Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
In the desert, the road was strong and tough. Broken bits of rocks were shimmering under the glare of the sun.
About a dozen trucks were parked there, and even more cars were scattered around. There were beer trucks, hotdog trucks, and other kinds of service trucks. They all seemed to have arrived from the small town.
Li Du stood among the crowd. Dickens was making the preparations, while Big Moustache Carl and others were cheering by the side:
“Bro, we depend on you to be this year’s winner.”
“We’ll be preparing to celebrate your victory later.”
“Bring the golden trophy home and we’ll get next week’s round of beer.”
Although Dickens was skinny, he had great driving skills. That was a well-known fact in Flagstaff. Two years ago, he had joined the competition and come in second. The year before, he did not participate as he had other matters to attend to.
Li Du walked over and passed Dickens a bottle of beer. He said, “Come, drink this, Flagstaff must win!”
Dickens was surprised. “How can I drink beer at this moment?”
“Hey, Big Li, don’t make trouble. His own man will join the competition. He is trying to be sneaky, buddy, don’t fall into his trap,” Olly shouted.
Li Du laughed and said, “What kind of trap is this? I’m just teasing.”
“Did you come all the way here just to tease?” Carl pretended to scrutinize Li Du as an enemy. “Friend, we are going to discuss our strategy. Please leave.”
Li Du shook his head. “No, no, no. Actually, I came here to ask you guys an important question.”
“Are you guys here to get the second prize?”
“F*ck you!” The treasure hunters from Flagstaff showed him the middle finger.
Li Du laughed heartily and when he turned he saw Hans. He left the crowd and walked over.
“What were you doing last night? Why didn’t I see you the whole day?” Li Du was prepared to hear Hans show off.
Hans, however, sighed and said, “Nothing much. I went to Barbara’s family farm to look her up. At first, I couldn’t get past the door and then I almost got bitten by the dog.”
“Then what happened?” Li Du could not understand. Was that the Big Fox he knew? Was he still the narcissist who said that if Scarlett Johansson and Taylor Swift met him, they would fawn over him?
Hans said, “Fortunately, the pickup truck at her house ran into some problems. I took the chance to show off my abilities and helped them fix it. At least we managed to get to know each other and I think I made a good impression on her.”
Li Du was shocked. “Are you really a changed man now?”
Hans rolled his eyes. “When was I ever a playboy? I did not have a girlfriend and was not married previously. There’s nothing wrong with me chatting girls up, right?”
“Then why didn’t you return last night?” Sophie, who was beside them, was confused. “Did they invite you to stay over?”
Hans smiled sneakily and said, “Hmm, no. I stayed outside the farm. I stayed there the entire time.”
“Trying to move her with your dedication?” Sophie was stunned.
Hans said, “Yes, and also to wait for a chance. In the morning, they were getting ready to drive here, but they found a problem with their car, as I told you. I helped them fix it. I was waiting for that chance.”
Sophie’s expression softened. “Well, it certainly seems God will not mistreat those who wait.”
Li Du, however, was skeptical. “Is that so? How come their car broke down just like that?”
Hearing that, Hans was shocked. He looked around him before narrowing his eyes at Li Du. “Sh*t, how did you know? Did you get someone to spy on me?”
Li Du was surprised. “I was only talking. You really did that?”
Hans looked embarrassed and said, “Haha, did I say that? Hey, the race is about to start. Let’s go and check out the competition.”
Understanding what happened, Sophie frowned hard and said, “Did you really sabotage their car?”
Hans bent his head and ran off. He had spotted Barbara’s blonde ponytail from afar and ran off to keep pursuing his cause.
Chief Bill was the organizer of the competition. He held onto the loudspeaker in front of all the troops of vehicles and yelled enthusiastically, “Ladies and gentlemen, tough men and pretty girls, the annual nationwide Super Ferocious Truck Race is about to begin! Get ready for the action! Take a deep breath and give us a big cheer…”
“Woohoo, hurry up and start, I want to collect money!”
“Hey, Black Decepticons, I support Black Decepticons! I will bet five hundred dollars!”
“Big Li’s Black Decepticons has joined the competition. Bet on his car, he has never lost!”
“That’s only true for auctions, not truck races…”
“Big Li bet five thousand bucks on his own car! We won’t go wrong following him!”
“D*mnit, five thousand dollars, he must have a good bottom-line. Let’s follow him!”
Hans was lingering around Barbara, and when he saw many people shouting out their bets, he said, “Let’s put down our bets too. I have a buddy who is joining the competition. He is very reliable. We can earn a sum of money by betting on him.”
The blonde-ponytailed lady said, “Oh, no, sorry, Mr. Fox. I don’t gamble. I’m only here to join in the fun.”
Hans immediately nodded and said, “That’s right. Gambling is dangerous. Actually, I do not gamble either. I was just getting ahead of myself. Oh, and don’t call me Mr. Fox. It sounds too distant. You can just call me Hans.”
Barbara smiled again and shook her head. “That won’t do. As you know, my dog’s name is Hans. If I call you that, it would be a bit awkward.”
Hans said enthusiastically, “Not awkward at all. Why’s that? A name is just a name.”
Li Du was observing him not far away. After watching Hans for a while, he said to Sophie, “Seems like Big Fox is serious about it this time. He has really fallen in love.”
Sophie crossed her heart and said, “Hope that God will bless his wishes and that this lady will do him good. Hope that she can save this criminal and help him get out of his mess.”
Once the bets were placed, the competition started. Carl dropped the red flag he was holding and the lined-up trucks set off.
As bets were made, everyone was very excited. There was nothing exceptionally challenging about the race, however. Most of the drivers were amateurs. Veterans pursed their lips watching the cars tumble along.
Whirlwind did not emerge as the winner. He did not operate a truck on a regular basis. Li Du had reminded him to prioritize safety and not let his emotions get the better of him.
Just as Dickens wished, he managed to show off his skills and completed the course first. He got back on a stretch of flat road in the desert, having completed a round and clinched the first position.
Li Du lost the bet and the Flagstaff treasure hunters cheered. They had won.
The race had ended but there were other activities. Hence, they drove back to the town.
Just as Li Du pulled open the car door and started to get in, Whirlwind shook his head at him from the car. He drew a circle around his ear and then pointed to the bottom of the front passenger seat.
Li Du was confused. “What does that mean?”
Brother Wolf turned serious and said, “There’s a spy recorder.”