the smuggler’s bible


Pale motions gently with a hand and one of the bodyguards leaves the room. He returns with a bottle and three glasses. The liquor is pungent and pitch black.

“Go ahead,” Pale says, taking his glass. “It’s not a ritual or a test. Just a drink. I want to know—last year, what did Roger send you down after?”

“He wanted Moll.” Malkin shrugs. “A hood. Small time, running some amateur ploys. He fronted a courier service and was steaming the letters open. Things like that.”

Pale nods. “I knew him.”

“Certainly you did. That factored into things quite prominently.”


Children are playing in the street outside on the day Malkin chooses. They settle in very early, while the birds are still singing. They have a man upstairs, one across the street and two in the café itself. Malkin waits around the corner in the car sipping black coffee out of a thermos. It’s bitter, terrible stuff.

Moll comes around eleven with a satchel under his arm, and Malkin sighs. He’ll have filled it with junk. They’ll have to dig for the rest.

“Anything else before we go?”

“Check his shoes and coat-lining. Remember, Roger wants it all. Every scrap.”