I’m A Baller - Chapter 10
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom was about to pull up to the gates. Sitting in the backseat was He Meng, who looked out of the window when she saw a familiar silhouette.
He Meng watched curiously as Wang Yan climbed onto the truck, took out a watermelon, then appeared to engage in some sort of debate with the property manager.
“Uncle Sui, let’s stop here for a bit!”
The middle-aged chauffeur stopped the vehicle as requested. He turned back and said questioningly, “Miss?”
“Go over there and find out what’s going on.”
The chauffeur immediately went up to Wang Yan and the rest without any hesitation.
After a while, he returned to the car and explained the situation concisely to He Meng.
“That young man is an incoming college freshman who’s working part-time. He wants to sell watermelons in front of the entrance, but the management is in no position to allow it.”
That piqued He Meng’s interest, so she continued watching Wang Yan through the window.
The youth seemed to be feeling somewhat lost at the turn of events and was currently staring blankly at the Rolls-Royce.
Their eyes met more than once, albeit separated by the coated glass.
Wang Yan couldn’t see anything, but He Meng was greatly amused by his silly behavior.
“How did he come up with the idea of selling melons here?”
Uncle Sui replied, “It’s purportedly a new variety that was produced by the Institute. The supply is limited and the price high, so he can’t sell them at the markets.”
He Meng nodded, her eyes still fixed on Wang Yan.
The young man was on the skinny side, his hair messy, and his forehead was beaded with sweat. However, the way he carried himself was totally different from how he had carried himself in school.
He Meng remembered Wang Yan being rather introverted yet particularly prideful.
A few days ago, he hadn’t said much despite having had a bad bout of vomiting.
This was followed by him comically sending her a red envelope with 200 yuan, saying that he wouldn’t have time to attend her graduation party.
He Meng had originally thought that Wang Yan was trying to avoid the wealthy kids in her clique, but it appeared that he really was speaking the truth about being busy with something.
Hahaha, working part-time selling watermelons?
At the thought of that, He Meng decided to give him a hand.
“Tell management that it’s okay to let him do so as long as he doesn’t disturb the residents by using a megaphone.”
Uncle Sui nodded and was about to walk away before He Meng called him back.
“Oh, and remember to tell the property manager not to reveal that it was me.”
Uncle Sui walked over to Wang Yan and the rest again.
Soon after, the fat manager nodded and bowed, and Wang Yan was seen whooping with joy.
The sight made He Meng smile.
Uncle Sui returned to the car and asked with a smile, “Miss, is he your classmate?”
“Mm, yeah. We were in the same class for three years.”
“Don’t you want to say hi?”
“That won’t be necessary. Come on, let’s go home now.”
He Meng shook her head, her face reverting back to a neutral expression.
The car drove slowly past the entrance, and Wang Yan’s eyes followed it until it disappeared from sight. He was feeling grateful yet puzzled.
“Whose car was that?” Wang Yan couldn’t help but ask.
The fat manager shook his head. “Information about our residents is strictly confidential, so I’m afraid I can’t disclose that to you. You’d better focus on setting up your stall, haha!”
“I wish to remember this debt of gratitude… Uncle Zhang, are you really not able to tell me?”
“What’s the point of remembering all this?”
The fat manager gestured, suddenly feeling a little apologetic.
“God helps those who help themselves. We’ll never be able to reach the same level as those VIPs. Just accept that the heavens are helping you! And pay it forward when you have the ability to do so.”
Uncle Zhang was a righteous man, a stark contrast from the guard at the Yujing Villas.
Wang Yan was full of respect for him, but at the same time, he took issue with the words “never be able to reach the same level.” Wang Yan begged to differ.
‘I may not be able to reach it now, but who’s to say I won’t be able to reach it in the future?’
His determination and ambitions were plain to see, and the fatty found it pretty amusing.
“Go set up your stall quickly. Help this kid out, Liu!”
“Yay! By the way, Uncle Zhang, my name is Wang Yan!”
Wang Yan ran back to his truck enthusiastically, drove it to the lot in front of the entrance, and parked it next to a sculpture.
