Lucky Dog 1 translations 07 Bernardo route 06
Part 3: Daivan
Throne of Wires
Bernardo’s work room’s…
It’s the room with two black-suited guards standing in front of the door. …That one. The only one who has guards wearing clothes like that is Bernardo.
I thought I’d get stopped by those two, but…
…instead they open the doors for me, letting me in. …They know who I am, I guess?
|Gian: Ack! The hell is … this…?|
A draft of warm air billows from the room.
An enormous hole’d been mercilessly carved out of the wallpapered wall. Bunches of wires – like the mane of some kind of monster – had been dragged through the giant opening.
That’s not all. There’s also a switchboard set into the wall.
|Bernardo: …Hm? Oh, it’s you, Gian. Is something wrong?|
Bernardo’s … sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the office desk. In front of him…
In front of him’s a black river of countless dozens of swarming, tangled wires…
Bernardo’s perched on top this river, snipping a cable with the tool in his hand and connecting it up to another wire or sometimes some other gadget…
|Gian: Wow… This is … pretty amazing…|
|Bernardo: I’m sorry about the mess. Please sit over there on that sofa. I’ll finish up soon.|
Bernardo returns to his lonely-looking work. The odor of rubber and dust, electricity and burnt copper stings my nose.
|Gian: …You’re working on the phones, eh… They not have enough sets for you?|
Bernardo: Oh no, not nearly enough. At the very least I have to prepare the ten here and also another five sets specifically for transmissions…
Bernardo laughs wholeheartedly as he places the phones on the desk, cramming them into the limited area. Even the department stores don’t have this many phones lying around on display.
|Gian: …Am I interrupting you?|
|Bernardo: No, this is a good place to stop. The people at the phone company should be returning soon.|
Bernardo’s Subordinate B: …Excuse me, but room service is here.
|Gian: O-Oh, yeah. That’s mine. I’ll get it!|
I head towards the door and accept the several dishes and a chilled bowl of beer bottles from the cart the twitchy-looking bellboy wheels in.
I set them on the sofa table…
|Gian: I had no idea you’d be so neck-deep in work.|
Bernardo: Don’t worry about it, Honey. We’re pals here, right? Now then … I suppose I’ll take a breather, then.
Bernardo looks down upon the river of wires, counts something up and, satisfied with something or another, nods to himself. He wipes his hands off each other as he heads towards the sofa.
…But, still in his hands are the oil-stained tools and the strange, unfamiliar device of cable and machine. Still carrying them, he sits down…
Even sitting, he looks so tall. Maybe it’s because Bernardo’s so thin? …Or maybe it’s just because of his long hair…?
I wrench off a bottle cap with my teeth and hand the beer over to Bernardo.
|Bernardo: Thanks. I’m completely parched.|
Bernardo tilts the bottle and gulps it down. …Damn, the booze looks so good when he drinks it. Guess that talent comes with age.
Lying on the plates are sandwiches, sliced trim and neat. Did they use a ruler for this?
I mercilessly wreck the clean arrangement as I chomp down… Hm…?
Bernardo reaches for the plate, but stops. He stares down at his hands, blackened with grease and whatever else.
|Gian: Mn? Oh, napkin…|
Before I can grab the snow white napkin from the plate, Bernardo leans over towards me. Like he’s saying ‘Ah’ for a dentist, he opens his mouth…
Bernardo’s mouth hangs open, like he’s waiting for something. I take the sandwich I’m holding and shove it in.
|Bernardo: Mph. …Mmh.|
…And this is why he’s the CR:5 head captain, I suppose. He’s such an incomprehensible man.
|Gian: All right, all right. Which should I take next, hm? Ham ‘n cukes? Or maybe the egg ‘n lettuce?|
Bernardo’s hands and eyes return to their work as he says,
|Bernardo: Hmm, then take the one on the right.|
…Right? Oh, Bernardo’s right. But man, that’s, how to put it, pretty haphazard.
|Gian: Here we go. Jeez, what would you’ve done if it was napkins or something? You’d have gobbled them down, too?|
|Bernardo: When the decision is up in the air, I choose whatever is on the right. It’s an old habit of mine…|
Bernardo picks off the sandwiches I feed him, throwing it back with beer.
