Lucky Dog 1 translations 08 Bernardo route 05 best alt
Part 3: Daivan
Chapter 8 Best
Taking the Risk
I shouldn’t use up more troops or cars than I need to for my guard, should I…?
If you think about how much money we’re dealing with here and how much Bernardo’s stressed himself out over this, I feel the more guards transporting it the better, right? I’ll rest easier, too…
|Gian: No, you guys should go guard the truck, too. I’ll just grab a taxi, so don’t worry about it.|
Bernardo’s Subordinate B: …! Th-That’s… I can’t allow that. The Comandante has instructed us to—
|Gian: I’ll be fine! People don’t really know what I look like anyways. Forget about me… It’ll be worse if something happens to the money, right? I mean, if something actually happens to it…|
|Gian: …it’ll blow out the foundations of the CR:5, right? That’s just how much’s at stake, given the amount and where it came from, right?|
Bernardo’s Subordinate B: Y-Yes, but…
I manage to win over the driver, so loyal to his duty. In the end, we compromise. One guard will go with me. …And so, with one guard, I leave…
I leave the speakeasy and search for a taxi on the night streets. …There’s no difference about the city. All I see … are a peaceful city and a bustling entertainment district.
Luchino’s Subordinate B: It’s because Captain Giulio already cleaned this area out this morning. You could even throw back a drink without worrying.
|Gian: That’s reassuring. …But I’d rather leave the drinking for after we get back to the hotel. I‘ve gotta get this back to Bernardo, after all.|
I lift up the trunk with the ledger in it for him to see. If things keep up like this, I’ll be back in time for dinner with Bernardo. Maybe I’ll pick up something for us near the hotel.
…Oh, the cab’s here. Beyond the flowing river of headlights, I see several beacons of lamps belonging to taxis.
|Gian: I’ll be right back. Going to catch one.|
I step onto the road and wave my hand. In response, a couple of the cabs start turning towards me… But then angry curses and a loud squeeeal! roars from the river.
An ancient-looking Ford taxi screeches to a stop in front of me.
|Gian: Daivan Hotel, please.|
The guard and I climb into the shabby cab. The Ford somehow or another merges into the congested road…
I feel like we clocked twice as much as a normal taxi would’ve on the meter, but, either way, we arrived without a hitch onto the hotel block.
I get off the cab on the way there and, with guard in tow, swing around to a few stands that are still open and purchase dinner.
With a paper bag filled with the hamburger and chili dog and other things I’d bought and the briefcase with the account ledger inside, I return to the hotel.
Bernardo: …Welcome back, my hero.
…Somehow, Bernardo seems … really tired.
|Gian: I’m home. …Mm, are you OK? You look really pooped.|
|Bernardo: There was just a bit of a torrent this afternoon. But, thank goodness you were there, Gian…|
|Gian: Haha … let’s talk as we chow. …You’re probably hungry now with what you had for lunch, right?|
I set the paper bags stained dark with oil and sauce with a thunk, thunk onto the desk, the Land Occupied by Phones.
|Bernardo: That sounds wonderful. I feel like filling up my stomach tonight.|
|Gian: I’ve stocked up on plenty of stuff that’ll fatten you up. There’s a chili dog and a double burger, and also chicken. For drinks, we’ve got cola and beer. Which will you have?|
|Bernardo: I’ll take the beer. I wonder how many years it’s been since I had a hamburger…|
We take our beer and cola bottles and lightly clank them together in toast before tossing them back.
|Bernardo: Now then…|
Chili dog wrapper peeled back and insides half-devoured, Bernardo opens up the trunk that contains the account book.
|Gian: …Look like … there’s any problems?|
Bernardo: None with this ledger, at least.
