Lin Page 2

a Hollywood star on a cover, his eyebrows darker, his expression more taciturn, ineffably Asian. It is tempting to walk inside, down the pink aisles where the Japanese porn videos are displayed, genitals digitally blurred out on the covers but breasts proudly displayed, the girls flashing their winsome, absolutely carnal smiles.

The rain has subsided to a dotted mist. Kicking his scooter into gear, he blunders back into traffic. Other riders with their long gowns of raincoats clatter alongside him, like performers at a particularly forlorn circus. The water on the street is perhaps an inch deep, and as his tires cut through the brownish waves, water sprays his back, little jabs of discomfort that settle on the seat, soak the bottom of his pants.

All the while he is on the lookout for the police, the maddening checkpoints they usually set up

down Roosevelt Road along the bridges that connect Hsintien in the south to central Taipei in the north. He has no scooter license; those with a two-month visitor visa are prohibited from acquiring them. Countless foreign devils have fallen prey to these checkpoints, been issued stern warnings and fines that could almost pay for a used scooter by themselves. Once, after a drunken evening at the Blue Note, he was barreling down the post-midnight streets when he saw the slim patrolmen standing at attention, the lighted batons they waved in their hands. He had braked, much too fast, the scooter skidding right out from under him, his elbow and forearm smeared black with concrete and blood. He had struggled back to his feet, the back fender of his scooter sticking out like a toy that has been abused too often, and sped off in the opposite direction, the policemen at the checkpoint refusing to give chase, or perhaps they hadn't even seen him. For the rest of the evening he