19 April, Shichiri Nakayama

文字数 4,583文字

(Just Another) Day in the Life of Takemi Yamazaki


Goddamn coronavirus.
  Yamazaki voiced his 25th gripe of the day in record time. A measly virus would seem to be a trifling opponent, and not the sort of thing ordinarily worthy of his wrath as the #3 man in the Kōryūkai, a major organized crime syndicate. But, well, you can hardly blame him for the outburst, given the week he had.
  Over the seven-day span since the state of emergency was declared, the syndicate had been in the red. More precisely, they’d been pushed to the brink of bankruptcy. Now that nearly all the restaurants under the umbrella of their protection racket had been shuttered, the steady stream of security bribes had slowed to a trickle. Not to mention the syndicate’s small army of carnies, left idly twiddling their thumbs following the cancellation of festivals, and the closure of tourist areas where they normally make a killing, peddling greasy street grub from behind impromptu concession stands. But the syndicate’s problems were not merely economic in nature. Their ranks had also been swiftly whittled down by viral hepatitis, sidelining those gangsters with copious tattoos, as well as those habitual partakers of other needles. After all, even in the best of times, full body tattoos themselves have a notoriously deleterious effect on the metabolism, which in turn weakens the immune system. The novel coronavirus was proving to be a perfect storm for the

yakuza

, a mortal enemy, in the most literal sense.
  To make matters worse, the Kōryūkai’s chairman was elderly and a heavy smoker, placing him squarely in the demographic most at risk. Usurping even the governor of Tokyo, the chairman issued his own memorandum, ordering his foot soldiers to avoid the proverbial 3 C’s (closed spaces where crowds meet in close proximity).
  Yamazaki scowled along with his fellow upper-echelon cadres upon reading the chairman’s missive. Although the bigwigs were obliged to periodically swing by the cramped HQ office to keep tabs on their underlings, now the boss was saying to keep a wide berth, citing the heightened risk of contagion. Instead, Yamazaki was supposed to patrol the field. An inconvenient development, to say the least. Adding insult to injury, whereas head honchos like Yamazaki would typically be accompanied by a personal retinue of at least five bodyguards on such outings, in the interest of preventing person-to-person transmission, he would have to conduct the patrol all on his lonesome. Paradoxically, the chairman had ordered everyone to Stay home, yet here he was, pressing Yamazaki to dutifully make the rounds in the same breath.
  Everything has to come to an end, sooner or later. Yamazaki just didn’t think it would end this way. He’d always envisioned the Kōryūkai going down, guns blazing, in an all-out war with a rival organization. Either that, or a wholesale roundup, with everyone trotted out in handcuffs. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine the syndicate being nearly wiped out by an invisible virus.
  Still, work is work. No sooner had Yamazaki obligingly ventured over to Kabukichō than, in a stroke of characteristically bad luck, he encountered a group of low-level Chinese mafiosos shaking down some ordinary rubes on the street. To make a long story short, despite stepping into the fray with laudably chivalrous intentions, Yamazaki found himself unceremoniously thrown into a holding cell at the Shinjuku police depot, getting nice and cozy with his Chinese mob cellmates.
Goddamn coronavirus.
  These cellmates had been at it all night, complaining loudly of newly developed symptoms. Now, they were pleading in broken Japanese: This food, no taste!
  Shivering in the cramped, enclosed cell, Yamazaki waited impatiently for his attorney, Mikoshiba, to arrive.
  Mikoshiba! What the hell’s taking so long?


Translated by Daniel González/Arranged by TranNet KK

Shichiri Nakayama
Born in Gifu Prefecture, 1961. Won the 8th KONOMYS (This mystery novel is amazing!) Award in 2009 with

Sayonara

Dobyussī

(Goodbye Debussy), which led to his literary debut in January 2010. To mark 10 years since his debut, he is currently working on a new set of novels, all to be published throughout the year. His recent works include

Sawagashii

rakuen

(Noisy paradise),

Teito

chika

meikyū

(Imperial underground labyrinth),

Yoru

ga

dorehodo

kurakute

mo

(No matter how dark the night may be), and

Gasshō:

Misaki

Yōsuke

no

kikan

(Chorus: The return of Yōsuke Misaki).

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