The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part Three – The Butcher 20
All real plants, he could smell the freshly cut grass. Real size trees, butterflies flying by. Little birds singing sweet songs. It was what paradise would look like to a gardener. The Butcher would like a few more prostitutes in his final place of rest. Starting at the middle of the giant hall, paradise rapidly faded in to white. The entire flora gave way to the plain white walls of the museum as if the juicy steppes gave way to the dry dessert. Some butterflies and little birds wondered over but quickly return blinded by the cold unknown white world. That was the foreplay.
The real attraction was positioned at the border of green and white. The grass was littered with electricity bulbs.
Three stuffed kangaroos, one white, one red, one blue. All in extremely aggressive postures. Stood in a circle, each swung a giant hatchet menacing at the other two. In the middle was a pile of pineapples, the very subject of their quarrel. No pictures please read a few signs around. The museum was forced to put them up. Before they did, there was a flashlight in every direction every second. It was like a night club. People did not care about the meaning. They wanted the picture so they could show it to everyone they knew and squeeze another drop of attention.
The Butcher paused by the kangaroos. Art won!? It stopped time even just for a moment. That moment has different length for all of us. The longer it is the more perceptive one is to the present. The length of that moment is positively correlated with happiness. The longer that moment the bigger the smile. The Butcher’s moment was short for he didn’t find happiness in smiles but in engagement. Art didn’t significantly stop time for him but the intensive concentration on a task as hard as rock did.
(Long moment. Beer, I know where it goes and how it makes me feel and it makes me piss. There is physical manifestation and purification. The rest is shit.)
This was not the message of this installation. This was what the Butcher had heard someone say on their way out. As long as it made them think, feel, consider or compare art was successful.
What a ride.
He could smell bleach. How awakening. Time to work.
Follow the orange line to exit, the wall read, in orange. If not it was a labyrinth of lefts and rights.
He could hear the mop splashing in the bucket and then hitting the floor. Clockwork, with the swing of a hardworking man.
Maybe he was wrong after all and he would be left with the fairy tale walk.
He lost his way a couple of times but the third corner he turned brought him to the Brewer.
He looked up, alert. Surprised the least and for a second taken aback. For a moment the Butcher thought he would surrender right there. But! He came to his senses and greeted accordingly.
‘Mr. Director, what a surprise.’ It was one hour after midnight. ‘Working hard!’ The Brewer smiled.
He was thinking that he was overdoing it. The Butcher was thinking the same. He did his best to tune it down a couple of notches.
‘Is there anything I can do for you?’
‘Maybe.’ The Butcher was intentionally vague. ‘Which is your favorite floor?’ He fired a control question.
‘Never thought about it.’ He started naturally after a short pause. ‘The third is the easiest, big open floor, no sculptures.’ He spoke from experience.
‘How about this one, the second?’ He needed him to talk as much as possible so he could give him material to read from.
‘It’s very hard to clean.’ Grinned the Brewer.
‘I meant the art.’ Insisted the Butcher.
The Brewer almost looked him in the eye. The Butcher could see that back thoughts were brewing inside his busy head. He managed to look down and hide them. He was either brilliant, lucky, dull minded or drunk. Not an easy draw.
‘I don’t understand much. It’s interesting, the animals are almost like real.’ He smiled uncomfortably.
‘Do you like animals?’ Went on the Butcher.
‘Yes, I like going to the zoo, it calms the nerves.’ He chocked in a laugh and turned serious. The Butcher caught that. He was way too politically correct and tense. His nerves were stretched and he didn’t hide it well. He was playing with himself. He was not aware that he could be a suspect.
‘Who are you and what do you do here?’ The Butcher went on a vague offence.
The Brewer seemed to be sweating, his hands were not steady on the mop any more and his eyes were nervously researching the floor. He appeared very thoughtful but rather shy, definitely not quick-witted and adoptable to unexpected alien provocations. He was melting around the edges. All that lent some weight to the Butcher’s original assumption.
‘I feel assaulted.’ He sighed. ‘Have I done something wrong.’
‘Not yet but you are building up to it.’ The Butcher pushed for a confession.
‘They call you ‘The Butcher’ but you are very subtle in your assault. Are you sympathizing with me for some mysterious reason.’ He was poking about. ‘Be frank with me and I will be frank with you.’ He stood tall and produced that statement in the manner of an over-hospitable host.
previous chapter: The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part Three – The Butcher 19
all chapters: The Baker, The Butcher, and The Brewer
more by PETER ODEON
photograph by Ashes Sitoula