the smuggler’s bible


On her way out, she touches him very gently on the shoulder. Soft pressure exerted with two fingertips. His chair tips backward, spilling him into the corner.

“Just hold on,” he says, but the door shuts as he struggles upright. He is there is a moment, stumbling into the corridor. “Hold on one goddamn second.”

Light shines from the top of the stairs. Pluto Vespasianus races outside, still off balance. He feels a breeze created by displaced air, looks up to see a contrail ascending with a gleaming blue flame at its apex.

And, finally, even that begins to fade.