Hearing his words, Playboy Akkalou Benidito laughed. "This is what I do. If there's a debt, I'll pay it back. I won't give Andrew a chance to play any underhanded tricks."
Hans said, "Yeah, buddy. I like how you're good at distinguishing between right and wrong. The info Andrew gave, it's at—"
Akkalou Benidito immediately stopped him. "Don't say it. Big Fox, this is your own secret. The reason why I helped you was not to get info—please don't misunderstand."
Hans nodded. "Of course I know; who in Flagstaff doesn't know that you're trustworthy? I just want you to help confirm if this piece of info is real."
What Hans had just said was actually well calculated. Without batting an eye, he flattered Akkalou Benidito, as well as explaining why he wanted to tell him the info.
Akkalou said, "I would gladly help you confirm the info, but once the auction is over, the validity of the info will naturally be shown anyways. For now, let's stop talking about work and have a good feast!"
From the conversation of the two sitting behind them, Li Du realized that this restaurant was extremely famous in Flagstaff. The locals felt that their dishes were very authentic.
But he felt that this was strange. The people of Flagstaff had never been to China, never had authentic Chinese food; why would they think that the food from this restaurant was the real deal?
The reason was that the head chef understood the taste buds of Americans very well. Whatever the dish was, the sweet and sour flavors were emphasized, and the taste seemed foreign to westerners.
Of course, the taste also had to do with what they had ordered; honey barbecue Cha Siew, Gong Bao Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, Cashew Shrimps. All these dishes were cooked with honey, sugar, and vinegar.
The last dish was tofu, and when Hans saw it, he shouted in joy, "GOOD! Mapo Tofu!" He very fluently pronounced the words in Mandarin.
Li Du rubbed his temples. In a small place like Flagstaff, Mapo Tofu had somehow become a classic Chinese dish. He had noticed this in school; his foreign classmates would always order this dish when having Chinese food.
He had a few bites. The spiciness was so-so, and the tenderness wasn't up to standard. His mom could have made something better.
Akkalou-Benidito was observant. He curled his lips and said, "What's wrong, Li? Is the dish bad?"
Li Du said, "Let me share my thoughts. Mapo Tofu is one of the signatures of Sichuan, China. The appearance needs to be shiny, deep red, and well contrasted with green herbs on the dish. The tofu should be neatly diced—and for the taste, it needs to be spicy, hot, tender, soft, fresh and fragrant. That would be a good Mapo Tofu."
However, when you were eating it, didn't you feel that the tofu wasn't tender enough? This means that the chef didn't use traditional tofu, but instead a rough mixture."
Akkalou-Benidito was impressed, and said, "My God, Chinese people are really impressive. Just one dish with so many intricacies behind it. Your ancestors must be people who truly enjoyed life."
Li Du laughed; that was wrong. The Chinese were known to be the most tenacious, hard-working race of people since ancient times.
Although the dish was not up to his standards, he still enjoyed it. Someone else way buying, and food that came free always tasted good.
They parted after lunch. Once in the car, Hans asked, "How was it? Isn't the Playboy interesting?"
Li Du nodded. "Yeah, he was interesting. This could easily be seen from his achievements. How many members of the Hundred Thousand Club are there in Flagstaff? Four? Five? He's one of them."
Hans said confidently, "Soon, we will be the sixth and seventh! We will definitely be joining them, the unit this time could be worth one hundred thousand dollars!"
"What info did Andrew give you?"
"In one week, in Jerome, Ohio, there will be a storage company having an auction. There will be a batch of antique clocks. Those are worth a lot."
Li Du thought they were going to spend the day preparing for the auction. In the late afternoon, however, Hans received a piece of information while he was fooling around at the bar. In two days, there would be another storage auction, this time in Phoenix.
They rushed over immediately. This auction would be selling off four units, but there was nothing of value. The bug searched the insides of the units for half an hour and couldn't manage to find a single item worth more than ten thousand dollars.
From the search this time, Li Du managed to increase the time limit for controlling the bug to 40 minutes; he could now fly around with it for this long before feeling exhausted.
The last of the four units was the most valuable. There was a full set of household appliances, such as a washing machine, a refrigerator, a stove, a microwave and a television.
This storage company was of the lower-end type, with dirty units and cheap rental fees. The people who rented these units were usually poor.
The treasure hunters who attended the auctions here were also the poorer ones. Reputable treasure hunters would never attend such auctions.
After realizing this, Li Du gave a dry laugh. "Big Fox, you really are pinching pennies."
Hans chuckled, "I'm just bringing you to all kinds of storage auctions so that you can gain more experience. I'm not planning to earn a ton from these kinds of units."
When there was money available to earn, they would go for it. They went to the storage auction a couple of days later.
Li Du did not make any moves for the first three units. At the fourth unit, he nodded his head and said, "We can earn something from this."
The unit itself was not worth much value, so the auctioneer did not have a lot of interest. The owners of the storage company and the staff mainly earned income from the rental costs. These units would not sell for a high price, and so he would not earn much.
When the fourth unit was being auctioned, the auctioneer said tiredly, "This unit starts at 50 dollars, anyone who would go for 50?"
Someone raised his hand and said, "Deal."
"Then what about 75? Anyone who would go for 75 dollars?"
Hans squeezed to the front of the crowd and said, "Let's cut to the chase. Two hundred."
The starting bid was low, but this suddenly shot it up to a high price. The treasure hunters all gave up and shook their heads.
However, there were some people who were able to see some value. "There are many boxes for electronics—perhaps they could be household appliances? I'll risk it. Two hundred!"
Hans said, "Three hundred."
"Three hundred twenty-five."
"Four hundred!" Hans declared loudly.
With this price, that man shook his head and left. The others seemed even more unwilling to bid.
The auctioneer finally regained some spirit. "Four hundred going once, going twice, going for a third, and sold to this guy over here! This unit is yours!"
After handing over the money, the two began clearing out the unit.
Hans went in and opened a box containing a washing machine. It was fairly new, with a brand on the top that had two kids hugging each other. "Cool, Li, it's a brand from your country.
This brand was Haier; the automatic, front load washing machine was worth some money. A brand new unit would be worth about 1,000 dollars. A second-hand model would be about 500. Just from this washing machine, they earned back their original investment.
After opening a box containing a refrigerator, another Haier brand of electronics appeared. Hans could not wipe the smile off his face. The refrigerator was also well-kept. It would have no problem selling for 600 to 700 dollars.