Bernardo: Thanks for the meal, Honey. Now then … I’ll be at it a little more before returning to the room.
|Gian: All righty. …Anything I can help out here?|
“Mm,” Bernardo hums as he thinks.
|Bernardo: Well, there is…|
He picks up a worn binder on its last legs lying on the desk and hands it to me. In it’s the page filled with stock quotes from this week’s paper.
And then a document, jam-packed full with typewritten rows upon rows of name… And a pair of red and green pencils. …Just what is this?
|Gian: This is quite the thing coming from the old man who goes broke at the races.|
|Bernardo: The work here is a bit more profound than that. Could you compare the stocks on the paper with the names on the file?|
Bernardo: Mark the companies with an increase in stocks with green. A decrease with red. It’s the races, with companies as the horses and people’s future livelihoods on the line.
|Gian: I get it now. …Are the companies typed on here the, ah, you know, the ones under our wing?|
Bernardo: There are some like that, though there are also some whose stock we – or rather, I – own. That’s not the full list, though. Well, I think you’ll learn something from it, so would you look over it?
With just those words, Bernardo turns back to his waterfall of cables.
…I, with the old binder imbued with passion and experience in hand, sink my ass into the sofa and pick up a pen.
|Gian: Lessee here…|
I run my eyes down the entire list of names… …Just how many sheets of this are there? …Are these all ours…?
…Put bluntly, it’s basically businesses the Mafia’s got a hand in, huh. There’s quite a few… So this is why it practically rains green on us.
|Gian: Now then…|
I open the file and look at the column in the papers. There, the companies are listed top down in alphabetical order. I find the names and check the numbers and symbols beside them.
…Well, it means there’s more than one way to run a business.
We may be Mafia, but we it’s not like we just guzzle money from the crumbs. We’ve gotta put in honest work and earn it through our trades…
For example, take Luchino. He has his black market of booze, his underground clubs and speakeasies.
Ivan’s got his girls and their lodgings and … what was it again? Something to do with shipping?
Giulio’s job is annihilating the opponent in scuffles and skirmishes. …I don’t think he’s actually earning any money, but considering what kind of organization we are, his job’s not one we can do without.
Then, there’s the old man – I mean, Bernardo – right here, who trades stocks, organizes labor unions, shuffles real estate around … and other such rackets that I don’t really get.
Just what can I do, I wonder?
|Gian: …Wonder if being Boss counts as a racket…?|
I mutter to myself as I pick up the colored pencil again. …There’s a lot of red – businesses with stocks plummeting so fast they’re probably in big trouble. …The economy’s pretty bad…
|Gian: Hey, Bernardo… Is it just me or … is the economy really shitty right now?|
|Bernardo: …To put it simply, it might be at its worst. It’s worse than it was in 1929. There are unemployed everywhere, and the banks are collapsing like dominoes.|
|Gian: You gonna be OK doing stocks at a time like this?|
|Bernardo: As long as the stock exchange and the Dow Jones industry are still kicking, I’ll, well, manage.|
Bernardo sets the phone set he’d just connected to the line between his crossed legs and picks up its receiver. He listens intently at the sound coming through.
|Gian: …You know, you seem completely recharged right now.|
Bernardo: You think? I’m exhausted, my back hurts, and can’t you see me hobbling here?
|Gian: Your posture, or rather all of you’s alert like a hound on a hunt. …You like this kind of thing?|
Bernardo fiddles around a little as he sits hunched over… With a clean snip he cuts the cable before connecting it to another set and wrapping some tape around them…
|Bernardo: Electronics… Cars… When I work with such things, it eases my heart. How to put it … it feels good to clear my mind of everything.|
|Gian: It’s my bad. Ever since I came along, somehow or another I’ve been stressing you out.|
|Bernardo: That’s not the case. …You brought me out of prison… That is enough for me to owe my entire life to you.|
|Gian: No worries. That’s like a hobby for me. It’s like how you’re having so much fun playing Link the Wires.|
|Bernardo: Haha… Is that how it is?|
Bernardo laughs, his eyes curved into crescents… Even while we’re talking, his hands never stop moving. They set up another phone … and wrap it up with a different color tape.
|Gian: Those tapes some kind of mark?|
Bernardo: …Oh. Yeah…
Bernardo looks at me with a slightly troubled expression. …Oh. …Perhaps it’s something sketchy?
