Li Du dragged out a lounge chair and sat in his usual spot. He put his legs into the clear water in the ditch and enjoyed a foot bath as the water flowed through.
It was Ali’s first time there. It jumped along the ditch with curiosity. Ah Ow bolted towards Ali and pushed it into the water with her front paw. Although the ditch was not that deep, Ali was still young, so it choked on the water when it fell into the ditch. It was frightened to death. It flapped its paw as it struggled in the water.
Sophie immediately helped Ali out of the water. Ali’s face was distraught and fear could be seen in its big kangaroo eyes.
Ah Ow knew that what she had done was wrong, so she ran away immediately after pushing Ali into the water. Sophie was so annoyed, she chased after Ah Ow while Ali was behind her waiting for revenge. However, the two of them couldn’t catch up to a full-grown Mexican wolf.
Sophie then changed her mind. She waved at Ah Meow and Crispy Noodles. “Come, catch Ah Ow for me!”
Ah Meow and Crispy Noodles had already formed an unholy alliance with Ah Ow, so they would not help Ali against their ally. They turned around and pretended like they had not heard Sophie.
Sophie became furious. She picked up Li Du’s leather shoe and walked over to them. As the sole of the shoe approached, they remembered the horror that Sophie had once inflicted. They swiftly abandoned their alliance and went after Ah Ow.
All four of them were sprinting all over the place, so the campsite became noisy. Sophie began to pant as she pursued them. The campsite was in chaos. Li Du greatly enjoyed the show while he reclined on his lounge chair. They eventually cornered Ah Ow. She saw that there was some space underneath Li Du’s chair and made her way there.
Hans saw Ah Ow’s predicament and was amused by it. “This silly kid.”
As expected, Ah Ow had painted herself into a corner. There was nowhere for her to run. She could only look at them while she waited for them to come get her. Sophie wiped off her sweat and squatted down. She beckoned to Ah Ow. “Get out here, get out here right now!”
Ah Ow rolled her eyes. Dream on, I will not yield, I will not come out.
Sophie pushed Li Du off and lifted the chair.
Ah Ow was both struck with awe and disappointed. Oh my God, my hiding spot just got ransacked?!
Sophie pinched her ear and pulled her up. She then dragged her before Ali, pressed her head to the ground, and started to criticize her.
Ali was so pumped. It clenched its paws into fists and directed them at Ah Ow’s head.
Hans came over and passed a bottle of beer to Li Du. “The view here is pretty good, but not as good as at home, am I right?”
Li Du accepted the beer and replied, “There is no place like home.”
Hans laughed and said, “Exactly.”
Li Du then sighed. “Nevertheless, we must move to a new place.”
Hans got what he meant and nodded.
They needed to go to Phoenix or even Los Angeles. As far as their fortunes were concerned, Flagstaff was too small for them. There were too few storage companies and not enough money to be made. Besides, there was also Ivana. She was still at the care facility in Phoenix. Brother Wolf needed to be there with her. Therefore, it’d be best if they headed to Phoenix. The group had already discussed it on the road and decided to leave Flagstaff.
It had been a while since they had left Flagstaff. The camp refrigerator was almost empty. Li Du wanted to prepare lunch for the group, so he had to drive to the Amish farmland next to them to take a look at what they had.
It was lunchtime, so the Amish were also returning home in their small carriages from their farmland. The weather was scorching hot. Li Du opened the car window and drove with one arm hanging out. As a small carriage passed by, he saw the man in the carriage wave at him. He stepped on the brake immediately and looked out the window. It was a familiar face, Ricky Tacoma, the Amish man who had sold the dodo specimen to Li Du.
The carriage he was using was the trade item that Li Du had given him in exchange for the specimen. Li Du got out of his car as Ricky came over and said, “Mr. Li, how are you? It has been a while.”
Li Du nodded. “Yeah, man. How’ve you been? I was absent-minded earlier, and I didn’t realize it was you. Sorry I didn’t greet you in time.”
Ricky smiled. “Don’t worry about it. You are supposed to stay focused while driving. Otherwise, there would be another Tomasson.”
Li Du was shocked as he heard this. “What? What happened to Tomasson? What’s the matter?”
“An unexpected tragedy. He was weeding with his wife at the roadside. A Mustang lost control and hit him. Ugh,” Tacoma said, sighing in sorrow.
Li Du asked urgently, “What is his condition? When did this happen?”
“It’s been two months now,” Tacoma said. “Tomasson passed away on the spot. His wife is not looking too good, either. She was sent to Los Angeles. I heard that she might lose both her legs. Oh God, please bless this poor lady.”
Li Du was stunned by the news. He was speechless. It was like the saying, “Fortune is as unpredictable as the weather. Every day may bring fortune or calamity!”
Tacoma then said, “I’ve actually got something to tell you. When Tomasson’s wife left Flagstaff, she urged me to tell you that if you ever want to have fruit and vegetables, or if you are in need in of help, come and look for me.”
“Thank you!” Li Du was surprised and deeply moved at the same time. Even at times like that, Tomasson’s family still remembered me.
Ricky smiled genuinely. “Don’t mention it. It is my duty. I am currently managing Tomasson’s farm. He told me that he promised you food supplies, vegetables, and fruit. So, it is now my responsibility to carry out that promise.”
Li Du said, “To be honest, I don’t need much. I might even return less frequently, as we are moving to Phoenix in the near future.”
Ricky nodded. “I knew it, I knew it long ago.”
“Huh?” Li Du was startled. How did you know? How did you figure? They had only decided to move to Phoenix just a few days ago.
Ricky said, “I knew it when I first met you. You are smart and aggressive. Flagstaff is too small of a city for man of your talent. I knew you would eventually move to Phoenix or Los Angeles, one of the big cities.”
Li Du let out a breath of relief. Phew.
When Ricky found out that he had actually come out with the purpose of getting some fruit and vegetables, he opened his carriage. There were various types of fresh fruit and vegetables that he had just picked earlier. He happily filled half of Li Du’s trunk with blueberries, strawberries, and peaches.
They shook each other’s hands as they parted. “Take care, man!” He truly meant it. Tomasson’s death led him to many realizations. Something unexpected could really happen at any moment.
If everything went according to plan, this would be the last time he would ask Ricky for fruit and vegetables. Very soon, he would be moving to Phoenix. Maybe, he might not return. It might be the very last time he met with Ricky. Then, they might not ever meet again.