When Jiang Wang came home after finishing work, he found the child deliberately waiting downstairs to meet him.
Every day, Peng Xingwang could tell who was coming back from the sound of the car engine downstairs. Sometimes he would even bring down his finished homework and hold it up for Jiang Wang to see.
“Brother! Praise me quickly!”
The elder brother was usually still in a state of a blank mind from work, but he couldn’t resist someone’s cheeky face.
“Praise me! Smile!!”
The summer homework was finished last week, and this time Peng Xingwang was holding a small thing the size of a grain of rice in his hand.
As Jiang Wang locked the car, he glanced at it but didn’t see it clearly. He bent over and looked closer only to find that he was holding a tooth.
Peng Xingwang, who was missing one upper front tooth, was a bit squeaky in his speech, “I have broken off a tooth!”
“Oh, it’s the upper teeth.” Jiang Wang went back with him, thought for a while, and said, “Then you have to bury it. The deeper you bury it, the better it will grow.”
“Is that so,” the child hadn’t heard of this old custom, so he quickly called him to wait, and the little boy ran to the apartment building to borrow a small shovel for scooping up coal ash from the old lady.
The two squatted under the old wilted pine tree and dug a fist-deep pit, carefully burying the tooth.
“Will it grow crooked if it’s buried crooked?”
“…No, it won’t.”
After two days, Jiang Wang had just once again gotten home from work when he saw the child waiting downstairs from a distance.
Peng Xingwang was holding a lower front tooth like holding a diamond.
“Brother! Let’s go to the mountains!” The child had one missing tooth from top and bottom, but his spirit was even better than before: “Let’s throw it to the highest place!”
Jiang Wang thought he might grow up to be a big-toothed rabbit and rolled down the car window to look at the tooth in his hand.
“Throw it on the roof, the effect is the same.”
Peng Xingwang twisted around: “Go to the mountain~ the mountain~”
The child losing a tooth was celebrated akin to a holiday, Jiang Wang’s mood inexplicably improved, so he left the messy troubles in the company behind him. He patted the passenger seat and motioned the child to come up.
Their small town was surrounded by mountains on three sides, but they were all small hillsides with very low heights. Later, the state arranged to build a lot of windmills there for power generation, and many extreme enthusiasts came to do paragliding.
It only took about ten minutes to drive up to Dongsi Mountain. They went back quickly after especially picking a high place to put the tooth away.
Peng Xingwang looked at the incense pagoda in the Buddhist temple with a little melancholy.
“Stop thinking about it, let’s go home and play.”
On the way back, the child was still thinking about it, pulling his elder brother’s sleeve.
“If I put my teeth in the refrigerator, will I never grow cavities again?”
Jiang Wang replied bluntly: “Then it’s safest to put your teeth in the hospital, no illness will dare to come to you.”
“I don’t want to go to the hospital!!”
It took a while to park and lock the car again. When the man walked back, he found that the child was still at the entrance of the building.
“Why aren’t you going up?”
The child’s expression was a little panicked.
“I… Little Yellow is gone.”
Jiang Wang looked over and realized that the little yellow bike that had been parked at the door was really gone.
“Did you park it at the bookstore? Or maybe you went to a classmate’s house to play and forgot to ride back?”
“No, I didn’t,” Peng Xingwang became anxious: “I lock it very carefully every time. I have only been to the bookstore today, and I walked over!”
Jiang Wang thought that there should be no thieves idle enough to steal a child’s bike, but now he wasn’t so sure. “Could it be you remembered wrong?”
“Brother, go back first, I’ll look for it!” Peng Xingwang was afraid of causing trouble for him, “I’ll come back when I find it.”
“Don’t. Be careful, if the bike is not found, you could lose both the bike and the person.”It is an expression of caution, warning someone not to take a risky or dangerous action because the potential consequences could be severe. The statement emphasizes the importance of taking … Continue reading Jiang Wang sighed, put the key back in his pocket, and walked out. “I’ll go with you.”
So the two of them first ran to the bookstore and then circled the community where his classmates lived. They even went to their new home.
