Lin Page 3

took refuge at the New Park, camped
under-neath the willowy trees, kept awake by his throbbing arm and the clang of the garbage trucks at three in the morning.

Outside the My Family's Pork Chop restaurant scooters litter the sidewalk, haphazardly parked, cutting off pedestrian movement. People must venture out into the street to proceed, and risk the wrath of the buses and compact cars. Wrestling his scooter into the tight space between two bulky older models he strains and pushes, metal body rubbing other metal bodies. A stray piece of scooter scrapes his hand, leaving a cut. Cursing, he shoves harder, and now his vehicle is wedged, the front tire poised a few inches above the ground. He is angry at himself for his callous approach to parking -- once one surrenders to this environment, one reaches a state of perpetual irritation and

complacency. Who cares if you scratch up your scooter or someone else's? Who cares if you're blocking the sidewalk? No one else does, so one must accept the fight on those terms, and thus the battle is lost.

Still perturbed, he wraps his poncho into a ball before he enters the restaurant and squeezes out as much rainwater as he can. Against his sweaty back, his short-sleeve shirt is like wax. Being in the subtropics will do wonders for your complexion, he had been told. No more need for moisturizers. Which was true, he hasn't touched lotion in months, but now the ring finger and pinky of his right hand are wrinkled, flaking and itchy with some unknown fungal condition.

He recognizes Mr. Liu almost immediately -- it is as if he has emerged whole and unharmed from the photo Allen provided. Baby face perched