He then dropped the tailgate of the truck, arranged his ice bucket and weighing scale, and put up a banner.
With Uncle Liu’s help, it took less than two minutes to set up his stall.
“Hey, Xiaowang, you talk big for a small person, huh?” joked the manager upon seeing his banner.
On the banner was the following—New Variety from the Agricultural Research Institute, Best Watermelons in the World.
He didn’t bother editing it, wanting to keep it simple and straightforward.
“Give it a try, and you’ll know how it tastes!”
Wang Yan placed the watermelon that he had previously collected from the truck on the folding table. He wiped his knife, then started cutting the fruit open.
The tip of the knife circled the watermelon, and with a little force…
The Blackhoney cracked open, revealing beautiful red flesh.
A thick fragrance filled the air. Fat Uncle and Uncle Liu both took a whiff and said in surprise, “Wow, it does smell pretty good.”
“Yeah, man, it’s been a while since I’ve smelled a watermelon this sweet!”
This was the best of the best; how could other watermelons compare?
Wang Yan grinned gleefully and continued slicing the watermelon.
Just then, they heard the loud engine of a sports car. A Maserati had slowed down in front of the entrance, about to turn in.
The car stopped at the sight of the watermelon truck. A middle-aged woman climbed out of the driver’s seat.
“Eh? I didn’t know setting up a stall in front of the entrance was allowed?”
Fat Uncle replied with a smile, “Sister Wang! This kid is a high schooler who’s working part-time selling a rare variety of watermelons. The big boss approved his request of setting up a stall out here. Would you like to taste one?”
That middle-aged woman was merely curious and had no intention of interfering.
She walked up to Wang Yan.
“Yo, a special variety, huh? Which variety is that? How are they sold?”
It was coming!
His first sale!
Wang Yan tried to contain his excitement as he cut a moderate-sized chunk for the woman.
“Blackhoney No. 4, a new variety! You don’t have to take my word for it. Try it for yourself!”
He passed a slice to Fat Uncle and Uncle Liu as well.
The flesh was in a lovely shade of red, solid with a grainy texture, and the juices were threatening to overflow—it made for an alluring sight.
The melons being sold on the market were typically picked when 70 percent mature, brought into the city, then left to slowly ripen. How could they compare to the ones Wang Yan picked?
The middle-aged woman was a bit hesitant, but Fat Uncle and Uncle Liu were already drenched in sweat, so they bit into the watermelon right away.
“Wow, it’s so sweet and crunchy!”
“This is really good, Xiaowang! It really is the bomb!”
Watching the two of them enjoy the watermelon, the middle-aged woman couldn’t resist it anymore. She gently bit into the melon.
She looked up only after finishing the entire piece.
“You were right, it’s really sweet. How are they sold?”
Here came the exciting part!
Wang Yan had initially planned to sell a pound for ten yuan.
But considering the environment he was in right then—the most luxurious villa district in all of Gujiao, where it had been difficult to set up his stall—Wang Yan decided to quote a ridiculously high price.
“Twenty yuan per pound!”
Uncle Liu spat.
The lady’s eyes widened as she stared at Wang Yan in astonishment. “What did you say? You must be kidding! Do you know how much the most expensive watermelon is selling for in organic supermarkets?”
Wang Yan decided to go all out. Although his palms were sweating, he kept a nonchalant expression on his face.
“Ma’am, the price is reasonable. You have to consider the context.
“Right now, you won’t be able to find any watermelons better than mine in the whole of Gujiao. The city has a population of 1.5 million, and there are only 50 Blackhoneys on my truck. How much do you think they should be worth?
“Frankly speaking, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be making a good profit from this, but such an amount is like change for you.
“I’m not looking to make a fortune selling watermelons, but having to travel to and fro in this terrible heat, I should at least try to cover my living expenses for college, right?
“Ultimately, the decision lies with you. You have to ask yourself whether it’s tasty and you like it.”
Wang Yan knew his limits. He knew he wouldn’t be able to trick these adults, as he was no good at bullsh*tting.
