Chapter 76: Uncle Gao's True Identity
By the time A-Sha was escorted out by Lu Xiaoqiang and Guo Wei, a critical piece of information that should have been uncovered two years ago was finally made clear by Jiang Zhengkai's dogged interrogation. He now confirmed that A-Xiu had organized the women in the alley into a drug distribution ring. What needed answering now was the number of prostitutes involved and the volume of drugs dealt.
The ringleader of this conspiracy was A-Xiu, but her current status was either dead or missing. Over the past two years, nobody had known about her whereabouts. Based on previous evidence, A-Xiu died in one of the alley murders a few months ago, but according to this newly-uncovered evidence, A-Xiu might still be alive but just missing. Whether she was really alive or dead, no one knew for sure.
"We did pretty well today, I'd say!" said Jiang Zhengkai with a laugh at the sullen-looking Zhang Nan beside him, "Look, it wasn't your fault that we haven't been able to crack this case, so stop blaming yourself for it."
"Ai! Something that I wasn't able to figure out even after spending an inordinate amount of time was easily discovered by you after just a few interrogation sessions," said Zhang Nan as he bitterly shook his head, "Fortune favors the young indeed."
"Haha!" Jiang Zhengkai purposely laughed out loud at what Zhang Nan had said. "Hey brother, I'm not that much younger than you are. I'm old, too, just like you! They're the real young ones, haha!" said Jiang Zhengkai as he pointed at Lu Xiaoqiang and Guo Wei, who had just returned to the interrogation room.
"Ai! Whatever you say!" sighed Zhang Nan as he closed his notebook in frustration. He then said to Jiang Zhengkai, "Let's go! I'll be buying the drinks tonight!"
Jiang Zhengkai was just about to say yes, but suddenly his cell phone rang. Jiang Zhengkai knew that the only person who would call him at this hour was A-Jiao. He picked up his phone and then smiled sheepishly at Zhang Nan, "Look, brother, it's not that I don't want to go out drinking with you, but I'm not exactly a free man these days."
"Haha, you're the worst!" said Zhang Nan as he pointed his finger up and down at Jiang Zhengkai, "Oh well, I guess I'd also be running home as soon as I can if I had such a beautiful girl at home!"
"Hey, you need to be careful about what you say around here!" joked Jiang Zhengkai, "Aren’t you afraid that one of us might rat you out to your wife? Haha!"
"Fine, fine! I'll let you go only because I don’t want you to rat me out to my wife," said Zhang Nan as he started to get up out of his chair. He then flagged down Lu Xiaoqiang and Guo Wei, "Come on! You two are going to be my drinking buddies tonight!" Meanwhile, Jiang Zhengkai had already hid himself away in a corner so he could talk intimately with A-Jiao. Zhang Nan turned around to see Jiang Zhengkai had already left. He pointed his finger at Jiang Zhengkai's back and said, "That bastard has chosen love over friendship, I see! Whatever, let's go!" Afterwards, he left the interrogation room with Lu Xiaoqiang and Guo Wei in tow.
Half an hour later, Jiang Zhengkai arrived promptly at the designated time inside Uncle Cai's noodle shop. It was already mid-summer, and it often rained during the summer in this city. Today's rain was downright torrential, and its arrival had washed away this city's oppressive heat as well as Uncle Cai's clientele. By the time Jiang Zhengkai arrived, A-Jiao had already sat down at a table.
"Honey! You're all wet! Here, let me help you wipe your face." Seeing that Jiang Zhengkai was drenched, A-Jiao used her handkerchief to wipe the rainwater off of his head and face.
"Oh, it's not a big deal, really!" Jiang Zhengkai said laughingly, "They dropped me off nearby, but the rain just came down too hard." As he spoke, he took out a long plastic bag. Inside were A-Jiao’s portraits. “Good, it didn’t get wet!” said Jiang Zhengkai as he inspected the portraits like he would some precious treasures. Only after he was satisfied that they weren’t damaged did he put them down.
“Hmph! You dummy!” A-Jiao said with dissatisfaction when she saw how Jiang Zhengkai cared more for her portraits than he did for his own body, “If these get wet, I can draw them again, but what would happen if you were to catch a cold from being drenched?”
“I guess you’ll just have to take care of me then,” Jiang Zhengkai whispered quietly into A-Jiao’s ear, “Just like how I took care of you while you were in the hospital.”
“You’re so annoying!” exclaimed A-Jiao as she lightly punched Jiang Zhengkai several times, “I didn’t need you to take care of me! You volunteered!”
“Oh? So you wouldn’t volunteer to take care of me if I got sick?” asked Jiang Zhengkai with a look of hurt on his face.
“No, I won’t! You’ll have to pay me for my time and effort!” said A-Jiao as she extended her hand towards Jiang Zhengkai.
