Lin Page 6
America, in the country.

She spends a few moments shaking her head at the enormity of it all. Maybe the air quality over there was better, C.J. thinks. He says: And then he came back

Yeah, he came back, because he was a new man, he understood people, at least he said that to me when I saw him, he was going to go back to his wife and they were going to start over and everything would be great. And he goes to his wife's house and as soon he walks in, he sees her playing mah jong with her friends, gamblin' her money away like always. Four years gone, and nothing had changed. So he walked out, and now he's dead, and you know why? Because he's worth more dead than alive. That bitch killed him, that's for sure. Made it look like an accident and now she's taking all the money he has left.

Mrs. Chen, have you talked to the police~

Of course I did! They didn't care. No one cares about some poor guy and his poor wife and daughter. They investigated, no evidence, just a car crash, an accident, what can be done?

She raises a shaking hand up to her heart. Instinctively, C.J. places a hand on her back. It feels fragile, like a veil that could give way with the slightest pressure. She grabs his hand with a surprising iron grip. Thank you, she says breathlessly. Sorry to trouble you. One moment. He can feel her breaths as they escape in low, small gasps.

They stand like that for a short period. The volume of the cicadas intensifies, to the point that he half-expects a swarm to assault them. A dull ache has located itself in the back of his own head, toward the right. Hunger, no doubt