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Friday, October 4, 2013

Three Months with Charlie Chan Chapter 3

Old Chinese Man
I didn’t know who the little old man was but I was glad to see him.  We stood Charlie up on his feet, and the old man spoke in the Mandarin dialect demanding to know what we were doing inquiring about the Ming vases.

Charlie spent some time explaining what our interest in them was.  After some arguing back and forth for some time he said, “C’mon let’s go.”  Those were the words I was praying to hear.  
Charlie started to run and I followed - - after getting slapped behind the head.  

As we left China Town I asked, “What was all the discussion about?” and he said, “I just explained what our interest in them was.”

“Was that what all the beating was about?”

He said, “No not exactly.  The old man said we had no business even asking about the vases and not to do it again, or the daggers in their belts would be soiled with our blood.”  Charlie continued. “That is why I started to run before they changed their mind.”

I told him, “If I could have understood what the little old man was saying I would have run over you.”

Charlie said. “We better get out of town for they will be tailing us and I have had enough of New York.”   
I confirmed that feeling and said, “Me too.”

We headed down to the train station after picking up our bags and got tickets to Chicago.  On the train I felt better and I said, “That was a waste of time.”

Charlie said, “No I learned a lot.  He told me the vases didn’t belong to the Chan family.  He said, for many generations they belonged to some family I never heard of.”

“Then is that is the end of it?”  Charlie said, “No, the truth is they belong to the Chan clan, all we have to do is find them and restore them to the Chan family.”

I must say I was glad to get on the train for we were followed to the station.

Our train left at about three in the afternoon and arrived somewhere around nine the next morning.  I wanted to get to the hotel and take a shower.
Due to our hasty exit and all the perspiring I did I was ready for being refreshed.

We briefly discussed what happened in New York and I asked, “Do you think we will face the same thing in Chicago?”  Charlie said, “I hope not for that was hard on the nerves.”

We had lunch and caught a taxi to the Chinese part of town.  I asked if it might be better if I didn’t go into the stores with him and much to my chagrin he said, “No it will be better if you are with me.”  He said, “This time you do the talking and ask if they knew the beginning source of the vases.”

I must admit I felt uncomfortable with taking the lead but once I got started it went well.  They had to get an English speaking person to talk to me.  The owner spoke to the clerk in Chinese, which I of course I didn’t understand but Charlie got it all.  

When they spoke to him in Chinese he just stared and said in English, “I don’t speak Chinese.  I’m American.”

The person who spoke to me gave me the history of the vases we were interested in.  I asked if they could be bought from whoever had them now.

He assured me they weren’t for sale, the family Yiu has the vases, and it is a status symbol for them.  He didn’t know where they were, or wouldn’t tell me out of fear someone might try to steal them.

Charlie said, “They probably have forgeries if they have them at all.  Just making people think you have original vases carry’s with it a lot of prestige.

I asked, “Why do you think they don’t have them?”

“Because their name is phony, they changed it sometime back to Yiu and I know what the family used to be called.” Charlie said, “Word will be going around that we are seeking the vases and we had better conclude our business rather quickly.”

That sounded good to me for the last thing I wanted was to get beat up again.    
To be Continued

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