the smuggler’s bible


The trick, once demonstrated, is grasped easily. Gesine watches as the process of twist, jolt and knock (staccato palm with some complicated knuckle work) is accomplished three times, then sets aside her newspaper and approaches the door.

Just beyond is a short hallway, occupied by a man on a stool.

“Password, please.”

“Forgive me,” Gesine says, “but I have already demonstrated my credentials.”

“The rhythm is insufficient for admittance.”

“I’m afraid we must be in disagreement.”

“To your detriment. You see, any scoundrel loitering in the vestibule could, eventually, perform a reasonable imitation.”

“Intolerable.” Gesine coughs. “An utterly depraved notion.”