After driving home they had another few days of rest.
To be more specific, Li Du got a break while Hans got busy. He needed to find a way to sell the silverware and furniture, and also find out about the next auction.
When they got home, Li Du planned on going straight to bed. He’d experimented with flying the bug for quite some time and was exhausted again.
Hans tapped his shoulder before he could go to his room and smiled suggestively. "Bro, it’s fun playing with your own hands, isn’t it? I suggest that you go get a real girl. You won’t get addicted to the real thing, but you can get addicted to just doing it to yourself."
Without missing a beat, Li Du gave him the middle finger. "Ah Meow," he said to the ocelot. "Scratch him!"
Hans laughed heartily. "No way. Me and Ah Meow- sh*t!"
Without hesitation, Ah Meow hobbled over and swung its claws at Hans, tearing his track pants to shreds and leaving some bloody scratches on his skin.
It hurt like hell, and Hans rushed to get some disinfectant to clean his wounds, stunned and enraged. "Ah Meow, how could you? Who bought tuna for you? Who bought salmon for you? Who bought shark meat for you? You ungrateful creature!"
Ah Meow looked at Li Du. "Meoooww! Meoooww!" Its eyes remained clear and bright, and within them was a hint of humanlike wisdom that had not been there before.
Hans didn’t seem to notice it. Li Du stared at the cat and wondered. The bug had burrowed into Ah Meow’s head and grown wings. It looked as if Ah Meow had undergone some changes too.
He had guessed correctly. After bringing Ah Meow into the room, he decided to try ordering the cat again. "Go close the door."
Ah Meow stared at him, appearing confused. He pointed at the door and gestured as if closing something. Instantly, Ah Meow hobbled back over and pounced on the door so that it shut.
"Go, Ah Meow, bring that book for me. No, not the National Geographic. Not that astrology book either. Yes, that’s the one," Li Du chuckled. "Playboy magazine."
Getting the book, Li Du stretched onto his bed like some lord and waved his hand. "Go, Ah Meow, get me a glass of water."
Ah Meow looked at the water canteen and blinked. It sat down, not following the order.
Li Du also felt that this particular instruction was too difficult. He removed his shoes and pointed towards the shoe rack. "Ah Meow, put this on the shoe rack."
Ah Meow ran over. Just as Li Du was feeling excited about owning such an intelligent pet, Ah Meow picked up the shoes with its teeth and jumped onto the windowsill, flinging them out without hesitation.
Seeing this, he screamed. "Sh*t, my Nike shoes!"
Under that window was a drain!
Having slept soundly until daybreak, Li Du went outside to exercise and saw a rare sight. Hans was not just awake, but squatting on the lawn by the doorway, examining a cabinet.
Seeing this, Li Du greeted him. "Morning, mate! You’re working hard today. Is this the first time you’re seeing the Flagstaff sunrise this year?
Hans yawned, saying, "Shit, don’t insult me. I often leave the clubs to go home at half past six in the morning. I’ve seen many sunrises at this time of the day!"
Li Du just stared at him.
He eventually left for a run while Hans turned in for the morning.
Americans liked to exercise, and the morning runners ranged from children in their early teens to the elderly in their sixties or seventies. Of course, there were more young men and women out than there were older people.
Regrettably, some American girls didn’t put on makeup when they exercised, and Li Du really wasn’t interested in looking at their sweaty faces. When they had pale skin, any freckles or spots that appeared on their faces were quite obvious without the use of foundation. Their large skin pores were also rather visible.
Li Du pictured Dr. Sophie. He remembered that the lady doctor’s skin was very fine and smooth. He thought of the doctor’s curvy, S shaped frame and her gentle manner which contrasted with her sexy figure. Suddenly he grew hard.
He was in public, so this made him extremely embarrassed. Slapping his thigh, Li Du scolded "it" silently. I was only thinking. What are you getting excited about? Catching fire in some cotton like this, you’re hopeless!
Later in the day, after Li Du had returned to the house and showered, Hans woke up groggily from his sleep. It was the afternoon, and the first thing he did was grab a bottle of beer.
Li Du watched with concern. "Mate, this can’t go on. Late nights, girls, getting drunk and binge eating; this is all gonna shorten your lifespan."
Hans, taking a drag on the cigarette he was holding, spat out a mouthful of smoke. "I once knew a guy called Felix Fox. He never smoked a single cigarette or drank any alcohol his entire life. He probably never touched the hand of a girl his age, other than his wife’s, either. He ate on time, exercised properly, all of that stuff; but how old did he live to?"
Instinctively, Li Du asked, "How old?"
"Ha! Forty-two years old." Hans blew out a smoke ring.
Li Du pondered this for a moment before realizing something. "F*ck!" He exclaimed. "Isn’t Felix Fox your father? He passed away in a car accident!"
"Yeah, but he lived a very healthy life and died early anyways. So, life is short, my friend. Enjoy it while you can."
Li Du spread his hands. "I’ve got nothing to say to that. Let’s talk about how to handle this stuff instead."
Hans chucked the cigarette butt. "Fine. The silverware is easy. We just need to find a high-end general store to sell it to. But it’s a little more complicated for this furniture set. See that table over there? It doesn’t match the other furniture. We have to do our best to make it look like they’re all part of the same set."
The set of Neoclassical furniture had been laid out on the lawn. The armchairs, side tables and the long table had been placed together. Li Du studied them and felt that they all belonged to the same set. He said this aloud.
Hans shook his head. "No, the sofas and the side tables are from the same set. They’re of the Neoclassical style. The long table isn’t. It’s a European Classical piece of furniture.
"What’s the difference?" Li Du asked, mystified. "I can’t see any."
Hans smiled. "Of course. The European Classical style is one of the most prominent furniture styles in the world. It’s a continuation of the characteristics of the European royalty’s furniture from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. Each detail is as fine as can be, pursuing a sense of luxury and elegance even in formality. This is an expression of European heritage and culture."
"Then what about Neoclassical European furniture?" asked Li Du.
"The Neoclassical European style did away with the overly elaborate details and décor, simplifying the lines. The combination of the Classical style, higher value on individuality, and modernization has led to a great deal of variety in furniture of the Neoclassical style."
Hearing his explanation, Li Du examined the set of furniture carefully, then shook his head. "I still can’t see it."
Hans pointed at the side tables which complemented the sofas. "Look. This belongs to the Neoclassical style. Even though it has the curved lines and surfaces of the classical style, it lacks the carvings characteristic to that period. It also uses the straight lines of modern furniture."
Li Du looked at the long table again, compared it to the side tables, and realized that there actually were more engravings on it. Carved with roses, bouquets and ribbons, cup shaped rosettes and the like; it was hard to notice at first, but it did look more grand.
The difference between prices of full sets of furniture and separate pieces was rather significant. After realizing the difference, Li Du sighed. "I made a mistake. Big Fox, in this aspect, you really are the boss."
Hans laughed, satisfied by the compliment. "Of course! Let me show you more of that. I’m gonna make this all into one set. At least, they will look as if they belong to the same set."
"How do you do that?"
Hans winked. "Just a little bit of handiwork."