― It’s my pleasure, Mother.
― Where are we going?
― To a restaurant.
― Are you working?
― Yes, I am working.
― Do you have a job?
― No. I don’t have a job and I’m not getting paid.
― Why not?
― I haven’t had a job for 21 years, Mother.
― How did you manage?
― I worked as a consultant. Then I went back to school. Then Erin and I had our own company. We employed people. Then I worked on my own. I had several clients.
― What happened?
― The company ended up in a lawsuit. I still have clients, but I am no longer taking any work from them, for the time being.
― Why not?
― I don’t have the time. I must write.
― How will we manage?
― We have money.
― Are your lawsuits finished?
― Some are.
― What about the rest?
― I am still being sued for defamation by WebEx.
― Because I stated that Min Zhu raped his daughter Erin and used his company, WebEx, to cover up his child rape.
― Isn’t it true?
― Yes. That’s why they will lose.
― Why did you say it?
― Because he threatened my life.
― How so?
― Do you remember going to court with me nearly two years ago?
― Do you remember why we went?
― You were carrying a gun. You got arrested.
― Do you remember what happened?
― What happened?
― I got acquitted. Don’t you remember the look on the prosecutor’s face?
― She was very disappointed.
― Do you remember why I got acquitted?
― Because you were in fear of your life.
― Do you understand now why I said these things about Min Zhu?
― Yes. But don’t you want this to be finished?
― I do. So do the Zhus. In fact, they have tried to drop their lawsuit.
― Why didn’t they?
― Because I wouldn’t let them get away with malicious prosecution.
― What do you want?
― I want them to apologize. If they don’t apologize, they will be shamed to no end.
― Why do you want them to apologize?
― I refuse to live my life with a scintilla of concern about their threats.
― Will they apologize?
― No. Please eat your dinner and drink your wine.
― It’s too much for me. Do you remember Father?
― Yes, I do.
― Why did he die?
― There was a fire in your apartment. He tried to put it out. He was naked. He got burned.
― How did the fire start?
― We are not sure.
― Did I start it?
― It’s not your fault, Mother. You are not responsible.
― I carried him out in my arms.
― Yes, you did. I saw the bruises on your arms.
― Why did Father lose his job?
― He chose bad business partners. It runs in the family.
― Did he do anything wrong? Father never did anything wrong.
― He worked with crooks. He got accused by association. There was no evidence of his wrongdoing. The plaintiffs withdrew their claims.
― So why did he get fired?
― He got disciplined because his partner failed to get them licensed. His department found out about it and fired him for working on the side without asking their permission.
― Was that all? The State fired Father for moonlighting?
― He had worked for the State for twenty years. He was making a lot of money. The State is running a budget deficit. They can hire two junior analysts with his salary.
― Did he do anything wrong? I always trusted Father.
― He chose bad company. That was enough.
― Have you heard from Erin?
― Erin and I haven’t spoken for years. You must mean Rachel?
― I’m no longer talking to Rachel.
― Is it because of me?
― No. It’s because of me.
― Are you seeing any other women?
― I’d rather not talk about that.
― Why can’t we live together?
― We would drive each other crazy. I must be able to work. We are paying our friends to take care of you for now.
― Am I driving you crazy now?
― I’ll manage.
― We don’t have to see each other if I am disturbing you.
― I like seeing you. I’m sorry I don’t have much to say. I’m saving it for writing.
― What are you writing about?
― Are you writing about Father?
― Will you be able to publish your writings?
― No doubt.
― Can you show them to me?
― Some day.
― Have you shown them to anyone else?
― Did they like them?
― What did they say?
― They always say the same thing. They’ve been saying that for decades. That’s not what counts.
― It means a lot to me.
― It’s not that important. Good night, Mother.
― Good night.