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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, she says.

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…?