Kellan was immediately moved by Li Dus offer.
Frank got anxious at this sight. "Caution, my friend, this Chinaman is very cunning. You gotta be careful!"
Kellan looked at Li Du suspiciously, and said slowly, "Dont worry, my cousins here."
The police officer immediately said, "Yes, he wont dare deceive us. Im sure he would absolutely not mess around with the Pratt family in Derta."
Frank was displeased; he muttered something under his breath.
Judging from the mouth movement, Li Du could tell that he had said "stupid."
Kellan asked, "Hey friend, how should I address you?"
"You can call me Li or you can follow your good pals in calling me Chinaman. But, that will mean we can forget about the deal."
Kellan immediately laughed, "Of course, of course, I know. Li, nice to meet you. Now my question is: how will I know if you have money to take over my business?"
"You should know, this is a very big storage unit company," the police officer said, stretching out his arms. "No storage unit company in Derta will be bigger than Pratts Storage Company."
"This is easy. You can ask your three friends over there if I have the money or not. If they really see you as their good friend, theyll tell you how well Im doing."
Kellan turned to the three. Frank reluctantly said, "Hes wealthy, no doubt. But dont believe him, hes a treasure hunterwhy would he want to buy a storage unit company?"
In fact, Kellan didnt believe it either. It would be absurd to fully believe anyone who came up to him and said that he wanted to take over the business from him.
Therefore he said to Li, "You heard it, Li. My friends dont think you really want to buy my company. Let me be frank with you: I dont believe it either."
When Li Du had entered the small office, hed noticed the location of the safe. He released the little bug and sent it into the safe.
Sure enough, the safe contained the account books and several other documents.
Li Du took a chair and sat down. "Pratts storage company was founded in 1990. The storage units were built in the same year, and the construction was split into three phases. There were a total of 28 storage units serving a customer base that comprised mainly the townsfolk and travelers.
"Your storage companys best years were from its tenth year onwards. The last ten years, however, business has been dwindling so much that only five units are on lease currently.
"Of the five units, three of them have already been cleaned out. Obviously, these tenants dont plan on renewing their contracts.
"Since five years ago, youve lowered the rental costs. The lowered rental costs were 80 percent of the market rate. Three years ago, the cost was further reduced to only 50 percent of the market rate.
"Since last year, you introduced the long-term leasing package: lease two years and get one year free. Its a pity that this ended in failure as nobody leased the units, right?"
As Li Du stated all these facts, Kellan became more excited.
Although it seemed like Li was criticizing him, this also showed that Li had done a background check on the company; it revealed his sincerity and that he really did want to take over the company's business.
Rick was flustered. "All this information could be found on the Internet. He might have done all these checks while on the way here."
"Why would I look up all that information then?" said Li Du. "I did it because I wanted to buy this company."
The middle-aged police officer nodded. "That seems right."
"Right, my *ss," Frank blurted.
The police officers expression darkened. He shoved Frank and said aggressively, "What did you say? You want to challenge the Pratt familys honor?"
York swiftly got in between the two men and apologized profusely to the police officer.
Li Du continued, "Mr. Pratt, you have to know that Im really serious about the deal. If you still dont believe me, I can tell you moresomething about numbers.
"In the past ten years, the highest amount of taxes you paid up was respectively 8,988 dollars, 7,500 dollars, and 7,125 dollars. In actual fact, youre supposed to pay more tax than you have beenthe highest amount of tax that you should have paid is around 12,000 dollars."
Kellans facial expression changed to that of shock. "D*mn, how did you know?"
Li Du pulled out his wallet and said, "Just go to the pub, look for an old dude from the IRS, treat him to a few bottles of gin, give him 500 bucks, and hell tell you what you want to know."
Kellan said, "The last amount that you mentioned12,000 dollars..."
"That information also came from the same person I told you about," said Li Du. "The IRS has all this recorded. Their powerful software programs can calculate an estimated amount of tax you should pay based on Dertas GDP and GNP."
Kellan was shocked. "This cant be real."
"Its the truth," smiled Li Du, "or how else would you explain I know about all this? My point is: be honest and pay what you should pay."
All those figures Li mentioned were real, but he didnt get all the information from the IRSit was all from the documents in the safe.
Nobody knew Li Du had the help of the little bug. Kellan now believed Lis words as the faces of Frank, York, and Rick grew darker.
Kellan threw a glance at his cousin and the police officer eagerly poured a cup of coffee for Li Du. "Come, friend, drink a cup of iced coffee. This is coffee made from the coffee beans the Pratt family grew. Its so much more aromatic than the d*mn Blue Mountain Coffee or the civet coffee!"
Li Du took a sip of the coffee and asked, "Mr. Pratt, shall we talk about the deal now?"
Kellan was still worried about what Li had said just now. Tax evasion was a serious offense in the United States. Once found out by the IRS, one would be fined heavily and sent to prison.
Kellan didnt answer him right away. "Li, the information just now..."
Li understood his worries. "Dont worry, I know that the amount you didnt pay up was not a big sum. Moreover, estimated figures could not be used as evidence, so the IRS will not come after you."
Kellan heaved a sigh of relief. "Thats good."
Li Du took a glance at Frank and the other two. "But you better make sure your friends lips are tight. They shouldnt know about all this, right?"
Kellan made an unkind face and said to the three, "Listen up pals, if I hear anything related to this, Im gonna cut off your tongues!"
Frank made an angry retort. "It could be leaked by this *sshole too!"
"Thats stupid," Li Du replied scornfully. "Thats equivalent to creating trouble for myself. I only dug up this information for the purpose of taking over the storage company!"
The police officer nodded, "Yes, friend, youre right."
"Mr. Pratt, lets talk about the deal now," said Li Du. "I believe some details of our deal should be kept secret, so outsiders shouldnt be in here, right?"
Kellan wasted no time in asking the three of them to leave. "Pals, please leave this place for now, okay?"
"Hes lying," Frank replied hastily. "Dont believe the words of this idiot!"
Kellan stared at them. "Just scram!"
His attitude changed so rapidly that Rick was dazed for a moment, and asked, "You mean us?"
The police officer spoke in a stern voice, "Cant understand English? Of course were referring to you three. Just get out of here, fast!"