Right then, the restaurant’s server Uncle Gao walked over and said, “What’s going on? Why are the two of you haggling over money?” Even though there were fewer customers because of the heavy rainfall, there were nevertheless about a dozen people eating at the restaurant, which meant Uncle Cai still couldn’t catch a break.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” A-Jiao smiled at Uncle Gao, “He didn’t listen to me and got drenched. He then said he wanted me to take care of him if he got sick! Uncle Gao, don’t you think he should reimburse me for taking care of him?”
“Yes, of course!” Uncle Gao laughingly responded to A-Jiao, “He needs to do everything you tell him to do!”
“See! Even Uncle Gao thinks I’m in the right! What do you have to say now, huh?” After hearing Uncle Gao’s words of support, A-Jiao playfully swung her head back and forth while she squinted her eyes at Jiang Zhengkai.
“Hmph! This is your turf, so of course the people here would side with you!” Seeing her arrogant demeanor, Jiang Zhengkai intentionally tried to scare her, “As soon as we leave, I’m going to cuff you and take you into custody!”
“Uncle Gao! See, he’s even threatening me now! He says he’s going to arrest me!” pouted A-Jiao as she pointed at Jiang Zhengkai.
“Hehe! I dare him to!” Uncle Gao placed the noodles down on the table and said, “He doesn’t scare me one bit! I used to be a police officer as well when I was young. I guess you could say I’m an old copper.”
“Really?” Hearing what Uncle Gao had just said, Jiang Zhengkai suddenly turned around and carefully sized up the old man. The speaker didn’t think much about what he said, but the listener carefully remembered everything that was being said. Jiang Zhengkai suddenly remembered something Zhang Nan had told him. He said that the former commanding sergeant of his police station who was transferred and forced into retirement had the surname Gao. Could it be that Uncle Gao was the retired sergeant that Zhang Nan had told him about?
“That’s right!” Uncle Gao laughed as he replied, “Why would an old man like me lie to you?” As he turned around and left A-Jiao and Jiang Zhengkai’s table, he added, “I used to command a police station in this city of ours!”
It really was him! Hearing Uncle Gao’s final remark caused Jiang Zhengkai’s eyes to light up. He never would have guessed in a million years that this old server working for Uncle Cai was in fact the very ex-Commanding Sergeant of the Ju’an Road Police Station that they had been looking for all this time!
“What are you so excited about?” A-Jiao obviously detected something unusual in Jiang Zhengkai’s demeanor. She put her hand in front of Jiang Zhengkai’s face and waved it back and forth. She then said naughtily, “Honey, Uncle Gao is a geriatric. You wouldn’t happen to be interested in him, are you?”
“You damn girl!” Jiang Zhengkai reached over and squeezed A-Jiao’s nose in response to what she said. Being with A-Jiao, Jiang Zhengkai felt like his mood and temperament had changed quite a bit. It almost felt like he had returned to his youth.
“Then why are you staring at him?” A-Jiao’s expression was one part curiosity and one part jealousy. Who said A-Jiao didn’t get jealous? Just because she was a prostitute didn’t mean she didn’t behave like a normal woman! As a normal woman, she would be jealous of anyone and anything that her man was interested in other than herself.
“Let me tell you something. Uncle Gao is very possibly an important witness that I’ve been trying to find all this time.” Jiang Zhengkai looked in all directions and then quietly said to A-Jiao, “Honey, I’ll need you to…”
“Wait, stop!” A-Jiao extended her hand and covered Jiang Zhengkai’s mouth, “You need my help again, don’t you?”
“Yup!” Jiang Zhengkai nodded and smiled.
“I knew it! You always need something from me when you call me Honey.” A-Jiao grit her teeth, then pinched Jiang Zhengkai’s nose before saying, “Ok, go ahead!”
“So, umm, Ziyuan…” Having heard what A-Jiao just said, Jiang Zhengkai decided to call A-Jiao by her name, but little did he know that it would only make things worse. His head, which had been extended toward A-Jiao to be closer to her, was immediately met with a strong blow from A-Jiao.
“Are you stupid or something? Do you want my help or not?” shouted A-Jiao.
“Honey! Honey!” Jiang Zhengkai was nothing if not adaptable. Seeing A-Jiao getting angry with him caused him to immediately switch back to calling her “Honey.” It looked like Jiang Zhengkai was the consummate chameleon!
A-Jiao and Jiang Zhengkai put their heads together and quietly chatted amongst themselves for a while before A-Jiao nodded in tacit understanding. Their two heads then separated again as they continued with their meal. When they finished with their dinner, A-Jiao called for Uncle Gao to deliver them their check. Meanwhile, Jiang Zhengkai purposely grabbed A-Jiao’s portraits in his hand but didn’t open them.
“Uncle Gao, I wanted to ask if you could help me with something,” A-Jiao asked Uncle Gao with a helpless expression on her face.
“Sure thing!” Uncle Gao crisply agreed, “I’ll help you out in any way I can.”
“Ok, here I go!” Hearing how Uncle Gao had agreed to help, A-Jiao pursed her lips and asked, “I have a long-lost sister. I heard she’s here in this city. Zhengkai and I have been trying to find her for a long time, but we still haven’t been able to make any progress. Do you think you could help us find her?”
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