He might as well cut to the chase: yes, I want to rip you guys off. Buy or don’t.
It was kind of like reverse psychology. He had chosen to focus on a particular trait of the nouveau riche, who apparently would rather buy something expensive than something that worked well, so it was worth taking a gamble.
The middle-aged woman reacted strangely to what he had just said. Glancing at his stubble, she asked interestedly, “You just graduated?”
Wang Yan was bewildered.
‘Why are you focusing on that?’
Auntie Wang glanced casually at the truck again and muttered, “Oh, it appears that you’ve packed them in mesh boxes?”
“With layers of foam to protect them from breaking.”
Wang Yan suddenly realized that until then, he hadn’t used the script that he had practiced. Hmm, that wouldn’t do.
He immediately started on his story.
“New varieties like this, based on the projections made by the Institute and the actual yield, will be extremely expensive.
“But of course, they couldn’t possibly promote these at sky-high prices.
“That being said, it would definitely cost more than an ordinary watermelon no matter what. You get what you pay for. They wouldn’t be promoting this if the quality wasn’t assured.”
Uncle Liu didn’t quite understand Wang Yan’s rhetoric but nodded anyway. He asked curiously, “What are the labels for?”
The labels had been pasted on by Wang Yan.
There was the word “Agriculture” stamped on them, along with some English letters and a string of numbers below them.
“That’s the melon’s certification. I’m not quite sure what’s written above, but the numbers below are the serial number.”
Haha, bullsh*t had never sounded this convincing.
Wang Yan almost believed it himself, let alone Uncle Liu and the rest, whose mouths were still filled with the taste of the watermelon.
The quality spoke for itself.
The middle-aged woman had no reason to be suspicious. She wiped her hands with a handkerchief and dug through her bag for her wallet.
“Alright, I’ll take ten of those. Pick me some good ones.”
Wang Yan’s eyes widened in surprise.
“How-how many did you say you wanted?” Wang Yan stuttered in shock.
The lady nodded with a smile.
“The melon is indeed good. I could taste its natural goodness, so that probably means it has never been injected with nasty chemicals. You said this was unique and that there was nothing else like it on the market. Alright, I believe you. Two to three hundred for a melon—I could well afford to eat them every day, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I’d be able to, right? So c’mon, weigh them for me.”
Wang Yan was ecstatic.
His first deal?!
And they hadn’t even haggled over prices?
He hadn’t even used what he had prepared beforehand. Was it this easy to make money off the nouveau riche in Gujiao?
Actually, it wasn’t really as Wang Yan had thought. It wasn’t because rich people were mindless enough to only buy expensive things.
The Xiangshanyuan Villas were home to the industrial city’s first batch of tycoons. They not only had immense spending power but were also used to enjoying the finest things in their daily lives.
Whether something really tasted good or not, they would know as soon as it entered their mouths.
People like them were willing to pay two hundred thousand on meat for their families. What was a couple hundred yuan to them? And besides, it wasn’t every day that they’d come across melons of such premium quality.
Not all of life’s pleasures could be bought with money.
Wang Yan wasn’t yet on the same level as them, so it was unsurprising that he was unfamiliar with their concept of spending.
Despite his excitement, Wang Yan still gave her honest advice.
“Ma’am, the melons taste best if you eat them fresh. I only have 50 Blackhoneys today, but I can bring more over tomorrow, so you don’t have to store that many at once. And don’t worry. If you like them, I can supply you with fresh melons every day!”
“Ah, this kid. You’re not too corrupt after all!”
The middle-aged woman chuckled.
“Thanks for the advice, but I won’t be keeping them for myself. I’m thinking two for each neighbor. Ten might not even be enough.”
Wang Yan suddenly realized what she meant. He smiled bashfully, then hopped onto the truck.
“I’ll get them for you now. Please wait!”
He removed each of the melons to weigh them before putting them back in their boxes.
Auntie Wang was watching him quietly but suddenly gestured. “Aren’t you going to help me pick, kiddo?”
