He shrugged his shoulders.
“It’s got my work in it.”
He was looking straight ahead.
“It’s my finals!”
To anybody who was vaguely related to a student, the word ‘final’ was serious. To anyone who did not have a son sitting finals, it was a word to avoid. The driver continued to play dumb.
Cigarettes were banned over forty years ago. The Family said that the cost to the nation was too great to sustain. The national health programme had been wound down, free healthcare was something of the past. Smoking had been declining until the great recession came along. After that, no matter how high the cost, people turned to cigarettes as a way of easing anxiety.
They didn’t smoke the government brand but sought out illegals. Word had it that they cured anxiety through a quick, gasping death. If you were caught with them, you were sent out to the margins, and everyone knew how bad that was. Nevertheless, people still smoked. The driver was one of them, his packet was just visible in his upper inside pocket.