Lin Page 9

VCDs. A small run, maybe a few thousand for each item. Not the sort of thing that can go through regular channels, but very profitable. Ship them to the mainland, they do very well. You get me?

Not really. But he knows that now is not the time to interrupt with the affirmative or negative. He waits.

You do get me, don't you? Don't you? Mr. Liu pushes the VCDs across the table with an insistent squeak. Keep the VCDs. Free samples. Watch them and you'll understand. Tell Mr. Allen that I'll get him those files this afternoon. This one time. And Peitou better be closed within the week.

He knows better than to ask Mr. Liu what Peitou is, what the VCDs are, and yet the curiosity is maddening. No help for it, this is as far as he can go, he is merely a representative, a Chinese face that stands in for the American investigator, and in that role he must be affable, professional, aiding and abetting.

Where in America are you from? Mr. Liu asks.


Houston? Houston? Mr. Liu smiles for the first time and raises his arms in rough mimicry of a jump shot. Houston Rockets. Yao Ming.