the smuggler’s bible


The waitress is standing behind her little podium just inside the front doors. She sees Skender crossing the street and makes a sign to one of the busboys.

Everyone smiles as he comes in. The waitress says ‘hello,’ pretending like he wasn’t here two days ago. Pretending like it wasn’t her who had to ask him to leave.

“You gonna be cool today?” a cook asks from the back.

Sure, Skender thinks, if you’ll stop calling that stupid thick bean soup chili. He decides not to say it out loud, then thinks again. Anger rises. He takes a deep breath.