Lin Page 17
place. He throws the empty knapsack into a nearby ditch, and seconds later he is back before the usher, this time at the ready with the citizen ID Allen fabricated for him two months before. Come on you bastard, he thinks. Too much longer and the bruises will start to show. The usher's penlight dances on the ID photo. What a rictus grin he has there. Just like Lee Teng-hui.
The usher has the alacrity of airport security as he glances at the photo, then the face before him. Eventually he nods silently and gestures towards the front door with a slight bow. Thank you, C.J. says -- yes, he can play this game too -- and he pushes through the front door, immediately to be swallowed by translucent lights, the chattering of loud voices, the unmistakable conglomeration of nicotine and beer, a DJ shouting All right all right all right! above the music.

He makes straight for the bathroom, where he ensconces himself for the next five minutes, his swollen reflection staring at him from the mirror as the world continues to move. It is a small bathroom, three stalls crowded into a space scarcely bigger than a kitchenette. Suggestively, the window is big enough to squeeze a man through without incident, the glass swung outward on rusty hinges, the
summer breeze poking through, enough to make the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Men in spiky jelled hair come and go. Almost all of them have some sort of leather bracelet or chain wallet or satin shirt, and all of them regard him with quick, hooded glances. He stares right back at them; without exception, they all look away.

Back outside in the main dance hall, blue and red floodlights war for dominion. The music is a big ball of noise, somehow less defined here in this high-ceilinged