Chapter 55: The Antique Clocks
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Hans was very happy with the household appliances they had gotten.
"How much can we get from this?" asked Li Du.
Hans patted the clean, white fridge. "I bet that we can sell it for at least 4,000 dollars. If we can find the right buyer, we’ll be able to sell it for 5,000."
Li Du was disappointed. "So little?"
Hans’s eyes bulged. "Hey man—do you really think that you’re the son of God? You think you’re the sworn brother of Jesus Christ? We only spent 400 dollars, and we’ll get 5,000 dollars in return! That’s a lot!"
"I think that’s very little."
"My man, would you feel better if I told you that before this, we would have settled for storage units which could only bring in 400 dollars of income?"
Phoenix had many general stores. Nevertheless, Hans towed the household appliances all the way back to sell to Kevin, the manager of the general store in Flagstaff.
"That’s how relationships are built," he explained.
Old man Kevin broke into a smile when he saw the household appliances they had brought. He slapped Hans’s shoulder. "Thank you so much, man. Where did you get these babes?"
"Okay! Thank you so much for remembering me from so many miles away! I’ll give you a price you’ll be happy with. Five thousand dollars for the whole set! Will that do?"
The price was definitely alright. It had been within the upper limit of their expected sales price.
Hans didn’t haggle and just shook Kevin’s hand. "No problem. Same old deal, though; treat us to some lamb chops."
After feasting on Kevin’s barbecue lamb, they went back to prepare for the auction in Jerome.
Jerome was an old mining town forty miles south of Flagstaff. It was nestled against Cleopatra Hill and was rather well known within the state of Arizona.
Its fame came from its long history and the well-known Sliding Jail, a Wild West jailhouse that slid off of a hill into the town’s main square. Jerome was almost as old as Arizona itself and was one of the first settlements to benefit from the establishment of the state.
Jerome had once produced large amounts of iron and copper ore. However, the resources had been depleted after half a century, and its inhabitants soon left.
The town now had less than a tenth of the population it had during its heyday, which explained why it was now known as the Ghost Town—there were many empty, gloomy houses there.
The town had been built on a slope. Around it was rugged mountain terrain. There were lots of ups and downs on its crooked, winding streets, and many stairs leading up to the houses there.
Walking on the street, Hans smiled. "Does this remind you of a game from when we were kids?"
"What game?" Li Du asked. "The games we played as kids may not have been the same."
A look of realization appeared on Hans’s face. "That’s true. We grew up on opposite sides of the planet."
"Shoots and Ladders," Hans said. "That’s the childhood game I was talking about."
Li Du shook his head. "No idea. Never heard of it in my life."
Hans was about to explain, but they had already reached their destination—an old, worn-out looking storage company.
Seeing the sign of the company, Hans cut straight to business. "As you know, Jerome is an old town with a long history. If our luck is good, we may be able to get some antiques that are one or two centuries old."
That was their goal. According to the information from Andrew, the storage auction this time contained a batch of antique clocks.
The storage company was called Red Rock Storage Co. During its prime, it had up to three or four hundred storage units leased at once. It was the largest storage company Li Du had seen so far. But now, there were less than fifty storage units in operation.
There were a lot of units for auction this time—twenty-five of them!
Hans said that the storage company was about to close down for good. They would locate a bunch of units whose owners had not renewed their leases, then auction all of them off in one go. They would no longer rent out any more units.
Li Du nodded. Luckily, his control of the bug had increased by leaps and bounds. Otherwise, he could never look through all of the storage units here at once.
Actually, he still couldn’t do it all at once.
But since he was looking for something specific—the antique clocks, and he wasn’t scanning through every single thing, it would be somewhat easier.
Out of the twenty-five storage units, ten were mini units and the other fifteen were small units; all of these were rather small. Considering that the antique clocks were large and there were a large number of them together, they weren’t difficult to find.
He flew the bug, weaving throughout the units, searching rapidly, and quickly found the clocks in a small unit.
He was ecstatic. The clocks had all been stored in wooden boxes which had been wrapped with multiple layers of brown packing paper. They were very well kept and difficult to find for treasure hunters.
Li Du counted fifty or sixty boxes, most of which were empty; only nine still contained clocks.
They had probably been made in bulk. They all looked similar to each other—made of namwood, with gilded exteriors, Roman numerals, and dials colored red, green and yellow. They looked magnificent.
Having found the clocks, he took down the unit number, which was 240. It contained all the wooden boxes while at the entrance laid some sacks and raw cowhide. It was quite easy to spot.
Li Du guessed that the boxes here had all contained antique clocks at one point, but most of them had been sold off, leaving the last nine of them.
They would take them just as well. He was, however, unable to tell the age or make of the clocks, and so neither was he able to deduce their value.
Having accomplished his mission of finding the clocks, they went back to the city center to find food and lodging.
Hans seemed to be familiar with the whole of Arizona. He brought Li Du into Jerome and said, "I’ll bring you to stay in a mansion tonight."
Li Du was taken aback. "There’s a mansion in the Jerome State Historic Park? We aren’t going to sleep in the park tonight, are we? Wouldn’t we be homeless then?
Hans puffed his chest out and said, "Come with me."
They drove deeper into the park. A huge mansion appeared at the end of the road. On it was a sign that said, "The House of James Douglas."
"James Douglas was Jerome’s first mining tycoon," Hans explained. "This mansion was built in 1916. It bore witness to Jerome’s prime.
"He never married and had no offspring. Before he died, he donated this mansion to the country as a historic hotel."
The mansion was enormous, with many rooms. The two of them booked a presidential suite. It only cost 155 dollars a night, and for the three days that they booked it, they could stay an extra day for free!
After putting down their luggage, they went to have dinner. Of course, Hans was the one who arranged everything once again.
Hans asked, "You aren’t scared of heights, are you?"
Li Du shook his head. "Of course not, why?"
Hans didn’t reply and the reason revealed itself to him almost right away. They entered a park called "Audrey Headframe Park." Within its valley was nestled a large number of restaurants.
The restaurant they went to had been built over the mine, its floors made of tempered glass. When one looked down, they could see a bottomless mining pit!
"This is one of the classiest restaurants in Arizona. How deep do you think the mining pit below us is?" asked Hans.
The walls of the mining pit were illuminated by incandescent lamps, but try as he might, Li Du was unable to see the bottom. He just shook his head. "I can’t make a guess."
"It is 1,910 feet, which is 650 feet more than the Empire State Building’s height!" Hans exclaimed.
Li Du exclaimed in wonder, "Who thought of building a restaurant here in the first place? What a crazy, ingenious idea!"
This was his first time eating at a restaurant like this. Undeniably, it was a little scary, but it was also ingenious.
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