The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part Three – The Butcher 13
‘I am serious, I have no other motivation but pure love for the place.’
‘I hope you don’t. Because you may pay dearly for your heart’s caprice. I mean the way I am paying now.’
The Butcher felt like smoking a cigarette in one breath.
‘I hope your love is strong, at least you didn’t do it for a woman. You are wiser than most in that respect. If you sell your soul at least it’s for something that won’t betray you.’ With tormented tone finished Henry Bridge.
‘You will have my full attention. I want to learn as fast as possible.’
‘Picasso stopped drinking at forty two.’
‘Is this the kind of trivia I need to know!?’
‘This is not trivia, this is a peculiar fact that will let you escape further doubt in your knowledge. Outside of little facts like this one I have prepared a list of books that you need to digest completely. Here we are going to talk only about artist life and facts of their routines. Things you can hardly find composed together anywhere outside my head. I will also institute written test you will take on your reading assignments after every session. Now what is common food that was one of Picasso’s favorites?’
‘Fried eggs.’ The Butcher replied taking every moment forward very seriously.
Henry Bridge was a true patriarch of modern society. Born and raised in an aristocratic fashion. Had everything one can need waiting for him right outside his mama’s vagina. The Butcher respected him because he was modest and had achieved greatness in a field. He worked really hard to reach the layers of unquestionable authority on art. He worked and didn’t dip in the jar more than he needed. The Butcher wished he had that advantage. Instead he spent his youth building his straw castle and eating potatoes.
His straw castle (first few years in the city).
When he first arrived in the city, the tall-sun-blotting buildings, neon-nightlights and deafening sounds impressed him. For the first ten minutes. Then everything gave way to the beggars, pushy crowds, car exhausts and the long trip to his pre-rented apartment in a the Bronx. The romantic lonely streets, narrow staircases and dim little rooms with single beds were just like in the movies. Only, they were not romantic. They were full with cockroaches bigger than alligators. The all friendly neighbors and hand-lending landlord were myths. It was more like a war zone where everybody was on edge, rude, frightened and cunning, fighting over the daily loaf of bread.
He didn’t know a single soul in the city. Which, he took for a great advantage. His parents were away and never visited. He lived alone in adjacent room with a separate entrance. He was alone in the whole world and loved it. He had never been happier. Why? Why was he not miserable to be alone like everyone else, cry, eat chocolate, drink or write songs about it! It was not because he was a sociopath. It was because he was a sociopath with a plan. He had an idea and he believed with every cell in his body that that idea would get him where he wanted to go faster than anything else. It was not a beautiful poetic idea. It was an ugly devilish one. But it worked.
It began with him being able to be anyone he wanted. The city gave him full anonymity.
He wanted to be the heir of a wealthy European businessman. He was the third and youngest of his three sons from his first marriage. His mother came from a poor family and became as poor after the divorce. She couldn’t handle the world on her own, and vanished in vodka and pills. He was raised between their houses in Southern England and Western France. That was why he knew a little French. He and his brothers were young healthy and eating well. They were both managing the family affairs in Asia. He on the other hand was let into the bullions of life to learn the hard facts for himself. That was his father’s wish.
His family was well invested in crude oil trading at present but they had many other investments and legacy ventures. They owned real estate in the city, a few wineries and a vodka distillery in France. They were invested in silver mines in Eastern Europe, transported steal from Turkey on the Danube river. They traded in tuna futures in China. They had a chunk of a German forest developer that owned half the timber in Canada. A portion of trans-European gas pipeline from Russia was leased to them. They also provided investment services in those businesses for others. They liked to diversify and kept a sharp eye for potential investments.
The young Butcher let his imagination roaming free on the business side of his imaginary family. It was an ever-evolving conglomerate. Every ones in a while a colleague at work would be reading a business magazine and he would point out. ’Oh, my family owns twenty percent of this company. My brother says it is doing really well.’ He could see people’s eyes widening to a perfect circles.
In his early days in the gallery they had hosted a fundraiser for some local authority. They had food vender and waiters pouring drinks. The waiters wore yellow polo shirts and blue jeans. While his female coworkers were filling up on fat and alcohol, he was waiting for the moment to strike a point. Sure enough when his drunken ex-boss, lesbian-wife-to-be, noticed.
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more by PETER ODEON
photograph by Pawel Kadysz