After class, she first went back to the welfare home for lunch, then slipped out under the pretext of going to the bookstore to read. However, when she arrived at the intersection, she hesitated, and went in the opposite direction. She wanted to go to Zhuanzhu Lane one more time to see if she could find Old Lin.
Most office workers would take a holiday on the weekends, and if Old Lin still lived there, there was a good chance of bumping into him.
But plans can’t keep up with changes. When she passed the small park near her school, she was held up by a familiar figure.
There were many people under a camphor tree in the park, and the first thing that attracted Lin Zhao Xi’s attention was a peddler’s loud voice.
“This booklet of mine is in the hands of all the National Mathematical Olympiad contestants. It’s absolutely confidential…”
Then she saw her tsundere deskmate, Lu Zhihao, tiptoeing at the edge of the crowd, carrying a small school bag and counting the money inside his little frog wallet.
Lin Zhao Xi stepped to him quickly, then gave his left shoulder a pat and leaned to his right, asking, “What’s up?”
His cheeks trembled, “Is there something wrong with your head?”
“Shh!” Lin Zhao Xi put her index finger on her lips and motioned for him to keep his voice down, and then quietly asked, “What’s going on?”
Lu Zhihao’s eyes guiltily shifted to the young man who was peddling under the tree, “it’s none of your business. Shoo, shoo.”
Lin Zhao Xi stood on her toes and, looking in the same direction, saw a man wearing gold glasses.
The man wore a suit, his hair glossy, combed behind his ear with gel. His entire body seemed to be shining, attracting everyone’s attention. A small blackboard was nailed to the camphor tree trunk, several math problems were displayed on it. Next to it, was a big banner with the words “King of Mental Arithmetic” written on it, bolder than “Chen’s Big Flaming Hot Grilled Squid”.
Shortly after school, parents received children who had just finished their extracurricular class, and many of them were watching. Mainly the elderly, they were tricked by the man who taught “mental arithmetic”. They looked at their grandchildren, then looked at the peddler, back and forth, ready to hand over the money.
Lin Zhao Xi, deep down, understood.
After the development of the Internet, this kind of scam deceived many parents. The most famous was the “Zhou Gen’s Rapid Calculations” sold on TV. Each rapid calculation cost ¥1380. Later on, in the 1980s and 1990s, “Shi Fengshou’s Rapid Calculations” were also popular for a long time. It claimed to be able to develop the brain, taking advantage of parents’ simple wish to see their children succeed. Parents flocked to it, the fantastical shortcut on the road to mathematics.
The truth is, there are no shortcuts.
“Last time, a parent came back to thank me, saying that he bought my booklet for his son. His son lat
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