Lin Page 22
 
You stay here long enough, you don't leave. I know, I'm a lifer. You get too settled, America becomes this weird thing He waves his hand airily. You should settle down in Taipei, get a girl, make a decent living, it's just as easy here. Easier. Plenty of opportunities for us. The lao wai man with a plan and his ABC front man.

Hmm.


Silence falls upon them for a few moments, and just before it passes the threshold of discomfort, C.J. asks:

Was that Liu on the phone?

Mmm! Yes! Turns out the police records on Mr. Chen's death have gone missing. What do you say about that?


Misplaced maybe?

I'm sure that's what the widow and daughter would like us to think. Maybe they paid off the appropriate folks to "lose" them. But it does leave us at square one. What's your take, C.J.? Where should we go from here?

Allen clasps his hands together, rests them on the table, leans forward with his restless eyes locked on C.J. All at once, C.J. remembers why he dislikes the man. He remembers their first meeting in that loud restaurant, the one foreigner in the crowd. Allen had made the initial approach: They tell me you're a fellow American expat! My name's Allen. What are you doing here in Taiwan? C.J. had responded with what he thought was perfectly fine equanimity: Oh, I haven't decided yet, I'm just here to see what's available. But in the midst of giving this