the smuggler’s bible

Bate

In a perfect world, the box you need is always situated on a shelf accessible directly from the foot of the basement stairs. This world, though, has some flaws.

Bate realizes, standing on cold cement under a bare light bulb hanging from a wire, that a full year’s churning has deposited the Christmas decorations somewhere toward the back.

He wants to go upstairs and find his slippers, to tell his children he loves them. But there’s a chance he loses his nerve altogether. Having waited until the fifth eve, his time has already been spent. The tree comes tonight.