MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — Local youngster Phoebe Flax, age 9, is reportedly selling loose cigarettes alongside her delicious lemonade, according to teenagers enjoying the smooth, rich flavor of a Parliament menthol in a nearby alley.
“I admit there’s some ethical gray area here,” said Flax as she shook out a pack of Newports into a mason jar. “But the way I see it, I’m providing a service where demand already exists. Our house is on a block between the blood bank and a popular bookie, so there are a lot of desperate, thirsty folks going by who want a cup of lemonade to dump some vodka in and a butt before going home to tell their wives they’re dead broke. As for the neighborhood kids, don’t worry—I card. I don’t sell to anyone under 14.”
Phoebe’s mother is proud of her daughter’s entrepreneurial spirit, but does understand why some might see the situation as problematic.
“Do I wish she were selling candy instead? Sure. But I want to be encouraging because she’s so excited about her little business,” said Cynthia Flax as she lit a Salem Ultra Light. “A while back, I told her if you really want a bass guitar, you’ve got to raise the money yourself, and she figured out a way to do it. I am a little concerned about where she gets the cigarettes. She claims they fell off a truck. Okay, I can see that happening once or twice, maybe—but that can’t happen every week, can it? In any case, she gives me a family discount, so that’s cool.”
Precocious children like Phoebe can look forward to profitable futures in business, according to some economists.
“Most multi-millionaires started their careers running less-than-legal hustles,” said Eric Rich, contributor to Business Insider magazine. “And all billionaires definitely did terrible, depraved things to get where they are starting from an early age. For example, when Elon Musk was a child, he used to steal canes from blind people and sell them back at a markup. And the little Koch brothers used to run a protection racket on other kids, lest ‘something happen to their toys’. Phoebe’s ability to operate on the fringes of legality will be of great benefit to her if she starts her own grownup business one day.”
As of press time, the young Flax had joined forces with another enterprising child down the block who sells homemade cupcakes and Fireball nips on the side.