On the streets of Chicago at dusk, Josh stood disheveled in the wind.
His newly bought car was stolen just a few hours after getting home.
This was an experience he had never had before.
In his previous life, living in the safest country in China, he had never encountered car theft and rarely even heard of it.
But America was different. In just one city, New York, there were over two thousand car thefts from January to March 2022...
If this was the case in 2022, one could imagine how rampant car thefts were in the earlier decades of America, especially in the 1940s.
So Josh, who had bought a car without any precaution, was just a typical victim.
So what should he do now that he has discovered his car was stolen?
Report it to the police?
Josh shook his head at the distant patrol car on the side of the road.
Forget it. Even in the 60s, car theft cases in America had a low clearance rate, let alone in this era.
And in this era, American police were very corrupt. Without money and no power, don't expect them to do anything.
There was also a very important problem: Josh's car, which he had bought at noon, had not been registered at all...
So even if Josh was unhappy about it, he could only accept his misfortune.
Without a car, he would just have to walk!
Originally, Josh wanted to drive around Chicago at night to see if there were any "fun" places. Still, now he could only eat something nearby and return to sleep.
Josh would never wander around in America's night without a car, even with a gun.
Soon, it was the next day.
After tidying up, he went out again, not on foot, but had arranged for a taxi in advance. And then came to yesterday's grocery store again.
Entering the store, he found that it was not Old Hawk behind the counter but a young girl in her twenties.
"Good morning; what can I help you with?" The young girl asked warmly when she saw Josh come in.
"Is Old Hawk not here?" Josh didn't say what he wanted but asked instead.
After all, Old Hawk owned the store, and this girl couldn't possibly handle the exchange of gold.
"You're looking for my grandfather? Wait a moment. He is working in the back. I'll go call him." The girl didn't pay much attention to Josh's attitude and turned to go into the back of the store. She was Old Hawk's granddaughter and often came to help out. She had seen many mysterious customers like Josh and was already used to it.
Old Hawk soon came out and was surprised to see Josh again.
"We meet again, young man. Is it gold again?"
"Yes, your prices are quite fair, so I decided to exchange more. I just don't know if you can handle it." Josh nodded.
"Hehe, young man, I know what you're worried about, but don't underestimate Old Hawk. This store has been here for decades, and although it doesn't look big, there are many priceless things here. Have you seen it? Although they are all second-hand goods, the gold you exchanged yesterday wouldn't even be enough to exchange for any watch in this cabinet." Old Hawk laughed, pointing to a nearby watch cabinet.
Josh hadn't noticed it before, but after looking closer at the watch cabinet, he knew that Old Hawk was telling the truth.
There weren't many watches in the cabinet, only seven or eight, but each one was very well preserved.
Although he didn't know much about watches, after all, he couldn't afford luxury watches in his previous life. However, this did not prevent him from recognizing the brands of these watches.
Patek Philippe, Rolex, Breguet... Although it was the 1940s, the value of these famous watches was at least thousands of dollars at that time - of course, provided that they were genuine.
Even if only half of them were authentic, their value would exceed the gold that Josh possessed.
Josh could only sigh in his heart that he did not know these things.
"120 ounces. The purity should be about the same!" Since Old Hawk was so confident, Josh didn't hesitate anymore. Just like yesterday, he took out a small bag and put it on the counter.
Twelve gold bars, with a total weight of over 3.4 kilograms, sounded like a lot.
However, there wasn't much in terms of volume, as the quality of gold was there.
A gold bar weighing 10 ounces was not as big as a single Snickers bar.
Therefore, although the gold was removed from the system, it did not arouse suspicion.
"This is good stuff. I'll take it all. Same price as yesterday, okay?" Old Hawk picked up a gold bar and weighed it, then smiled and said.
"Okay!" The other party's price was fair, so Josh naturally had no objection.
Soon, these 120 ounces of gold were exchanged for $4,800.
Receiving the money, Josh couldn't help feeling excited.
Putting the thick stack of bills into his pocket - actually, it was directly deposited into the system warehouse - Josh said goodbye to Old Hawk and walked out of the grocery store.
Turning two corners and ensuring no one was watching or following him, he tried to hail a taxi to the car dealership and buy a car.
After all, as the third largest city in the United States, Chicago was still quite large.
Public transportation in the United States was also very poor and inconvenient without a car.
As for stealing a car, Josh had thought about it. He would look for a place with no one around to park the car and then directly store it in the system warehouse. Could he still lose it?
However, it was not easy to hail a taxi. Josh was lucky yesterday and got one immediately. However, he waited for more than ten minutes today and still didn't see an empty car.
But just as he got impatient, a Ford car raced past him.
Although the appearance of cars in this era was similar, Josh recognized the one that had just driven past him at a glance. It was the one he had just bought yesterday and was stolen.
Because there was a very obvious scratch on the rear of the car when he bought it, and it was the same as the one in front of him now.
Immediately, he ran after the car.
Although the speed of cars in this era had long surpassed 70 miles per hour, due to being in the city and during the war, Roosevelt had ordered a ban on high-speed driving. Even on the highway, the maximum speed limit was only 35 miles per hour.
Therefore, the other party's speed was not fast, only a little over 20 miles per hour.
Josh, relying on his youth and a burst of energy, managed to keep up with the car for a short time.
However, as the car turned at the next intersection, Josh stopped.
Because it was not a good place ahead, Little Italy was in the immigrant district. Two more streets ahead were Chinatown.
Unfortunately, unlike the Little Italys and Chinatowns of major American cities in later years, which were famous tourist destinations and bustling markets, the Little Italys and Chinatowns of this era were still synonymous with slums, not much better than the segregated black neighborhoods.
In his original memories, his parents warned him not to go near Little Italy and Chinatown.
So Josh was quite hesitant now.