"Seems like business is good," Li Du said.
"Of course. Hoffman owns Flagstaffs only large-scale old goods market. Its well-known all over Arizona."
Li Du pointed to the Bridal Boutique and said, "Im referring to thattheres a lot of people buying second-hand wedding dresses."
"Of course, why not? Wedding dresses are so expensive, and these things arent necessities, so why not just get a second-hand one? It's still beautiful, and cheap to boot."
Li Du explained, "What I mean is, they can just rent wedding dresseswouldnt that be cheaper?"
Hans shook his head and said, "Not really. Also, if they can buy it, why rent it? Isnt it much better to buy one for themselves?"
"You already said that wedding dresses arent necessities. Besides on wedding days, these things are useless."
Hans scoffed. "You amateur, how would it be useless after? Dont you know how sexy a woman is in a wedding dress? Think about it: a woman wearing a white wedding dress lying on the bed, pure and"
"Sh*t!" Mr. Li interrupted him. This mans thoughts were only filled with lust.
After some window shopping, Hans ran off to some unknown place. Li Du continued casually looking, and then he saw a stall selling electronic products. There were many things such as cameras and speakers.
Seeing these electronic products, Li Du suddenly had an idea. He went over to ask, "Do you have any wireless monitoring devices?"
The owner was a young black man; he pointed to a stack of items and said, "Of course, theyre all there."
After chatting with the owner for a while, he picked out a few things, and then Hans appeared again with ice-cream in his hands.
Li Du said with a laugh, "Are these second-hand?"
Hans said guiltily, "How could there be second-hand ice-cream? Dont tell me you saw me licking it?"
"Its just a joke. Dont worry and eat itha!."
Li Du gave him the finger. He held the ice-cream in front of Ah Meow, and seeing the ocelot stick out its tongue to take a lick, he could then finally relax and eat.
Ah Meow was a very picky and prideful cat, and, besides food that Mr. Li had eaten, wouldnt even look at leftovers from other people.
There were three more days until the weekend, which meant three more days until the auction for their motorcycle. With that, they went back home. Hans continued snooping for information on storage auctions so that they could prepare for another fight.
For a week or so, they didnt have much profit. Hans was a heavy spender, and he also had the welfare home to take care of, so he was starting to find himself in a financial crunch again.
Li Du wasnt bothered that Hans was in some financial trouble, since he had plenty of his own funds in the bank, and wasnt that urgently in need of work.
He sent some money back home during this period, saying that it was some extra money he made from interning with a professor.
His parents didnt ask much; they knew from watching television that students had some opportunities to make money when learning from professors. Also, Li Du only sent 7,500 dollars back, so it wasnt a lot.
However, his father told him that there was no need to send money home again, and advised that he kept it at home for emergencies. Or, he could try to curry more favor with the professor and ride his coattail.
Li Du said "okay" to everything, but his parents didnt know that he didnt have a teacher anymore.
Before hanging up the phone, Li Dus father secretly advised him, "If you find the right girl, dont be stingy, and remember to spend a lot of time with her. Buy her snacks or jewelery or whatever."
His mother added, "If you dont have enough money, then tell us the truth. We only have one son, and all our money we earned for you."
Li Du continued agreeing to everything, and then said, "You two need to change your mindset; if theres anything you like to eat, then just buy it. Same goes for anything else that you want to get. Dont just save up money for my sake. With a masters, dont you think I can provide for myself?"
Li Dus parents agreed to whatever he said as well, but Li Du would be a fool to believe them. He knew far too well about his parents thriftiness
In the late evening, he received a call on his phone. He picked it up suspiciously and asked, "Hello, who is this?"
A voice that was out-of-breath came through the phone. "Brother Li, Brother Li, its me, Xiao Lin ZiIm Lin Ping, can you hear me?"
"Lin Ping?" Li Du remembered him, so he said, "Why cant I recognize your voice? Whats wrong, Xiao Lin Zi? Where have you been after leaving school?"
