My friend in Paris was Philip Wong, a Chinese American. I had undertaken my journey of terror because of his torso - a sculpted, manly, golden thing. I finally got hold of him at the American Southern Style restaurant where he was bartending and lugged my bag over there, waiting til he finished his shift.

He lived in the maid's room of an apartment owned by an elderly lady. When she was in Paris she left the door to the apartment unlocked and he used her bathroom and phone. When she was away, as she was while I was there, he only had access to his small room and a toilet and basin in his own tiny bathroom. His room was small, safe with one single bed. I slept on the floor.

The next day we went out and strolled on the Left Bank. The street was full of hawkers and venders and political activists leafletting against the racist immigration policies towards Arabs and Africans. At one second there was a tremendous bang and a clattering sound close by me, which startled pigeons and passers-by alike. I jumped to face the attack. It was a man selling rattles and other noise-making toys for kids. He laughed. I laughed. Those near me laughed. I looked around for Philip - he had fled across the road and was only now coming back.

All I can tell you is that all the scarey traveling, being left to sleep on the floor, being deserted in a moment of potential danger, did nothing to reduce the lure of that remembered chest.

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