Wang Yan replied earnestly, “Auntie, the quality is consistent. If you don’t believe me, pick a random one and I’ll cut it open for you on the spot. If it isn’t as good as the one you tried, feel free to throw it away!”
The middle-aged lady nodded slowly, then suddenly showed interest in the medium-sized boxes.
“What’s inside the smaller boxes?”
“Those are watermelons too, nicknamed for their super crispiness! They’re Crispysweets!”
“Crispysweet, huh? How’s the texture?”
Wang Yan grabbed the one he had kept chilled in the bucket. “I’ll let you try!”
One finger was all it took for the melon to crack open. The middle-aged woman watched in wonder as he peeled off the rind with his bare hands.
“Oh my god! A melon like this exists?”
For someone who had never seen the rind of a watermelon being peeled off like that, it was a pretty shocking sight.
Even the fat manager was amazed.
Uncle Liu, on the other hand, was no stranger to this sight. He lamented, “A few years back, the melon farmers had already stopped growing melons of this variety. They take too long to ripen and are hard to transport. Only the Institute could afford to grow them!”
“Right!” Wang Yan nodded furiously. “The fruit is small and slow to ripen. Plus, someone has to keep watch over them constantly. Otherwise, the weasels would chew holes in them. It’s too costly to grow them!”
Given the costs involved, elimination was inevitable.
Wu Ye could afford to grow them as a hobby, so he had probably never thought about making a profit off of them.
Looking at the oval-shaped watermelon, the middle-aged woman was at a loss.
“How should I eat it?”
“I’ll cut off a slice for you. Please use your hands, if you don’t mind!”
He made two cuts, and the watermelon half became three large chunks. Uncle Liu took the bottom slice, Fat Uncle took the slice on the other end, and the middle slice with the seeds was given to his customer.
Auntie Wang was hesitant to eat like this in public, but upon seeing how Fat Uncle and Uncle Liu had their faces covered with juice, she finally couldn’t resist the temptation and grabbed it with her bare hands.
Once she started chewing, she couldn’t stop.
“Mm, they’re good! Give me ten Crispysweets! You decide on the price!”
Wang Yan couldn’t stop grinning. “How about 30? What do you think?” he asked gingerly.
The lady gestured with her hand without even blinking.
Wang Yan was delighted…
Twenty melons in total—156 pounds of Blackhoney at 3,120 yuan and 78 pounds of Crispysweet at 2,340 yuan, adding up to a total of 5,460. Wang Yan gave her a discount and dropped the 60.
Fifty-four hundred yuan!
The middle-aged lady took out a wad of cash from her bag. She counted 46 bills and put some back, giving the rest to Wang Yan.
“There you go. Count them!”
Wang Yan’s heart was thumping. He was feeling lightheaded, at a loss for words.
It wasn’t solely about the money.
Five thousand four hundred was merely two days’ worth of breathing wages.
It was significant because it was the first sum of money that he had ever made in his life.
Rushing around in the blazing sun, tolerating slights from other people, smiling humbly, and staying polite had finally culminated at this moment.
Wang Yan’s heart was pounding, and he was feeling so warm that his throat was practically on fire. He picked up a chunk of chilled Crispysweet and bit into it.
The chilled watermelon was refreshingly sweet. In fact, it was even sweeter than honey.
There was a crisp-sounding alert from the system.
[You have made your first sum of money by optimizing the functions of the system, and the taste of the watermelon before you is unparalleled, giving you great pleasure. You shall hence receive a Secret Reward.]
[Glutton Critical Strike Card – Watermelon]
[You shall receive a Critical Reward for selling each of the watermelons that you have chosen with the Glutton skill.]
[Critical Multiplier is 5-20 times the price sold]
[Critical Cash Reward shall be stored within the system]
[Note: Only applicable for a month for the first 1,000 watermelons sold]
Wang Yan was a still little confused.
After zoning out for a while, he quietly wiped his hands and carefully took the wad of cash.
Another alert rang in his head.
[You have sold 20 watermelons for 5,400 yuan. You will receive an extra reward of 58,600.]
