The heel of my hand rested on the packet to steady it while I used my fingers to open the top and withdraw one long, white cylinder. At the same time I groped with my left hand on the bedside table until I found a lighter, popped the cigarette between my lips and lit it in one fluid, well practised move. I breathed in deeply, and...
"PUGH! Shit! What th..." a fit of coughing choked off my words. I sat up and stared teary-eyed at the vile thing in my hand, then dropped it into a glass of water on the bedside table. The cigarette expanded in the liquid.
I found the packet and examined it. I vaguely remembered buying them on the way home from the pub last night, and the curious face behind the counter of the shop but everything else was a blur.
The brand was unfamilliar. "They must be French,"I thought. "I've never even heard of 'Libra.'" I found my trusty pack of B&H Gold and lit one, then went to the wardrobe. Tonight would be cold so I a t-shirt and a wooley jumper.
From the next drawer I picked out my "special" jeans. They consisted of two tubes of denim, each about 15 inches long. I pulled them on, tied the tops tightly with gaffer-tape just below the knee, then stamped my feet a few times to make sure they'd stay up.
I opened the wardrobe and stood in thought for several minutes, looking at the fifteen almost identical plastic macintoshes hanging there. Finally I selected one but it was wrong, so I put it back and selected another, then pulled the first one out. It was a charcoal-grey. The other was a deep green.
"Lessee... I think I'll go to the business district tonight. Yeah! Better be formal." I put on the grey mac, and left the flat.
I'd hardly walked 100 metres before I bumped into my favourite pollice officer: a tall, athletic brunette who looked great in Uniform.
"Oh! Hello Constable Boodie!"
"Good afternoon, Mr. Whitton. You're looking formal, so I hope you aren't planning on going to the center of town tonight." She continued walking.
I twitched on the spot for a second, trying to fight The Urge. Finally I spun and shouted, "Hey Denise! What do you think of THIS?" and flung my coat open.
Constable Boodie turned. "It's very cold tonight, Den. You really should wait until it's warmer."
I locked myself in my room, and tried to work out why the strange cigarettes expanded like that when I dropped them in water.