Lin Ping was a countrymate that he met at National University in Flagstaff. The two of them were from Northwest China, and spoke a similar dialect, so they clicked well.
Because Lin Ping had a similar name to Lin Pingzhi from "The Smiling, Proud Wanderer," the Chinese students liked to call him "Xiao Lin Zi." After some time, he had taken a liking to the nickname, and called himself that as well.
But soon after, Li Du and Lin Pings friendship turned lukewarm, and though they didnt exactly go their separate ways, their relationship turned fairly normal.
Li Du had a somewhat stubborn personality, but when interacting with friends, he was still quite easy to hang out with. His tolerance toward his friends was quite high.
The reason why he couldnt sustain his friendship with Lin Ping was mainly that the guy liked to gamble.
Unlike Li Dus down-to-earth family background, Lin Ping came from a relatively wealthy household.
Most people born with a silver spoon tended to have some uncommon hobbies. Liu Jin Long, whom Li Du met previously, loved guns; he chose to study here because of Americas Gun Laws. Lin Ping chose to study here mainly because gambling was illegal in most parts of China, and America had legal casinos.
Liu Jin Long was good at studying. Li Du, to some extent, was good at studying. Lin Ping however, was terrible. He got in through money, and said that he was going to buy himself a certificate. Thus, he came to the diploma mill, which didnt bother to look into their educational histories.
The two hadnt contacted each other in half a year. To suddenly receive a call from Lin Ping, Mr. Li felt that something was off.
Indeed, people dont seek a temple unless they are trouble. Lin Ping said anxiously on the phone, "Brother Li, youre still in Flagstaff, right? Ive read about you in the papers."
Li Du wanted to tell him that he had already left Flagstaff, and even left Arizona, but hearing what Lin Ping said about the newspapers, he had to admit it. "Yes, I am, whats up?"
Lin Ping heaved a sigh of relief. "Thats great, Brother Li. Can you help me out? Im in some trouble."
After some hesitation, Li Du asked, "What kind of help? If its related to the casino, then to tell you the truth, Lin Ping, Brother Li is"
Hearing the reluctance in his tone, Lin Ping desperately called out, "Brother Li, help meplease help me! Besides you, theres no one else in Flagstaff that I can trustplease help me, save me!"
Li Du sighed. He didnt want to poke his nose into any troublesome business, but both of them were Chinese men in a foreign country; if they dont help each other, then who else could they count on? Americans? They often didnt treat him as a citizen of this country, so why would they help him?
"Let me hear about it. The important thing is that I might not be able to help you."
Lin Ping heaved a sigh of relief. "No problem, Brother Li, Im sure you can. As long as you promise."
"Its like this, Brother Li: Im currently in Comanche Casino. Ive met the people from Immigration, theyve asked me for my documentation, but I didnt bring it. Its in the motel."
Li Du felt suspicious, and said, "Then just go and get it from the motel."
Lin Ping said, "Noif I go to the hotel, then Ill have to give up this round of poker. Im sure to win this round! I was hoping to trouble you to help get the documents for me? I trust you, but Im afraid that other people would throw away my documents after getting them, and then I would be screwed!"
The request wasnt that difficult. Li Du resigned and said, "Sure, but I dont have the keys."
Seeing that he agreed, Lin Ping was elated. "No problemmy room has a number lock, I just need to tell you the code for it. The documents are under my pillow."
"Send me a text stating that youre asking me for help to get the documents." Li Du wanted to make some precautions. He was afraid of encountering any trouble that he couldnt explain if he were to enter Lin Pings room by himself.
After hanging up, he sent a text.
In the casino, with a flat-top hairstyle and a skinny frame, Lin Ping said to the Native American opposite of him, "Mr. Haris, Ive done as you asked."
The Native American revealed a generous smile, and said, "Thank you, Chinese friend. Here, let me tell you what to do next."