With sharp eyes perusing the ledger as he finishes eating, Bernardo then starts scurrying his pen across a memo pad nearby.
|Gian: Oh right. Fuzzychins sounded like he wanted to see Boss Alessandro… Do those two know each other…?|
|Bernardo: Hmm … something like that. Gian, the bearded old man you accepted the money from is Mr. Benjamin.|
|Bernardo: He is in charge of the Jewish in Daivan, or rather, in the entire state, especially among the illegal immigrants. The Boss of the Outfits out in Chicago and even the Commission are keeping an eye on him.|
|Gian: The Big Boss, eh…? Is that why you said that it’s troublesome, ‘cause if we get in a scuffle with the Trump King the other Mafias’ll cut in?|
Bernardo: Yeah. He has New York, Chicago, and Detroit, and also a fattened pipeline up into Canada. It stands to reason he has enough to crush us.
|Gian: Mm… Geh, wait! Then that means that gramps … he’s even more dangerous than the GD! …C’mon, tell me this sooner, would you?|
Before I realize it, Bernardo’s flashing his usual grin. …With the empty stomach and fatigue gone, so is the gloom.
|Bernardo: Sorry. I believe that even if I had gone there, it would have been useless, which is why … I decided to bet on the Lucky Dog.|
|Gian: ‘And we’re heading for and rounded the first curve!!’ …you mean? But, don’t blame me for what happens after!|
|Bernardo: Yeah, what happens after is in my court. After all, if you rely too much on good fortune, it will turn its back on you. I’ll do what I can with my own strength.|
|Gian: Well, if you feel like tossing your chips in again, call me. …I’d love to get some jobs outside of being a fogey-killer.|
As we laugh and guzzle down the carbonated drink … we messily pick apart the remaining chicken with our fingers and finish our meal.
Bernardo: The Jewish King…
Bernardo: As you have hypothesized, Mr. Benjamin and the Boss are old acquaintances. Originally, the Boss really should have gone today… It’s because the meeting was cancelled that he was in a bad mood.
|Gian: …Don’t tell me he … realizes that, you know … the Boss’s missing?|
|Bernardo: No, that shouldn’t be the case … I believe.|
|Bernardo: Mr. Benjamin probably wanted to meet you, too – the … um … apple of Boss del Salto’s eyes and the running candidate for Second Boss.|
|Gian: You really think so? I feel like he was thinking really evil thoughts about me, though. Well, so long as the errand finishes without a hitch, it doesn’t really matter.|
I clean up the wrapper scraps and empty bottles from the desk. Even as I do so, the phones keep ringing for Bernardo.
…Don’t tell me … Bernardo’s going to stay here and work the whole night?
|Gian: Is there … anything I can do to help with?|
Bernardo: No, I’ll be fine. Thank you. I suppose … I’ll be sleeping here alone for a while. I’m worried about the goods from today.
|Gian: Oh, those … francs, was it? … from earlier. I’ll get a blanket or something for you later.|
Bernardo: Sorry for always imposing on you… Until I hear word that the money has reached our vault, I’ll be up through the night here.
|Gian: But man … I don’t remember you ever being so paranoid. Just how bad is the dough?|
Bernardo stares at me … but his eyes then quickly squint into a smile.
Bernardo: I suppose I could tell you. Rather, it would be better if you were to know. It’s information pertaining to the framework of the CR:5, after all.
|Gian: …Wasn’t it some outrageous amount? Or rather, I don’t get why the money we got from the Jew King was French cash in the first place. The hell’s up with that?|
Bernardo: …It was originally a secret agreement originating from Boss Alessandro’s time. We would be the intermediary between the Chicago and Detroit Cosa Nostra and the immigrant Jews.
|Gian: I see… So, where’s francs coming to America come into play?|
Bernardo: The money’s enormous fees for a service. Every year, every month, every day, there is an enormous influx of immigrants from Europe into America through Daivan Port.
Bernardo: Among them are many persecuted Jews. And Benjamin is the big boss that takes in the illegal immigrants.
Bernardo: It’s not just the Jewish either. There are also exiled Russians, Polish, refugees from near Balkan, Germans, French, and many, many others … all aiming for America.
Bernardo: Benjamin is paid a high fee, or alternatively he loans them money at a high interest, for which he brings the immigrants into the country and provides them with support. This is his business.
|Gian: …Is America all that great? I mean, out in the city, the jobless line up in front of the Salvation Army’s pot with their families, and in the night, the street’s filled with hos and drunks.|
Bernardo: Aren’t you the observant one? …See? Isn’t this country far better off than theirs?
