I’m A Baller - Chapter 8
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Before leaving, Wang Yan dialed a number he found pasted on a pole at the entrance to the village.
“Hello. Who are you looking for?”
The person on the other end sounded somewhat wary but still spoke to him politely.
Once again, Wang Yan followed the script he had prepared beforehand. Using Brother Hu’s name, he said, “Hi, sir. I’m a friend of Brother Hu’s from Xiawa Village. You make seals, right?”
“Ah, a friend of Brother Hu’s. Sure, sure! What do you need?”
“A set of documents and a ‘carrot’ seal.”
“No problem! That’s easy. I live near Xiawa. Would it be convenient for you to come over?”
“That’s fine. How long will it take?”
“Two hours, tops!”
Wang Yan took a look at the time. It was already 11:10, so two hours later would be the perfect time to start working.
Great, he’d be able to start working right after lunch then!
Feeling energized, Wang Yan drove straight to the printing factory behind the Xiawa Education Bureau.
He received a call from his aunt while on the way there.
“Hi Auntie! I’m not done running errands yet. Don’t mind me. Go home and cook for Yaoyao!”
“Drive carefully, you little rascal!”
“Mm, I know. Don’t worry, I cherish my life more than anyone else!”
His candor made his aunt laugh out loud. “You cheeky fella, I thought you were fearless!”
‘Times have changed, you know?
‘I’m worth something now!’
Wang Yan smiled smugly. He suddenly had a thought and quickly asked his aunt, “Auntie, is the factory behind your office building still open?”
“Which one? The one that manufactures tape, pencils, and rulers for students?”
“Yup, that one!”
“Yeah, it’s open. What do you need?”
“I need them to make me some tape and print some flyers. Just something cheap and simple.”
“Let me talk to them. They might not want to entertain a request for such a small quantity.”
“Since you’re on good terms with them, I won’t act overly formal with them. Would it be alright if I mention your name?”
“Go ahead, go ahead! I guess I’m obliged to help you!”
Wang Xiumei sounded as if she was berating him, but she was actually grinning from ear to ear.
As his elder, she was happy to be able to help him out, especially since he was trying to make something of himself.
“Oh yeah! I won’t hold you up anymore. Bye!”
Wang Yan happily ended the call with his aunt, then turned on the engine and drove the vehicle away from the side of the road.
He hadn’t lied about cherishing his life.
When he reached his destination, before he could even honk, the security guard had leaned out and asked, “Are you Wang’s kid?”
“Yes, I am!”
Everything went smoothly, and the other party agreed to Wang Yan’s requests right away.
Next on the agenda was printing and design.
This was an issue that Wang Yan had not foreseen.
“Bro, color prints are expensive. Coated paper aside, it takes at least one and a half days to design what you have in mind, and you’d have to provide me with the details as well.”
The young designer in front of the computer had been put on the spot, and Wang Yan felt even more pressed for answers.
“You need all the details, huh?”
The designer looked mildly exasperated. “Pictures? A document or something,
at the very least?”
“Alright, let’s approach this differently!”
Wang Yan immediately changed course. He wasn’t stubborn at all.
He realized that he had underestimated how complicated the process would be and that he couldn’t be obstinate just because he didn’t want to lose face.
Had this been in the past, the opposite would have been true. He didn’t have time to waste though, so he had to know his priorities.
He had also just realized another change in himself—after receiving the system, he had become much more open-minded.
His transformation had come about naturally, not for any specific reason.
The designer responded cheerily, “No problem. Tell me what you’re planning to do, bro. I’ll come up with some ideas!”
“I have a batch of watermelons, a new variety created by the Institute, that’s currently being launched. The costs are high and the supply limited. I was hoping to sell them in retail, so I’d need to create some promotional materials for them…”
Wang Yan was spouting so much bullsh*t that he was starting to believe it himself. That was how convincing it was.
Furthermore, his explanation was clear and succinct, so the designer bought his story right away.
“Bro, do you have any documentation?”
