the smuggler’s bible

Price

The first deep breath of the new year hits like a cloud of chili powder and leaves Price coughing and weeping on the floor. Kiku is there in an instant, crouching beside him, wiping at his eyes with a hand balled inside the sleeve of her sweatshirt.

“It’s a portent,” Price wheezes.

“No, honey. It probably isn’t a portent. Don’t get excited.”

“I can’t handle one stupid lungful, and I’m supposed to deal with all this?” Price waves his arms about vaguely. “A whole year? Really?”

“Give it a few weeks,” Kiku says. “It’s misery, same as always. You’ll adjust.”