Lucky Dog 1 translations 08 Luchino route 03

Part 3: Daivan

Chapter 8

Home Sweet Home

Gian: …Wow, this really takes me back…

The taxi parks in front of a certain church – St. Rita’s Abbey. Luchino and I get off here…

Sister 1: Oh my, don Gregoretti!

The Sisters in the yard in front of the abbey right then instantly catch sight of Luchino, their eyes lighting up bright.

Sister 2: Signore, you came today?!

C’mon, what’s up with you, Sisters?! Methinks your schoolgirl crushes are turning Jesus up in Heaven green with envy!

Luchino: Buon giorno, Sisters. Thank you for your service. My apologies for disrupting you at such a busy hour.

Sister 1: Oh no! How can you say that? Our doors are always open for you…

Sister 2: It is all thanks to your aid the other day that… Look, over there! Everyone is so overjoyed to partake!

A line’s formed of some scruffy-looking folk – unemployed ruffians, homeless vagabonds, hos gone jobless another day, and dirty little kids looking like sparrows fresh emerged from their chimneys.

Every one of them’s busy stuffing themselves with a simple meal at a simple table.

Gian: Food kitchen, eh? …Which means…

Mmhm. That’s our next meal.

Luchino: You have my gratitude. To know that our effort towards repentance can benefit others in such a manner… It makes my heart leap with joy.

The gent bows with those words, hand to chest and head down low. …Bastard. Can’t believe he can still sound cool after such a cheesy line. If I did the same, they’d laugh themselves silly.

Thanks to Luchino, the Sisters are so red they look about ready to faint in bliss. Hello, Big Guy in the sky? I think the virtues of your minions down here are in a crisis.

Abbess: Oh? Mr. Gregoretti.
Gian: …Ack!

Suddenly, a looming shadow appears, exuding such a heavy presence I feel the world itself pulling me down. She has arrived… The overlord … no, the Tyrant of this abbey!

Luchino: If it isn’t Abbess Teresa. May you be in the fairest of spirits…
Abbess: Have you been perhaps helping yourself to extra servings of butter? Your silver tongue is as smooth as ever. Oh…? Look who we have here. Gian? Is that you, Giancarlo?

Sigh, she recognized me on sight…

Abbess: It has been some time, Giancarlo. It appears you’ve grown even bigger. How many years has it been?
Gian: …H-Hey. ‘s been a while, Mighty Abbess Overlo—

Gian: Yeaaaaaaaugh!! …Shit! The hell’re you doing, you old hag—

Gian: Ack! Owowow!! I’m sorry! I’m sorry, so please stop!!
Luchino: Haha, she got you good.

…The Steel Gramma hasn’t changed a single bit! Mysteriously materialized out of thin air in her hands is a cane, her chosen instrument of discipline. Fuck, the first thing she does after so long is whack me?!

Abbess: Giancarlo! If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you many times! Do not use profanity. Still as bad a child as ever, I see. If you are going to be a gangster, then at the very least clean up your speech.
Gian: “Gangster?” At least say “Mafia.”

Gian: Aaagh!! Yes! You’re absolutely right! We’re gangsters! Crafty, no-good gangsters!
Abbess: You mustn’t demean yourself. Standards do not exist in your line of work, but they do exist for your person. Be aware of this, and at the very least live an honest life.
Luchino: Your considerate words are painfully true.
Gian: Shit, she’s never gonna stop treating me like a brat, is she?

Even the cane’s making me nostalgic. Not that I actually like it, no! …But this is where I grew up – St. Rita’s Abbey and its orphanage.

After my parents had been butchered by some whackjob, it was this orphanage that took me in and raised me with the other kids.

At the time, I’d thought it was a fucking awful place, but…

…now that I look back on it (now that I’ve seen other orphanages), I know now that the place was rosy sweet like toast spread with honey and butter.

…If we ignore The Steel Gramma hounding me with her flogger, thoug—

Gian: Ouch!! Why’d you hit me?!
Abbess: You were thinking evil thoughts just now. I can tell.

Shit, she can see straight through me.

Speaking of, I … was never hungry or cold when I was here.

I’d thought it was simply my luck before, but now…

Now that I’ve seen lots and lots of things while following Luchino, I think … there might’ve been another reason.

Luchino: Hm? What is it, Gian? …Ah, that’s right. If I remember right, you’re…

Gian: Mm? Yeah, I’m from here. See?

I point towards the kids shrieking with laughter, flocking around the Sisters near the pots.

Gian: I was one of those kids. …What, that wasn’t why you brought me here?

Luchino: No, I didn’t know. If I had, I would’ve had you haul a sack of presents here. Dressed as a party clown, too.

Gian: Screw yourself. Jerk.

Natural as breathing, we both pull out cigarettes. Smoke in mouth, I whip out a paper match to light—

Abbess: You are on abbey grounds. Know the time and place!
Gian: Sorry, Mamma.
Luchino: Shit, she got me, too!

We give up on our nicotine and bid adieu to the Abbess as we excuse ourselves onwards. …Yep, just as I thought. Luchino’s taking me to the food line.

Luchino: Won’t this taste nostalgic? Fill ‘er up.

Gian: Aw, you want a bit of my tears to add some taste to your portion, too?

We get in line in front of the pots. The orphans either flee or form a ring around us, squealing up a storm. Every one of them looks bursting with curiosity.

I clutch the dish Luchino’d given me and peer through the steam and sniff … and pull a face. Ew. Isn’t this that rice soup I hated?

Luchino: What a fine soup. Delicious as the morning porridge the Chinese have.
Gian: Say, Luchino?

Luchino turns his smile at me with a ‘Hm?’

Gian: Don’t you think … just a little … that the rice in that soup look like maggots?

