“Most people believe having your own business is a walk in the park,” Ponticello explains, “I thought so too, and I’m sure it can be; if it’s a charming little donut shop way the hell out in the country. I found out the hard way; I opened an auto body repair shop deep in the bowels of the inner city. Yeah, take a walk in the 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.” From petty theft to murder, Ponticello searches 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.
By drawing from his personal experience and actual events, Matt Ponticello documents his exploits throughout the inner city, where he confronts a real and sometimes surreal cast of characters, within 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.