But there was no sign of the bike, someone had obviously taken it away.
Jiang Wang secretly cursed the unethical bastard who had the audacity to steal a child’s bike and led Peng Xingwang back.
“Forget it, let’s go home first. If we still can’t find it, I’ll buy you a new one tomorrow.”
The child suddenly became stubborn, shook his head, and refused to go upstairs.
“You go back first, I want to keep looking for it.”
“It’s not like losing a dog.“ Although Jiang Wang was also in a bad mood, he still had to reason with him in a helpless and wry manner, “Even if you look all over the street and call out to it, it won’t answer you.”
“Besides, your bike is very small, it’s possible it had already been stolen and taken to someone else’s house, right?”
Peng Xingwang bit his lip tightly and shook his head again.
“Brother you’ve worked hard, so go back and rest first.”
“I have to go look again.”
Jiang Wang didn’t quite understand what the child was thinking, feeling both puzzled and helpless: “Let’s just buy another one tomorrow.”
“This is my first bike! The first one!” Peng Xingwang’s voice suddenly raised, aggrieved yet determined. “I can’t give up Little Yellow so quickly!”
“Even if we buy another bike, it still won’t be Little Yellow anymore.”
Jiang Wang had already experienced most of his firsts throughout his life. He had become dulled to the comings and goings of things.
At this moment, he couldn’t empathize with his young self, but still stretched out his hand and rubbed his head, following Peng Xingwang to look around again.
Although the result was exactly as predicted, it was impossible to find it.
Peng Xingwang was not afraid to dirty his hands pushing through the bushes and looking inside. He also almost got his face scratched by a stray cat. In the end, his face was covered in dust but he still refused to give up.
Jiang Wang coaxed him for a long time and finally took him home to take a bath. The child was still angry and stubborn until he fell asleep.
During this period, Teacher Ji called to ask about the bookstore and was surprised when he learned of the situation.
At eleven o’clock in the evening, another message was sent asking for an update.
[Did you find it?]
[No. Xingxing is so stubborn he almost ran to the police station. He refused to accept a new bike.]
[…Then how are you going to coax him?]
[I’m not going to, I will go to the ghost market tonight.]Mentioned in Chapter 5, it’s where gray income is cleansed and where stolen goods gather. It’s where he also got his fake ID.
Ji Linqiu was silent for a while, then called and asked what the ghost market was.
Jiang Wang didn’t expect him to be interested in this, “It’s just a place where pickpockets, thieves, black pawn shops, and other small businesses exchange stolen goods and launder money, it’s not a good place.”
“…Can you take me there?”
“Okay, Teacher Ji,” Jiang Wang teased him, “Do you like thrilling things that much?”
Ji Linqiu confessed openly, “I am very excited and really want to go.”
They agreed to meet at about 3:30 in the morning.
People generally couldn’t stay up late after they reach their 20s or 30s. Jiang Wang went there to get a new ID card last time, he was so tired that his eyes had dark circles under his eyes the next day.
Ji Linqiu liked to wear baggy pants, big shirts, and flip-flops during summer. Tonight, for the first time, he wore a hooded sweatshirt and work pants with running shoes, looking like he was going to steal a car.
Jiang Wang thought that this person was rarely confused and found it inexplicably cute.
“We are going to buy things, not sell stolen goods,” he pulled at his dark brown hoodie, “It looks good though.”
Ji Linqiu didn’t expect him to dress so simply, “So simple?”
“It’s just that simple.”
The ghost market along Yanping Street opened early today, and there was even an old lady selling grilled skewers.
This narrow alley was hidden in the gap between the two department stores in the old town, and there was a newsstand blocking the entrance of the alley. Even during daylight, it was not that noticeable.
It was the first time that Ji Linqiu had come to such a taboo place. He was even more nervous than when he went to a Qing Bar for a cocktail.
Jiang Wang walked forward leisurely, and when he turned around by chance, he found that Teacher Ji was following very closely, almost pulling at his sleeves like Xingwang.
He looked very soft.
“Isn’t Teacher Ji into playing with knives?” He gestured a sign referencing the knife game, “Is it no longer working?”
