As Rigabold the pernicketness sat in his Dodge Ram under the hot central Australia sun, which strangely enough is the same sun all Earth sees but a lot bloody hotter than many places in the world, he had a decision to make. It was one of the biggest decisions of his life, which given he was Tumcuddulan and their lifespans were measured in aeons, not years like humans, went some way to describing just how important the decision was. And the decision was….

Should he eat another Chiko Roll!

He knew that to a human such a decision was not ever going to be a major one, although their race would be greatly improved if it was, but it was a decision that did require some ponderation, even if ponderation was not a word humans knew.

From Ceduna in most directions towns became a bit more prominent on the map, unless he headed north towards the big rock in the middle of the country but he thought he’d save that for the return trip to the Stargazer because the big rock had a story to tell all of it’s own. More towns, more frequently meant the availability of Chiko Rolls increased.

The ones he had staying warm on the front seat could easily be eaten, devoured and savoured before reaching the next town. However his advanced pallet and digestive system was telling him that all the Chiko’s he had since leaving Norseman, the last largish town heading east in Western Australia, had come out of the same batch. In layman’s terms all the Chiko’s he’d eaten across the Nullarbor Plain had been snapped frozen in the factory and sent, possibly on the same truck, to each roadhouse. Not that there was anything wrong with that, such delicacies like Chiko Rolls were delivered that way throughout the country. But being from the same batch all the time meant that the only varying factor was the chef and how he, or she, cooked them, and as yet not one of them had cooked them perfectly.

It wasn’t their fault, they were after all only human, but Rigabold wanted a change and he figured that change was only going to come from not stopping at every store where Chiko Rolls were available. It wasn’t that he had forgotten his secondary task of finding the best cook of Chiko’s and taking him, or her, back to Tumcuddula, but he was starting to figure that the best cook was not in a road house or general store.

Thinking the way he was wasn’t going to stop Rigabold from eating Chiko Rolls, they were part of his well balanced diet, but it was going to stop him from testing every store he passed. He also knew that as the bigger towns became more frequent the opportunity to buy his own frozen Chikos from what Earthlings called Supermarkets and deep fry them himself in the back of the ute. Of course the deep fryer was not a standard feature of the Dodge Ram, although it should be, and his was a special fryer that did not spill oil as he drove.

So what it all came down to was that he had to decide whether to eat another Chiko Roll based on many factors, the biggest being that their availability increased quite a bit as his trip went on. He was on the verge of making that decision when there was a knock at his window.

Rigabold turned and looked through the tinted window, standing outside in the hot sun was a man wearing a wide brimmed hat and a khaki uniform, it was not hard to work out the man was a law enforcement officer of some kind. Reluctantly letting the cool air out of his cabin Rigabold hit the button on the door and opened the window.

“Good Afternoon Officer!” Rigabold said politely aware that some Earth police officers had their own secret attitude test, a test that if failed and ones attitude was deemed inappropriate they would be dealt with more harshly than those who passed the same test. “What can I do for you?”

“I’ve been sitting just down the road,” he pointed back behind Rigabold’s ute, “doing speed checks and I noticed that you’ve been stopped here for a little while so I thought I’d make sure there was no problems.”

It was immediately obvious to Rigabold that Sergeant Carroll, according to his name tag, was not the sort of cop that many road reports told about. In truth many of those negative reports came via people who had been caught doing the wrong thing and feel victimised because they were caught. It never ceased to amaze Rigabold how the reported level of arsehole in the cop always matched how butt hurt the reporter was for being caught doing something wrong.

“Thank you for your concern officer, I’m fine. I’m just trying to decide whether I wanted to eat another Chiko Roll or not.” Rigbaold remained polite as he spoke. “Would you like one?”

Sergeant Carroll laughed as he declined Rigabold’s offer. “But since you are here would you object to a road side RBT?”

Rigabold knew from his studies that and RBT was a roadside breath test, a test to check whether he had any alcohol in his system. Tumcuddulan’s were of course not effected by alcohol like humans and even if Rigabold had drunk a bottle of whiskey with his last Chiko Roll he would not have registered a blood alcohol concentration figure, but he was happy to oblige the police officer of his request.

Several minutes later with all the roadside tests and questions satisfied Sergeant Carroll bid Rigabold farewell and headed back to his police issue four wheel drive, presumably then heading back to his spot down the road to check for speeders.

Before the police vehicle had pulled out and done a u-turn Rigabold’s window was up and he was contemplating the second biggest decision of his entire trip.

Previous Episode here.
First Episode here.