Eureka~one of the bottom drawers slides out less easily than the others,
burdened by something weighty. He pulls the drawer all the way off
the runners, very slowly, the latticed wood croaking. Inside are collated
manila folders, names on each tab. Within seconds he has found the
folder on Liu, and he draws it out. At the back of the drawer, divorced
from any folder and settled on the bottom, are a smattering of CDs
in scratched-up, unlabeled cases. He takes the top two off the pile
and reads the scrawled writing on the discs: Spring Festival 1997.
Spring Festival 1998.
He bundles the folder and CDs within his old clothes, returns folders
and drawer to their original position, pulls out the lingerie drawer
back to its original position, and with a nod of satisfaction~You'd
make a good thief after all~he departs the bedroom.
. . .
The garbage truck has a singsong music-box tune to proclaim its arrival,
much like an ice cream van back home. Crawling down the street at
a snail's pace, it never accelerates, never stops. Taiwan can be inexact
when it comes to schedules and timeliness, but the garbage trucks
are implacable. If they come to your neighborhood at 7:23 p.m., you
can rest assured that they will come at 7:23 p.m. every day. If you
are not there at the curbside at that exact moment to throw your garbage
in, joining the other homeowners and renters on the side of the street
like a mass of robots, you are reduced to running after the truck,
lumpy bags in hand. If you are half a minute late, you are out of
luck. Wait until tomorrow.
Even in the ritzy neighborhood in Pishan where Mr. Wang lives, the
garbage trucks run their dingy course. Here,