Beijing Payback

Beijing Payback

Victor Li was lolling around his California college digs, gearing up for the basketball season with teammate Andre while getting filled in on a new girlfriend. It seemed before he knew it, he’s boarding a flight for China.

Once seated above the clouds, he peers out and strives to piece together the fragments abruptly blowing his life apart. His head keeps spinning around Vincent, his Chinese father who wed an American, both gone now—his mom from illness, his dad from—what?

His business operations had always been a mystery. Supposedly, he made a fortune establishing Chinese restaurants, recently expanded to the States. Then, on a visit, he had been brutally stabbed to death. To his hapless heirs, Victor and his sister, Julian, it had come out of the blue. Why? And by whom? Like a baseball batter, Victor had been given three pitches and struck out, so he had to vacate homeplate. The first pitch was turned up in a paternal note appended to some papers, “For my son, if am dead.” The second was a locker-room bag with bank rolls in U.S and Chinese currency, along with a pistol. The scenario may evoke for us the classic tragedy where the king’s ghost enlists son Hamlet to revenge his “foul and most unnatural murder.”



And amid Victor’s own inner debate to go or not, the third strike marks the arrival of his dad’s loyal protégé. Sun Jianshui knows the situation first hand, but Victor has to be an on-site player.

Through Vincent’s conniving business partners, an unsavory underworld begins to emerge. The autocratic parent is revealed as a kind of godfather. But now the hunter becomes the hunted. Zeroing in on answers, Victor becomes a problem for the surviving business partners who have waged a lucrative drug trade and a bit more, which would be a spoiler to reveal. It takes a while to get there, but well worth the trip.

Dan Dervin is a freelance writer in Fredericksburg.

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