Although the car did not technically belong to Hans, there wouldnt be much of a difference in his treatment of the vehicle if it did.
Li Du passed the car keys to Hans, who beckoned to the teenager, "Get in the car, young man. Ill take you for a ride!"
"Oh yeah!" The teenager gave an excited shout, pulled open the door and jumped in the car.
Li Du shook his head and said, "Hes really energetic. I should have let him drive earlierIm so tired now!"
Big Quinn said, "Please come in, boss. I have some homemade beer, it tastes very good. I think youll like it."
His house was the common American detached single-family home, which was the most common type of housing in the United States. Houses were built on both sides of a street, surrounded by lawns and gardens.
However, the population density in Big Quinn's neighborhood was high. The houses were close to each other and the gardens and lawns were much smaller. Big Quinn did not have a garden, only a lawn with an area a little over 60 square feet.
The lawn was located behind the house and surrounded by a carefully built fence, forming a relatively small area.
The lawn was well-maintained. There were no weeds sticking out within the green grass. It felt soft and comfortable even when walking on it with shoes.
It was sunset. Without the strong rays, there was no need for an umbrella, only table and chairs.
Big Quinn led Li Du and Godzilla into the house. Inside, the furniture was clean and organized in an orderly fashion, which indicated to Li Du that the owner was a hardworking person.
When the sound of the door opening was heard, a tall black woman came out from the kitchen. It was Rosalind, Big Quinns wife.
Rosalind smiled when she saw the guests and greeted them. "Mr. Li? Hello, nice to meet you. This is Mr. Flores, right? Im very happy to meet both of you."
Godzilla said, "Just call me Godzilla."
Li Du also added, "Call me Li."
He handed the gift cards to Rosalind and said, "We were in a hurry so we didnt prepare any present. We hope the gift cards will make up for some of our impoliteness."
When Rosalind saw the value shown on the gift cards, she was taken aback by the amount. "This gift is too expensive."
Li Du replied, "Nocompared to the value that Big Quinn gives me, this is really nothing."
A boy and a girl came running down the stairs. Big Quinn carried each of them in one of his hands. That was his younger son, Allen, and his little daughter, Suzanna.
After the introductions, Rosalind took out a bottle of beer from the fridge and said, "I've prepared a drink for you: our homemade beer. I hope its to your taste."
Li Du laughed, "Big Quinns culinary skills are excellent. I cant wait to try it."
"Put this in the bank tomorrow." Big Quinn handed the 1,000 dollars that Li Du had given him to his wife.
Rosalind asked, "Where did this money come from?"
Big Quinn laughed, "Its a bonus from Boss. Honey, this money was earned through legitimate means. Ive told you that Boss is in the storage auction business. Hes an expert in this industry and we do not deal with illegal stuff."
Li Du now understood why Big Quinn mentioned earlier that he was going to invite them over. It was because Rosalind was doubtful about the money and was worried that Big Quinn could be involved in some illegal business.
Indeed, with his extraordinary appearance, he could have been involved in illegal business or gang activities such as "providing protection" often a thin cover for extortion. The income would absolutely be a considerable amount.
In the backyard, they sat around the table, and Big Quinn served them his homemade beer.
Self-brewed beer often had a higher alcohol content and the malt aroma was also richer. When the golden-colored drink was poured out, the surrounding area was filled with a pleasant scent.
Just then, Hans came out of the house and as soon as he stepped into the small backyard, he exclaimed, "Wow, the beer smells nice. Quick, give me a cup."
Glug Glug! A large glass of beer went down each of their throats. Li Du asked, "Okay, now all of us have drank some beerquestion is, how do we get back later?"
"Either we drive drunk or we stay for the night," said Hans mindlessly, unconcerned. "Therere lots of ways. Quick, I want another one."
There were two young trees on either side of the lawn, both around the height of a person. They emitted a fragrance that Li Du was familiar with. He tried hard to recall where he had smelled it, but to no avail.
"What tree is this?" he asked. "The fragrance is very unique."
Allen quickly replied, "Its a camphor tree. My father planted it. He said that when the trees grow up, our yard will be very cool in the summer. Its too hot now!"
Big Quinn smiled. "Yes, a camphor tree, you may have smelled something like it beforemothballs smell very similar to it. Of course, mothballs have a stronger smell."
Li Du recalled that as a child, mothballs had been kept inside wardrobes to keep away clothes moths and other fabric pests. But he had not seen one for years. It was said that mothballs could cause cancerhardly anyone used them nowadays.
"Camphor trees are very suitable for planting in courtyards," said Hans "They can grow very tall, but they arent a fast-growing type of tree. How many years do you intend to stay here?"
"I don't know," he said, sipping his beer. "In the past, my earnings could only allow me to feed my family. I never thought that Id be able to move into another house."
Li Du said, "You can consider it now. In no more than one year I can guarantee that youll be able to move to a newer, bigger house."
"I hope so," said Big Quinn.
The security of the neighborhood was not good. It was filled with many people who were poor; many of them did not have jobs, which was the main contributing factor to the poor security of the area.
As they prepared for dinner, a lot of black children and youngsters cycled on bikes or drove their motorcycles down the street. Some minors even drove past in a run-down car.
A few teenagers noticed the Hellcat. They looked around, then came directly to it and tried to pull off the car's mirror. There was another teenager that peered through the car window to see what was inside with frightening eyes.
Seeing this, Walter ran over and yelled, "Go away! This is our car, what do you want?"
One of them replied contemptuously, "Bullsh*t! This is your familys car? Pauper, do you know how much this car is worth?"
"Get out of the way, Walter. Im going to break the glass and take out the bagtheres a wallet inside."
"Hey, open the trunk. There's always something good in the trunk of such cars."
"Walter, you want to have all this to yourself? Don't even think of hogging everything inside the car."
Hans threw the car keys over to Walter. Walter pressed a button and the headlights flashed.
That scared the teenagers and they hurriedly ran away.
Li Du was perturbed and asked, "That group of childrenwhats going on with them? I mean, do they go to school? Theyre terrible."
"Theyre Walters classmates, but I wish these kids would focus on studying," said a troubled Big Quinn. "They think of the school as their turf, collecting protection money from the other kids. They even set up a place to sell contraband goods. D*mn it!"
Li Du asked, concerned, "What about their parents? They just watch their kids turn into scum?"
Big Quinn had a wry smile on his face. "No, theyre the ones who turned their children into scum. I bet, boss, that a lot of them want their kids to help sell them drugs or do something else, as long as they can make money out of it."