“When the pamphlets are ready, I can get them stamped at the Institute.”
“Then how about we create an inspection report?”
Wang Yan slapped his thigh in sudden realization.
After all, he was only a student, so it was inevitable that he would miss some stuff. Thanks to the prompt reminder, Wang Yan was educated.
“Hang on, I’ll go get a template!”
From his aunt, of course.
All it took was a call to Wang Xiumei, who helped him out with yet another matter.
“After you’ve obtained the watermelons, send two to the Food Inspection and Testing Institute. You’ll receive an official report within two hours, which would save you the trouble of creating a fake one.”
“Thanks, Auntie!” Wang Yan was ecstatic. “Turn on a computer for me, I have another idea. I need to do some research!”
The Internet was indeed convenient. It didn’t take long for Wang Yan to find a research report on Annong No. 2 watermelons.
He copied the key technical terms and edited the non-key points. Working on it as if he were writing an essay for his entrance exams, he soon came up with some promotional material.
He then returned to the little factory, having completed the task within thirty minutes.
After that was settled, he went straight to the certification center for his carrot seal.
The seal wasn’t actually made from carrots, of course.
The guy working there was very skillful but kept asking Wang Yan questions about Brother Hu.
Wang Yan didn’t actually know Brother Hu.
Brother Hu was well-known in Xiawa Village, and Wang Yan had merely wanted to take advantage of that.
He hemmed and hawed in response to the guy’s questions. It was little wonder then that the guy saw through him. Not only was he not given a discount, but he was also quoted the high price of 200 yuan.
Wang Yan didn’t mind as long as he got things done.
It was just 200 yuan, worth 200 in EXP.
He headed back home right after and ordered a bowl of noodles from the noodle shop near the entrance of the village. The moment he was home, he collapsed on the wicker chair.
He had worked hard the entire morning, to the point of exhaustion. That was definitely unprecedented.
A month ago, the Wang Yan who was taking his entrance exams would never have imagined this.
The system had expanded his horizons.
He could spend 2,000 to 3000 a day, take it easy for a few days, then continue leading a muddled existence after the system had been upgraded. This would put him in the position to upgrade the system to Level 4 before the semester started. But where was the fun in that?
‘Go big or go home!
‘I have to get my hands on the Habit Incubator!
‘If the business does well, I’ll set higher targets.
‘For example, upgrading the system’s levels as quickly as possible!
‘Of course, it’s equally important that I wash off the stench of a poor student.’
Wang Yan wasn’t very sure what kind of man would be considered a baller, but he was well-aware that he was far from being a successful man.
Being able to manage his stall well would be the first step in his training.
The thought of this ignited Wang Yan’s fighting spirit. The fatigue brought on by the hot weather no longer bothered him.
He had to hang in there. Success was imminent!
After a meal and a shower, the exhaustion overtook him. Wang Yan was feeling tired, hot, and hungry all at the same time, and his tongue was hanging out of his mouth.
It wasn’t easy running around in the summer heat.
The air conditioning in the pickup truck wasn’t working very well, so it hadn’t been refreshing at all. Otherwise, he would have been able to run his errands in comfort, not having to suffer.
Mm, he would get a sedan when he had enough money saved from his breathing wages!
The Audi A4L seemed like a pretty good choice. It was classy and looked trendy, so driving it to campus would be awesome.
Wang Yan was actually unfamiliar with luxury cars. He was born in an urban village, and unless it was demolished one day, he would most likely remain a peasant.
Even if the residents were lucky enough to have it demolished, he would become one of the nouveau riche at best.
Among all the cars that Wang Yan had seen at the school entrance to pick up students, the model he liked most was the A4L. He had deemed it a good car based solely on its physical appearance.
Dreaming about how cool it’d be to drive the A4L, Wang Yan slowly fell asleep.
He had woken up early the day before but hadn’t slept well. That day, he woke up early again and was busy the entire morning. He was feeling utterly exhausted.
