the smuggler’s bible

Pierre

The vents don’t stop blowing, even at night. Pierre finishes gently scraping the dirt out of the vertical groove of a capital N, then goes to his locker for his sweater.

He gets coffee in the break room. You could leave, he thinks. Nobody said you have to be here.

But he can feel it dragging him forward like a big dog on a leash, the need for something to break his way.

It’s maddening. All those old tablets, so well preserved. If one more turns out to be erotica—well, anyway, plenty of clay shards never make the exhibit.