the smuggler’s bible

Saint Persephone

All right, so get this. There are like six-hundred angels dancing on the head of this pin, right? And one falls off. How many are left up top doing the paradise bump and hustle?

Uh huh. Nice try, but it isn’t so simple. Listen, an angel isn’t just an angel. It’s a particle. A coordinate. Geometry.

The whole fuckin’ disco is structured like a crystal, see? One piece shimmies when it oughta shake and the party unzips. I mean it, kid. Blown to smithereens.

Anyway, the pin is creation, Satan says, sipping his wine. And that’s why everything sucks now.


Sawyer is way ahead of the pack, pedaling mightily and weaving between cars, when the feeling comes over her.

She grits her teeth through the lift and tenses for freefall. Headlights spread out to surround her, then swoop together in a rush.

Eyes open. Clouds and buzzing street lamps. A few minutes gone, maybe. Not long. Satan laughs.

“Technically a legal play,” Sawyer says, standing her bike up, “but still a dick move.”

“That’s the secret, babe.” Satan takes a swig from a bottle in a brown paper bag. “The stakes don’t matter if you get to pick the game.”


The scam seems simple enough. Lucie sits under a tree in the park and shrewdly watches the swindle through to completion four times.

She notes the general script and identifies some spots which could be improved. It’s a risk. Tamper too much and the system falls apart. But even with a few more misses, it’s better odds than the racket out at the bus station.

“Okay, I’m going for it,” she says.

“You’ll do great, kid.”

“Sure. Hey, thanks for the tip. You’re right, this does seem like fun.”

“Please,” Satan says, watching Lucie head off toward a mark. “You deserve it.”


Yulia slides in through the back and nudges past the cooks and the busboys in the wings. The bouncer on the stool shakes his head dolefully as she heads up the stairs.

“Aw, stuff it.”

“I’m just being sympathetic.”

The door to Satan’s office opens before she touches the handle. This is one of his special tricks. It means trouble.

“Boss,” Yulia begins, “I, uh, I mean the—”

“I heard all about it.”

“Okay. So, what now?”

“Well, one of us is gonna have to go,” Satan says. “But, after all, Satan doesn’t blow town. That’s one of the perks.”