the smuggler’s bible


The king’s guards are standing in a semicircle and rubbing their shoulders against the hard stone wall on either end. Gavrilo, unfortunately, is buttoned up on the wrong side of the line.

“All right. Get in there,” one of the guards says. He tosses down a length of rope—barely a shoelace really. “Bind its forelegs.”

“I begin to detect certain imperfections in this strategem.”

“I understand. Try the jaws. We afford you considerable discretion in the matter.”

“Instead, I propose subsituting a different personage as your agent.”

“What is your deficiency?”

“Cowardice,” Gavrilo says, “and a will to live.”