to act! :o)

  3. I grew up Mormon, so cigarettes were a HUGE no-no. When I went to college, I wanted to be sophisticated and worldly — so when a friend offered me a cigarette, I accepted and lit up. After much choking and coughing, I managed to smoke the whole thing — and then I started to get dizzy, and sick – and soon I was laying on the ground trying not to vomit while the room spun around crazily. I did not look worldly OR sophisticated — and I did not like being dizzy and sick. It was my first and LAST cigarette.

    • Ha! So glad you had that reaction to your FIRST cigarette — because it meant it was also your LAST cigarette.
      I guess sometimes we have to see for ourselves that something is not good for us! :o)

  4. Lady Anne said:

    Going to a boarding school, I never got the chance to experiment with cigarettes – or much of anything else, for that matter. I do remember one Easter when I put on eye shadow! Eye shadow, for heaven’s sake! My mother acted as if I was strutting around nekkid.

    My husband has often told the story about the day he and his two siblings decided to see what was so wonderful about smoking. The three of them took a carton of Lucky Strikes and a box of kitchen matches out behind the well house. They lit a match, held it to the end of the cigarette until it started smoldering and then took a drag. Hack, couch, gag. That must not be the one that tasted good, so they lit another and another. Went through the entire carton. Never did find that elusive “Fine tobacco” cigarette.

    His father was furious, but didn’t punish them, simply because they were all so sick he figured they’d learned their lesson.

    • So funny! I can just picture the 3 of them puffing away, vainly trying to find that one cigarette that was worth all the fuss! Never could find one and neither could I! (Thank goodness!)

      As for your Mom’s reaction to the eye shadow, I can relate. When I asked if I could get my ears pierced, my Mom acted like I just announced I’d set up a brothel in my bedroom! She said piercing was forbidden by the Bible for being “self-mutilation!” She made me ask a nun for permission before she let me get my ears pierced! I was 16 years old! Thankfully, I found a nun who quickly gave permission for the ear piercing, no doubt thrilled that this 16 year old wasn’t a pregnant junkie!

      • Lady Anne said:

        My dad always smoked a pipe, and my parents tell me I preferred his pipes to any teething ring they ever gave me. Although pipe tobacco smells heavenly, I think the taste of that pipe stem must have stayed with me, because I never, never had even the slightest desire to light up.

        • teething on a pipe? that’s hilarious!
          I agree that pipe tobacco smells great — but actually smoke it? no thanks! :o)

  5. First, you just made me feel much better about my very young cig curiosity! I think I first snuck a cig from my mom’s purse when I was EIGHT. No lie. I’m sure I didn’t inhale, but I lit it! By High school I did smoke, and continued to until I was almost 28. Yikes.

    I remember smoking while babysitting in the backyard of the house I was at. The parents suspected already. I think the dad wanted me fired and the mom didn’t believe I could be a smoker. They came home that night and the dad could smell it…he started looking around and went into the backyard! They confronted me but I denied, denied, denied.

    They never called me again. *shrug*

    • OMG, Beth! A smoker AND a liar? Freight train to hell, baby!! One-way ticket!

      However, you’ve redeemed yourself by quitting smoking at 28. Thank goodness! There may be a cloud in Heaven for you yet! :o)

  6. I totally could picture this! My first cigarette was in my sisters’ room when I was 13 – they were 16. My mom came home and luckily she smoked too so we were safe. I went on to smoke for 10 years. Be glad you didn’t like it. Total waste of money – and now I absolutely HATE the smell of cigarettes.
    The Shitastrophy recently posted..If I Were A Disney PrincessMy Profile

    • You were smart to realize you were safe ‘cuz your Mom smoked too — but I was so paranoid, I was convinced my Mom would be able to detect tobacco smell on ME even though our whole house smelled like smoke!

      AND…I’m relieved to know you quit smoking! That habit is the devil to shake, so I’m impressed you rid yourself of that demon!