Ji Linqiu had an expression of, ‘Don’t mess with me’.
“That’s different,” his voice weakened, “I’m usually very disciplined.”
“I can tell,” Jiang Wang pointed to the old lady selling skewers across from them, “Guess what kind of meat she sells?”
Ji Linqiu looked at the words on the glass case and said without thinking, “Lamb skewers.”
Jiang Wang smiled strangely.
Ji Linqiu’s face turned pale, and he covered his mouth feeling nauseous, “No way, does anyone really eat it?”
“Where can you find two lamb skewers for 50 cents?” Jiang Wang looked at the slop bucket behind the old lady, “It’s just a pastime for the lower class.”
They walked slowly in the crowded and narrow alley with a noisy yet eerie atmosphere.
Most of the vendors greeted the potential customers enthusiastically and politely, but there was no smile in their eyes, instead, there was only suspicion and scrutiny.
They didn’t have much defense against a person with a strong social presence like Jiang Wang, but they were very alert to people like Ji Linqiu who had a scholarly air.
The stalls were either cold and dimly lit or were barely lit by a light bulb. Many stalls didn’t even have a light source, relying solely on the residual light from both sides.
Ji Linqiu stuck closer to Jiang Wang and silently observed what they were selling.
Illegally hunted hares and ducks, large doses of drugs with unknown origins, bullheads with bleeding eyes, forbidden books and banned texts, bicycles, mobile phones, and even a dozen table lamps and manhole covers.
Halfway through, someone sneaked up like a flasher and suddenly opened his coat. “Want to buy something?”
Ji Linqiu was so scared by this person that he wanted to run away but hid behind Jiang Wang.
“What are you afraid of?” The man glanced back at him, “He’s just selling pirated discs.”
“Come on, I guarantee it’s all clear! There’s everything from Europe, America, and East Asia, both humans and animals!” This guy was quite enthusiastic, “Buy three and get one free, how about it!”
“No, today I brought a friend to shop. I have to act like a decent person,” Jiang Wang said with a smile. “Maybe another day.”
The man understood, turned around, and ran to the other side selling to someone else.
Ji Linqiu thought the person was trying to sell organs or drugs, but now he had somehow recovered from his fright.
“I’m still too upright,” He clutched his heart: “And easily scared.”
Jiang Wang was very happy as he looked around and quickly found a bicycle stand that had just been set up, “Over there, let’s go and have a look.”
Someone was unloading one bike after another, looking at the inventory, there were still more than a dozen bikes left in the truck.
Ji Linqiu scanned carefully from left to right but did not see a yellow bike inside.
Most of these bikes were stolen, and some were almost brand new, exactly like the stock in the mall.
The price was also very cheap, only half of the market price or even lower.
“What are you looking for?” The guy who unloaded the goods was not surprised, “If it’s your bike. It will only cost you fifty yuan to redeem it. Don’t make trouble with us.”
Jiang Wang held back a smile and said, “Have you seen a yellow children’s bike?”
“A children’s bike? How big?”
Jiang Wang made a gesture, and the guy felt like his professional ethics had been insulted, “Who would steal such things? Are they crazy?”
“We also have principles in our line of work! We don’t steal from the elderly, pregnant women, and especially not from children!!”
“It’s okay, it’s okay, I was just asking.”
As the two of them were chatting, Ji Linqiu suddenly saw a familiar shadow in another fork, and quickly patted Jiang Wang’s shoulder, “Found it! Over there! That way!”
Little Yellow was really next to a grocery stall and was almost covered by cardboard because of its small size.
Jiang Wang handed a cigarette to the unloading guy he was talking to and said thank you, then walked over quickly to check the situation.
|↑1||It is an expression of caution, warning someone not to take a risky or dangerous action because the potential consequences could be severe. The statement emphasizes the importance of taking precautions and avoiding unnecessary risks in order to protect both people and property.|
|↑2||Mentioned in Chapter 5, it’s where gray income is cleansed and where stolen goods gather. It’s where he also got his fake ID.|