Paratalk or torque?

My new column, with a title that somehow makes sense. From now on until I stop I will be examining a paragraph in whatever detail I choose. This is also a good time for guests to pop in and do their own paragraph.

This paragraph is from Verandah Volume 21. It’s a magazine of short stories published by Deakin University students. Every writer must have rejections under their belt and my submission to Verandah is my first. Character forming or not, it’s important to have multiple, I look forward to my next with as much equanimity as I can muster.

I was a smoker in my salad days. I know how desperate is the need for a cigarette when you have none. The No Smoking rule is often disregarded on Friday nights; on this train, this Friday night, there has been no smoking: all the cigarettes have been destroyed.

This particular paragraph is from Three Little Maids by Jean Thornton.

I liked it for a couple of reasons. It’s got the idiom ‘my salad days’, not one I’d heard of before and I googled it to be sure what the author was getting at here. Nice to be right occasionally, it’s about being young and innocent. I felt this paragraph summed up most of the entire story and if I tell you why it’ll spoil the entire story. Three sentences, each longer than the last indicating the expanding length of train journey without cigarettes. Then there’s the last sentence with all the punctuation slowing down the pace of the reading showing how the train journey could feel longer than it really was.