I ponder this for two chews of the gum before finally…
|Gian: …That’s awful.|
|Bernardo: The greater half of the illegal immigrants brought in by the Bearded King are shipped from the ports of Marseilles and Le Havre. That’s why there are so many franc bills…|
Bernardo says, sighing with a hint of self-pity.
|Gian: Then, the money’s support money from the illegal immigrants, eh. …Is the one who gets the cash in the end the Chicago Capo? In exchange for taking in the illegal immigrants, he gets the money…?|
Bernardo: Good job. Here, have some candy.
…And, true to his word, Bernardo reaches into his desk and pulls out some candy. It’s a lollipop with some kind of flagrant packaging. I peel the paper off and pop the sweet in my mouth.
|Bernardo: If Benjamin were to move money directly to Chicago, it’s going to turn more than a few heads. That’s why we relay the money. That’s what a secret deal is.|
|Gian: …Mm…hm. Hmm? But wait, those francs are going up to New York, aren’t they? You gonna send it over to Chicago through a bank transfer or something?|
Bernardo: Too bad. Wrong answer. You’ve lost your candy rights now.
Bernardo takes hold of the stick poking out between my lips and plucks the lollipop out … and, just like that, sticks it into his own. …The bastard.
|Gian: …Couldn’t you have just gotten your own?|
Bernardo replies with a silent smile before responding, the lollipop stick dancing up and down the whole while.
Bernardo: …That’s where things start getting dicey… The Mafia in Chicago has started mouthing off, saying the payment needs to be in American dollars…
The fact that Bernardo doesn’t call them Cosa Nostra but instead tosses out ‘Mafia’ speaks clearly to just how highly he thinks of the Chicago Outfits.
|Gian: Um, and converting the francs into dollars is…?|
Bernardo: If it were chump change, we could do it at any bank in Daivan. But if we were to try it with the kind of money we’re dealing in, the Finance Department would be onto us in a second. There are only two places in the world that can exchange and transfer such a large amount.
Bernardo: London, and Manhattan Island’s Wall Street. That is, the New York foreign exchange. That’s where the money was being sent with those guards earlier.
It’s then a phone happens to start ringing.
|Bernardo: …It’s me. …It’s fine. Report. …Understood. Mm. Good work…|
With a deep, heavy sigh, Bernardo plops his butt down onto the desk as though the strings holding him up had been snip-snipped. Shoulders slumped, he looks up at me with his face still downturned in a weary smile.
|Gian: …Did it go well?|
|Bernardo: Yeah. They just checked the money into the Manhattan vault. As for what’s next … I suppose all we can do now is wait for ForEx to start up tomorrow morning, I guess…|
|Gian: I get it. So we’ve gotta convert what we’ve got into dollars first. …Damn Hairychin. If he’d just given us dollars in the first place, we wouldn’t have had to go through all this trouble.|
|Bernardo: Who knows how easy things would be if he were such a benevolent man. They’ve been paying in unstable French currency from the very moment it was decided that we would relay the goods.|
Bernardo: It’s not just the rate between dollars and francs, but currencies across the world that are dropping – pounds, marks, guilder, rubles, pesos, yen. Everyone is keeping a tight eye on the constant flux.
Bernardo: In general, as a country and its economy become stronger, its currency will also strengthen. Its exchange rate will become stronger. For example … if the United States’ economy were to improve, the dollar would also climb in value.
Bernardo: If that happens, then it would be a dollar-high, franc-low situation. If the dollar were worth more, then it would be possible to import goods for cheap…
|Gian: So, umm… Francs getting cheaper basically means … even though it would’ve taken 10 francs to buy a one-dollar-girl yesterday, today it’d take 20 francs?|
|Gian: …Jeez, if I were a French gentleman, I’d never stand for that!|
Bernardo: Put simply, yes, that’s how it is. In that situation, it basically means an American gentleman would be able to buy two mademoiselles in France.
