You don't speak it? she says in jowly Mandarin. Who are
I was told you'd be here. I represent the American insurance company
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