The doors of Iron Knight opened, and two daunting men of large build hopped out.
The three noisy lads immediately quieted down.
From their view in the car, Li Du noticed that one of the men had an angular, clean-cut, chiseled face. His body was full of well-developed muscleshis T-shirt looked ready to tear apart from pressure any moment. He had a lot of body hair, and his intimidating aura breathed violence.
The other man Li Du focused on looked savage. He was bald and his eyes emitted a brutal stare; his arms were stout and muscular, looking like the trunks of old poplar trees. When his hands became fists, they looked like hammers instead.
At that instant, the arrogance of the young men was extinguished. They looked panicky at the two huge men and hurriedly tried to board the SUV, wanting to get away as soon as possible.
Li got down from the truck and stopped the young men. "Who said that Im an Asian ch*nk? And wants to break my *ss?"
The three young men stayed silent, staring at him in fear.
Li Du waved his handBig Quinn and Godzilla walked forward.
Seeing this, the third man, good-looking with blond hair, became terrified and pointed to the chiseled man next to him. "Its him! He said it!"
There were no shops or towns near the main highways of the United States; if one got beaten up in this kind of place, many times the assailant could get away. Even if one called the police, it would require a good 30 minutes of waiting time for them to arrive.
The three lads had thought of that, which was why they wanted to pick a fight with Li Du and Hans. But they had been beaten at their own game.
Li Du put on an icy-cold smile and asked, "So you're the one who wanted to break my *ss, right?"
The girl who was in the SUV raised her mobile phone and shouted, "Lets go! I called the police!"
Li Du hurled an unfriendly glare at her. "Would you believe that I can make all of you disappear before the police arrive?"
The blonde lad yelled hastily at the girl, "Shirley, put the phone down!"
"Well, Im not going to bully anyone," declared Li Du. "I just wanted to let all of you know: do not provoke others unnecessarily."
The chiseled man apologized weakly, "Sorry man, I did something stupid just now."
"Theres no need to apologize," said Li Du. "Im not the type to take things too far. Didnt you want to break my *ss just now? My punishments simple. Ill just give a kick to one of you."
The three of them heaved a sigh of relief when Li Du said that.
Li Du turned to the chiseled man. "You dont have to worry, I wont kick you. Let one of your friends take the responsibility instead. Pick one of them, Ill kick the one you choose, and this matter will be settled once and for all."
The blonde young man immediately protested, "Why? Why did you want to kick us when hes the one who provoked you?"
Li Du suggested, "Or I should beat you all up into a pulp instead?"
The blonde lad shut his mouth.
The chiseled man was troubled. No matter whom he picked, he would offend the friend he chose.
Li Du smiled apathetically. "One minute starts now, if you dont choose by then, Ill give a good thrashing to the three of you!"
The other white man had not spoken the whole time; righteously, he announced, "Dont be troubled, buddy. Just choose me. Its just a kick, I can handle it."
The chiseled man was moved. He pointed at the blonde young man decisively and said, "I choose him."
The blonde lad was enraged and shouted, "F*ck you, you son of a b*tch, how can you do this to me?"
After the choice was made, Li Du gave a creepy grin and waved to his friends, "Lets go."
The chiseled man was puzzled. "Youre not kicking anyone?"
Li Du did not respond. The four of them got on the Iron Knight and sped off into the distance.
Hans asked curiously, "Why did you do that? It was a waste of energy."
"No, I punished them," replied Li Du. "They will quarrel with each other because of the choice that was made and will no longer be friends anymore."
"I understand now. Youre such a bad*ss. This is worse than getting a thrashing."
Li Du smiled and said matter-of-factly, "One should receive punishment for their bad behavior that is fair and just. Enough about it, lets continue to talk about our destination."
Holbrook was a small town born due to traffic and transportation. Same as Flagstaff, both were located along Route 66 and the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad.
In the history of Holbrook, the town used to have two main families: the Graham family of cattle ranchers and the Tewksbury family of sheep ranchers.
Being in the same industry meant that they were enemies. Although one family bred cattle and other reared sheep, it still constituted a competitive relationship.
"Just like Shakespeare's Montague and Capulet families?" asked Li Du.
Hans added. "Yes, except there was no love. Theres no Romeo and Juliet in Holbrook."
Holbrook was situated to the east of Flagstaff. As they traveled along, they became farther from the Grand Canyon National Forest Park. The green scenery on both sides of the road was soon taken over by the yellow desert sand as they drove along the highway.
This was the natural beauty of the western part of the United States. Li Du looked at the scenery before him. It had a primitive, wild, rustic flavor of its own.
The journey to the town was filled with the original flavor of the olden days of America. There was hardly any trace of modern society.
The highway was interlinked with other roads; some of them were sandy roads where worn-out cars and low houses could be seen. From this point of view, there wasnt a single trace that these roads and houses were part of the worlds largest economy.
Li Du remarked, "It looks very shabby here."
Hans nodded his head and explained, "Yup, Holbrook was a place that people would pass by on the old Route 66. The town was flourishing back then."
Later, once the new Interstate 40 highway had been commissioned, the town had no connection with that new highway. So when Route 66 had been decommissioned, the town became bleak and desolate over time.
There were very few cars on the straight, wide road. Perhaps nothing could demonstrate the highway's vicissitudes better than the changes of the environment beside it. With the sunset as the backdrop, Li Du felt a sense of helplessness witnessing how time brought about changes to the once flourishing Route 66.
However, that also meant the Iron Knight would be able to show its speed on the highway. Big Quinn stepped on the accelerator, and the worlds fastest truck could now behave like a sports car, accelerating and zooming into the horizon.
Because of that, a supposedly two-hour drive was completed in just one hours time.
If Hans hadn't reminded him, Li Du wouldnt have realized they were now at the center of Holbrook.
There were not many stores in the small town. It seemed sparsely populated but it was obvious that the people there had deep feelings for Route 66: most shops had signboards or banners relating to Route 66 displayed in front of their stores.
They casually looked for a hotel to stay. Hans went online and looked up some information. "Lets go, we should go check out the lovely mahogany furniture."
Li Du looked up at the sky and said, "Its too late now. Lets do it tomorrow. The auctions the day after anyway."
Hans shrugged his shoulders at Lis response and suggested, "Okay, then let's get some food and have some fun at the bar."
"Food is a must, but forget about the bar," replied Li Du. "I feel that going to a bar is equivalent to asking for trouble instead of having some fun."
Hans whined, "The night is longisnt it boring not doing anything besides eating dinner?"
Li Du waved his hands in defeat. "Okay, okay, as you wish."
There were many ranches in the town and that meant there were many things for them to eat. As long as they didnt expect to find exquisite food, their meals would be easy to take care of.
At dinner, the group of four found themselves dipping their tortillas in a thick broth, eating some burritos, and also enjoying some barbecued mutton and beef. They had a pleasant meal together.
After eating, they went to the local town bar. Hans entered the bar first, and then he abruptly turned to Li Du, saying, "Bud, you were rightcoming to the bar was asking for trouble."