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It’s August, and the air over the pavement shimmers. The sky is the colour of old gym socks.
“I’m going to die,” claims Phat-so Kim.
“Shut up,” replies his older brother, Sun.
The road is a frozen river of steel, harsh highlights winking off fixtures and fenders. Engines chortle, tailpipes quiver. The drivers slump against their windows sullenly or hold their palms up to the vents to test the coolness of the air conditioning. They wish it were cooler. Their flattened palms are a kind of prayer.
Some have no conditioners. They have the glass cranked down, letting out tinny warbles of radio—music, for the most part, as many have tuned away from the traffic reports in disgust. They fan themselves with folded road-map fans, wiping perspiration out of their eyes as they mutter the darkest oaths.
It’s a million degrees outside.