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Ray Liu knows he should be happy. He lives in a big suburban house with all the latest electronic gadgets, and even finds plenty of time to indulge in his love of gaming. He needs the escape. It’s tough getting grades that will please his army veteran father when speaking English is still a struggle. But when his father accesses Ray’s Internet account and discovers Ray has been cruising gay websites, his belongings are thrown on the front lawn and suddenly he's homeless. Angry and defiant, Ray heads to the city. In short order he is robbed, beaten up, and seduced, and he learns the hard realities of life on the street. Could he really sell himself for sex? Lots of people use their bodies to make money — athletes, actors, models, pop singers. If no one gets hurt, why should anyone care?
about me. “What next?” Jian sounds impatient. His gaze wanders around the food court. “You can’t stay on your own forever.” “I’ll go back to China,” I declare. “No, you won’t! What about airfare?” “My ma will pay.” Jian frowns and gets up to stretch. The plastic chairs are hard. “You’re a stubborn donkey,” he says. “Just come home.” “No.” “You’re stupid if you go back to China. You have a better future here.” “You sound like Ba.” After they leave, I pour
reappear and coast by again. The money boys stay at the curb, under streetlamps. Their tight white shirts shimmer. From cars, men lean out as if they are asking for directions. Sometimes a money boy gets in and they drive off. It’s no big deal, I tell myself. Lots of people use their bodies to make money: athletes and actors and models, even pop singers. All it takes is a nice smile, toned muscles and an open mind. If no one gets hurt, why should anyone care what I do with my body? I saw
darkens. I knew that mentioning my father would do that. “Your father,” he says after a long chug of beer, “does he live here or in China?” The food arrives all at the same time amidst a clatter of large platters. I start slowly, picking at the food, watching him and chewing carefully. The food is piping hot and tasty. He ordered seafood soup, curried chicken, grilled beef in rice paper, and crispy shrimp with black pepper vegetables. There are several sauces for dipping. When I
Harvard,” he adds proudly. “So this is just a temporary situation.” “He wants to return to China,” says Chen. “That would be great,” I say. “And he will not go,” Lawrence interrupts, pointing at his partner. “How can he?” I recall details from two days ago. “His family lives there.” “We can disappear into any city in China. His wife would never find us,” Lawrence declares. “Truth is, he has fallen in love with Canada!” “Hah!” Chen makes a sour face. “This one says that as
“No, Beijing.” “I’ve been to China several times,” he says. “It’s a wonderful place. So much to see, so much history.” “Did you go by yourself? Or with a tour group?” It’s easier to talk than I thought it would be. I guess I know how to go after good tips, too. “I’ve tried both ways,” he tells me. I imagine he used money boys every night on his trip. A blessing for China’s economy. “Which do you think is better?” I ask. “Tour groups. But I’m lucky. I had really good