  7. I remember thinking all of that with my dad. Before I knew any better, my sister and I loved to light his cigarettes for him (fire!) and stomp on them when he was done. When I was around 10, 11 I learned about the dangers of smoking and that it could kill you and I would beg him to quit. But he wouldn’t, so when I was also 12 I decided that I would check it out to see what the big deal was.

    I literally set up a deal, practically like I was buying drugs, to buy some nasty, extra long cigs from Karen. On a night that the school had a dance, Karen and I went to the playground and lit up.

    It was gross. I wish I could say I never picked up a cigarette again, but I have become a social smoker. Trying to quit though!!

    I loved your story. I could feel the innocence and hear your heart pounding! Sounds like you were a clever girl. ;)
    BabsJo recently posted..A New Year, A New MeMy Profile

    • I can see you identify with my logic — our parents (whom we love) do something but tell US not to do it — so what’s so amazing about this thing?

      So funny that you set up your “cig buy” from your “dealer” Karen when you were 12.

      And I’m glad you’re trying to quit the social smoking now that you’re older. Advice about nicotine reminds me of that Monty Python sketch: Run away, run away!

  8. Paul said:

    Too funny Darcy – roach spray! Speaking of roaches, I didn’t smoke until I was in my early twenties and owed my first 1/4 million in business loans and was getting a bit nervous (it all worked out well). I had a cool Aunt – Margie- my mother’s older sister. She was a smoker and I was visiting her one day and we went out into her sunroom where she smoked. When she lit up, I followed suit and she was flabbergasted: “How did you start smoking?”

    Me:”Well, I used to share the odd joint with friends when we would go out for a drink. One night we were drinking and there wasn’t any weed, so I tried smoking and just sort of kept it up.”

    Margie: “That bad old weed – it always leads to much worse things like smoking tobacco!”

    • Ha! I think I agree with Aunt Margie — smoking cigarettes can be even worse than smoking pot!
      I’ve heard that nicotine is so addictive, it’s often a harder habit to kick than heroin!

  9. I grew up with two sisters heavily addicted to cigs and it was so disgusting to me that I never tried one. It’s so gross to me. The only thing I’ll smoke once in a while is Hookah but that smells like mint or peach or whatever flavor we select. :) Happy Monday Darcy! -iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently posted..The ‘Coarse’ of ActionMy Profile

  10. Great, now I’m beginning to wonder if my “don’t drink, it’s bad for you” is really sinking in, even though I say it to my daughter every time I send her to the garage to grab me another one.

    You’ve been crazy for a long time then, huh, Darcy? Lol.
    donofalltrades recently posted..Pet parent? uhhh, no…My Profile

    • ha! better start numbering your brewski’s, my friend! keep track of your inventory!

  11. Judy said:

    I was an asthmatic child so I had an extreme hatred of smoking (didn’t stop either parent from doing it, mind you). When I was in my 20s a guy at a bar leaned over and blew his huge lungful of cigarette smoke in my face. I coughed and choked, got sick and dizzy. It was horrible. I tried to get the guy thrown out of the bar for assault as I really felt violated by that but they wouldn’t do it.

    • Yowza — smoking parents for an asthmatic child?
      Reminds me of my pet allergies which didn’t stop my family from owning them! They must have liked Duke and Duchess more than me! ha!

  12. Julie said:

    “My heart is pounding. If my parents find out I smoked, they will kill me. Then ground me. Then kill me again. And I will go straight to hell. Because this is SMOKING – and DISOBEYING MY PARENTS – and STEALING. That’s the trifecta right there.”

    MMMUMMMPPPHHHHH!!!! That right there is the truth! The funniest truth I have encountered in a long time. The trifecta!

    I always got caught. I still do mostly. Maybe I am just too honest. Or such a tattle tale that I even tell on myself.

    I did have a bff who found the liquor cabinet while babysitting. I ended up taking care of the kids, my bff and she got paid. and hungover. The parents didn’t think I was old enough. the bff was only 364 days older than me.

