Jerome read the list again. He looked at the blue freeze pop in his hand and frowned.

I mean, it's not my favorite color, he thought. I guess I'm not even really enjoying it. It was just the last one left. But worse than being hit by a car? That seems harsh.

He closed his laptop, finished his freeze pop and headed outside, where he was promptly hit by a car.

The car wasn't going too fast, but it was going fast enough. Jerome was in a medically induced coma for two days. Both of his legs and several ribs were broken. When the swelling in his skull was gone, the doctors woke him up, and miraculously, Jerome was mentally fine.

Which is not to say he was mentally the same. He realized what had happened to him, how close he had come to death, and what a shame it would have been for him to die like this — with so much potential wasted at his dead-end job, so many unrealized dreams. So alone.

And so Jerome decided to change his life.

When he recovered, he quit his job and started writing a novel. He reconnected with old friends. He took a new job teaching immigrants to speak English — a challenging, satisfying, rewarding job that made use of his skills. He became close with a co-worker, a woman named Ellen who was unlike anyone Jerome had ever met. He published his novel; nobody read it, but Jerome was proud of it. He married Ellen; they had good-looking and healthy children, who grew up and made something of themselves. Jerome and Ellen grew old together, and they retired to the mountains, something they had talked about doing for years.

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And in his final days, when Jerome was taking stock of his life and calculating his legacy, his mind turned to the car accident. He remembered nothing of the actual event, of course, but the morning of that day stood out clearly. He thought of the blue freeze pop, and he thought of what being hit by a car had given him.

Jerome used his neural implant to access the Old Web. He ran a search, found the freeze pop color ranking, and posted a new comment:

"How did you know?"