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  • "Taipei Main Station, please." She said to the taxi driver without a glimpse at Adam.
    "Hey! I called the taxi first." He said rudely, full of a savage eagerness to get rid of this girl. He didn't need to keep his gentleman manners at all to this kind of random crazy girl.
    She remained silent. Still not looking at Norton. And then the driver said something in Chinese. Something Norton did not know. The girl replied the driver.
    "Are you coming or not?" And then she said to Norton calmly. She had British accent!
    "What?" Norton was strongly impatient and unhappy about this weird girl.
    "Let’s share this taxi. You are going to Taipei city, right?"

    This unknown girl talked back as if she had known Adam for a long time, as if she knew him already. And then the diver said something again. And apparently this taxi diver was losing his patient at this busy time. Adam could tell even though he didn't speak Chinese. So Adam threw his briefcase into the car and went with the girl.

    How crazy to Adam, he was not that kind of person would just approach strangers randomly. But somehow, deep inside, he felt that he had lost everything, all of his hope. And another voice told him "It's okay because you are free to do everything now." What so important about that he didn't know this girl? Did it matter that she was so rude? He came to Taiwan to get lost, to escape, and if he got lucky, he might be able to find himself back again or even to explore a new adventure that he couldn't imagine. He was never into Adventures since he had grown so big. Adventures are for little people who are able to see Peter Pan, to fly under then golden dusts without any baggages.

    The whole picture of Adam and this girl sitting in the backseat looked pretty much awkward. Look carefully, yes, you see that steady emptiness in his blue eyes, it was telling everybody that from now on not a single fuck will be given by him to anyone, especially to Emma.

    "So, where you come from? England? I just arrived Taiwan from England." Adam blurted the words out and wasn't so nice.
    "You don’t sound like a British but a shallow American." She poured the words out disdainfully.
    "Awh, so you are a racist." Norton raised his hostility toward this lady.
    "Nope, I am not. I am just nicer when I am around smart people. And so far, you don't sound that clever."
    This had made him sullen for quite a long moment.

    He hadn't really look at this girl properly after they got on taxi. Mr Norton turned to right a little bit, his movement was so small that too small for this young lass to notice. After a few second Adam could no longer held his amazement to this girl. She was apparently very young. Maybe only 19 or 20. And there were some fat tears leaning on her cheeks, falling from her eyes. She was an Asian. The sympathy to this girl grew in him. He opened his briefcase and dug out some tissues and gave them to her.

    "Thanks." She took the tissues. Norton caught the chance to look at her even closely, sensed a strong desperation and loneliness from this vulnerable being.
    "I am sorry about what I just did. I am a bit crazy but normally I keep myself polite." She said politely without looking at Adam, she wasn't trying to be mean but she just felt embarrassed about what she had done. She kept her eyes fixed on passenger side window.
    "It’s... all right! This is my first time come to Asia. Good to meet someone new." Adam had loosen his defence.
    "Did you like England?"
    "Oh well, I lived in London for about two years. It was all fine. Though the weather sucks, the food sucks, and people there, their accent sucks. Basically, everything was nice."
    The girl laughed. That kinda made Adam feel good. Like a child did something right and earned compliment.
    "My name is Marceline." She finally turned to Adam and sat erectly addressed him friendly.
    "Adam, Adam Norton. Just call me Norton. Most of my friends call me that." Norton smiled, lightened the backseat tension.
    "Why?"
    "Eh… I don’t know. I just never like Adam this name. I had a nickname, a very regular normal ones. Maybe everyone name Adam has this this name. Honestly, I wouldn't want to use it now. Norton is a safe name. You can never joke on Norton."

    "I see, you sound so serious. So what brings you here? And where are you going?" Marceline asked with her head cocked on one side without a expression on her face,
    "I came here for... visiting my cousin." Norton lied.
    "Cousin? okay." She grinned, "This guy is so bad at lying" she thought.
    Norton wasn't sure if he should ask more questions to her. He didn't even know where to start since the whole encounter was totally unexpectable.
    It was about 1 am in the morning, probably an hour more drive for them to get to Taipei City. Norton kept reading Marceline as much as he could, looking for a clue of what makes this girl so sad. Curiosity.

