"Frishta! It's the coat for Crete. Double lining. One hundred pockets, one hundred six-inch sticks of Beirut Beige, nicest shit west of Afghanistan. Cost me twenty quid, this coat." He looked at Brain, who was chaining the door. "I got those false-bottomed suitcases from Tchaik, too. That's another five kilos." Mick half closed his eyes and sucked air between his two fingers, as if he were smoking.

Tom leaned back on the couch to say almost falsely, "You're big time now, man."

Mick affirmed, "Damned right. Flying there and back. No more of these fucking Portobello Road busts for me." Mick took off his coat.

Brian said, "I warn you, man. Next week is a better week to do it."

Fuck your stars. My score is splitting Crete day after tomorrow."


Brian said smugly, "They're your balls." He joined Frishta on the couch with Tom and took chopsticks.

"And I'll worry about them. Just give me your share of the bread."

Brian took four crumpled ten pounds notes from his pocket and tossed them on the floor. Mick picked them up and glared at Brian. The three on the couch ate intently, their eyes on the bowl, not Mick. The boy in the corner stood up. Mick stepped back. "Who's this?"

"Tom's crasher."

Tom motioned to him with chopsticks. "Here, man, eat." The boy knelt in front of Frishta, who held the bowl on her knees, and he fumbled with the chopsticks. Tom showed him how to hold them.

Indicating the beans, Frishta ventured, "Shall I get Michael?"

Tom grinned at Brian, then at Mick. "Hell, no. He's been lapping cream all night." They all laughed, even the boy.

In his merriment, Brian conciliated Mick, who took pride in his cigarette rolling. "Make us a couple, Mick. There's papers by my bed."

Mick patted his jacket pocket before he reached into it. "I've got some. What's your shit?"

"It's the end of Phil's and Maureen's Moroccan stuff." Brian pointed to the gas stove opposite the couch. It sat on a small tile hearth. On the hearth were a pebble of black hashish and a package of cigarette tobacco.