about it. He can see the grease on the green onion cakes, resplendent
in the sun. The old woman's knees are bending. In the next moment
she could be kneeling, and in the one after that she could be pitched
forward before her son's marker, her last breath disrupting the dust
on the stones, and he would be the only one to mark her passing. And
then what? Maybe stand sentry, the one living statue among these dead
monuments, until the breeze was the air passing in and out of his
lungs. That would be a refreshing change, this act of doing nothing.
But whatever has gripped the elder Mrs. Chen is passing, and
she straightens, releases his hand. The umbrella is twisting about
in her hand absently. So you're from the life insurance company,
Yes. Investigating the claim.
Good. Good. She gives him a motherly little pat on the hand.
I don't care about the money. My husband's dead, I live alone,
I don't need money for anything. But don't give it to that wife. She
planned this all out. I know it. Leave my son a little dignity.
Do you know anything that might help get us more information…
She sighs. Wish I could, ten thousand times wish I could. But I've
just got a feeling. Nothing else an old woman can do. She peers
at him in appeal, with iron-gray eyes.
He hands her one of Allen's embossed name cards. If you think of
something, please call us.
What's your name…?