the smuggler’s bible

consisting of short fiction by hontzlake

Grazny

The drone lasts almost seven full minutes. Grazny had money on eight, but this was admittedly very optimistic. The data is varied and informative.

“We have a reliable range of values for bite force, grip and reaction speed. Sections plated with the simulated osseous material went first, which may imply a preference.”

There is a quiet rustling as her staff shuffles through the report, comparing numbers. Someone raises a hand.

“I notice—sorry, this is in the spectrographic section. There are some interesting spikes.”

Grazny flips to the page. “Ah,” she says. “That. Toward the end, something was spitting acid.”

Rakiya

“These seats suck.”

“Because they were cheap.”

“I do not find this excuse persuasive.” Rakiya squirms, trying to get comfortable. The row in front of them is, somehow, slightly elevated and making use of the same armrests. “The proprietors shouldn’t even sell admission to an experience so thoroughly impaired. I begin to doubt whether demi-section and quarto-seating are industry standard terminology.”

“I recall making several earnest appeals along these same lines immediately preceeding the purchase.”

“Yes, perhaps,” Rakiya says, “but to be fair, you are often very annoying.”

Somebody shushes her, which starts a fight and improves the evening immensely.

Sofie

The ball is up there. Somewhere. Sofie saw the pitch and swing. Solid contact, no doubt. That shit is audible.

But then the speck she’s expected to be guiding into her glove got between her and the sun, where the scorching rays sparkle and outfielder lore posits there exists a fold in reality. Balls which enter here soar wildly astray, momentum and trajectory dissolving into white light. That is to say, this fucker could pop out anywhere.

Time’s up. Sofie’s final, desperate play is to trust in the ancient magnetism of leather. She sighs, holds out her hand and waits.

Mauricio

Okay, so love is, uhm. I mean, the act of loving—well, it’s not an act, right? You demonstrate love through action, but you can’t, like, do love. In most contexts. FIne, in any G-rated context (and only once if you’re trying to stop the slide at PG-13, past that you’d better get raunchy and fast to make up for losing the bored teen demographic).

Mauricio flicks to the next slide and checks his notes, which contain nothing but a heart drawn crudely with red Sharpie. This, he realizes, is probably the sort of thing his therapist meant by “self-sabotage.”