    I can relate Darcy!

    • Yikes! The LIQUOR cabinet? That’s straight to hell right there, missy!
      Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Do not even stop in Purgatory. Just STRAIGHT to hell!!!

      • Julie said:

        I DIDN’T DRINK ANY, DARCY! I kept the shit together while she stumbled around! sheesh! I hope the guy who pulls the “do not pass go” cards didn’t hear you!

        Clearly you have had a proper Catholic upbringing. I know because been there.

        • Whew! Thank goodness YOU didn’t imbibe! Thanks for clarifying.
          I’ll have a word with St. Peter and you’ll sail right through the Pearly Gates!

    • Ha! Babysitting at someone else’s house provides interesting opportunities for experimenting — I also once read my first “racy” novel while my babysitting clients were sleeping!

  13. Lowell Morris said:

    You are a delightful humorist and down-to-earth person… I enjoy just about every one of the posts … been know to snort coffee out of my nostrils sometimes.
    Keep on …. the world needs more laughter

    • Lowell, thank you so much! Your comment made my whole week! :o)

  14. Oh, that is absolutely hilarious. I can’t believe you didn’t end up in a coughing fit?! I’ve never inhaled anything without coughing– even hookah, at first!
    Also, you used one of my most favorite words: “Nefarious.” Aauuuhhhh it makes me happy.

    I’m not sure I can remember a forbidden experiment… I feel like I was a pretty wild kid but I don’t remember doing much to expressly disobey rules. I was more of a bender and re-interpreter of rules ;)
    Aussa Lorens recently posted..Stalking The StalkerMy Profile

    • Ah yes, I love that notion – “bender and re-interpreter of rules!”
      Tried a bit of that myself, especially the judicious sharing of information — i.e. what my parents don’t know won’t hurt them —
      but THEN, the nuns told us that sins of OMISSION were as bad as sins of COMMISSION! Eeeeek!

      • Paul said:

        “…a bender and re-interpreter of rules.” Whew! I got that one, for sure. According to my parents (and I am a bit leery of their stories sometimes) I was accosted, at a very young age, throwing rocks at a neighbor’s window. When questioned, I apparently responded that I was NOT throwing rocks at the window but rather at the wooden cross-pieces between then panes. Guess I had a lousy aim.

        • “the wooden cross-pieces BETWEEN the glass panes?” Ha! That’s CLASSIC! Very clever response to the accusation.

    • Cigars and whiskey? My indulgences of choice are dessert and wine!

  15. I would raid the Dad’s CD library when I babysat. He had an amazing collection for the mid 90’s. They could probably care less that I did that but I always felt guilty about it. It’s so funny what gives us a thrill when we’re kids. I almost want to forbid my kids to eat kale or something so when they rebel, it’s healthy.
    Jean recently posted..Still Life with ChildrenMy Profile

    • That’s so funny you felt guilty about raiding their CD collection — they probably didn’t care at all, but I can relate to the guilt. I remember when I was a very young girl, my Mom and I bought a 45 record of a popular song for a friend’s birthday. And all day, my big moral dilemma was whether or not I could play that record before I brought it to the birthday party. It was in a little open sleeve so there was no package to “open.” But would my friend somehow KNOW that I had listened to HER birthday gift before I gave it to her? Would that make it a USED record? Oh, the agony! I was DYING to play that record — but I abstained. Cloud in Heaven for me, please.

  16. My best friend and I were straight A delinquents together. I stashed stolen cigarettes from my parents and her mother gave us the go ahead to have some alcoholic drinks, as long we were responsible, and then went out for the night. (DUH!) Six blenderfulls of exotic drinks later, I held a barf-o-ramma in their brand new family tent and then had to ride my bike home the next morning after telling my dad the truth on the phone as to why I didn’t feel well. (Another DUH!) Since I missed church that morning he dropped me off in an alien one that afternoon. I was by nature a church fainter anyway, so I stayed seated in the pew of complete strangers for the entire mass. I have to say, it was a long time before I was interested in anything adults were doing.

