Lin Page 26
recognition flickers across their faces -- Oh, the loud American Chinese, the other guy already cleared him -- and they let him pass without a word. Other clubbers who have had their IDs inspected remain at their seats, giving their cell phones longing gazes. Like children in school, he muses.

His own cell phone goes off. "Angel." Fortunately at this point he has made it around the corner and is in the men's room, which is deserted, the window still open. Multi-tasking, he grabs hold of the side of the windowsill with one hand as he answers the phone with the other. His back is definitely hurt - there is a dull pain there, like an antiseptic needle jammed in and left there.

C.J., where the hell have you been? Allen blares. I've called you at least five times.

Sorry, wasn't in a position to answer.
His knuckles go white as he pulls hard and lifts himself onto the window ledge, one foot squarely on the edge, the other dangling just off the floor.

What's going on? I called Mrs. Chen at home half an hour ago and no response. Has she left the house? Are you following her?

Annie Chen?

No, the mother! Where is she? Are you on her?