    "…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead" Marceline broke the silence.
    "Pardon?"
    "And you will know us by the trail of dead. I love this band. Ever heard of them?"
    "Yes. They are from Taxes. I saw them once. Long long time ago in Chicago, in 1999."
    "No way, I was only 7 years old." Ah, she unconsciously told her age.
    "You are so young!" Norton was actually very impressed with his own intuition even though he sounded surprised.
    "Is that a good thing?"
    "Do you travel a lot?" Norton ignored the question.
    "Nope. I have never left Taiwan."

    Norton stopped and then he wanted to say something, but Marceline showed him a disturbed look. He really had to ask the questions before he lost the courage. Could be curiosity or sympathy or something we really don’t know yet. One thing for sure that something about this girl had brought a small part of him alive again.
    Marceline thoughtfully gazing the roads outside of window.

    "Now you must have a few questions, questions that I’ve answered for so many times in my life. Where I come from? I come from Taiwan. Did I live in England for a while? Nope never. Have I ever been to any other countries? Nope. How the hell did I get British accent? I picked it up from Jamie Oliver’s cooking show. Now you are going to tell me, wow that’s brilliant! You learned all English by yourself? Yes I did. Why because I love England. Why I love England? I'm too lazy to explain it now. More questions? I guess what you want to know the most is why I am here?"

    Marceline started leaning against the left side window glass and door. Said nothing more just being detached and wooden.
    "Then what brought you here British Marcy? Why you are here?"
    Marceline paused for a moment and her face switched to a meditative expression, something in her mind had stirred her.
    "I was saying goodbye to some friends." Her words trailed away. Her tears began to fall again. Norton had caught himself into a dreadful uneasiness. He didn't like the way Marceline being so sad and arrogant but now he felt like he was acting like a jerk.
    Believe me, the worst part of acting like a jerk isn't when you’re doing it. It's when you realise you were such a jerk. Norton got panic for a second and then he saw the taxi driver was looking at him through the rear-view mirror.

    “What I used do when I upset Emma?" He thought and picked up his briefcase again, searching for anything delightful or lovely - girls may like.

    There weren’t too many things in his briefcase. Just some simple personal daily products. Rechargers and a book tells how do you know if your cat is plotting to kill you, three albums, Pixies’ Bossanova, And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead’s Source Tags & Codes and Sufjan Stevens’ The Age of Adz.

    Norton paused for a second. He put his hand in the pocket inside his coat. Looked like he was just pulling his shirt.

    "Marceline, may I borrow a coin?"
    "Sure."
    Marceline wiped her tears away. And found some coins from her wallet. Norton picked one of them and put it on his palm.

    "Are you watching closely?" He stole the line from The Prestige. Then closed his hand, held it as if he was doing a fist. Norton blew into his hand and opened his fist, the 50NT dollars turned to a silver old coin.

    "That’s beautiful!" She gasped.
    "This is Walking Liberty half dollar. It’s a 50-cent piece or half dollar coin issued by the United States Mint from 1916 to 1947. 90% silver and 10% copper. So it’s very soft. There you go."

    Norton gave it to Marceline, she observed it carefully, eyes filling with wonder.

    "You can have it if you like."
    "Really?"
    "Yes. I have two of them. You can have one."

    Norton smiled and pushed Marceline’s fingers lightly asked her to keep it.
    She smiled. He did it.

    “Hows it working out for you?" She continued her observation of the coin and said.
    “What?"
    "Being nice."
    "Oh, It’s working good, Miss Tyler Durden." Norton laughed.
    "Stop laughing. You just stole a line from The Prestige and I said nothing."
    "Was it that obvious?"




    To be continued.
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