I hear a loud Pfffft!

Luchino: You ass! Don’t say that when I’m eating! Go to hell!!

Cackling, I dodge the shoe aiming to punt me in the ass. I laugh as if it were ten odd years ago, when I was another kid here, sipping thick soup like the others.

Gian: ‘Lucky Dog,’ eh…

Luchino: What brought that up?

Gian: Naw, it’s nothing! More importantly … I bet I’ve grown a teensy bit wiser, sticking by you the whole day and picking up all these new tidbits. C’mon, score me?

Luchino: All right, tell me. Answer five right and you get our best radio. Get a bingo, and you get an electric washer.

Gian: A washer’s just too much! …We’re taking back the land we’d lost to the GD during our stint behind bars.
Gian: The GD are outsiders. Strangers who don’t even take the time for a hello kiss or handshake or even Christmas cards to the Italian fellas here. They’re gonna pillage our territory and mess it all up.

Luchino: Yeah. You’ve seen exactly that these past few days.

Gian: That’s one point for me. That’s why we came to take our turf back. ‘cause this is our land and we’re gonna be measured up against the current rulers by the city serfs.
Gian: The GD are gangsters, but we’re gangsters, too. Which means…

When I call us ‘gangsters,’ Luchino’s face distorts a tad with displeasure, but I ignore him and charge on.

Gian: …the residents’ll pick which stronzo is the lesser evil. The fuckers from GD or the stronzo from CR:5. That’s the reason behind everything you’ve done today.

Luchino: Another point for you, Lucky Boy. …That’s right. We say we have ‘land,’ but it’s not as though green sprouts from the ground like daisies. People have to till the land for it.

Luchino: If conditions for them improve, we have better harvest. If we can have them believe we’re the ones improving them, even better.

Gian: But, you don’t have some attorney place a donation through the bank. Instead, you personally take the pains to hand out checks. This serves as greetings, publicity … and intimidation, right?
Luchino: Three out of three! Wanna try for a bingo? Hah! Wave some dough at a person and they’ll look the other way, fast enough to put some whores to shame.
Luchino: That’s why I give it to them. In person. So they won’t forget who it is who penned the zeroes on the checks they’re clutching, and that someday it will be reaping time.

Luchino: …We are Cosa Nostra. Basically, we’re thugs.

Luchino continues, looking like the words are a bit hard for him to say.

Luchino: We don’t sow the seeds. That’s a job for respectables. Instead, we feed the soil to keep the flowers from wilting, and pull out any weeds that appear. That way…
Gian: …Life goes on, “uninteresting” yet unfulfilling.
Luchino: And we have four! Is this a bingo I sense? That’s why it’s not a good idea to scare or garner more hatred from the common folk than necessary.
Gian: I see. So that’s why you didn’t take your Cadillac here.
Luchino: Mmhmm. Imagine if we just tossed the scratch in nickels and dimes out the window of a shiny, top class car for the destitute to pick up. They’ll probably do it, but they’ll curse us every cent of the way.
Gian: I can see why. Anyone who comes barging into these filthy backstreets with a shiny new car is a complete, insensitive—

Gian: Ah?! Yeowwwww?! What, dagnab it?! What’d I do?!
Luchino: Ouch… My apologies, Sister.
Abbess: What do you mean by ‘filthy backstreets? You were raised in this city, Giancarlo.

…Shit, she whapped me good again. I feel like if I open my mouth, the cane’ll come flying my way, so I keep my trap shut. I can see Luchino in the corner of my eye saying,

Luchino: With that, we’ll be taking our leave. Before we leave, please accept this…

Luchino pulls out a sealed envelope from the chest pocket of his suit and hands it to the hag— I mean, the Abbess. The stationary looks pretty and probably smells nice, too. Judging from the size…

Gian: (A check, eh? He’s treating this place special…)
Abbess: …I’ve said this once, and I’ve said it a thousand times. Donations are not sufficient for salvation of the soul. Deep remorse and repentance through prayer are essential.

Finished with her chiding, the ha— … the Noble, Upstanding Abbess gives one of the Sisters a Look. The Sister comes up to take the check from Luchino’s hand.

…Wow, she won’t even take it herself. So if there’s ever any investigations, she could feign ignorance. Wow, the h— … the Vintage Virgin has got the mind of a fox.

Luchino: You have my thanks. May God bless you.

We spend that afternoon going around to the churches, orphanages, and shelters we’d reclaimed. Every now and then, we stroll through the legit area of the city to show our faces.

Gian: …Siiiiigh. I’m sooo bushed.
Luchino: On your first day? You worry me.

Luchino hands me a smoke he’d lit himself. It’s gone a bit lukewarm, but I put it to my mouth.

Gian: Say, Luchino?
Luchino: Hm? What’s up?

The taxi stops at the intersection. Luchino spots a stray mutt nosing through a rancid trash can. He pulls out the half-eaten hot dog from his pocket and tosses it to the dog.

Gian: You’re more meticulous than you look.
Luchino: Mind your own beeswax. And? What about it?
Gian: So, do you do this kinda thing every day? Go around downtown, make a good show—

I realize how stupid that sounds as soon as the words leave my mouth. …How could he possibly do this every day? But, despite this, he still answers me…

Luchino: Fuck no. This only works because I don’t do it all the time. If this happened every day, it’s not gonna make much of a dent in their gratitude, is it?

…while rubbing the embarrassment in even further with a dazzling smile.

Gian: Say, Luchino?
Luchino: What now?
Gian: You know… You’re pretty smart for a perv.
Luchino: Why you… Get over here!

I dodge the punch he bats at my nose. Filled with the hooting ruckus of two adult imbeciles, the cab continues its way down the highway stained wine-red with sunset.

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