The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part One: The Baker 33
Serial Fiction Novel
‘Meko is an abstract thinker.’ Archibald began describing the wizard that would convince the Butcher to get off the Baker’s back. ‘He employs his opponents’ minds with heavy loads of indigestible information. Which in conclusion surrenders them to his will.’
He kept it vague.
‘I will give you several examples of how Meko works. Well spoken with excellent social skills goes without saying. When he walked a girl into his room he would ask her to take her shoes off. The floors were covered in uncomfortable rubber mats so she would want to sit down. Intentionally, there would be no chairs. She could only sit on the bed. The only light would be a strong emergency spot projector blinding her sight. When she inquires to changes it, he would plead that only option is to turn it off and leave the television to illuminate the room. He would offer her a drink from the spirit selection on the nightstand. Your imagination can fill in the rest.’
‘His room!?’ I inquired.
‘This is from before we discovered him. He would tell girls he is a jeweler, a diamond trader, traveling from town to town. Since he often returned to town he rented a room, he told them, to keep some clothes and such. He would meet a girl at a café, tell her all about it, make her dial his ‘bosses’ number from his cell phone, excuse himself to the bathroom, pick up his second phone he actually dialed and sell his story. When he got tired he would walk her into a department store to buy her all she wants. Send her to pick her make up and such and excuse himself to buy some dog food. Then he would vanish.’
‘Why you tell me only girl stories?’
‘The work he did for us is rather sensitive. I am just killing time, not selling him to you. He is the man for the job. He has been briefed.’
The Baker felt his world slowly becoming grey and cold with shadow games. The colorful notion of art and good doing had perished under the concrete rule of capitalism. Archibald didn’t use his charms on him any more. He didn’t tell him inspiring stories or took him to the mountains. He just told him what to do. And if he fought back he sent Harry to explain him the facts of life.
‘Keep your feelings in check.’ As if he read all that off his mind. ‘When I first encountered Meko, he was a filthy looking kid. I mean he looked like a natural sociopath and the world did its best to nurture this terrible notion in him. He would come up with solutions for some of the most tangled conspiracies in town. We only went to him when we were stuck. Hit a concrete wall stuck.’
‘I know the feeling.’ His humor went to waste.
‘In the current case is more a matter of discreteness. Meko is just a tool. He will handle the Butcher good and proper.’
‘Handle!’ He shrugged.
‘The only tool Meko uses is gentlemanly conversation. Not before he is well informed, naturally.’ Archibald lied flatly.
‘Naturally.’ The Baker was shrinking.
At that moment the door swung open and Meko walked in with the air of a beast tamer. The first impression inevitably vanished when he was followed by a stringed bunch of pink balloons that he navigated through.
‘For my daughter.’ He informed them while maneuvering them into the corner of the room. (He didn’t have children.)
The history of this man was filled in by both Harry and Archibald. Apparently he could get anything done. Years back he had his cash pile packed up, checked out and vanished without notice or trace. Reappeared only for unpaid debts to more dangerous people than himself.
‘You’ve lost your hair. Is that part of your cover?’ Archibald.
‘No hair, no problems.’ His diction was profound.
‘I see the smell of burned meat had woken you up.’ Further condescended Archibald.
The Baker didn’t get that reference at the time. Later he found out that Meko got mixed up with some very bad people and they burned his house with his beloved dog in it. What he never found out was that one of these people was sitting across from him in the room.
That explained the dark shadow that passed over his face for an instant. But! He seemed to be a master of his emotions.
more by PETER ODEON
Photograph by Ryan McGuire