The deep blue of a mysterious sea...
Vibrant green grass on a hill and the stark white of a froth beating up on pale sand...
"...scuse me." A voice says. "Ex-cuse me. Hello?"
Spiro jerks out of his haze.
"Wh-" He says, feeling like he's just been yanked out of a dream. "Uh, what can I help you with?"
The man across the tiny store counter- a scraggly, older, hunched-over kind of guy, frazzled beard, square, saggy jowls, and liver spots sprayed across one side of his patchy face- gives him a narrowed look.
"Smokes," he says. His teeth are yellow and haphazard. He speaks with a slight lisp to his voice, probably caused by the teeth. The frayed blue wool of his cardigan makes Spiro glance and hesitate for a moment longer. "The good kind. Not the crap ya' shit bosses got you people pushin'."
Spiro smiles weakly and fumbles for the keychain under the counter that unlocks the dingy glass cigarette display case behind the counter. The display light flickers.
"What brand did you say you wanted, sir?" He says.
"The blue one," the old grouch gestures irritably, pointing with one gnarled finger in the vague direction of the top right corner of the case. "Malibu blue."
The carton is blue and green with gold linings. The glitter of the gold catches Spiro's gaze for a moment, enough to still his hand. It spells out 'Malibu'.
"Wouldja hurry it up?" The old man says. "I ain't got all day."
Spiro blinks. He pulls the carton out of the case and locks it securely again. The sound of the key turning in the lock is a light, familiar click.
"Will this be all?" He says, keeping a smile on his face, breaking eye contact to fit his fingers around the grip of the handheld scanner and ring up the cigarettes. "I haven't seen you around, sir. We're pretty far on the outskirts of the city, too. Are you new around here?"
The old man gives him a suspicious look. "No," he replies after a moment, and he drops a few bills and a handful of coins into Spiro's palm as he holds it out for payment. "Use the coins. My wife usually gets smokes for me."
The edge of a copper coin glints a dark gold in the setting sunlight streaming in from the parts of the huge window displays by the doorways that aren't covered in peeling advertisements and help wanted printouts.
"Ah," Spiro says, sorting through the change. "Maybe I know her."
The old man makes a disgruntled noise. He's ill-mannered and rude-tempered, and Spiro tries to keep the numbers straight in his head so this geezer doesn't come back to say he ripped him off two cents, or something.
"Probably," the man says, "from those damn local obituaries in the paper, if nothin' else."
Spiro looks up.
"She died," the man clarifies.
The old man glares at him and holds his hand out for his change and his smokes. "Ah," he says again, weakly. "Uh. Have a nice day."