Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Li Du drank from late night until dawn. He was still able to drink, but his body was exhausted, so he excused himself.
"The person who leaves first pays the bill!" cried out a youth named Turis, smiling slyly.
Li Du replied, "Are you serious? I think that some people here know how much I can drink. If I were to go on drinking, those who would have to pay the bill later might be heartsick for quite a while."
Recalling the rumors about his drinking, Big Beard Carl said, "Hey, don't stop him! The guy just finished off half of the beer we ordered!"
Some treasure hunters hurriedly got out of his way.
Smiling, Li Du walked towards the bar. He asked the bartender, "How much is it?"
The bartender shrugged. "I haven't tallied, but about 1,500 dollars."
Li Du slapped 2,000 dollars onto the table. "The rest are tips. If it's not enough, let them pay."
Seeing this, the bartender banged the table and hollered to the treasure hunters, "You lucky b*stards, someone paid for all of you! You've become acquainted with quite a generous fellow!"
The rowdy treasure hunters turned their heads. They each gave Li Du a big thumbs up. Big Beard Carl exclaimed, "Hey, Chinaman, I like you now."
"Just don't fall in love with me." Li Du drank one last glass of beer and gestured goodbye, then went out and called a cab.
He went back to Pine Tree Tops. At this time, most families had already put their lights out. Only the streetlights and emergency lights gave out a dim, yellow glow.
The public safety of certain areas in large American cities was poor. No one usually dared to come out at night, especially in the slums.
Flagstaff was not too bad. It was a small place, where the people led more simple and honest lives.
Li Du went upstairs, opened the door and walked into the house. He took off his shirt and bared his torso. He wanted to take a shower.
"STOP!" A voice suddenly rang out, with a blinding white light flashing. "Hands on your head, get down on the floor!"
Li Du was startled by the sudden shout. When the lights came on, he was even more afraid. There was a woman pointing a pistol at him from the doorway of the study next to him!
The muzzle of the gun was pitch-black, darker than the night sky.
Li Du raised his hand and cried out, "Don't shoot! It's just me!"
The lady cop asked harshly, "Who are you? Intruding… Uh …Li?"
Li Du hastily nodded. "Yes yes yes! It's me, Li Du, your tenant!"
This was the first time he had seen the lady-cop-landlady ever since renting the place. He had been looking forward to living under the same roof as her. No matter what, Rose was a beautiful girl.
Though he hadn't seen her during the last few days, Li Du had often fantasized about how they would meet again. But none of his fantasies included anything like her pointing a gun at him!
Rose kept holding the gun, and said with dissatisfaction, "Don't you know how to knock? And what's with that stench of alcohol? Don't come back smelling like that next time!"
Li Du smiled in embarrassment. "I was at a party with a few friends, so I just drank a little."
Rose didn't say anything. Her face dark, she turned back to the study.
Before she went in, she paused and asked, "Were you the one who cleaned up the house?"
"Thank you." Leaving her thanks behind awkwardly, the long-legged lady cop went back into the study.
Li Du pulled at his ear. Was that a "thank you" he had heard? Maybe he'd drunk a little too much. The icy cop didn't look like the type of person who said thank you.
He looked at the hall and realized that she had put up some posters. They were of another lady cop, but a Caucasian one. Li Du recognized her as Police Chief Marge, the lead female character of Fargo.
Fargo was a very famous movie in America. It was about an unlucky car dealer who got into financial difficulties but was unable to get a loan from his wealthy father-in-law. So he hired two thugs to kidnap his own wife to get ransom money from the man. This led to a bloody series of events.
The movie had swept up all the major film awards at the time. On the posters of Fargo were images of the actress Frances McDormand who had acted as Marge; she wore sunny smiles in the pictures, her eyes clean and clear as chilled jade.
The house was quiet the next day when he woke up after a good night of sleep. Rose had probably gone to work again.
These past two days, Li Du had filled the fridge with lots of vegetables, fruits and meat. Before that, all it had contained was expired fast food and all types of junk food.
He took Ah Meow out for a run. Living in a high-end community was very nice. He could just run around the housing area, without having to go onto the streets and inhale the car's' exhaust fumes.
On the way, he planned his breakfast menu for the day. Chinese pancakes, porridge made with lean meat and century egg, and some of the sour and spicy pickled vegetables he had made himself. That seemed quite alright.
When he returned home, he decided that the first thing to do was to make the porridge. Before he went out for his run, he had cubed the lean meat and marinated it with some salt, cooking wine, cornstarch and olive oil. That way, when he came home, the marinade would more or less have soaked into the meat.
After bringing the porridge to a boil, he lowered the temperature to a simmer and scattered some ginger shreds, century egg, salt, chicken stock, and the cubes of lean meat on it. And then he just waited for it to be ready.
There was a baking pan in the kitchen. With it, making Chinese pancakes was easy.
He made some batter with eggs, flour and a little water. Scattering a lot of spring onions on it, he used just a bit of pepper as seasoning.
Scooping some batter into the baking pan, he scattered a layer of black sesame seeds onto it, closed the cover and started heating it up.
After he had properly cleaned up the kitchen, Li Du wanted to freshen up before eating. When he turned around, he saw someone standing at the door. Rose had appeared out of nowhere!
Li Du jumped in shock. So did Ah Meow. It hissed loudly, jumping about one meter high; its jumping abilities would have amazed NBA stars.
"People can scare others to death!" he cried out in Chinese.
Rose shrugged. "How can you be so timid? Are you even a man?"
Li Du started to reply without thinking, "Why don't you try…" He coughed awkwardly, stopping himself. "Anyway, you know I'm a man."
Luckily, he caught himself quickly, otherwise, he might have had to look for another place to stay for the night.
Rose was dressed casually. Her cotton clothes had ugly little flowers printed on them. But as her frame was tall, slender, there was a distinctive flavor to her style.
As he was about to eat his breakfast, Rose sat down at the table.
Li Du said, "I thought you left for work. Next time, let me know if you'll be here for breakfast so I can prepare some for you.
Rose looked at the two large Chinese pancakes, the pot of porridge and the large bowl of chili peppers splashed with oil on the table and said, "I don't eat much."
"But I do."
And Rose watched, in shock, as he ate one and a half Chinese pancakes and almost the entire pot of porridge.
The Chinese pancakes weren't small or thin like those made in roadside stalls. They had been made in a baking pan and so they were huge.
Just eating one and a half wasn't that much of a feat. What made it extraordinary was Li Du's unsatisfied expression; he was still hungry!
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