After unit 28 came unit 47. Inside this storage unit was a Panasonic ice-cube maker made of stainless steel, well maintained and looking brand new.
Li Du and Hans did not join in the auction for this storage. Everyone could see the ice-cube maker, so the bidding prices were higher than those for unit 28.
The starting bid was 500 dollars, and the first few bids quickly brought it up to 1,000 dollars. After a furious bidding war, the price of the unit jumped to 2,800 dollars.
Hearing the price, Hans's lip curled. "There had better be some good stuff in there, otherwise this fella won't be earning anything. That Panasonic ice cube maker's selling price hits the ceiling at 3,500 dollars."
It was already noon by the time the next four units had been sold and unit 142 was displayed. In separate wooden crates there was the brand new set of European furniture, made in the Neoclassical style. This included one long table, one long sofa, two armchairs, two small tables, and an exquisite carpet.
Li Du coughed softly. Beside him, Hans got the signal, and asked in a low voice, "How much would we bid on this?"
He hadn't seen much valuable stuff in the storage, now seeking the guidance of Li Du. This was a medium-sized storage unit, about 100 square meters wide. There were piles of rubbish in it. The furniture had been stored separately in wooden crates and not a glimpse could be seen from the outside.
Li Du thought for a bit. "As long as it's a thousand and below, we should be able to get something."
When he had checked online, he had seen a similar set going for 2,000 dollars. He figured that taking the unit at half the price would be able to give them some profit no matter what.
The auctioneer raised his hand and started speaking. "This is a very, very, very large storage unit. Perhaps there is some valuable stuff inside. So the starting bid is 200 dollars! 200 dollars! 200 dollars! Whoever is willing, raise your hand quickly and let me see where you are!"
Hans looked around discretely, sizing up the situation. There were two who raised their hands at the same time, and some who were still wondering whether to raise theirs at all.
Just when the auctioneer was about to continue calling for bids, Hans raised his number plate. "500 dollars!" He shouted.
For storage auctions, this price was neither high nor low, and was considered to be borderline. The bidding could get risky above 500 dollars.
The treasure hunters could afford the price, but they needed to see some valuable items befitting it. This storage's displayed contents weren't worth 1,000 dollars. Taking a chance by bidding half of that just wasn't worth it. This was why the price of Hans's bid was ingenious.
The other treasure hunters shook their heads as the auctioneer pointed at Hans without hesitation. "The first bid at 500 dollars! Going once, going once, if no one's gonna raise then it's going twice! Going twice, all of you take the chance now! The next time I call it's gonna end! Alright, nobody's willing? Then this storage goes to you, buddy!"
Hans whistled. "God bless us, at least we got something today."
Li Du, carrying Ah Meow, walked to his side. Seeing the two and the little striped tabby, someone asked, "Hey, Fox, I heard you guys managed to get 30,000 dollars down at Havasu thanks to a cat last week?"
Hans laughed. "That must be a joke. The cat isn't God. How can it help us get money?"
"Don't believe what old Fox says," someone else chimed in. "He's a slippery one. Whatever he denies must be true."
More people joined in, and began questioning the mysterious bidding methods of the two men.
"Is this the cat? Sh*t, that's an ocelot? Looks like they picked up quite a bit of good stuff. Most people wouldn't carry around that nasty little thing. I wonder why they are?"
"What's in the storage this time? What did you see that made you so determined to bid? You got the storage anyway, right? Just tell us."
Hans continued smiling. "I'm not God either. How would I know what's in there? I just don't wanna go home empty handed. Really. What's with all the questions?"
There were still two more storage units up for auction. Li Du knew that there was nothing valuable in them, but he still followed the auctions. Hans might might get suspicious of his ability if he didn't.
In the afternoon, after paying, they started to clear out the unit.
Unit 28 contained a lot of posters. Hans looked at them, shook his head and claimed that they were of no value. They were all from the last two years, the images showing all sorts of content. It looked like the storage had belonged to a printing company.
"But it can be sold as scrap paper, maybe for a few dozen dollars." Hans picked up a poster jokingly, and upon seeing the picture stared at it as if in a trance. The poster had been made for a lingerie company. On it was the image of an extremely sexy girl looking shyly out at them.
Li Du, who was used to behavior like this from Hans, started clearing out the storage himself. He chucked some paper boxes out and brought out a miniature color printer.
Seeing something of value, Hans finally shifted his gaze and said, "That printer isn't bad. Check whether it works. If it does, we can put in a new cartridge of colored ink and sell it for 100 dollars."
"There's too much rubbish in here," Li Du said. "We won't be able to fit it all into our truck."
"Leave that to me. It's a small matter." A few minutes later Hans drove the pickup truck over and loaded the trash onto it. He drove away noisily on his own to dispose of it by some means unknown to Li Du, who continued clearing out the storage.
There was some silverware he eventually found in a briefcase: dining plates, knives, forks and a candle holder, making up a full set. The items didn't appear to be pure silver from their color. He was only sure that they were made of silver due to the stamped "Holiday" brand logo on them, a brand famous for producing expensive silverware.
In storage unit 142 there was the brand new, luxurious set of furniture. Seeing Li Du drag out the tables made of walnut wood, the classically styled sofa, and the carpet, the faces of the treasure hunters around him turned red with envy.
After driving the truck back, Hans saw the dinnerware and the furniture, and cheered with joy. "I just knew that you weren't wrong," he said excitedly. "It's another bounty!"
The furniture, silverware, printer, and the other items that could be sold were first sent back to Hannah's apartment. The rest was rubbish, which filled the pickup truck again.
Setting out, they eventually pulled up to a community dumpster. Hans pressed a button and the bumper jack rose, slowly pouring all of the rubbish out.
Li Du was shocked. "Sh*t, this is how you handle it?" This was illegal dumping. A small amount was an ethical issue, but dumping in bulk like this was criminal. The two of them could get fined if they were caught by the police.
"It's unethical, but we uncultured people are like that. Whatever's convenient goes."
Li Du was reluctant to be a part of this law breaking, so he decided to escape the situation by using his ability to double as the bug. He crawled down the road, practising the movements of the little creature. After a while a Honda Prado came into view. The car just happened to pass over the bug.
Out of curiosity and boredom, Li Du made it jump into the car to check out the person inside. The bug went through the base of the car, into the body of it and emerged to see the driver. She had a pretty, somewhat cold looking face. She wore a desert yellow uniform, with a gold badge flashing on her full chest. She also had a willow-like waist, from which hung a baton and a gun.
Startled, Li Du hastily waved his hand to slow time down and make the bug escape the police car. Once it rushed out and jumped into the pickup truck, he began yelling. "F*ck! Let's go quickly, it's the police!"