In his dream, there was a palace in the sky made entirely of interwoven light rays. Beautiful women were bringing trays of delicacies and wine to the throne, and the hall was filled with tycoons from various countries who were trying to pique the king’s interest with all kinds of novelty items.
The person sitting on the throne emanated a powerful aura but seemed pretty relaxed. Wang Yan was unable to see their face clearly, though.
Who was it?
A call from Boss Wu at the box factory woke him up from his strange dream.
“Done? Great, I’m coming over now!”
Boss Wu might have sounded a little gruff, but he was very efficient at getting things done.
The exterior of the plastic mesh boxes had been buffed as requested by Wang Yan, now smooth to the touch.
Wang Yan was very satisfied with how the boxes had turned out and immediately settled the bill with Boss Wu.
“Boss Wu, do you know where I can buy foam in various sizes?”
Boss Wu pointed to the right, saying, “If you make a right turn after heading out of here, you’ll find a small foam factory in about 650 feet. They can cut it according to the size of your boxes. You can also buy bubble wrap there.”
It wasn’t hard for him to find what he was looking for. They had the kind of foam peanuts used for packing delicate items in boxes.
That stuff wasn’t expensive at all, and Wang Yuan only spent 250 yuan on the amount he needed. Right after, he headed straight to Wangjiao.
It was five in the evening when he made it there. It would have taken him at least ten minutes to go back to Gujiao, so he didn’t even bother going home before setting off. Instead, he looked for Wu Ye.
“Hey, pup! Have you eaten? If not, come over here and have some watermelon!”
Wu Ye had a loud voice, which was to be expected, since he was a melon seller. It was obvious that he made a living from selling watermelons.
Wang Yan smiled cutely and went straight to the point: “Sir, please let me have some watermelons on credit. I’m going to sell them downtown!”
There were only about twenty-odd families remaining in Wangjiao, so everyone was related in one way or the other. Moreover, Wu Ye was a generous and straightforward person.
“Go into the fields tomorrow to pick your own! No need to weigh ’em, just give me five yuan each!”
Wu Ye gestured as he took a puff on his pipe.
Wang Yan was surprised. “Oh my gosh… At five yuan for one, won’t you suffer a loss?”
Even if the breakeven price was fifty cents a crate, according to the average weight of fifteen crates, a melon had to be at least seven yuan.
Moreover, there was a good variety of melons grown by Wu Ye, so the cost ought to be even higher.
“That’s not a problem!”
The old man spat on the ground and scowled. “The whole family would have starved to death if we had to depend on these melons for a living! Pick as many as you like!”
Alright, Wu Ye didn’t need the money. Most of the farmers in Wangjiao didn’t have to worry about money, so Wang Yan didn’t act formally and graciously accepted the goodwill with a smile.
“Not tomorrow, since I’m leaving in a bit. If you could point me in the right direction, I’ll head over there right now.”
“Why are you in such a hurry?!”
Despite his grumbling, Wu Ye still leaped to his feet and purposefully strode out of the yard.
“Come, come, come! I’ll show you the melons!”
The soil in Wangjiao wasn’t suitable for growing rice, but it was pretty suitable for growing watermelons. The moment they stepped out of the village, they were greeted by an endless sea of melon fields.
But the melons grown by the other families weren’t as good as Wu Ye’s—not even the ones grown by Wang Yan’s uncle.
When they reached the fields, Wu Ye lifted his pipe and motioned toward the melons. “The ones in the middle are Blackhoneys, and the ones over there are Crispysweets. For the Crispysweets, just dig ’em out and eat ’em. Don’t try to transport them, otherwise they’ll break.”
“Dang! What were you thinking, Wu Ye?! You grew those?!”
Wang Yan was surprised and ecstatic, running quickly towards the right side.
“Let me see your Crispysweets!”
Wang Yan had no idea what their scientific name was, but what he did know was that the variety was rare and extremely delicious.
He quickly found a small watermelon patch, and after fumbling around for a bit, he picked a melon the size of a football using his instincts.
