the smuggler’s bible

Ropard

The rich part of town closes its gates at eight o’clock. Ropard scales the fence at a spot on twelfth near the microbrewery that serves acacia glazed truffle wings for brunch on Sundays. Nobody ever smokes in the alley there. His lace cuff tears on the way over. He is delighted by the authentic misfortune.

They know him at the usual place and are willing to pretend that they don’t. There is no spark of recognition in the bartender’s eyes. Very professional.

“Well?”

Ropard hesitates, smiles. “I want something from the rail,” he says. “Something that will burn going down.”