the smuggler’s bible

Melody

The coffee shop has an arcade cabinet by the counter. It’s scuffed and dented along the control panel, probably a third-hand find from a reclaimed storage locker. But it sure does glow in a charming way.

“See, old games, at their heart, are all about the same thing,” Melody says. “Sin, broadly. Gluttony, more specifically. The act of consumption.” She taps a button, rolls the control stick in her palm. “Lives, bombs, points—and quarters. You make an offering and the machine feasts.”

“Listen, I really can’t get your money back.”

“Well, fine, but do you have any cheaper lattes?”