|Gian: …My bad. You even cleared the people out. Guess it’s probably something better off not knowing about, eh…|
Bernardo: No, that’s not what it is. I was just wondering how to explain it… …Hmm… This is, well…
With the same motion he uses to gather up his long hair, he takes up a bundle of wires and holds them out for me to see… The red, white, and yellow tapes stick out.
|Gian: You actually went the extra step and separated out the lines by type?|
|Bernardo: Yeah. I’ve secured several lines so that I can talk to multiple places simultaneously. It’s also to counter the situation should the lines be cut.|
|Gian: And then after that, you call the phone company up and set them to work on a new project?|
|Bernardo: Yes. Besides … the more lines, the more difficult it will be for our enemies to listen in.|
|Gian: I get it. …What’s the yellow? There’s quite a few…|
Bernardo: Oh, the yellow is specifically reserved for public phones.
|Gian: Public phones?|
Bernardo: Yeah. It’s not just so the public phones can call me, but I can also ring up a few specific public phones from here, too…
|Gian: Which means…|
A clarion bell clangs in my head.
Bernardo: I’ve already finished checking all the public phones in our territory. Out of the ones that are easily accessible, I have a guard specially assigned to each.
Bernardo: Well, I say ‘guards,’ but they’re really just homeless and street orphans. …All they have to do is watch the phone and they earn money, so it’s a rather competitive occupation.
…Hearing all this, I could only keep nodding like a doll. For a while, I turn my eyes up to the ceiling and ponder. …I finally get what Bernardo’s doing.
|Gian: Then … what? If we’re on our turf, if we’re in Daivan … we can ring you up no matter where we are…|
Bernardo beams happily and waits for me to continue.
|Gian: …and so long as you know where the other person is, you could call them even if they’re on the streets…?! …That’s something really awesome, isn’t it?!|
I feel a thrill running down my spine. Is this what they call innovation? It doesn’t matter where you are in the city. You can contact him wherever, whenever you want!
|Gian: The GD don’t know how to do this, right? This’s really awesome… It’s like … it’s an even better weapon than a Martian warship?|
Bernardo: …Haha, just what I expected of you, Giancarlo. It’s been a long time since someone’s understood this weapon’s firepower.
Bernardo grins with a wide, wide smile. …I’ve never seen him look like that before…
How to put it…
Everyone back then…
It’s like the whole gang’s completely changed between breaking out of the slammer and returning to the free world.
…Prison life must’ve been really tough on them.
…Guess I was the only one taking it easy there, huh…
Bernardo: Hm? Is something wrong?
|Gian: N-No, it’s nothing.|
…When I come to, I realize I’d been staring straight at Bernardo’s face.
|Gian: B-But, hey. So, if you’ve got so many phones here, won’t you lose track of which you’ve called and which’re ringing?|
Bernardo gives a small, very happy laugh as he reaches for the scattered phone parts with the hand still holding the cables. The stripped live wires crackle with tiny sparks.
Bernardo: Depending on the type of circuit, the rings sound different. I manually shaved down each phone’s bells, so as long as I’m not completely out of it, I won’t get it wrong.
|Gian: …Wow. I don’t know how to put it… It seems like a lot of work…|
Bernardo: These are my tools, and they are my racket. Since I’m relaxing here and not on the streets, this is the least I can do for not presenting myself as a target.
…How to put it … it makes me feel kind of ashamed…
Somehow … I feel like I’m the only one still a kid…
|Bernardo: Now then…|
While I’m fidgeting around here, Bernardo finally stops his silent fiddling and returns the phone, complete with phone line, back on the desk.
Bernardo: I’ll tell you how to use this sometime. Then … perhaps one day the day will come for you to answer the phones in my place.
|Gian: Ah. That’s probably impossible.|
Bernardo’s eyes smile as he wipes his hand with a rag.
|Bernardo: Shall we return to our room? It’s already quite late.|
As he says this, Bernardo shows me the watch he’s got on his left wrist. …Though … the watch doesn’t really suit him.
Bernardo looks pretty snappy in the suit, but the watch alone is kind of … how to put it … it’s not a cheap knockoff, but it’s an ancient-looking thing with a simple but sturdy leather strap.
…I wonder what that is? A memento?