Chapter 412: The four ‘routines’
The next day, a Sunday.
Xiang Ning slept all the way till noon. Even during lunchtime, Xu Tingsheng had to physically carry her and plop her down in the chair by the dining table wherein she blearily half-ate, half got forced-fed by Xu Tingsheng.
She rushed some homework in the afternoon and had dinner. Only then did she wistfully head off to school for evening self-study with a large bag of tidbits.
After washing the dishes, Xu Tingsheng carried the trash downstairs. He would only return in a week and it would really smell otherwise.
Xu Tingsheng decided to return to his university to sleep. For one, he had lessons on Monday morning. For another, having entered his third year, that feeling that little of university life still remained was already getting increasingly intense for him. He had wished to properly relive university life again, but so much of it had ultimately been lost to him thus far.
He wished to properly treasure what little of it still remained.
While driving back to school, Xu Tingsheng took a little side trip to see the Xiang family’s restaurant.
The restaurant had a very ordinary name: Home-cooked Food.
It was not all that big, with around ten tables, four as well as six-seaters, laid out in the main hall. While Xu Tingsheng did not go in for a closer look, from how customers were leaving and entering, there should still be a few private rooms inside.
The location of this restaurant was not bad as being right by the central district, it attracted many customers.
The restaurant was doing very well, just like Little Xiang Ning had said. There were virtually no empty seats as even if someone had finished eating, new customers would immediately come to take their place. Xu Tingsheng could even see the active, busy figures of Mr and Mrs Xiang amongst them from time to time. Really, they just weren’t treating themselves as bosses at all.
In contrast, Xu Tingsheng saw that the two restaurants beside it were somewhat deserted in comparison. Having nothing to do, their chefs were all slacking by the doorway and smoking cigarettes while chatting with the female waitresses.
This sort of situation seemed quite common for restaurants. When placed in close proximity to each other, the discrepancy between such stores was generally more pronounced due to the clear contrast between them.
Also, people had the sort of mentality that in eating outside food, they should go wherever things were noisier and more bustling with people, even if the queue was longer there. In contrast, if a store was empty, no one would dare to enter as they would suspect that the ingredients used there were not fresh.
Therefore, this sort of discrepancy would generally become more pronounced with time.
Xu Tingsheng was unconcerned about this. After watching for ten plus minutes, he just satisfiedly drove off and left.
A short while after Xu Tingsheng’s departure.
A group of six men in their twenties or thirties sat around a table in a small restaurant. The floor surrounding the table was scattered with numerous bottles of wine and the many dishes on the table were nearly empty too as these people were all full and rather inebriated.
“So, is everybody done eating?” A man in his thirties asked the others while picking at his teeth with a toothpick.
“I’m done eating, Bro Jun.”
“I’m done eating, and I’m done drinking too. Heh…”
“That was plenty awesome...”
The other five people successively responded to his inquiry.
The man they addressed as Bro Jun smiled, making a flicking motion with his hand, “Let’s start then. Who brought ‘em?”
“I, I did…” A young man with his twenties who had an Ekin Cheng hairstyle but not the looks to go with it raised his hand, smiling ingratiatingly, “I’ll do it, Bro Jun…”
With that, he retrieved a dead cockroach from his pocket and threw it into a leftover pot of soup on the table.
If one wanted to act, they had to do the full set. The more tragic it was, the easier it would be to inflame others. The long-haired guy raised that remnant soup to his lips...closed his eyes, and chugged it down...he wanted to bolster the impression of accidentally drinking that cockroach...
That was disgusting? Right, that was exactly the intended effect. He would be able to incite more money to hand, running to a good many tables to complain.
The dead cockroach floated in the remainder of the soup as the long-haired man looked set to finish drinking it. It had still yet to enter the mouth…
“You’ve got to suck it in a bit!” Bro Jun impatiently urged him on.
The long-haired man obediently did so, drawing in the dead cockroach...glug…
“Spit it out! And then start shouting…” Bro Jun said.
That long-haired man glanced around the table before his gaze came to land on Bro Jun as he said timidly and rather piteously as well, “I can’t...I used too much strength and, and swallowed it down...”
The rabble broke out into guffaws before Bro Jun asked flusteredly, “Who else brought some?”
“Me…” The long-haired man raised his hand yet again, “I still have some…”
He scooped out a handful of them from his pocket, “There are many cockroaches in my house.”
