After sitting down, Hans shouted, "Alakba, two spicy chicken fried rice, two grilled lamb sticks, one fried lamb meatball."
A man wearing a little white hat and a thick, large beard turned his head toward them. Speaking in broken English, he repeated, "Chicken fried rice, spicy. Lamb stickwhat flavor?"
"Okay, spicy!" The man turned back, and with two middle-eastern children, began working.
Hans said, "The fried rice and grilled meat from this stall have quite an authentic middle-eastern flavor. The lamb meatballs are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Trust melater youll fall in love with the food here."
Li Du smiled. "Well see."
This night market could remain in such good business mainly because the side stall owners didnt have to pay taxes for it, since the employees from the tax agency had already left work.
To many of the stall owners, saving those taxes would greatly improve their quality of life. Thus, gradually, the number of stalls increased in this market.
Li Du asked, "They dont pay taxes because the people from the tax agency dont work at this time? I dont think so. If the tax agency wants to check these stall ownerswho have been evading taxesthey should be willing to check up on them at night."
Hans said, "This market has been around for a long time, since World War II. During that time, this was a place where the less well-off did bartering. Everyone bartered so that they could evade paying taxes.
"Then, those who stuck to the tradition became fewer. Even though more people started using money again, the tax agency had already gotten used to skipping the tax collection from here, so this place became a small, tax-free area."
The fried lamb meatballs were served; the plate of small balls was fried to a golden crisp. All over the plate was cream, tartar sauce, tomato sauce, and spicy seasoning made of spices like chili powder and cumin.
Li Du dipped one into the spicy seasoning and had a bite. The meat inside was very tender and fragrant.
Watching the people passing by, he asked while munching on the meat, "Its quite chaotic here. Wouldnt the cops be concerned about people doing some illegal trading?"
"You mean drugs?"
"This market has another reason for being able to survive until today: all the merchants have to sign a contract first. The contract states that if something threatening the existence of the market appears, all the merchants will have to step up to fight against it."
Li Du finally understood. "Which means that if any drug peddlers or underground gambling occurs, all the merchants will have to chase them out?"
Hans grabbed a stick of grilled lamb as he spoke. The oil on the lamb was still sizzling. When he opened his mouth and tried to rip a large piece of meat off, he exclaimed while getting scalded by the oil: "Heavenly!"
Li Du still had some questions. "Back at home, we have a proverb: A snake cant bite without its head. If no one took the position as leader, would the merchants take the initiative to fight against those evil forces?"
"Of courseits a tradition here. With one call, a hundred will respond." Hans was starting to get annoyed. "Why are you so worried about this? Just eat your food."
Li Du said, "Of course I want to know about this. I have an idea, buddy."
Hans wolfed down the meat on the stick. "What idea?"
"Every time we attend auctions, we end up with some trash. Its troublesome dealing with trash, so why dont we make an old goods market similar to this?"
Hans blinked his eyes in confusion and said, "I dont understand."
"What I mean is we can find ourselves an empty lot, and then put the trash and old goods that we find there.
"If anyone is interested in our old goods, then they can take it away for free, but they would also have to take away the trash together with the old goods."
Hans was full of questions and looked at him oddly. "Why wouldnt we just sell those old goods, and then use the money we make to get rid of the trash?"
Li Du said, "One: we may not be able to sell off those old goods in time. Two: the money is too little to bother with. Three: it will become one of our first steps into the old goods trade."
The ones that would be the most interested would naturally be treasure hunters of the old goods market. If they made enough connections with them, then Li Du and Hans could somewhat enter this business.
There was still the most crucial reason, which he didnt tell Hans, because Hans would probably make fun of him. He had an ambition: he wanted to control an old goods market!
Each time he participated in storage auctions, they would always get the most valuable items out of them. Those items could be sold for an even higher price in an auction, but putting them all up in an official auction each time would be unrealistic.
Thus, the old goods auction gave him the inspiration to set up another old goods market.
Hans didnt think too much about it. He also wasnt a diligent person, so after listening to Li Du, he nodded and said, "Alright, brother, Im convinced, so lets do that."
Although he was usually lazy, if he were tasked to do something, he would still try his best to finish the work as soon as possible.
For example, when they returned home, Li Du said that they would need to start finding some storage auctions to participate in. Hans immediately went to the computer to start searching for information.
In this regard, Li Du was somewhat confused about what he should think of Hans. He felt that he had a conflicting personality. On the one hand, he was lazy, but on the other hand, he was responsible and hardworking.
Hannah helped to explain the situation: "My brother is a Virgo. That guy has some OCDif work isnt finished, he would sacrifice food and sleep to complete it."
Li Du laughed and said, "Then I guess I should assign him more things to do."
Hans, who had been searching for things on the web, turned his head around and said, "Dont make me kill you!"
Ah Meow could understand the threat. It flashed its claws toward him and meowed at him. En garde! Weakling!
Crispy Noodles couldnt understand the situation, but recently, it was trying its best to make peace with Ah Meow and improve their friendship. Seeing Ah Meow flash its claws toward Hans, it also opened its mouth to reveal its fangs.
Hans threw a piece of salmon at them, diverting their murderous intentions to the food. The two furry kids both went to snatch the piece of salmon.
After sitting in front of the computer for some time, he made some phone calls. Hans then said, "Business has arrived. Ill bring you to see a new kind of storage auction."
"Like the book auction that we went to?"
"Rightan old property auction."
Li Du asked in surprise, "Old property auction? Are we going to buy houses?"
Hans laughed loudly and said, "Of course not! Old property auctions happen when people are moving homes or demolishing their houses. Anyhow, they dont want the furniture from that home anymore, so theyll have an auction for the whole place.
"In this kind of auction we will be allowed to have a quick walk around the property. At most, well have one minute to look through the living room, kitchen, bedroom, and anywhere else we want. Butsame as storage auction ruleswere not allowed to touch anything.
"Also, like storage auctions, the auctioneer will conduct the bidding. Well compete for the things that catch our eyes. The things will belong to whoever makes the highest offer."
Li Du said, "So, like storage auctions, well have to take everything away and clean it up, right?"
Hans gave a thumbs up and said to him, "Thats right, you have the makings for this trade."
The old property auction was to proceed in one of the small towns in Flagstaff. An organization had purchased the land from that area, and they were preparing to develop the place into a villa.
Before the construction could begin, they had to evict all the properties in the area. Needless to say, the demolished properties and things inside would produce a ton of waste.
America had different grades for processing rubbish. The brick walls and metal support of the houses belonged to Grade 2 waste, and together with furniture, appliances, and other household products, it would become Grade 3 waste.
Processing Grade 3 waste was more expensive than processing Grade 2 waste. Thus, they could use old property auctions to deal with the things in that grade. With that, they could make some money from the treasure hunters, and also save on the waste disposal fees, killing two birds with one stone.