the smuggler’s bible

Vlad Dracula

Vlad Dracula is doing better. The weather’s getting cooler and he’s got his favorite sweater on. His therapist gave him some good advice about mindfulness and positivity. Helpful stuff.

And then—accidentally, he will swear later—he turns down the candy aisle in the supermarket.

Under a cardboard banner that reads “SEASONAL,” he sees an eight-foot display of frosted cakes shaped like small, garlanded pine trees. The relapse feels like a stool being kicked out from under him. He’s in freefall.

“Run,” he whispers to a nearby stockboy, hands trembling, vision turning red, “and save the others, if you can.”