the smuggler’s bible


Burke stands under the fluorescent lights, looking at greeting cards. It is 11:45 p.m. and the only witness to his immense effort of concentration is the employee who has come by twice to ask if he’s okay and to say they are closing soon.

“I understand,” he says, “but this is important.”

He buys a card with a puppy on the front then drives 45 minutes to the office and sleeps in the parking lot so he can leave it on her desk first thing.

She calls in sick just after nine and Burke almost faints he is so relieved.