Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
They left for home on Sunday.
Hans ate an ice-cream and said, "Let's handle the toys first. We'll go to the general store. Those will be easy to sell—especially the dolls. Let's get rid of them quickly."
"Why are you so scared of dolls?" asked Li Du.
Hans laughed loudly, "What kind of joke is that? Me, scared of dolls? What is there to be scared of about those Barbie dolls? I'm not scared—I just don't like them. Actually, I hate those things!"
"You're scared," Clyne said while driving. "Otherwise, you wouldn't have just spoken that much."
Hans glowered at him. "Just pay attention to the road. Shut your trap!"
"It's alright if you don't want to talk about it," said Li Du, "but we can't sell the Barbie dolls."
"What do you want to do with them if not sell them?" cried Hans.
Li Du shot him a strange look. He laughed dryly, "Alright, I admit that I am scared of them. Don't you think that they're creepy? They look like people, but they aren't. Their expressions are wooden, with fake smiles and dull, lifeless eyes. F*ck!"
Saying that, he kicked the dashboard in fear.
Li Du patted his shoulder. "You've watched too many horror movies. You should watch less of them. And go check out the Uncanny Valley Hypothesis. It'll help you get over it."
"I don't need to know about any hypothesis. You haven't told me what you're going to do with those dolls."
Li Du smiled mysteriously. "Just leave it to me. You'll find out when we get there."
Their destination was obviously Mother Mesa's Home, which was on their way to Flagstaff. Hans was very familiar with the welfare home. Seeing the direction in which they went, he understood what Li Du had planned.
"You want to give the dolls to the kids?"
"Why not?" asked Li Du. "Most of the dolls' packaging hasn't even been opened. They're literally brand-new. Why sell them as second-hand stuff? The kids want new Barbie dolls, so why don't we give them what they want?"
In Chinese culture, giving second-hand stuff as presents wasn't encouraged. But in America, this wasn't a problem. It was fine as long as they performed their original functions. Americans were practical people; they didn't look down on second-hand stuff.
Which was why America was full of stores which sold second-hand stuff, especially general stores.
This culture could also be seen in Hollywood films, for example, the popular TV series on CBS Two Broke Girls. It contained lots of scenes of the sisters hunting for good stuff in second-hand stores.
Hans shrugged. "Sure. But I wouldn't give them dolls. I'd buy something else for them."
There was a Walmart near the welfare home. They went in and bought coupons. This way, if the welfare home needed anything, Mother Mesa could buy it herself.
When they arrived at the home, there was an ambulance in the driveway.
At this, Hans jumped down hastily. He caught a child and asked, "Warren, what's going on? Is someone ill?"
The child laughed. "Nothing's wrong, Big Brother Fox. It's just the doctors from St. John, here to give us free check-ups. Hey, did you bring anything for us?"
Hans brought the boxes down. Opening them, he said, "The presents are from your Uncle Li this time. Go and call the girls. Your uncle Li prepared the presents just for them."
Excitedly, Warren yelled, "Hey girls, come on out to welcome your customers! We have men that have requested you!"
Hearing him, Li Du glanced around in shock. He hadn't driven to the wrong place, had he?
Hans fumed, "Warren, you scoundrel! You need a thrashing. Don't talk like that!"
Warren made a face at him and ran off. The door to the home opened and out came… some little girls.
In the waiting room, a lady doctor frowned. "Mother Mesa, what is going on?"
The plump, kind, black lady laughed. "It's just a naughty kid having some fun. He doesn't mean ill. Let me take a look. Oh, it's two fine young men!"
The lady doctor didn't see who the men were, but she saw the familiar-looking little ocelot. Chased by two boys, it ran into the waiting room with its tail between its legs.
Li Du took out the beautifully packaged Barbie dolls. "Look, girls, I'm fulfilling my promise of bringing you these."
The dolls hadn't been opened. The Barbie seals on them were untouched. Seeing them, the girls burst into cries of joy. They crowded around him, waiting to receive their presents.
There were fifteen Barbie dolls. The welfare home had fourteen girls, of different ages. But in America, Barbie dolls were every little girl's best friend, regardless of their age. They each got one.
Holding their Barbie dolls, the girls ran off laughing.
There were some other toys in the box. Excavators, remote cars, toy models of Transformer robots and other characters from Marvel comics; all of them were suitable for boys. Hans sent them to the playroom of the welfare home.
Li Du tidied the boxes. Just then, Ah Meow started mewing. It lifted its head.
"Ah Meow, keep quiet."
Ah Meow went on mewing. It pointed a paw toward the front. Li Du followed it with his gaze. A golden-haired lady doctor in white smiled at him—it was Sophie, who had saved Ah Meow before.
The lady doctor wore a white coat today. Her perfect figure was covered up by the coat, only showing off her straight, long legs. Shimmery nude stockings covered her fine, white skin. With the hazy glow of the stockings, she looked all the more alluring.
Hearing his voice, Sophie, who was intending to play with Ah Meow, looked back at him with a bright smile. "Hey, Li, fancy meeting you here. Ah Meow looks like it has recovered?"
"Yeah. Thanks so much for your wonderful healing skills. It has recovered. It has no problems climbing trees, jumping up, down, or getting around."
Sophie felt strange. "It recovered really quickly. It hasn't even been two months! Animals usually takes much longer to recover from an injury like that. It looks like you took very good care of it."
Li Du just smiled. The quick healing was probably thanks to the bug.
He asked her what activity the hospital was organizing. Sophie told him that twice a year, the hospital provided free checkups for all the social welfare homes in the city. Because some of the children in the welfare homes had congenital defects, she, as a surgeon, had to follow the team.
She seemed reluctant to talk about it and changed the topic after a brief introduction. "You are really good to the children here, giving them such expensive Barbie dolls."
"They aren't really expensive, though?" asked Li Du. "We got them in a storage auction. I promised them that I'd bring them dolls, so I just brought them over."
Storage auctions were quite common in America, and Sophie obviously understood how they worked. "The storage unit you bought definitely belonged to a Barbie doll collector. Those weren't normal Barbie dolls. They're part of a limited edition released in 2008 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Barbie!"
Li Du asked, "Really? You could tell from so far away? You must be a real expert in this field."
Sophie laughed softly. "I played with Barbie dolls my whole childhood. I wouldn't say that I'm an expert, but I am rather familiar with this subject. When those Barbie dolls were released, I had thought of collecting them. But that was when I had just started working. I didn't buy them because they were too expensive."
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