Seeing that the two camps were in a face-off, the black lady laughed and tried to loosen up the atmosphere. She said, “None of us can know everything. Mr. Capote is a famous writer. Perhaps you have heard about Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s the work of this man.”
Li Du understood then. He knew about Breakfast at Tiffany’s. However, he had only known about it because of Audrey Hepburn, who starred in the film.
The Black lady gave both camps an opportunity to back off. She had changed the topic, but those two men refused to relent.
One of the men who was wearing shades and had a big beard laughed coldly. “It’s normal for us not to know about your Chinese things. We don’t live in China. How about you? You’re living in America! If you’re such a fan of China, why don’t you go back there? Why are you sticking around here?”
Li Du shrugged his shoulders. “I’m here to make money off you guys.”
Then he looked at what the two men wore and got the little bug to use Time Travelling to check out their shades, pants, watches, phones and other accessories.
He only checked out the start of how those items were produced. Hence, he was done quickly.
After seeing it, he laughed and pointed to Big Beard. He said, “What brand are your shades?”
“Oxley, why?” Big Beard asked.
That brand of sunglasses was started in 1975, founded by the famous American fashionista James Janard. Later, basketball star Michael Jordan invested in the production of goggles for off-road racing. The brand was exceptional at using high technology and design to create high performance and fashionable apparel.
Li Du laughed. “Oh, Oxley, is that right? That is produced by us, the lowly Chinese.”
Through Time Travelling, Li Du knew that the shades were produced in a city in the Pearl River Delta of southern China. It was a famous imitation product that was later shipped to Los Angeles for sale.
Big Beard said, not backing off, “Don’t try to make China sound big. Everyone knows that Oxley’s production line is in America.”
Li Du nodded. “That’s right. The authentic line is really produced in America. Yours was bought in Los Angeles’s Chinatown. That’s not an authentic product. It’s fake.”
“Also, the Rolex watch and Apple phone in your hand… need I say more?”
Hearing that, Big Beard’s embarrassment turned into anger. He said, “Rubbish! I got my shades from a specialty shop. Actually, when I helped an Oakley executive to identify a French sheet metal lamp, he gifted them to me.”
That man knew the truth and hence did not want to stay on that topic. Instead, he said, “What else do you want to say? That my Apple phone is a fake too?”
Li Du shook his head and said, “No, it’s not a fake. But its production line is in Baodao in China. Hence, practically every accessory you have is related to China.”
The other man wanted to say something, but Li Du pointed at his belt and laughed. “That’s a nice Hermès belt. Don’t provoke me, buddy. If not, I can go on.”
That man stayed silent. The belt was the latest design from Hermès. However, he had not bought it in Hermès. It was too expensive there. The genuine belt cost more than ten thousand. Hence, he had bought his in Chinatown.
The Chinatown neighborhoods in Los Angeles and San Francisco had many small gift shops. They sold all sorts of imitation products there. Those who did not have much money but were after fashion and prestige liked shopping there.
The atmosphere in the backstage had turned more solemn. The African American lady smiled. “Let’s stick to talking about Mr. Truman Capote. Mr. Li, you should be aware of the auction theme, right?”
Li Du had no intention of arguing with those people and hence took the opportunity to say, “That’s right. A peek into the lives of the low profile stars in Hollywood.”
“Precisely. Therefore, this auction will have some relics from Hollywood stars. Mr. Truman was a famous author and Hollywood screenwriter. His memorabilia are very precious.”
Li Du hesitated and said, “I’m not questioning the value of these items. It’s just that… is it appropriate to auction off this sort of thing?”
The lady nodded. “We have gotten the permission of Capote’s widow, Mrs. Jack Dunfer. She hopes that we will take the ashes and auction them off. Then she asks that we donate the money to a research institute that focuses on the investigation of overdose hazards.”
“Mr. Truman Capote had passed away because of an overdose of medication in 1984. Bet you didn’t know that,” Big Beard interrupted.
“Besides, this relic is really precious. It has been stolen and returned twice. The first time was at a Halloween party in 1988. The other time was Carson’s party for the Capote Theatre when the ashes were also present and then stolen,” the owner of the Hermès belt continued.
The African American lady added, “This year, Broadway had requested that Mr. Capote’s ashes be present in the opening night of the drama Tiffany Breakfast. It is a really good piece of art, and we believe it can fetch a good price today.”
Li Du nodded silently before saying, “Alright, I was just wondering.”
The Americans were truly daring. Since they thought it was fine to sell someone’s ashes, he would be looking for trouble if he asked more questions.
Initially, he had not thought about saying so much. It was just that he was horrified to see an ash jar at an auction. He had talked so much mainly because the Big Beard Man with the Hermès belt mocked him.
The auction lady was easy-going and continued to explain, “We all know that some people will find this rude. However, in reality, Mr. Truman Capote enjoyed toying with elements of horror. He liked being famous. If he knew that this would happen back when he had been alive, I strongly believe that he would burst out laughing and then say ‘this is something I’d do’. We all know that he was, after all, a legendary character.”
Li Du thought that he understood now. Then he referred to the factsheet that the auction organizer that sent him earlier. As a guest, he would have to comment on some auction items.
The little bug flew past these items. There were not many it was interested in. Clearly, the time capability harnessed in those items was not high and hence unable to attract the little bug.
Out of the few items that did attract its attention, there was an antique clock that looked more than two hundred years old. When Li Du had been in the warehouse trade, he had seen antique clocks like those before. It was a French Quarter Clock of the Louis XV era.
However, this particular clock had been poorly preserved. Back then, Li Du had gotten two of those clocks in mint condition. Each of them was sold for seventy-odd thousand.
The clock here was in poor condition and the value took a hit. To him, there was not much meaning in acquiring it.
He was just browsing through other items when someone came up to him and said, “You must be surprised to see the auction items here, right? Indeed, they are a bit weird, but this is Los Angeles, Mr. Li. ‘Los Angeles is the weirdest’. You should know that Christie’s auction house had previously auctioned Napoleon’s urine pot and William Shatner’s kidney stones. This can give you some perspective.”
Li Du looked at him. The person speaking was a young man, around his age.
After gaining his attention, the youth smiled in a friendly manner and extended his hand. “Hello, Mr. Li. I’m Bill Shoreton, pleased to meet you.”