Ray put a condom on the dildo built into her bicycle seat and lifted her tunic as she eased it into her. “Keeps me supple,” she winked. Tattooed around her hips and groin was a scrolling text of Chinese characters.
“What does it mean?”
“It’s a poem by China’s national poet, Gu Sing: ‘Through jagged rocks I walk towards the seashore. “I know all your languages. Speak!” The sea laughs and proffers up birds that swim, fish that fly, sand that sings.'”
“That reminds me. Can we take a short detour over to the peninsula? I want to see the rocks,” said Malmquist.
“Sure, no problem.”
From Sheridan Road they passed through the Northwestern University campus. They got off their bikes on a sliver of land extending out into the lake. The shore was lined with giant rocks laid out as a breakwater. Some slabs were flat and occupied by sunbathing Chinese students, by themselves or slave at hand. Most of the other rocks were jumbled and formed spaces and little caves.
“I used to play on these as a kid,” Malmquist said as he clambered over them. “They were all painted over and covered with graffiti, but it’s all gone now! No, wait. Here’s something I remember that’s still there, on the side of this rock. You can just make out the words. ‘Savor your sorrow like a fine red wine.’ It’s still there! Now I know we’re not in a simulacrum of the city. But why aren’t people painting on them anymore?”
They got back on their bikes and headed toward Chicago.
“Where are you taking me?”
“To start work,” said Ray. She looked at him slyly. “Now, would you tell me what’s really going on with you?”