eyes and hair. Every so often she holds up her phone to her ear, and
the wrist strap bobs back and forth.
He is distracted as a bus bounces past. The petroleum nearly chokes
him. Still, there is freedom in this movement -- it is a rare pleasure
to be able to pick up speed on a city avenue like this, the hot air
whipped up into something that is nearly invigorating, the spell of
possibility hanging over him, as if the next turn could lead to an
enchanted place, much like when he first arrived in town and was wandering
aimlessly down a faceless office boulevard when he happened upon a
jazz bar called Sirduke, the interior fashionably angular and polished,
but the be-bop genuine and setting his toe tapping against the marble
floor as he nursed two drinks the whole night through and marveled
at the thought that one can find anything almost anywhere.
has turned north, away from downtown, up a side-street, and the smooth
black of the road gives way to bumpy pavement. The only sound now
is the hum of his own engine as it sputters away, deafening in contrast
to the stillness around him. He almost feels like apologizing: Sorry,
just passing, I'll be gone in a moment. Around them are more apartment
buildings, clothes dancing on the lines, the faint scent of fish.
A theater marquee drifts past -- another American action film translated
into generic Chinese, Kill You Two Times -- and alongside the
marquee is a hand-painted poster adapted from the original one-sheet,
the features of the lead actor altered: Brad Pitt? Tom Cruise? Impossible
heading east again, the traffic thinned to almost nothing, the road
slimmed to a single lane, the Sun Yatsen highway snaking above them.
He eases back to a safe