He chose one of them and threw it into the final bit of soup that remained.
This time, he finally succeeded.
Spitting the cockroach onto the table along with the soup, the long-haired man yelled, “Boss, get over here...what the hell? Why are there cockroaches in your soup? I very nearly swallowed one down, you know?”
“Right, how could this happen?”
“Hey, this is just too disgusting…”
“Look, everyone! How can you still be eating when the hygiene here is like this?”
The rest of them slammed the table and stood up, beginning to clamour.
“This is the third time already! Damn it, this old man’s had it with them!”
The Xiang family’s partner, the Uncle Niu that Little Xiang Ning spoke of, was a pot-bellied, wide-shouldered man in his forties. Just as he had said, this was already the third time that same bunch of people was intentionally creating a scene and inflaming people here like this…
The first two times, they had tolerated it, admitted their negligence, apologised, compensated them, acting as meek and submissive as was conceivably possible...
The hot-tempered Old Niu could really tolerate this no longer as he grabbed a vegetable knife from below the shelf, glaring angrily as he looked ready to lunge at those people at any time.
Mr Xiang hastily grabbed him before he could do anything rash.
“If you really go over with a knife, not only would this restaurant be finished, you would be finished too...everyone knows what’s going on, and the customers in the vicinity are all fully aware of what kind of people these are too. Rest assured, nobody will believe them. They’re merely seeking money and nothing more. We should bear with it for now and slowly think of a solution afterwards…” Mr Xiang tried persuading him in a low tone.
“What solution could there be? This Devilspawn Jun is the most notorious gangster boss in the vicinity. Who doesn’t know that he was hired by the two stores beside us? But we even made a police report before, and what did the police say? They said that there’s nothing they can do for us. We’ve got no evidence. What other solution do you think we could find? If things go on like this, they’ll topple us sooner or latter. We might as well end it once and for all right here, right now!”
His knife having been wrested away from him, an infuriated Old Niu cracked his knuckles.
These people were here to topple the restaurant belonging to the Xiang and Niu families. Their business had been doing so well after its opening as it had virtually robbed the other two stores of all their regular customers in just a mere month’s time...the two of them were joining forces in employing underhanded methods behind the scenes here.
Mr Xiang had asked around about this before. This was definitely not the first time they were employing such distasteful methods to topple a new store. That had occurred several times before, in fact.
“If only we’d known! Since we were curious before as to why the rent here is so unusually cheap, we should have done some research on it then,” Mrs Xiang said rather helplessly.
“We were just too happy at the time. Opening our own store, becoming first-time bosses-just how would we even know to consider all that stuff?!” Old Niu’s wife, Auntie Liu simply sighed.
In the end, the two women brought Old Niu and Mr Xiang out to apologise together. Only after compensating 300 yuan did they finally manage to get rid of all those scum of society.
Bro Jun’s gang was openly whistling in triumph as they exited the restaurant.
In one of the stores next door, there was a pot of tea on the table where two middle-aged men sat. They waved in greeting to Bro Jun’s gang as they passed by before exchanging glances.
“Who would have thought...their tolerance level is pretty high,” One of them smiled and said.
The other chuckled, replying, “Yup, it is pretty high. Still, if one was able to get by simply by tolerating things, this wouldn’t be the world of business anymore.”
“The problem is that this is already the third time, but the business at their place hasn’t visibly dropped much at all! How about we ask Devilspawn Jun and his men to just wreck their store outright next time?”
“We can’t do that. It wouldn’t work too. Just some broken tables wouldn’t be able to shake their very foundations. I’m thinking...let’s get this done over the next few days. I’ll exert some means and get their doors closed in a few days…”
“What do you have in mind?”
“Same old, same old...the four ‘routines’ all at once..it’s just that we’ll inevitably have to spend some...how about this? Half each, that alright with you?”
“That’s fine, that’s fine...wow, four routines all at once. You think quite highly of them, don’t you!”
The two cackled maliciously together for a bit as if they could already see Home-cooked Food of the Xiang and Niu families closing shop.
The so-called four routines consisted of:
Hooligans, brawlings, creating ruckuses.
Urban Management Bureau, pulling down signboards, fluorescent lights.
Rather than these, the governmental bureaus for hygiene and commerce were the true, ultimate aces up their sleeves...
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