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How to Find Your Mom’s Stash This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By Madison B., Bolingbrook, IL

First of all, be naive. Be curious and easily swayed. Listen to your friends when they say they want to help you, even though you had no intention of looking for it on your own, even though they’re the ones who put the idea in your head. Just act like you were going to go on a big search anyway.

Button up your army jacket and lead them to your tiny ranch-style tract house in the historical part of town. Giggle along with them, mocking your mom’s drug and alcohol habits. Tell of her strange activities, and embellish the stories a bit. Chuckle slightly while telling the tale about the catnip in the cabinet and how you were never allowed to feed it to the cat, letting them assume it was a stash. Don’t tell them that the reason was because the cat was big and mean and bit your tiny hands whenever you tried.

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