the smuggler’s bible


The front hall leads past the living room to a kitchen with green tiles against white in a checkerboard pattern on the wall. Upstairs are bedrooms.

“This one has a view of the yard.”

Merton peeks through the blinds. “Sure.”

“And down here could be a nice office.”

“What about this? Crawlspace?” The door frame has small symbols carved into the wood. As Merton reaches for the knob, the marks glow—dark purple, obvious even under the new paint.

The landlord is there in an flash. “That’s locked,” he says, sweating. “Tightly. Still, from time to time the hinges creak.”