fingers again they are sticky and red. He shoves the hand deep in
The policeman is gesturing at his face. Are you hurt? he asks.
C.J. laughs. A comfortable laugh this time, perfectly judged. Oh,
no, scooter accident. Was riding with a friend. You understand me?
Speak the English?
A few other policemen had sidled up to the first one, but seeing that
the subject is now docile and under control, they are backing off,
returning to the tables from whence they sprung. The first policeman
asks in Mandarin: You speak Chinese? Taiwanese?
Um -- his cheeks bulge with effort, spitting out mutilated
Taiwanese, not so difficult for him given his limited knowledge of
the dialect: A little. Taiwanese, a little. Sorry. Stop hamming
it up, he thinks; stop being so stereotypical for Chrissake.
Visiting. Tourist, the policeman says in English.
Yeah. Just visiting. No identification …
You have passport?
Of course. It is his only chance really -- if nothing else, his U.S.
passport is the genuine item, able to withstand a cursory examination.
Very unlikely these town cops would run a detailed check on a passport.