This story is a sequel to the previous flash story “The Cynic“, which talks about the lunch Pammy had with her husband Pan at a new Asian restaurant opened up in Edison, New Jersey. There they met Brother Tai, who came to their table to sit with them for a while. Tai is a … Nobody knows what Tai’s occupation is, or if he has an occupation at all, though he seems very busy every day. Pan’s guess is that he’s an event planner of certain sort. If a business, a politician, or a diplomat wants to give a seminar in the Asian community, they would contact Tai, who can certainly help fill up a big auditorium with a big crowd. If a business owner wants financial backing, Tai is the person who can find people who are willing to invest.
Tai leaves his jacket on the chair of the restaurant when he’s sitting with Pan and Pammy. He forgets about it. Pan and Pammy didn’t realize it until they are about to leave, at which time Tai has left already. Pan calls Tai, but he’s not answering his phone.
Pan and Pammy drive to the Ivy Learning Center, where their son Sam is taking extra training on English and Math. Pan is driving; Pammy is throwing Tai’s jacket to the back seat. During the process, a note falls out from the pocket.
Pammy picks it up and it is a list of names and affiliated numbers.
“What is this? Look, I don’t know these names. Wait, is this the brother-in-law of that corrupt prime minister who deliberately made a disaster’s durian and rice deal to enrich his own pocket? I saw him on satellite TV. I guess these corrupt people are all hiding in New Jersey right now, aren’t they? Brother Tai is helping them, isn’t he? I am going to expose these crooks.” Pammy says.
“Oh, shut up, Pammy. Tai is just boasting and exaggerating. I don’t believe anything Tai says. Probably this is just a list of homeless people. Tai has the talent to make one believe a poor chap of New Jersey is a former deposed royalty of Southeast Asia.”
“Look, I don’t know who these people are and what the numbers mean, but I am going to give it to somebody who knows, or I am going to contact those people who exposed the ‘Panama Paper’.” Pammy says.
“Oh, Pammy. Who are they? You don’t know anything about them. Are you trying to become Assange or Snowden? Do you know there were ten Asian Assanges and Snowdens?” Pan says.
“Really? I don’t know that.” Pammy says.
“Of course not. Because they were all dead before they got famous. Don’t be so nosy about Brother Tai’s business. Also the note is private and it’s Tai’s fiduciary duty to guard …”
“Really?” Pammy says. She holds the note, hesitatingly.
Pan grabs the little piece of paper in a quick motion and put it in his mouth to chew it up.
When Pammy realizes what is happening, she grabs Pan’s neck with both hands and tries to get him to cough up the note.
Pan loses his balance and his hands lose the control of the steering wheel momentarily. The car veers towards a tree on the roadside. The impact is so big that both airbags are released.
“Do you know how expensive it is to replace the airbags?” Pan wants to say that to Pammy, but his mouth is stuffed with the chewed up pulps.