Lin Page 35
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 his belly.

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