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How to Beg for Cigarettes
Matt Ponticello
Most people believe owning a business is a walk in the park. Sure, it can be, if it's a charming little donut shop in the country. However, not in this case Matt Ponticello retires early from the comfort and security of the corporate world and opens an auto body repair shop deep in the inner city. "Yeah, take a walk in a park around here, if you can find one, and see how long you last before you're mugged for cigarettes and loose change." So begins "How to Beg for Cigarettes," the story of one business owner's hilarious "laugh-a-mile-a-minute" romp through the bowels of the inner city, where he finds a real and sometimes surreal cast of characters - with a city, a business, and a staff of employees to match. Amidst the daily dangers and confrontations in this harsh environment, he struggles with his own personal battle - whether to stay in business and suffer an inevitable nervous breakdown or return to the calm of retirement. From petty theft to murder, Ponticello rummages through America's inner cities, searching for the humor and "good" in even the worst-case scenarios, taking a romantic pride in the city's dangers - genuine and predictable - and approaches a six-block walk for coffee every morning as if it's an epic adventure filled with peril.
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