Crispysweet melons were green on the outside, with thin stripes scattered from end to end. They were usually oval in shape, moderate-sized, and rarely weighed more than 13 pounds.
The one that Wang Yan picked wasn’t more than ten pounds and was a pleasing shade of green.
Grabbing the roots, he carefully pulled it out and cradled it with his hands. After using his clothes to give it a simple wipe down, Wang Yan tapped the bottom of the watermelon.
There were two crisp sounds as the watermelon immediately cracked open, a spider web of cracks spreading over the entire fruit.
Holding the melon with his left hand, he put his right hand in one of the cracks as if removing the peel of an orange.
A large piece of watermelon rind immediately fell to the ground. Within a few seconds, half of the melon’s skin was removed, revealing its ruby-like flesh.
What was next?
Wang Yan held the entire watermelon and chomped down on it heartily. His mouth was flooded with the sweet juices of the melon, rivulets running down his chin.
It wasn’t just that. The flesh itself was extremely crunchy and easily broke apart with the use of teeth, yet it dissolved into a pool of juice as soon as it came into contact with the tongue.
It was too freaking good!
Wang Yan couldn’t even remember the last time he’d eaten such a perfect watermelon. Within ten seconds, he had devoured half of the melon, his entire face covered in juice.
Wu Ye strolled over leisurely, laughing at him. “Hey, kiddo, what’s the rush? If you like it that much, feel free to eat your fill!”
Wang Yan gave him a thumbs up. “Sir, you did a great job with it! It’s so freaking sweet!”
“A whole lot of good that did me!” he replied. “I don’t know what possessed me to grow them! They can’t be transported, and there’s no way we could finish eating all of that!”
The Crispysweet variety did have interesting characteristics. Its strengths couldn’t be beaten, but the shortcomings were equally lethal.
The plus points were, of course, the taste and texture. The quality was no joke.
They were fragrant, crisp, and extremely sweet.
However, their rinds were too thin and delicate. It wouldn’t take much force to break one open, so it was hard to transport them. Plus, the melons didn’t store well.
Furthermore, they took a long time to mature, were targeted by birds, and the harvest was usually right smack in the middle of watermelon season, making it difficult to fetch a good price and so on.
That was why, despite their excellent taste and texture, not many people grew them. This specific type was in the process of being eliminated.
Wang Yan was elated to find that Wu Ye had such a large patch.
“Other people can’t transport them, but I can! I’ll take fifty of them!”
“Don’t be ridiculous! What would you do with them?!”
After Wang Yan drove over the pickup truck, Wu Ye was dumbfounded.
“You good-for-nothing! You drove all the way here just to bring a hundred boxes with you? Does gas not cost money?”
“I’ll be able to recover the costs! Don’t worry!”
Wang Yan started picking the melons in high spirits.
Hard to transport?
All he had to do was use two layers of bubble wrap, place it in a box filled with foam, add an extra layer of foam on top, then seal the box! All done!
If the roads were bumpy?
That was okay!
The 50 Blackhoneys went into the big boxes, and the 50 Crispysweet melons were in the medium boxes. The Blackhoneys wouldn’t need any foam, so all the foam could go into the medium boxes for the Crispysweet melons.
There was nothing much to be said about the selection process. He simply had to scan them with his eyes.
It was just exhausting to come all the way here just to go back.
After packing up his melons, Wang Yan didn’t even stop to take a breather. He bade Wu Ye farewell and headed right into the city.
He unloaded the melons at the storage facility lent to him by his aunt, washed them, then stuck on the labels after they were dry. The bubble wrap coated in soil was disposed of, then replaced by clean bubble wrap before the melons went back into their boxes.
It took him almost two hours to go through all of them.
Throughout the process, Wang Yan only stopped to eat some bread hastily, even though he wasn’t feeling hungry at all.
The excitement bubbling in his chest was providing an unlimited supply of energy and motivation.
This aspiring entrepreneur, soon to be tycoon, would start with selling watermelons!