We regrouped outside the gift shop.
“Can we go in?” I asked. “I want a terracotta action figure.”
“Are you crazy?” my dad yelled. I stepped back to avoid getting flecked with spit. “Did you see what just happened in there? We need to get the hell away from here.”
“Anyway, the stuff in the gift shop is overpriced,” Jim said. He had his arm around Ruby, who seemed to be quietly hyperventilating.
“We need to get out of here,” my father said. “Now.” He set off towards the shops and the KFC.
“Wait!” Ruby said. My father stopped mid-step. “I’ll call my father,” Ruby said. “He can fix this.”
“Call your—No! Don’t call your father,” my father sputtered. “Why would you—don’t do that!”
“Mr. Snead, please listen,” Ruby said. She was breathing quickly, almost panting. “We need to call my father now. We will be in big trouble once they find out that we, that we—” she broke off, panting so hard she couldn’t speak. She pulled her phone out of her pocket.
“No, wait!” my father said. “There’s no need. No one saw us. Did anyone see us?” he asked me. I shrugged.
“Wait, so is it supposed to be a secret? That we broke the terracotta warriors?” Margo asked.
“Yes,” my father said emphatically.
“Oops,” Margo said quietly. She slowly put her phone back in her pocket.
“What do you mean, oops?” Jim asked. He has no sense of sibling solidarity. I glared at him.
“Oops?” My father wheeled around to face Margo. “What do you mean ‘Oops’? Who knows about this?”
“All of my followers on Instagram!” Margo said, looking like she was about to cry. “I got a really cool picture of the warriors falling over! It has two hundred and sixty seven likes!”
“How many followers do you have on Instagram?” I asked, envious.
“A lot,” Margo said, staring at the ground.
“How do you even have data?” Jim asked.
Ruby had snuck away and was frantically whispering Mandarin into the phone, and Jim was subtly shielding her from my father’s gaze with his body. I thought about mentioning this to someone, but I decided Ruby was probably right about how to handle the situation.
“How many data have you been using?” my mother asked Margo.
“Many data? Do you mean much data?” my dad countered.
“Data is plural. Many data,” Jim said helpfully.
“Now that can’t be right,” my father said. “I’ve never heard anyone say that.”
“Yes he did. I dated him once,” my grandmother said. No one asked her for clarification.
Margo took advantage of the confusion to sidle up next to me. “Should I tell them about the Facebook likes?” she whispered.
I wanted to ask her how she had even gotten on Facebook, but that was when Ruby put her phone back in her pocket and turned around, a triumphant gleam in her eye, and what she had to say was music to my ears: “Everyone, please do not panic. My father is on his way. He wants to meet us at the KFC.”
“I’m so happy right now,” I told Margo, stabbing my mashed potatoes with a fork.
“We’ll probably be deported from China,” Margo said, picking the skin from her chicken. “And the wedding? Cute idea, Jim. You’ll be single forever.”
“My father likes Jim,” Ruby protested.
“Your father did like Jim,” Margo said. “Before Jim was singlehandedly responsible for the destruction of China’s heritage.”
“Singlehandedly?” Jim asked. “I didn’t knock anything over.”
“Let’s not dwell on who did what,” my father said, grabbing a handful of fries from the communal basket. “I’m sure Ruby’s father will be able to sort everything out.”
A hand descended onto his shoulder.
It was a Chinese policeman in a blue shirt and khakis. There were two other policemen flanking him. “Excuse me,” the policeman said politely, in accented English. “We need to ask you some questions. Please come with us.”
My father looked at us, then back to the policeman. “I’d like to speak to a lawyer,” he said.
“Please come with us,” the policeman repeated.
Just then the door to the KFC opened, and a man in a dark suit and sunglasses walked in. I thought he was with the policemen at first, but Ruby leaped up and gave him a hug, immediately talking so fast that he couldn’t get a word in. Her words were muffled into his shirt. Jim also stood, and when Ruby finished he bowed to her dad, saying something that sounded like “ning how wong shen shung.”
Ruby’s father and Ruby talked to the policemen for a while, then Ruby’s father turned to us. “I am pleased to meet you,” he said. “I am Wang Qiangguo. We all need to go to the police station and… work this out.”
“Alright,” my father said.
We all had to wait around in the lobby of the police station while my dad and Ruby’s dad talked about what happened.
“Let’s play poker,” my grandmother said, pulling a deck of cards out of her bag. “Does anyone have any cash?”
“We should just never go on vacation ever,” Margo said. “For any reason.”
I kind of agreed.