Perhaps the only flaw for Li Dus description of the negotiation battle using the Chinese phrase was that the legendary warrior, Lu Bu, had retreated after the face-off with the three valiant generals.
On the other hand, Hans did not "retreat"; he had managed to keep the final price at 50,000 dollars per tusk for the three middle-aged ivory carvers, who also knew how to bargain well.
The best tusk was sold at 52,000 dollars; the rest of tusks were sold at a total amount of 157,000 dollars due to their different sizes and varying quality. The gross profit amounted to 209,000 dollars.
Once the deal was complete, Hanss attitude changed from petty and stingy to friendly and generous.
"Since the three of you are foreigners, transporting the ivory could be troublesomelet me help out by driving all of you to Las Vegas."
"If thats the case, would you mind stopping at my place for a while to pick up some luggage?" Ernst asked in his usual polite demeanor. "We will be traveling to Finland after the auction in Las Vegas."
Hans answered, "No problem, old buddy. This is such a small favor. If it werent for you, we wouldnt have sold all this ivory in such a short amount of time."
"I am helping myself as well," Ernst smiled.
Both Li Du and Hans split the proceeds on the sale of the ivory; under the fifty-fifty arrangement, each of them got 104,500 dollars.
They high-fived each other when they received the money. Hans was buzzing with excitement. "Now, were almost members of the Hundred Thousand Club!"
Li Du said confidently, "Remove the word almostwe will be joining the Hundred Thousand Club soonit wont be difficult."
"Right Ha! The Million Clubs the next target, and then Ten Million Club! Sh*t, I feel like Im flying!" Hans laughed loudly.
However, in the afternoon, as if Lady Luck herself had turned her back on Hans, he was pretty unlucky for the rest of the day.
Hanss jeep broke down while driving the men to Las Vegas. That was not the worst of it; they were stranded in the middle of nowhere. All they could see was the vast desert, the cacti, and the fiery sun... No other cars or vehicles were in sight.
Hans described what had happened to him in an agitated tone when he came back from Las Vegas the next day.
"I waited for ONE HOUR before another vehicle passed by. D*mn, one hour! And guess what? I had to pay 200 dollars so I could get the driver to agree to tow my truck to the workshop!"
Hans had gone to Las Vegas full of vigor, but when he returned he looked listless and frustrated.
"That sure is tough luck," Li Du sighed.
"I know right? That dude wanted 200 dollars just to tow a jeep; wheres the American spirit of helping each other? F*ck! Im so unlucky to have met such a Scrooge!"
" Isnt that beside the point?" asked Li Du, facepalming.
It was not the first time that Hanss truck had broken down in the middle of the road. Now that both of them had earned quite a large sum of money, they decided they should get a new car.
Besides, even if the F-150 had worked fine, they would have wanted to get a new one because the F-150 was too small. There had been numerous cases when they had to give up bidding for certain storage units because they knew they were not able to carry everything back with the truck.
Flagstaff might have been a small city, but it had its strong points too. For example, Flagstaff was actually home to the largest truck dealership in the state of Arizona.
After Hans took a day off to rest, the duo took a cab to Wild Americans Truck Dealership to begin their hunt for a good truck.
"You really dont want a second-hand truck? I am fine with that, you know?" Hans asked. "I know a few friends who want to let go of their truckthe price is pretty attractive."
Li Du replied decisively, "Nope. Get a new one since we are already in the "second-hand goods" businesswe cant always be buying things second-hand!"
Hans nodded. "Okay, new ones dont cost too much either."
The Americans attitude toward cars was similar to the Chineses attitude toward computers. These things didnt need to be very pricey; they were tools and only needed to function well.
Ever since Li Du came to Flagstaff, his attitude toward vehicles changed as well. In the past, he had thought that brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz made luxury cars that cost millions of dollars.
But in America, he soon realized that such luxury cars were not as costly as he thought. One might get a Porsche with 100,000 dollars, or get a Ferrari with 200,000 dollars.
Furthermore, Americans generally were not keen toward luxury cars. Luxury cars were not as practical as trucks, and they had higher fuel consumptions as well. Many Americans loved jeeps, and in Flagstaff, jeeps were common, family cars.
It was said that America was a country on wheels; their economy was a truck economy, and this was not exaggerated at all. Almost all goods in the States were transported using trucks, as their highways went in all directions.
Because of that, Americas truck development industry was booming, and they had a wide selection of trucks in various sizes.
Li Du and Hans walked toward Wild Americans Truck Dealership; they saw a majestic Ford F-650 on display at the entrance.
"This one is so cool!" Li Du exclaimed.
Hans nodded, "F-650, The Beast. Thats a good one."
"Okay, then well get this one!" Li Du declared.
Hans rolled his eyes and retorted, "Sh*t, look at the d*mn heightare we able to drive this into a storage unit?"
"Oh, youre right," Li Du answered while touching the smooth, glossy paint of the F-650, and looked away reluctantly.
"Stop behaving like a child," Hans said with a reproachful glare. "Look at yourself; youre an adult, okay? Dont judge a book by its coverthat is so childish! Your behavior is just like looking for a wife by judging a womans appearancereally childish!"
"Then what do you look at?" Li Han responded.
"Look at the size of the boobs," Hans said, as though stating a fact.
The two continued to look around, and just as they were about to enter the showroom for heavy-duty trucks, they saw four young adults walking toward their direction.
Li Du saw a familiar face.
"Hi, Doctor Sophie," Li Du said, surprised.
There were two men and two ladies; one of them was the kind-hearted Doctor Sophie.
The lady doctor had light makeup on her face. Her beautiful golden hair was tied up high in a ponytail. She wore a white t-shirt with a light blue jacket, and a white asymmetrical skirt with tassels.
Sophie looked sexy and attractive, different from her usual, gentle self.
This is the first time Li Du saw Sophie without her doctors gown. He unconsciously took a quick glance at the two young men standing next to her. Both of them were good-looking and well-built. One of them might be Sophies boyfriend, he guessed, as girls liked to dress up for their dates.
Sophie was surprised to see Li Du as well; she took the initiative and held out her hand. "Hi Li, its nice to see you here! What a coincidence."
They shook hands.
Li Du had sensitively noticed that the mouth of the tall, blonde man with her twitched.
"We wanted to buy a truckwhat about you guys?" Li Du asked.
Sophie shrugged. "Marates a car tuning specialist. He needs some inspiration, and thats why were here."
Sophie then introduced them to each other. The young lady with Sophie was Natalie; she was a tall, red-haired beauty with a sweet smile. The tall, blonde man was Marate, and the other young man was Taylor.
Li Du immediately had the notion that the four of them were on a double date. "Nice to meet you all. Look, we shouldnt be holding you guys up if youre looking for inspirationwell get going now."
Sophie waved her palm. "Oh no, dont be silly. So both of you are here to buy a truck?"
"Yes, Big Fox and I wanted to get a truck."
"Oh buddy, you finally remembered meI thought I had been dumped. But I can totally understand." Hans laughed. "Who doesnt turn a blind eye to their surroundings when their goddess appears in front of them?"
Li Du glared at Hans, withstanding the urge to swear at him.
Sophie giggled, amused. "Big Fox has a sweet mouth. Hey, we can look at the trucks together. Marate knows a lot about trucks and he might be able to help."
The tall, blonde, handsome man smiled. "Yes, I can help."
However, Li Du noticed that his smile was very reluctant.