Lin Page 9
He grabs the bundle of green onion cakes in both hands and wolfs them down. A family visiting a nearby grave-site may be looking his way, he can't tell, he doesn't dare look in that direction. Still chewing mightily at the cakes (not bad, not enough salt but the scallions are fresh), fingers oily against the bouquet of napkins, he beats a hasty retreat.

. . .

Allen's home is in the Mucha hills, comfortably set off from the main streets at the end of a twisting, climbing, well-paved cul-de-sac that would tax even the strongest of scooter motors. Allen's home is located across the road from a basketball court painted tennis-green, surrounded by rusty fencing. Allen is a basketball nut, always angling for afternoon pickup games with the stringbean teens as they come home from school, posting

them up with his ample belly and tree-trunk legs, gaining decent vertical altitude for a man of his weight, shooting baskets with tongue hanging out. He much prefers basketball here compared to the mainland. Rough place, China, he said once. Was there a few months ago, just playing pick-up basketball on the street, getting fouled and knocked down every second, and to them it's just another day at the playground.

C.J. has always considered Allen's home to be half museum, half mausoleum~empty echoing halls, bedrooms with single rumpled futons in the exact center, a few scattered books like relics from a glorious age, and a single wall-length bookshelf in what could only be the living room, the shelves crammed with jazz CDs, rare editions and reissues that will never appear on American shores. The spines of the CDs are crowded with Japanese characters. The Japanese love their jazz, Allen assured