Yung Lo could not wait to get back to the Partners Club, which is what all the young men called their home in Tokyo, rather than the Orphanage. This was a special club since the boys who were there were from all over the planet.
Yung Lo was 13 years old and would only be allowed to live there until he was fifteen. He was one of the few Partners who had a job, sorting sushi. Since he was one of the older members, all the other boys treated him as siblings would an older brother. Altogether, there were only 8 of them in the orphanage. Palamut, Yung Lo's best friend from Turkey sort of looked after the rest of the boys, in a spiritual sense, while he was off to work.
This morning, Yung Lo had emerged from his sleeping spot underneath Yo Han bridge with a dreadful stomach ache, because he had not eaten for two days. He quickly sneaked into the public market building and managed to lay his hand on a fried pollock while the fishmonger was busy talking to an attractive housewife. Hardly had he withdrawn his hand when he suddenly felt a heavy hand on his shoulder. He tried to drop down and escape, but to no avail: the sturdy guardsman of the Public Concern Administration (PCA) had grabbed a firm hold of his right ear.
A sharp pain ran through his ear and neck and all the way down his spine as far as his knees.
He quickly and viciously rammed his knee into the groin of the man and dived underneath the table, crawled past the fishmonger's cashier-daughter who sat there watching TV, and swore under his breath when he upset a bucket of fishslop which slithered its contents down his back.