the smuggler’s bible


The store is dark except for some lights strung across the magazine rack. Out in the food court, beyond the glass and the steel cage, the security guard’s portable radio buzzes about the weather. Slowly—almost imperceptibly—a ceiling tile begins to shift above the jewelry counter. Then a man sneezes and plummets out of the drop ceiling, banging his face against a stainless steel bracket.

“Hell,” a voice whispers after a moment. “Ray, did that kill you?”

A coil of rope descends, followed by a burlap sack.

“Put all that mess in the bag. And grab your teeth, too.”