    • “have some alcoholic drinks as long as you’re responsible — see ya” — ??? OMG, can’t believe your friend’s mom did that!
      Good thing you had a barf-o-ramma (ha!) to dissuade you from repeating the drinking adventure!
      And kudos to your Dad for making you attend Church anyway — LOVE that!

  17. Good God, girl. You didn’t think to go outside??? This story is hysterical. Me and my best friend were about 14 when we bought a pack of Kool or Salem menthols (not even “lights!”) and went down to the abandoned train tracks and smoked the entire pack. Then we both went home and threw up. That cured us for good! So did smelling my hair!
    Parri (Her Royal Thighness) recently posted..Ride of Passage: Everyone Needs an Old BeaterMy Profile

    • Go OUTSIDE? Good Lord, why didn’t I think of that? Where WERE you, you little criminal master-mind!? I could have used a cohort like you to ensure my nefarious activities occurred without detection!!

      So funny you both threw up — and I’m so glad — since it kept you off those nasty cigs!

  18. The forbidden moment that came to mind first didn’t go exactly as planned. The summer after my sophomore year in high school, my boyfriend was grounded and we were, of course, DYING to see each other since it had been DAYS and we were so IN LOVE. So we hatched a plan that he would sneak his parents’ car out of his garage and drive 30 minutes to my house after they went to sleep. Then he would climb onto our first floor balcony (the yard sloped down so it was a balcony, but not high up) and I would let him in long enough to say hey and then he’d sneak back home. I was so nervous that night that I felt like I was going to throw up all evening. I’m surprised my parents didn’t stay awake just based on my jumpiness and suspicious behavior. They went to bed around 10pm or so, but my dad had a terrible cough. He kept coughing and coughing and twice he got up to get water. I was freaking out that he would get up and come into the kitchen while my friend was visiting. So I decided to abort the plan. However, this was before the days of cell phones, so we had no way of contacting each other. I wrote a long note explaining the situation and apologizing profusely and hung it on the balcony railing with duct tape. I stayed up until well past midnight, and eventually I pulled the note off the balcony and went to bed, having no idea if he had actually shown up. I hid the note in my dresser drawer so my mom wouldn’t see it in the trash somehow. Well, it turns out that his dad caught him when he opened the garage door (duh!) so he never made the trip over. We broke up within a couple of weeks. (Not surprised.) But about six months later, my mom was putting away laundry and happened to find the note. She thought I had been sneaking boys into the living room on a regular basis. I was in SOOOOOO much trouble. Which was somewhat ironic since I never really snuck anyone in! I just planned to. ;o)

    • I LOVED your story! So funny! And so frustrating that you got busted for a CANCELLED rendezvous!
      Moral of the story: BURN all evidence! Do NOT hide it in your dresser!
      But I do have to hand it to you — I love the image of that note dangling from the balcony with duct tape! Hilarious!

  19. William Kendall said:

    Very funny!

    My idiot ex-brother-in-law smokes at least a pack a day. I fully expect him to bite the dust before he’s sixty, combined with his drinking habit.

    • Yikes! Time for him to switch vices to chocolate! Much better!

  20. Ha – brilliant. I remember leaning out of my mate’s bedroom window to smoke ‘cos I was just so addicted and cool, there was no way I could wait an hour – right!’ – and then I heard her parents, so I flicked it out of the window whereon it promptly rolled down the extension roof below and lay – alight – in the gutter and I completely freaked out I was going to burn their house down with my one fag in a wet, soggy leaf filled gutter, that I climbed out onto the roof to try to stamp it out . . . you so don’t need to picture what happened next!
    Piper George recently posted..What do teenage boys and dogs have in common?My Profile

    • Yikes, Piper, climbing roofs to retrieve lit cigarettes? See — smoking IS dangerous to your health!