On the way back to the beach, Li Du saw a group of kids inline skating.
Long Beachs cycling path was famous throughout America, but there were not many cyclists. Most people were inline skating or skateboarding instead.
Looking at the kids cheering as they chased after each other, he felt a little envious. When he was their age, he was always either studying hard in class or helping his father sell savory Chinese crepes on the streetsthese kids were enjoying their youth.
People led different lives; Mr. Li could not help but lament.
Back at the beach, Hans was exchanging kisses with a pretty redhead. Li Du did not want to interrupt him, and so said to Tina with embarrassment, "Sorry, my partners occupied."
Smiling, Tina said, "The first time I saw him, I knew that he was someone who could be occupied anytime during the four seasons of the year, the three months in each season, the thirty days in each month, and the 24 hours of every day."
Li Du thought it was a very spot-on comment.
Tina did not stay, but gave him a colorful wallet, and then changed into her bikini before returning to the beach.
Just like their past two encounters, they had met like clouds and the wind, and then also parted just like clouds and the wind.
Not knowing why, as he considered this third encounter, he had a fleeting thought about Tina being his soulmate.
He opened the wallet and saw a stack of bills in there; without counting, he knew that it was 2,000 dollars.
Smiling, Li Du pocketed the money. This was the money he had lent her when they parted at Sedona. He had forgotten about it, and was surprised that Tina had remembered.
Seeing that he had taken money from Tina, the pretty redhead beside Hans was curious. "What does this handsome chap do? Is he the legendary Mr. Escort? He earns quite a lot."
Hans sniggered, "I know this guya gigolo. Hes doing well, and making money each night."
Li Du said in a loud voice, "Hans Fox, my good buddy. Its so good to meet you here. Oh yeah, hows the treatment for your genital warts? I know an Indian witch doctor whos very good at treating such things!"
The surrounding people all turned around to cast strange glances.
Hans was stunned. "F*ck, what crap are you saying!"
Li Du wore a fierce expression as he looked around. "What are yall looking at? Never seen a man with genital warts?"
As though she had seen a ghost, the redhead pushed Hans away and ran off. As she ran, she kept spitting out her saliva.
Turis and the rest guffawed and yelled:
"Good one, Boss Li!"
"Youve been played, Big Fox!"
"Oh man, poor Big Fox, the babe in his arms has flown away."
Hans flashed his middle finger at them helplessly. "I must have done something evil, otherwise, why would God punish me by introducing you jerks to me?"
After staying a day and a night at Long Beach, the group of them drove back to Flagstaff.
Turis and the rest made their return while Li Du and Hans got back into the Iron Knight to head for Phoenix, to the association to join the Hundred Thousand Club.
This time, they had a receipt for the 300,000 dollars in earnings. Coupled with the 200,000 dollar sale of the old photograph to the professor in Tucson, they definitely could join the Hundred Thousand Club.
Along the way, Hans was in good spirits. He sang all sorts of songs as he sat in the car, depicting his longing for the happy life he would lead after joining the Hundred Thousand Club.
Li Du couldnt stand it, and smiled. "Be quiet, Big Fox. We have a Chinese saying: The overjoyed hen smashes her eggs. Its not wise to let the elation get to your head."
Hans held his middle finger out the window, toward the sky, and declared loudly, "This is bullsh*t. I, Hans Fox, believe that we control everything. I dont believe in GodI determine my own fate!"
As the car reached Phoenix, and entered the premises of the Association of American Treasure Hunters, Hans became more arrogant.
When they walked in, the plump lady, Valerie, smiled. "Woah, woah, woahand whos here? The Arizona treasure hunting heroes! Welcome back!"
"Looks like news about us has already spread to Arizona," Hans chortled. "No need to praise usits our duty to represent Arizona and teach those snotty b*stards in California a lesson."
Arizona and California were neighbors. While the Chinese valued neighbors very highlyeven over distant relativesAmericans preferred to keep their distance from people, as good people could have bad neighbors.
The two states did not have a good relationship; people in California looked down on the culture of Arizona and thought it was a backward place with poor, uncouth, good-for-nothing people.
On the other hand, people in Arizona thought that those who lived in California were cold and apatheticthey only cared about money, and were mostly bloodsuckers and sissies.
Hence, whenever people of the same trade between the two states met, there would be strong competition between them. Whichever side emerged as the winner would become the bigshot of that industry.
Besides Valerie, others who saw the pair also had a change in attitude, offering all sorts of jokes and flattery.
Someone even came up to Hans and said, "You guys did well this time. You destroyed those sissies in California, right?"
Hans puffed out his chest. "More than destroyedBro, they were in deep sh*t. They lost big this time. The highest bidder and the second highest bidder both got junk in their storagethose fools!"
Li Du thought it was not a good idea to sound so arrogant and gave Hans a look. "Im tired, lets just settle the matter."
Hans shrugged. "Of course, of course. Miss Valerie, you should know why were here?"
As he spoke, he took out a translucent turquoise seashell from his bag and gave it to Valerie. The shell opened up to show a mini garden within.
This was a special art piece from Long Beach which had cost quite a bit: 400 dollars.
Seeing the gift, Valerie shrieked and grabbed hold of Hans to force a kiss on him.
Hans struggled but he could not escape the plump ladys large hands!
"For Gods sake, dear lady, please just settle the matter!"
This was the first time Li Du saw Hans take any initiative to decline advances from the opposite sex.
After they separated, Li Du whispered in jest, "Youre really generous when it comes to wooing chicks. But are you serious about wooing Valerie? This is a good girl"
Hans said in despair, "Whos wooing Valerie? Were good friends!"
Li Du asked, "Then why are you giving her such an expensive gift? For a friend? These things are usually reserved for someone special, right?"
Hans said helplessly, "Yes, it was meant for that redhead yesterday, but you scared her away."
Li Du said, "Then Ive done the right thing. It was a more suitable gift for Valerie than that girl."
Indeed, Valerie was in a great mood after receiving the giftshe was much faster at her job.
A few minutes later, she took out a form and passed it to Li Du before saying happily, "Come, Li, fill in your info. I will settle it for you today and youll be in the Hundred Thousand Club."
Hans smiled. "Wheres mine?"
Valerie giggled, "I think youll be able to join next time."
Hanss smile dimmed a little. "Stop joking, babe."
Valerie also stopped smiling, and said with all seriousness, "Im not joking. Big Fox, you still cant join the Hundred Thousand Club"
Li Du was shocked. "Why?!"