Lin Page 8
cross between an overcoat and ski jacket. He kicks his scooter to life and waits, headlights off. The car revs obnoxiously to life, takes a few minutes to maneuver itself into a three-point turn, or more accurately a six-point turn. All the while he sits and waits, not daring to blink. Finally the car lurches past him to the end of the alley, and as it passes he catches a glimpse of Annie's face in profile, colored seaweed-green by the car's dashboard light, staring ahead zombie-like. The car exits onto Minsheng, heading east. He pulls around and swings onto the street a touch faster than advisable, and a car passing in the other direction leans on its horn. He no longer pays attention to horns - a few months before a bus had nearly run him down at an intersection, the two of them speeding alongside each other as he shook his fist and slammed it against the bus's passenger door, the bus driver blasting the horn for nearly a quarter of a mile and swerving back and forth at him, trying to drive him against the curb, until

finally the scooter front wheel caught against something and sent him and the machine into a sliding, screeching stop, the bus triumphantly departing with a cough of dark black smoke, leaving him sprawled on the road, looking
up at the sky, passersby staring down quizzically but otherwise doing nothing.

Annie is driving at a reckless clip, either desperate or sub-competent. A few times she swerves to overtake a car in another lane, and he can measure the distance between her side-view mirror and the other car in inches. He stays with her, the world around him distilled to primary-colored store signs piled atop one another, the luminescent glow of the grain in the street. It is a thudding, monotonous pattern: quickie mart, clothing store, quickie mart, run-down restaurant, quickie mart, scooter shop, quickie mart. Every so often he is a few feet away from her rear bumper, and he stares intently at her rear view mirror to see a flash of