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I sat kind of awkwardly in the chair, and he scooted into the kitchen.  My light flickered a bit uncertainly as people started to stare.  Why would a place like this be so full of people this late at night?

I covered my face.  Nobody’d said anything, nobody’d gotten up—they were just watching.

After about a minute, the guy came back, carrying three plates of food on a tray—chicken, pork, tofu, rice…

“I don’t have any money,” I said.  When I’d spoken he looked at me like he just realized I hadn’t understood anything he’d said yet.  (Sure, as a tiger I’m technically Asian, but it just doesn’t work that way.)

He gestured for me to wait and went back into the kitchen, returning a moment later with a bored-looking teenage girl in dark makeup and a black dress.

He talked on for a bit, in Chinese.

“I can’t afford this,” I said to her.

“He says it’s on the house,” she said, after translating it back to him.  “I think he wants you to be a mascot.”