You got a smoke?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Working for the family in Chicago, I was in charge of making money through theft.
We got a lead on a truck hauling cartons of Cigarettes.
The truck was going up through upper Michigan. So we took a ride up there.

Do Ya Have a Smoke?


In the early fall, Northern Michigan is really beautiful. If you cross the Saginaw Bridge on Highway 75 and go up into the Hiawatha forest there is a great variety of trees. Some change to yellow and others change to browns even others change to mixes of red and yellow and orange. The Hiawatha forest is spectacular in the early fall with a myriad of colors and beauty. There are several kinds of pines too, which do not change but highlight the beauty of those other brilliant trees. The road is not frequently used in the late fall because of the snow, which comes early there. But in the early part of autumn, some of the brave souls who really want to see the beauty of primitive nature venture up. There are hundreds of off roads which wind through the forest and take you to places like small lakes and a few campgrounds. The lakes are usually full of fish and there are small areas where you can set up a tent and spend a few days.

There are also truckers who drive the road. If they have a load to deliver to some of the small towns on route 2, they’ll drive up and across for the beauty. If you’re coming from the west, sometimes it’s shorter to go up and around than to fight the traffic of Michigan. That was the case of Ronald McQueen, a truck driver who, in this instance, was hauling cigarettes. He could log the millage of going up through Michigan and the time it took and instead, go around Michigan and up through Wisconsin and back down across the Saginaw Bridge.

In the family, we have friends. One of those friends was a bookie living in Northern Kansas. I got a call from him on a Wednesday and he said that he knew that Ronald McQueen was going to be on the highway two in North Michigan by Thursday night, hauling cigarettes. He had a whole truck full of them. That’s 52 feet of cartons of Cigs.  So I called five of the boys together and we decided to drive up the road and see if we could meet Mr. McQueen. We left Chicago, Wednesday by two, which didn’t give us a lot of time to get through Illinois and up through Michigan and across the Saginaw Bridge, but we did it. We made a little stop in Saginaw City and let off Griff. From there we took turns driving and got to the Hiawatha Forest by Thursday at five pm. We set up the operation by seven and still no truck. I had sent Antonio down the road to radio us when he saw the semi coming.

Sure enough, at about 8:30 I got the call. We’d dropped off Griffin in Saginaw, Michigan to rent a Semi Cab without the trailer. He wasn’t here yet but I figured he’d get here in plenty of  time. We set up the “Road Closed” signs and put out the flashers and cones. The truck came over the ridge and stopped. Mr. McQueen rolled down the window and asked, “Hi guys, what’s the holdup?”

I answered, “This is a holdup.”  I drew my .40 Glock and told him to get out of the truck. I warned him not to reach for his pistol, because I didn’t want him to get killed.  He complied,


Stepping out of the Kenworth.  Leon and Macy grabbed him by the arms and cuffed them behind him.

“Just a little self-protection.” I said. “We’re gonna go for a little walk now. You be good and we’ll leave you in the woods. You be not good and someone will discover your body in a month or two or maybe never.”

He shook his head in the affirmative. He was scared now, and that’s what I wanted. I hollered to the others to pull the truck over and clear the cones. . We had set up by a little rest area. Ronald and I walked for about two miles north into the forest. We stopped by a tree and I had him kneel down. I uncuffed him and took some chord I had in my pocket and tied him, loosely to the tree.

“Listen to me carefully. I’ve tied you loosely so you can get out of it pretty easily. Do not attempt to unloose yourself before tomorrow. If you do, we will come to your house and kill you in front of your wife and son. We monitor the cop’s radios and the 911 traffic. So, take a little advice, sit tight for the rest of tonight and in the morning you can walk back to your tractor. We’ve driven it into the bushes a ways and you may need a tow truck to get it out. “

With that I turned and walked away. I got back about forty five minutes later. The rental truck had come and picked up the trailer. Only Leon was left there with our car. I got in the driver’s side and we drove off. We headed west to highway 41 and turned south. One of the rules is never to ride with the stolen vehicle. If they get caught, they pay. That’s how it goes.

The truck held 10,000+ cartons. We have 64 stores we do business with. They buy the cartons cheap, no questions asked, and sell them on “Special.” They make a buck and we make a buck. Our take on this job was 160,000 dollars. With the rental of the truck and a few other expenses, we netted 140,000. We had to give 40% to the family, but we all ended up with about 20,000 each.

It was a good score. I read in the paper that the driver didn’t get loose for two days. Maybe I tied him too tight, but he got out and got home. The insurance paid for the cigs and so everybody was a winner. Not bad for three days work. 

Submitted: December 23, 2014

© Copyright 2021 RBoswell. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Joseph Mark

Nice story! If certain cities such as New York didn't jack the excise tax up to $13/pack there wouldn't be a market for stolen cigarettes. look forward to reading more of your work.

Wed, December 31st, 2014 11:00am

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