When I worked on the building site most of the workers were from Eastern Europe. They had a thriving black market in all sorts of the things. I don't know where they got them. Well, for some it was obvious - the health warnings on the cigarettes were in various Eastern European languages.
A guy with a black bin bag used to hang around, outside the security gate, as they arrived and as they left. Lazlo we called him. This probably wasn't his name. He doled out packs of two hundred cigarettes to the chain smoking workmen in exchange for folding notes.
We weren't allowed to smoke on the site. It was a large tower block and a fire would have been a problem. But the workers were industrious in finding a corner for a drag. Most just vanished for fifteen minutes or so. Sometimes there were a crowd of them and a cloud of blue smoke hovered from behind a stack of gyproc boards.
One guy had mastered the art of not doing any work, we called him Keyser Soze, like in the film. I noticed this guy on my first day on the job. As I approached the site I could see down the side, below the portakabins, near the edge of the dock. There was a man sitting on a large tractor tyre, padded with old blankets, reading a book. Behind him there seemed to be a small makeshift shelter. He sat there all day every day. Dozing and lazing and reading and smoking. The only time I ever saw him away from his cosy little shelter was when I spotted him buying 400 cigarettes from Lazlo. Nothing better to do with his time than smoke I guess.
After a few days I asked, and it turned out that everybody knew about him. He spent his day down at his shelter. The book was apparently the bible. I asked if he got paid and nobody really knew but we guessed that he must.
One warm sunny afternoon I saw guys pointing down from the twentieth floor. I went to the edge and looked down. There was Keyser beating at his shelter with a jacket and trying to kick it down while orange flames lept from its heart. He must have dozed in the summer sun. His cigarette had ignited his comfortable padding and the whole shelter was now ablaze. He was anxious to grab something from inside the shelter and I thought he would ignite soon. But, after a daring lunge, he came out with the burning book in his hand. He frantically ran to the dockside. Lying flat on his stomach he plunged the smoking bible into the cold green soup of the dock.
Soon, the sound of sirens signalled the end of Keyser. There were Suits everywhere. Clipboards never mean good things. As I left the site that night, passing Lazlo with his black binbag I knew there would be no more smoking on site, for about two days.