Li Du was furious.
When he joined the treasure hunting trade, he had known that he would be discriminated against by the Americans. There wasn't anything to it. The Chinese were willing to work hard, and didn't fit in with American working values.
Which was why the Chinese were oppressed in every trade and industry.
He understood, which was why he had ignored the mocking and bullying before this. At the most, he had shown them who was right. But even then, his priority had always been making money.
Yes, all he wanted to do was make some money quietly. In no way had he ever thought of taking revenge on his American peers.
But this was too much. They had gone too far this time. He had to do something. They had spread rumors that he had AIDS.
The Chinese say that, "if three people say there is a tiger in the city, many people will believe it." Americans were real gossips. Such news spread fast—especially in small cities like Flagstaff. It had probably reached every nook and cranny of the city by now.
This meant that he would be ridiculed and questioned in his day-to-day life. He would also have difficulty finding a girlfriend in Flagstaff. Even though the Americans were more accepting of AIDs patients compared to other cultures, they still weren't willing to have close contact with such people.
Hans knew how bad it was. Getting into the truck, he asked, "What are you going to do?"
Li Du chucked the empty can. With a stony face, he said, "I want you to look for some storage units. Some that need to be renewed soon, and find a way to transfer the leases to us.
"And then?" asked Hans.
"We'll buy some fake chinaware on eBay. There is lots of antique Chinese furniture online as well. We'll put them into the units."
Hans understood. "You want to set a trap? Hey, man, don't do that. That's a terrible reputation we'll have to live with. We'll be shunned."
Li Du looked at him. "Then what is happening to us now?"
Hans kept quiet.
Li Du said, "I can do it on my own. You'll get involved if you stay with me. From now on—"
"What a d*mn idiot!" Hans cut him off angrily. "Listen to what you're saying! What are we? We're partners! We're treasure hunting partners! We should handle any problems like this together. Even if we can't, we'll suffer together!"
It was Li Du's turn to be silent.
"Listen," Hans said after a while. "What did you mean by that earlier? Others may not know, but we do. You are the only reason we managed to hit it big with the hunting. Is this why you want to break off the partnership?"
"What stupid things are you saying?" asked Li Du. "What are we? Partners! What's the most important thing between partners? Trust! Trust! Right, Ah Meow?"
Ah Meow stretched its neck energetically and mewed loudly. What are you b*tches making such a fuss about? Are we having supper or not?
Hans laughed at this. "Then let's get moving. We're already the public enemy of Flagstaff's treasure hunters anyway, and we will be as long as we go on making money.
"Don't worry. We have a saying: 'Steal a hook, and you're a thief; steal the country, and you're a prince.' If we join the Ten Thousand Club, we won't be the enemy anymore. If we join the Hundred Thousand Club, we'll be heroes!"
"That's true," Hans agreed with him wholeheartedly.
Li Du was reminded of another old Chinese saying: Killing one person is a sin. The person who kills 10,000 is a hero, and the one who kills 9,000,000 is a hero among heroes!
He pondered it while Hans excitedly made plans. "This is a big operation, so we need a name for it. What do you think we should call it?"
"It's up to you."
"I know!" Hans stepped on the gas. Ah Meow was thrown onto the windshield.
"Meoww! Meoooowww! Meeooowwwwww!" Ah Meow growled angrily. Is this little b*tch trying to kill its master?
Li Du pulled Ah Meow into his arms to comfort it. "What?" he asked.
"The Soviet Iron Fist of Revenge!" Hans said excitedly. "How about this name?"
Li Du was confused. "But none of us are from the Soviet Union."
"But we're communists," Hans chuckled. "Look, we share our information and our money, don't we? Maybe in the future, we'll share our wives too."
The ocelot flew at him. Li Du had thrown Ah Meow.
Ah Meow exploded. "Meow-Meowww!"
Li Du comforted him again. "Sorry, sorry. Daddy had to use you as a weapon."
Hans laughed. "The Soviet Iron Fist of Revenge! The Soviet Iron Fist of Revenge! The Soviet Iron Fist of Revenge! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!"
It was a big-time operation. It required a lot of time, money, and connections.
Hans was very resourceful with people. He looked for Li Du on the second day after the bar incident. "It looks like there aren't going to be any storage auctions in Flagstaff anytime soon. But there will be one in Phoenix."
Li Du shook his head. "We're taking revenge on the treasure hunters of Flagstaff. No need to bring this to Phoenix."
This was mainly because he knew that he couldn't afford to offend anyone in Phoenix.
Hans nodded. "There's another way. We can pay a little more to transfer the leases of some of the storage units under Smith Storage Company. Then we can pre-terminate the leases of those storage units. Those storage units will be placed on auction."
"The owner of the storage unit pre-terminates a lease when he doesn't want to rent the storage unit anymore. The storage unit is put on auction once that happens. But the proceeds from the auction are handed to the owner after some administration and transport charges are deducted."
Li Du was astonished. "Does that mean, that the money from the auction will go to us? Isn't that even better? We can earn some big bucks from this!"
Hans smiled wryly. "But we'll make enemies in Flagstaff. And we live here."
Li Du smiled. "No, we'll make the money, but we won't use it on ourselves. That way, it won't be counted against us." With that, he patted Hans's shoulder. "Let's do it. You handle the first part, and I'll handle the rest."
No one else realized, but under the bright blue April sky, evil plans were brewing.
And no one noticed when on the fourth of April, a small truck made its way to Smith Storage Company.
All the treasure hunters knew was that Smith Storage Company would be auctioning five storage units on the second Saturday that month. That is, on the eighth of April.
Li Du had recently signed up for a fitness class. He worked out diligently every day while Hans resumed his messy lifestyle of eating, drinking, and womanizing, sleeping by day and hanging around the red light districts by night.
On the night of the sixth of April, Hans got heavily drunk at the bar Carnal Desires.
Someone mocked, "Big Fox, were you dumped by your pretty little Chinese boy? Why do you look so down?"
Hans gave him the middle finger. Drunkenly, he said, "D*mn your squirrel head! Li and I will always be brothers!" He hiccuped. "We're," he hiccupped again, "going to get rich! Li Du got an amazing piece of information on a diamond storage unit. We're gonna be rich!"
"A diamond storage unit!? Where is this storage unit?" someone asked right away. The people around Hans kept quiet, straining their ears to hear every word.
They shunned Hans and Li Du because their information network was too good, and their eyes too sharp. They always managed to earn big bucks. This made everyone insanely jealous.
They still wanted to hear Hans and Li Du's information. Everyone was the same when it came to making money!