Shih Ming Teh
'Nori!They're here to arrest you!' Linda screamed.
It was just a few hours since he first dozed off at about midnight,after returning home from meeting with his compatriots. He was in a daze, having woken to the choleric ring of the doorbell and the fretful screams of his wife.
He instinctively reached for the telephone to warn the others. The line was dead. He put on his clothes and ran to the living room where Linda was frantically barricading the door with sofas,shelves and just about anything else she could find.
'Quick! Run!' she shouted.
Nori was desperately trying to figure out what to do but his thoughts were aggravatingly uncooperative.
The doorbell continued.Linda ran to the back door to see iftheir neighbours could help. Suddenly,the front door shook with an angry pounding.
'Mr Shih, open the door.'
The pounding continued
'Who are you?' Linda cried out
'We're from the local police.'
'I know the local police officer. Don't lie to me,'Nori replied.
'I've just been posted here yesterday.' Without waiting for a response, the officer started kicking the door down.
Nori returned to the bedroom and switched off all the lights.
He fumbled his way to the kitchen and went out through the back door. His apartment was on the second storey with a fire escape that led to the flat below, but experience told him that intelligence agents would have already surrounded the ground floor. He found the wall that formed the outer fencing of the block apartments and half-slipped, half-groped his way along the narrow strip of moss-covered concrete which led to the roof of the neighbouring flats. Overhanging branches of a tree reached out to lend a chivalrous hand and Nori grabbed them appreciatively.
At 39 years of age, he surprised himself with his nimbleness and strength, despite the less than graceful trek across the concrete ledge.The military training in his younger days was coming in handy.After a couple of feet, he heard Linda scream. The officers must have broken the door down,he thought. Nori looked back but saw only darkness, He was confident that she would not be harmed as she was an American citizen.
Nori continued crawling until he reached a four storey building.The whole area was dark and he couldn't see how high he was. He looked up the wall for a second appraisal.
His legs hit the ground hard.The pain spread through his body and for minutes he lay unable to move or to yell out.Slowly he picked himself up and took refuge in the shadows. He saw that his left thumb was cut and bleeding profusely. Strangely ---and thankfully---he felt no pain.
As he emerged from the alley, he saw intelligence agents milling around in the distance. He knew that he had to get out of the area before daylight. It was one of those times when morning wasn't welcome. Just as he was about to make a dash for it, a policeman suddenly appeared around the corner of the block.Too late,the officer had spotted him.
He sensed that this policeman didn't recognise him.'Good morning, officer,'Nori Gambled.He risked a radiant smile as he pretended to perform callisthenics, while doing his darnedest to hide his bleeding hand. His heart was pounding, but it assuredly wasn't from the morning exercise.
'Good morning,'the officer paid Nori his winnings and walked on.
Nori closed his eyes and let out a huge sigh of relief. He started walking towards the main thoroughfare and flagged down a taxi.That was the easy part, now he had to decide where to go. As taipei yawned with the breaking of a new day,Nori looked out the window and smiled wistfully at his fellow citizens going about their day's activities. His mind raced back to the time when he had first been arrested 18 years ago.
Part Two, Masters of our own fate