What the f*ck?!
One, ten, one hundred, one thousand, ten thousand… fifty-eight thousand!
The task… was complete?
Wang Yan felt faint.
Hmm, it wasn’t because of the money. It was because of the glaring sun.
‘Yes, that’s right. That must be it!’
He took a few deep breaths, trying to suppress his ecstasy. Logging into The Mall, he selected the only product available and confirmed his purchase.
He finally got his hands on the Habit Incubator!
And it wasn’t just that; the system had also been upgraded to level 3.
[Every breath you take will earn you a 0.20-yuan reward]
[When you enjoy good food, there’s a 2% chance of winning a food-related Secret Reward]
[When you drink, there’s a 1% chance of winning a drink-related Secret Reward]
His breathing now earned him four yuan per minute, short and sweet.
‘I like that!’
Wang Yan started doing his elementary math questions again.
The total for a full day was 5,760 yuan.
But EXP continues to multiply by three, which was ridiculous.
If it had been in the past, Wang Yan wouldn’t have even dared dream of this amount.
His parents had agreed to give him 4,000 yuan per term for college expenses. The year was 2020, after all!
What about now?
‘If things go as planned, the system ought to be upgraded to level 4 by the afternoon, tomorrow at the latest!’
What should he do with more than three hundred thousand a month?
Go on a shopping spree!
Floating on cloud nine, Wang Yan wished he could go home right away to play with the Habit Incubator, but looking at the benefactor before him, he had to contain his excitement.
“Auntie, where do you live? I’ll deliver them to you.”
The middle-aged woman pointed at Fat Uncle, saying, “Laozhang knows. Let security do it. You won’t be able to go in.”
Wang Yan responded positively, then watched as the lady returned to her car. He dug out ten bills and presented them to Uncle Liu.
“Uncle Liu, going forward, please take care of my deliveries. I’ll reimburse you 50 yuan per trip. I hope you don’t mind that it isn’t much! Anyone who assists will be paid as well!”
Uncle Liu was taken aback and refused to take the money. “It’s okay. Your money doesn’t come easy. I’m just doing you a small favor, that’s all…”
“My money doesn’t come easy?”
Wang Yan couldn’t help laughing.
“I make quite a bit from selling the melons at these prices, and it’s thanks to you that I could sell them, so don’t worry about formalities with me. If the customer doesn’t require door-to-door delivery, that’s fine. But if delivery is necessary, then it’s 50 yuan for every melon delivered. You deserve it!”
Uncle Liu flushed with excitement.
“Even if you’re paying me for the delivery, that amount’s too high…”
“Not at all. It’s settled!”
Wang Yan made him accept the money, and that was the end of the discussion.
Having received help from others, it was important to repay their kindness. If it hadn’t been for Uncle Liu and Fat Uncle, he wouldn’t have been able to set up his stall at the Xiangshanyuan Villas.
It was only right that he repaid his debts with gratitude.
Besides, sharing his gains would lay a good foundation for their relationship.
Looking at Fat Uncle, Wang Yan was stumped.
What incentives could he offer him?
Just as he was mulling it over, Manager Zhang waved his hands with a smile.
“Don’t look at me like that. As the property manager of the Xiangshanyuan Villas, I don’t lack anything. I’ll be happy with just two slices of watermelon a day.”
Wang Yan was quick to agree.
“I’ll open a large Blackhoney for you guys every day. Uncle Zhang’s the guest of honor, so I’ll cut it open when he’s here!”
Manager Zhang chuckled.
“You don’t have to bring an ice bucket anymore. We have plenty of ice here. I’ll have Liu prepare the ice for you in advance so that you can chill the melons as soon as you arrive. You also don’t have to head out for lunch. Just eat with us. You’ll like the food, I promise!”
And that was how Wang Yan became an honorary member of the Xiangshanyuan Villas management team.
Wang Yan surmised that he had received preferential treatment for two main reasons; first, Fat Uncle found him easy on the eyes, and second, something had occurred with the mysterious person who had given him the go-ahead.
Who could that person possibly have been?