the smuggler’s bible


Hiro pries open the bear trap and salts its teeth until they’re crusted like the edge of a margarita glass. He leaves it just inside the hotel room’s door. On the desk, he places a few smoldering twigs of jade tree in a saucer and then sits down cross-legged in front of the shogi board.

The wind starts to pick up after midnight. The door creaks and the trap snaps shut. The spirit’s roiling mass stirs up the incense in the air.

“Don’t speak,” Hiro says, unsheathing the twenty-six gleaming inches of his katana’s blade. “I’m here to help you.”