Lin Page 18
 
Umů He doesn't know what to say next. Once again he raises glass to lips, rim to bridge of nose. When he brings it down, he sees that what he assumed was a tank top is the top half of a one-piece bathing suit. About her waist is a feathery-light banner with the burgundy and gold colors of Lucky Star beer.

I'm working at the restaurant tonight, she says, eyes narrowed in amusement. You're enjoying this, C.J. thinks.

I see, he says. He was at such a restaurant when he first arrived in Taipei and was introduced to Allen. A set of nubile young women were lined up at the front door, dressed in matching red swimsuits, still short even in their four-inch platform shoes, handing out keychains and placemats for the beer companies, not even allowing themselves smiles as they greeted visitors, for a smile might be sending the wrong message.



Why do you work there? he asks. Do you need the money?

She shrugs. Just something to do. Like what you do for Allen.

Is it the same?


She laughs. You're strange. Very American.

He doesn't ask her if that's a good thing. More American than Allen? he asks.

Allen? She puffs in her cheeks in consideration. Allen is very American. And very Chinese. Very everything. You're wet.

What?
The CD player in the next room is on shuffle, and Stevie Wonder's "Sirduke" is up. The sudden belch of