My brain scrambles to skim over the exchange rate column in the newspaper Bernardo’s showing me. …Aw crap, I’ve got no idea how to read it…
|Bernardo: In the New York market, the last trade for today had the exchange rate between dollars and francs at 1 dollar to 110 francs… It’s 3 francs lower than this morning.|
|Gian: Eh, is a single-digit number really that different?|
The sigh Bernardo let out when he said ‘3 francs’ was his heaviest yet. …Huh? Don’t tell me…
|Gian: This is just a guess, but … don’t tell me the Old Beardster’s pushed a truckload of worthless currency in hard cash into our laps just as it’s nose-diving in value?|
|Bernardo: …It’s hard to say, but that’s probably exactly what it is. When we’d agreed to the deal, it was 1 dollar to 99 francs. Benjamin still pays us according to the rate from back then.|
|Bernardo: Of course, when the money he gives us doesn’t reach the required amount, we end up paying the rest out of our own pockets…|
|Gian: Don’t tell me … 110 francs is… We’re taking a big hit here, aren’t we…? Basically the Beardman’s pulling currency fraud on us?!|
Candy still in mouth, Bernardo buries his face in his hands and lets out a long, long sigh.
|Bernardo: It’s a deal that had been decided back in the Boss’s time, and it seems like the Boss had put a lot of effort into bringing it all together, but to think it would turn into this sort of embezzlement …|
|Gian: …It sure sucks that the Boss isn’t here…|
|Bernardo: I’ve been monitoring the exchange rate to try to minimize the damage as much as possible, but … to be honest, it’s tight. In such an rickety market, it’s a deal guaranteed to be a loss for us.|
|Gian: …A loss… It’d be better for my health if I don’t hear by just how much, wouldn’t it?|
Bernardo: Who knows, you might just develop an ulcer alongside mine … because with today’s closing price, we will have to make up the difference of 2,000,000.
Two million … Just what could you buy with that…? …Crap, this is depressing…
As I gaze down at the floor, a phone rings nearby.
|Bernardo: …It’s me. …So it’s dropped there, too. How much? One, one, zero … eight, four, three, five. Understood. If there’s any change, contact me again.|
|Gian: …Shall I pluck a few out of my hairline to match yours?|
Bernardo: We can be happy as bald-buddies together… That, just now, was a call from London. The rate of the franc is steadily dropping there as well.
|Gian: Wow, all the way across the shining sea?|
Bernardo: The market in London is currently open right now, so I’ve been keeping an eye on it, thinking that if the rate rises there, it might influence the market here the moment it opens tomorrow morning, but…
Bernardo removes his glasses and rubs at his eyes. Just then…
With a face completely unfamiliar to me, he looks up…
|Gian: N-No, it’s nothing… Then … it’s about time I head back to the room now.|
Bernardo: Ah, right. Good night, my Honey. Rest well and nurture that virility of yours.
|Gian: Even if you don’t mention it, it’s stocking up. Then … if something comes up, call me.|
I turn away from Bernardo and head towards the door.
…Maybe it’s because I’m lacking sleep, but my pulse’s pounding at a flutter.
Bernardo… When he takes off his glasses, he looks and feels completely different… I pass through the door alone…
…and alone, I return to the vast, huge room.
And, now that I’m alone, the bottom of my gut becomes like dead weight. Right now … it’s like Bernardo’s shouldering everything himself…
|Gian: Shit … I’m so pathetic…|
…I want to be someone people can look up to. This might be the first time in my life I’ve ever thought that. Not to mention, my gut’s thirsting with this desire, but despairing at the current situation…
|Gian: …’Next Capo’ my ass…|
I fall crestfallen at my powerlessness.
|Gian: …I look awful.|
Maybe it’s because of sleep debt and melancholy and fatigue. My reflection in the mirror looks like what I’d look like in ten years. My clothes are shabby, and my hair’s disheveled, too.
I peel the clothes off, and for a while I stand under the steamy rain from the shower head, making do like one of the tiles lining the bathroom floor.
…Amazing. I’m taking a bath everyday here. Me!
And, absentmindedly, I think about Bernardo.
…Why is he going that far, trying so hard…? Why…
…Why is he being so good to me? …Because I’m the Boss’s favorite? …Or is it because I’ve been named as the next Boss?
|Gian: …I haven’t got a clue…|
…I can’t find anything resembling an answer.
|Gian: I … wonder if he prefers guys…|
I don’t think it’s his thing, but … I don’t know. I tousle my hair in a wash and decide to stop thinking.
That night, sated, I flop onto the bed without even drying myself. My worries roll in endless circles as I turn with them, anguishing in vain.
…For a long time, I can’t sleep. The annoyance is so bad I’m almost tempted to reach for the barbital…
…But despite that, at some point in time, my consciousness switches off.