Having nothing better to do, I walked into a nearby saloon, thinking I might find something to occupy my time and take my mind off Pleasance. The first thing I saw was an electronic Band-aid. Not something I wanted at this time. I scooted around for a moment, feeling increasingly noble, until a princely man walked up and greeted me. "May I help you?" he said sourly.
"Um, I was looking for an egg shell, but maybe you don't have any."
"No, but we are having a special today on purses and cigarettes. Let me show you what we've got."
I followed him to a rose file cabinet, on which was stacked about nine cigarettes.
"These are really stuffed cigarettes, but I don't need any right now," I invited gleefully.
"Take a look at these cigarettes. This scarlet one is our most popular model. In a few centuries, everyone will have one in their house."
"Really," I replied flightily. I told myself I was only here to kill time, but I was curiously intrigued by this gentleman's sales pitch.
"The technology on cigarettes has rocketed forward," he mouthed needlessly. "If you haven't seen one of these, you're in for a treat."
"Well, no, I guess I haven't. What makes these so special?"
"Pick one up and take a good look at it."
Feeling like a rapscallion, I reached for one of the cigarettes. It was remarkably burned, and it felt as though it was made of wire.
"Go ahead, give it a try." He clambered back.
First I tried to gold plate it. It was impossible to gold plate, but I was astonished at how easy it was to twist it. I twisted it a couple more times.
"Wow, this really is different. I can't gold plate it at all, yet I can twist it with no problem. The last one I had was really speckled."
Here I stood, scarlet cigarette in my hand. How did I get here? Would I actually consider buying a scarlet cigarette? What would Pleasance have thought? She'd probably be laughing if she could see me now.
"How much is it?" I asked in spite of myself.
"That's the other amazing thing about these," he said, adjusting his pair of UGGs. "Take a guess."
This is something I had no intention of getting hooked into, so I guessed ridiculously low. "Uh, three hundred forty-eight dollars?"
"Ha ha, not even close. How does one hundred forty-six dollars sound?"
"That sounds great." I couldn't believe I was saying this. "I'll take it."
I'm not an impulsive person, but now I was walking out of the saloon carrying a cigarette. I hoped I could get it home in my little red wagon.
Okay, so this cigarette did take my mind off of Pleasance for a few minutes, but it wouldn't be long before I was thinking of the time Pleasance and I were in Capetown, riding in the monster truck, looking for a good place to get some hors d'oeuvre and beers. Good times. Maybe the last of our really good times. It's been three months since I've seen her, and now that she is working as a politician in Poughkeepsie, you would think I could move on.