That was close. Li Du had almost overslept again.
The greatest haul from this auction came from the first storage unit, which was number 4. He hastily urged Hans to drive there as soon as possible.
Hans loved such requests. He stomped on the pedal as if extinguishing a cigarette. As the engine roared, the Ford F-150 drove off like a raging beast, almost lifting off into the air.
They left at 8:50 in the morning, and by 9:20 they had already reached the entrance of the storage company. It felt like they travelled as fast as lightning.
The auction was going to start at 9:30. Hans went to register while Li Du bought breakfast. Once they met up again, they lined up to tour the storage units.
Hans munched on a smoked meat sandwich. "Damn it, only three units are up for auction: unit 4, unit 26 and unit 51."
Li Du stared at him blankly for a moment. "What about unit 7?" he asked, ignoring his breakfast.
"Unit 7 renewed their lease," Hans said as he continued munching.
Li Du didn't have much appetite anymore. The antique gun was gone.
Fortunately, they still had unit 4 as a consolation prize. After taking a look, he turned to Hans.
"Get this unit. It definitely has value."
"Alright, count on me," Hans said, regaining his spirit.
This type of storage unit gave more personal usage and would have higher starting prices, as they were targeted at clients from the middle-class. These storages were almost like their personal rooms, so the chance of finding something valuable was high.
The auctioneer was still that fast talking old man, and he was still wearing that cowboy hat. Once everyone was done with their tours, he raised his hands to begin calling out the prices.
"The auction has officially started, officially started! Now, since you ladies and gentlemen already know my rules, let's not waste time! Five hundred dollars! The starting bid for this is 500, 500, 500!"
It was a high starting bid, especially for a small town like Flagstaff. As expected, someone complained. "This price is ridiculous, 500? You guys can fight for the unit amongst yourselves!"
Hans joined in. "Five hundred? I can get five good storages with this price."
The old man laughed. "Everyone knows that Phoenix Classics has the good stuff, so enough of the useless chatter. Those who wanna buy come forward, those who don't wanna spend can go home—staying here with this wind and in the sun is bad for your baby skin!"
In the end there were still people willing to bid, and someone raised their number plate. The old man swiftly raised the price to 550.
Hans started bidding too. He raised his number plate. The old man pointed at him and raised the bid to 600.
"OK!" Someone raised the bid again.
Hans glared at the man on purpose. "Dalton, my friend, are you planning to start a fight? You sure? With me? The Great Fox? A Fight?"
Dalton laughed. "So be it, you're talking as if you've become Hitler."
Hans was like an arena bull. His expression became furious. "Very good, then I accept! Seven hundred!"
Dalton calmly raised his hand. "Nine hundred!"
Seeing this, the crowd started getting excited, booing and jeering at the competition.
The old man was ecstatic. "Nine hundred! Nine hundred! Nine hundred! That's nine Benjamins that someone is willing to give for this storage! Anyone gonna go higher? Anyone for 1,000?"
Hans raised his hand. "Me!" he yelled.
The old man gleefully turned his head towards Dalton. "Kiddo, your competition has named his price, it's 1,000 dollars, 1,000 dollars! Is our brave kid over here willing to accept 1,100?"
Dalton shook his head. "No."
"What?" Hans looked over at him in shock.
The booing swiftly turned to laughter. Someone went forward and gave Hans a hug, one that wasn't meant to be kind. "Big Fox, you've been played! Dalton The Sly, he's true to his nickname!"
No one else placed a bid. Apparently to them, 1,000 dollars for unknown storage was unreasonable.
Hans wore a perplexed look. The old man quickly called "a thousand" three times and pointed to Hans, saying, "Wonderful my dear Big Fox, this storage belongs to you now! Let us go to unit 26!"
The crowd laughed as they walked, with Dalton at the front. Apparently, the way he set up Hans had been a clever move, so the crowd viewed him with respect.
When the crowd was out of sight, Li Du and Hans high-fived, laughing.
"Good job, Oscar winning Big Fox!"
Hans shrugged. "I am the best treasure hunter that has swept all of Phoenix. These hillbillies actually want to compete with me? What a joke!"
If Hans hadn't used the competition with Dalton to set this trap, getting the storage would have been difficult. He would have continued to bid even when the price got high, and then people would have suspected that there was something valuable within the unit. If that had happened, the price would have gotten out of control.
Li Du felt it was worth getting this storage for 1,000 dollars. With only three storages for auction, nobody wanted to leave empty handed.
The last two storages were junk, with nothing of value. Li Du was unwilling to bid. He took a glance into the last unit, shook his head, and left.
Hans at this point had unconditional trust in Li Du, and followed him to pack up unit 4.
As he moved the boxes, he kept grumbling to himself. "Gun box, gun box, gun box! Let me see a gun box! Where is my antique gun? Come out come out wherever you are…"
Li Du opened a box. Inside there were four furry, stuffed toys. They were Ninja Turtles.
He threw the box and the Ninja Turtles fell out. This caught Ah Meow's interest, who started scuttling around to gather the toys together. Li Du gathered them all up, and then threw them again. Ah Meow once again fetched them all.
Finally, Hans found the box with the first-generation iPhone. He opened it and started roaring with laughter. "Li, you really do have x-ray vision! Look at what I've found! A first-generation Apple iPhone!"
Hans carefully took the phone out. "The first-gen sold at only 500 to 600 dollars. Compared to the newer models, this thing is a brick!
"With two gigabytes of data, it ran at the speed of a spotted sea turtle. It didn't have any apps, couldn't multitask, and had no Bluetooth. It could be said that any phone on the market at that time was of higher quality.
"But, my friend, there were many presidents who were greater than Roosevelt, but this didn't prevent him from having a spot at Mount Rushmore. This is because he was a pioneer! A new-age pioneer!"
With the scorching rays shining on this outdated phone, a glassy glow came from the screen.
Hans was infatuated with this device, it was almost as if he was staring at a block of gold. "It has been preserved flawlessly, excellent. If this is in working condition, then, my friend, I bet it can sell for 20,000 dollars!"
"What are we waiting for?" Li Du asked. "Let's go charge it."
Hans shook his head, saying, "Be patient. Let's pack up the rest of this stuff first."
No valuable items like the iPhone were left in the storage unit, but there were plenty of items that could be converted to cash.
Li Du found four brand new tires under a shelf. As Hans moved the shelf away, he found an unopened, hidden safe that was full of cash.
Since they had time, they brought the trash to a landfill. They only had to pay a small tip to get in. Hans was experienced at this.
What remained to be taken care of were the items of value. During the return trip, Hans's phone rang. He glanced and said in surprise, "It's a call from Dog Tail Reginald. What does he want?"