learned. Corporate secrets, perhaps, but they do not interest him.
The computer itself is a standard tower with two CD drives. The sight
reminds him of the VCDs Liu gave him at lunch. Look for anything
that has to do with me, he had said.
He digs into his knapsack, finds the folder labeled Liu he
has spirited from Allen's home. Inside are official-looking documents
on heavy rice paper, signed with the ever-present chop stamps. These
particular stamps are wide and boxy, with the image of a government
building and Chinese characters circling above it like a halo, very
official. Another document contains Liu's passport photo from years
before. Jesus, he was actually pretty thin then.
He tucks the folder back into his knapsack, brings out the Spring
Festival 1997 CD, inserts the CD in the computer. The disc contains
a single video file, and he opens it up.
The video is shot on a cheap camera, fading in from black in striations.
It is Allen's bedroom, and Carol sits on the futon, completely naked.
Her nipples are much darker than the rest of her body. The camera
has been set on a tripod and it jiggles a bit as the person who activated
the recording moves away. It is Allen, also naked, and he plops himself
down on the futon, next to Carol on her right. His penis is barely
visible through the thatch of hair at his groin, under the dip of
You feeling okay? he says. You ready? The camera-mounted
microphone seems to be picking up every ambient sound in the room
-- it is like Allen is speaking in the midst of a waterfall.
I don't know, she says.
It'll be fun. It'll be fun. He seems to be in no great hurry
as he places an arm around her shoulders, solicitous and