194 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 76 PART 2 MARCH 2018
boy is wearing a Mao cap with the ubiquitous red star where you’d expect
the Dodgers logo to be. One of the boys is seated. He is wearing a rather
light yellow coat and padded trousers. His feet are slippered and he does not
appear to be wearing socks. He looks directly at my camera. He is sucking
on his hand. The other boy, who is wearing a quilted coat, stands behind the
first boy. He is self-consciously looking to his left; you can tell he’s intrigued
by his contact with a foreigner. He has his hands in his pockets, almost as if
he were posing at a shoot for an ad for children’s clothing.
Who was watching over the boys? Where were they going, or where had
they been? Where are they now? Are they business people? Party officials?
IT guys? Do they now have children of their own? We will never know: it
would take more than Lion to find them.
One of our number in China was Marvin Storrow. It would be a great
understatement to say Marvin was a free-spirited and popular member of
our cast. He had (and still has) an innocent countenance. One night, near
the end of our trip, seven or eight of us, along with two African students
we’d met that night, were sitting in the bar of the Peking Hotel drinking 11¢
vodkas. We must have closed the bar because we all went up to the floor on
which many of us had our rooms, with the idea of carrying on the drinking
from some private stocks. The students joined us. Somewhere along the
way, Marvin acquired a fire extinguisher and also a henchman, JJ Camp.
I’m pretty sure Marvin thought the extinguisher was of the water variety.
Just as he and JJ reached JJ’s room, which JJ shared with Russell Lusk, the
extinguisher exploded in Marvin’s hands and, instantly, there was a thick
cloud of white dust everywhere. Russell, who hadn’t been in the bar with
us, having chosen instead to go to bed, was awakened by the commotion,
but all he could see were the dust and the faces of two total strangers.
Gravity operated, with the result that many footprints could be seen leaving
the Camp-Lusk room, most notably those of Marvin and JJ. Marvin’s
prints tramped a few big strides down the hall, away from the scene of the
accident. (This is my joke because Marvin is quite short.) JJ’s prints headed
in the direction of the room I shared with Tom English, and led into our
bathroom. When Doug Lambert came down the corridor with the Chinese
officials, the evidence against Marvin, the hapless perpetrator, was literally
laid out on the floor. Even Inspector Clouseau could not have missed it. In
short order, Marvin, bemused, presented himself to face the music and
Doug found JJ behind a rustling shower curtain in my room. This was pure
The next morning, before we left for that day’s activity, Marvin, standing
uncomfortably in the aisle of our bus, engaged in a heartfelt exercise of self-