Lin Page 4
You don't speak it? she says in jowly Mandarin. Who are you?

I was told you'd be here. I represent the American insurance company that~

You? She looks him up and down, snorts in a friendly manner. Tryin' to get me to agree to the payout, eh? The greedy little pig got you hooked, eh?


In slow motion, she bends and places the flowers at the foot of the gravestone. Gathered tightly around her bare wrist are Buddhist prayer beads. She then retrieves an unidentified object from her purse that is swaddled in napkins. When she sets it down next to the flowers, the napkins unfold of their own accord, as if hungry for sun,

and C.J. sees green onion cakes, fresh scallions gathered just under the surface of the skin in uneven blotches. His stomach gurgles reflexively.

The elder Mrs. Chen closes her eyes and places her palms together, and for a short moment there is something settled and graceful about her, and then she turns away from the stone. He was picky about green onion cakes, she mutters. When he was a child, I'd make 'em, and he'd always push 'em away at the table. Said I couldn't make them right. Never shy about telling me what was wrong with my cooking.

Mrs. Chen, I'm sorry about your son. I'm looking for information~

That bitch wife of his, she's never cared for him, just cared about his money.
The prayer beads around her