the smuggler’s bible


“Jesus Christ, he’s everywhere,” Pontchartrain says. She has a file open on her lap, turning pages while Barraclough weaves through evening traffic. The light on the dash is flashing red and green. “Charity auctions, food drives, shelters—everything.”

“How does the opera house fit?”

“Bailey’s on the board of directors, focused on community outreach. Every year he gives the keynote speech at the Chamber of Commerce banquet.” Pontchartrain looks up, face stern. “That’s tonight.”

“They run everything downtown.” Barraclough whips around a truck hauling fresh-cut fir trees, dusted with snow. “How many?”

“Ten members,” Pontchartrain says. “Lords of Tinsel Town.”