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This whole thing was just plain weird, especially getting off this quick and easy. He expected Rod Serling's voice to sound out from behind the Pampas clump - “Cole Redman has just crossed over...into...the Twilight Zone.”

He slid the registration and the proof of insurance forms into a carrier he'd pulled from within the chromed glove-box when she'd stopped him. Then, he slipped his license back into it's slot in his wallet. Finally, he pushed his left leg out and rocked to the right on his ass so he could cram it back into his left rear pocket. She looked at him again and told him to slow down one more time and he nodded enthusiastically. She turned and walked off.

God, how he needed a smoke. Cole pushed in the car's cigarette lighter and pulled a Pall Mall non-filter out of it's red and white pack. Such an old-fart cigarette but Cole loved them. They also helped him to connect with his father somehow, whom he loved and who was dead. These were what his old man smoked. He thought about the $7.00 a pack price-tag they now carried and how he didn't love that. He tapped one's end a couple of times on a hard plastic piece of the console. He'd mashed that end to keep the tobacco from getting into his mouth though he usually wound up with some on the tip of his tongue causing his lips to gently spit anyway.

Tapping also kept the hot 'cherry' in better...they tended to come loose and fall out otherwise, sometimes. He remembered the time he'd notice that a cherry was missing when he was in traffic with the top down in downtown San Jose. He'd begun to fumble for it with his left hand between his spread legs. He kept looking down and fumbling and traffic had slowed to a crawl. He fumbled some more, a bit harder and more desperately...then he looked up and a bus load of people were looking down at him. Most of the faces he saw were laughing. After that incident, he made sure the cherry would stay put by tapping his cigarettes.

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