The treasure hunters lined up in a queue to view the fourth unit. Li Du was among them.
Lil Rick stroked his chin with his fingers and sneered at Li Du again. "Hi Chinaman, not bidding for any unit? Did you forget your wallet?"
"Yeah, you want to lend me some money?" Li Du responded.
"If you call me Daddy, then maybe I willafter all, parents are supposed to help their children out," Lil Rick said with a straight face.
Rick maliciously added, "I heard China has policies to restrict childbirth, which made some people abandon their own children. For all we know, Li Du might be an orphan. I think he must have yearned for a father to help him out."
Turis was displeased and pointed at them. "Hey, thats too much."
Li Du, still calm as ever, replied dismissively, "Get lostyou should be my son instead."
Hans shook his head. "No, look at himtisk, tiskhes ugly! Why would you want a son like him? Hmm, but part of him is similar to you, thats for sure."
"Look, the shape of his ears is similar to yours. Therefore, his dad should have a pair of nice looking ears too," Hans said in a serious manner.
Some of surrounding treasure hunters were jeering. One of them looked at Rick. "Its truelook at you bothyour ears are different from each other."
Li Du made a vicious comment as well, "If I were you, I would quickly get a DNA test done. Who knows when my fortune will turn into inheritance fortune?"
The atmosphere was undeniably hot and fiery. The words used to spite each other were outrageous and mean.
By now the treasure hunters who should have been looking at the unit had their attention on Li Du, Hans, and the Ricks.
The onlookers looked as if they were anticipating something more from their confrontation with each other.
The auctioneer decided to step in to ease things up: "Everyone please be quiet; if you dont want to attend the auction, please leave, okay? Please focus on the fact that we are here for the auction, not to watch some quarreling, alright?"
A treasure hunter replied, "Dont worry, palof course were for the auctionbut juicy talk shows like this cant be missed."
Li Du didnt want to be a laughing stock. Rick had the same thought as well. "You both have sharp tongues, but so what? Today, you both are doomed to be losers!"
The auction continued, Li Du didnt attempt to bid for the other two units; he preferred a unit that would offer a better return.
All five units were successfully auctioned off. Li Du was waiting for the Ricks to unpack unit 42.
Just then, the auctioneers phone rang. Seconds after he picked up the phone, he quickly shouted, "Hey you lucky fellows, dont leave yet! There are two extra units available for auction!"
The treasure hunters started to gather again.
The Ricks had a strange smile on their faces. Li Du noticed the Ricks had been stealing glances at him; he was baffled.
The two extra units were units 92 and 105.
When the entrance of unit 92 was opened, everyone saw a large number of cardboard boxes.
As these cardboard boxes were stacked nicely, the treasure hunters could not make out what was inside them at all.
Li Du released the little bug to take a look inside.
Contrary to his expectations, there were lots of motorcycle parts in the boxes!
Headlights, transmissions, drive shaft assemblies, oil tanks, batteries, exhaust pipes, gas tanks, bumpers, fenders, and many, many more.
An important thing to note, though, was that these parts were secondhand.
Many of them were rusty; some of them were broken or had a missing part or screw. These parts were not worth much in the market.
The remaining treasure hunters started to raise up a ruckus:
"D*mn, whats inside those boxes? How do we bid when we cant even see a thing?"
"Man, I hate these type of unitswhat bullsh*t is this? Is the storage company telling us to gamble?"
"Of course they want to see us gamble, but I certainly dont want to gamble. I dont want to take a risk."
A few treasure hunters snuck in; they wanted to open the boxes, but the auctioneer caught them, and with a stern expression, he said, "You dont want to participate in this auction anymore? One more step and you are out of here!"
The treasure hunters had no choice but to abide by the rules and gather at the entrance once again, as if there were an invisible boundary that no one could cross.
The rules were simple and standard across the states: all treasure huntersand not even the storage companies themselveswere not supposed to touch anything that was in the storage unit unless the unit belonged to them.
When Li Du had first become a treasure hunter, he could not comprehend why the storage companies did not do a round of checks before putting the units on auction. In this way, they could earn some cash by selling any valuables they found in the unit.
Hans explained to him that the storage companies were not allowed to do that as it would be an invasion of privacy.
After the storage units were leased out, unless the tenants had violated the terms and conditions in the lease agreement, the contract would stay in effect until the expiration date of the agreement.
Otherwise, the storage company had no right to enter the storage unit.
When the contract had expired, only then could the company take back their full rights to the storage unit. However, by then such units would have no more auction value.
The contracts of those storage units that were put up for auction were those that had not expired. Both the company and the tenant had a one-week buffer period to put up the unit for auction or for the tenant to pay up their rental fees owed to the company.
The one-week buffer was simply one week before the date of expiration in the agreement. This way, the value of the units would be protected, and the treasure hunters would be willing to bid for them.
The storage companies would display the lease agreements of the units for every auction held, so the treasure hunters could verify that the units were still in the buffer period.
In reality, the storage companies were not as honest. The care and maintenance workers could go into the unit with the excuse of maintenance checks.
That was how the insider news about the storage units came about.
Serious treasure hunters would maintain good relationships with the storage companies for such information. The treasure hunters would then make their own judgment and evaluation when they viewed the actual unit.
As no one could actually see what was inside the boxes in unit 92, the starting bid for the unit was only 100 dollars.
However, the keen-eyed treasure hunters could still determine roughly what might be inside them. Hans was one such person. He saw tiny blots of oil stains on the edges of some boxes.
"The stuff inside should be related to machinery," Hans whispered.
Li Du nodded in agreement. "Lets try bidding for it then. I feel like it will be good too."
"Five thousand dollars."
Li Du had the little bug fly slowly across the boxes. His approximation was that the parts could assemble at least four to five motorcycles.
Even if they were to only sell the parts, they could have a gross profit of 8,000 to 10,000 dollars.
The auction for unit 92 started. "One hundred, one hundred, one hundred dollars for this unitplease raise up your hand if you want it!"
"Two hundred dollars!"
"Three hundred dollars!"
Hans raised up his hand, "500 dollars!"
Rick sneered, "1,000 dollars!"
Hans stared at him. "One thousand one hundred dollars!"
The rumor of the grudge between the Ricks and the duo had been spread amongst the treasure hunters in Phoenix and Flagstaff. When the treasure hunters saw this, they knew the two teams were at it again.
To them, unit 92 was a high-risk unit; they decisively backed off the bidding race and watched the fight between the two teams.
"Two thousand dollars."
"Two thousand one hundred dollars!"
"Three thousand dollars."
"Four thousand dollars!" Hans pushed up the price to 4,000 and glanced at the Ricks.