It was the dead of night , I lay awake thinking of what I had to do. If I got this right it may change the all of our lives. The pervious day I had brought with my pocket money (10 pence ) a small packet of cigarette crackers. I had found this tiny shop tucked away up a long street in Cambridge. It sold every type of practical joke you could imagine , squirting flowers , black face soap , nails through fingers and so on. I was to become a regular visitor over the next few years. The shop it's self was crammed full , selves overflowing with slightly faded packets , dark corners , an old fashioned till stood upon a glass counter. Laid under the glass flip top lid , were small white packets with a comically drawn face of a man, with an exploded cigarette in his mouth. His face blacken and puzzled , the remains of a once long and slender cigarette now scredded and in taters, still between the lips of the cartoon pictured on the packet. For a child who was backwards in Maths and English I had not trouble in plotting. I could see my father's face manifesting on the pack, the wheels in my head had been firmly engaged. With a wicked grin, and a quick point of my index finger, I paid the old man behind the counter, and in an instant had the packet safely secured in my pocket tightly wrapped in a small brown paper bag. The corners of the bag neatly turned over in a fast well practised motion by the old man in the joke shop. I could tell by the way he looked at me he knew I was up to no good, but he did not care, his shop was a Mecca for all children , some as old as my father. The journey home was longer than normal, I longed to open that brown paper bag, but never no privacy on the back seat of the car. Just a slight russle of a bag would attract the attention of my siblings, nothing was ever just mine. Sweets had to be passed around, shared. I would never open a packet of crisps till the coast was clear, though I had mastered the art of hold the bottom of the packet very firmly so when offering the open bag to my brother he could not grab a whole hand full ! We were nearly home, If I was smart I could get in the house first. The car coasted down the slope of the drive way I jumped out. Pushed the telescopic car ariel down, and opened the unlocked up and over dark blue garage door. Quickly running inside the house through the convient joining door. Straight into the down stairs toilet, the only room in the house with a lock on. This would give me the privacy to unwrap and examine what is was lurking inside the small white match box sized packet. Opening packet with the care of a surgeon making his first incision, it contain what I may only describe as little triangle pieces of cardboard , no bigger than a babies thumb nail. I laid them out on the plam of my right hand. Counting them out loud in my mind, ten, even in my tiny hands it would be easy to misplace or lose the incredably small bringers of revenge. I was a little disappointed. How could such a tiny little piece of cardboard do all that damage ? Was the cartoon fake just to attract my attention ? The instructions read , " Push into the end of cigarette" , then in large letters "ONLY ONE CRACKER PER CIGARETTE" Of course I was going to completely ignore the last instruction. How could one of these microscopic pieces of card be enough ? My father was a man of routine. In bed most nights by 11 O clock , up for work around at 7 am. Each morning I would hear the same thing. The sound of heavy footsteps from upstairs , the loud rather musical sound of him passing wind with every third step of the staircase , the sound of him pulling out his chair next to the table , the fumbling for his packet of cigarettes , not looking just tapping around the table until his hand came across the familiar feel of the cold metal of the lighter placed directly on top of the packet , half dazed still , the rattle of the silver paper , then finally the 'click , click of the lighter before he drew his first long drag of the day , closely followed by a long coughing fit. It was the same routine each and every day. I would even smell that scent of smoke come wafting into my room , under my quilt and right up my nose. This day was going to be different , the night before I had pre loaded the front two cigarettes not just with one cracker , but four ! This will teach him to smoke without any consideration, I thought as I carefully replaced the foul smelling cigarettes back into the green and white flip top packet, making sure to place the box and the lighter back in the exact same position that my father had left them in before climbing the stairs to bed the night before. I fell asleep. I had not meant too. I had wanted to be wide awake, in prime position to experience my fathers downfall. But here he was already accompanying himself down the stairs to his usual tune. I gathered myself, rolled out of bed silently not to wake my sleep brother, who had no idea what was about to happen. I slipped out of my room, down the hall and stood by the open crack in the inside of the sitting room door frame. The light jutted out at a forty five degree angle straight across me, and on to the bathroom door. My heart thumping so loud in my chest , I saw my fathers chair being pulled out. His deep chesty cough echoing round the walls. I watched transfixed as his hands shaking reached first for his cigarettes. The rustle as he pulled off the silver paper guarding the filters, the same silver foiled paper that I had replaced so perfectly the night before. He hardly noticed the extra creases. Pulling one cigarette up he lifted the box to his mouth. The filter was now between is lips. I had no idea which cigarette he had choosen. An unknowing partisapate in a game of Russian roulette. I braced myself, hardly baring to glance through the crack in the door. Clunk, the sound of the heavy metal lighter failing to work. Again clunk, clunk and then what seemed like hours the familiar sound of woosh as the flame leapt from the device much higher than was healthy ! Now I had made sure the crackers had been pushed about half an inch down inside the cigarette. The instructions had indicated that if the cracker was exposed it may go off perpetually. The idea was to get the victim to have at least two long drags before ignition and take off ! Now if you are a smoker you will know what my father did next. The first lung full of smoke for the day would create a coughing fit, so as he drew in a large lung full, finished coughing stretched his free arm out in front of him and to the side, sat back, relaxed and took the next fatel drag. Boom the cigarette disintegrated into a million tiny dust partials, the filter remained caught between his now quivering lips. I was now watching transfixed through the crack in the door, busting not to laugh. My hand stuck across my mouth my eyes wide. He stood up and whether or not he realised he was doing it, patted himself down to make sure he still had all of his limbs. This was one of the funniest things I had ever seen. My father standing up next to his chair, face black, cigarette filter intacted in his mouth, using his hands to check he still had all his bits and pieces. I will leave the rest to your imagantion. The bang was so loud it woke up the house ! My mother came runny down the stairs, to see my father standing bewildered by the table, still shaking after the shock, white as a sheet. Face black as the coalmans. The house was so busy it was the best diversion. I had managed to run and to leap into bed before my mother had appeared. I was under my sheets trying hard not to shake with laughter. The image of my fathers blacken face etched with fear as he thought a bomb had exploded under his chair, had imprinted its self in my minds eye. He never did get me to confess. I am sure he knew who had spiked his faggs, but there was no way I was going to own up. Maybe he saw the funny side, in private. But because I had been so careful to cover my tracks, not telling a soul about my plan the repercussions from a memorable childhood moment went unpunished. Sadly even the shock of being got by a nine year old was not enough for him to give up smoking. His morning routine stayed the same. A little more careful when lighting up his first ciggarette of the day though, just in case I went for the rerun.