The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part One: The Baker 9
Anton had a piece of toast in his mouth this whole time and was too afraid to chew it for it would make too much noise. The crunchy bread was half digested by the enzymes in his mouth so he slid it back into his throat. He thought that his luck suddenly had doubled, that all the angels from heaven were sitting on his shoulder in this very moment.
‘This sounds like an elaborate conspiracy.’ Was his first reaction. ‘I mean, thank you. This afternoon has become quite surreal in the past five minutes.’
‘It is still morning. Your life is about to become quite surreal young man. I am helping you because I needed help once and your grandfather helped me. I am helping a friend whose grandson seems to be a genius artist. Mind you all great things are elaborate conspiracies!’
‘I don’t know what to say. Do you really think my work is good? I mean I always knew it is very good! But your words elevate it even from my perspective.’
‘Shall we then, I want to see all of it!’
He took a sip on his tea and rose from the table. The guy with the pipe followed suit. He had been quietly grinning and producing thick clouds from his pipe at their conversation. Anton lifted himself from the chair quite animated. Like a drunk out of the comfort of his chair realizes how drunk he actually is when his spirit diluted blood rushes to his vital centers. He headed on for the house and couldn’t feel the ground underneath his feet. The chemical reaction in his body was the most profound he had ever experienced. It was beyond happiness, beyond euphoria or any feeling of pleasure and satisfaction he had ever lived through. The cool morning breeze on his face was on his mind. What a beautiful breeze, he thought. His eyes gazed at the treetops and their gentle dance. His ears searched for the most suitable among bird songs with keen pleasure. The few seconds walk to the house felt like an eternity outside time.
That sublime intoxication couldn’t last forever. He came down from it but his reality changed forever. He never quite landed on the ground again. He was skipping through the air. Until, he became air.
He was successfully unplugged from the bottle.
After a few very public exhibitions he had accumulated enough inertia to go on his own. Public demand for his painting was beyond his comprehension. Mr. Rolland has planted a young garden and he was about to pick its fruits for years to come. It felt almost easy. Then he considered the years of darkness and whiskey induced inspiration and it made sense. He had worked hard without realizing it.
At first he started painting actively again, this time with his real mind (real as in sober in every possible way). His real mind was as creative as all his fake ones. He could see things, details, gestures events that were invisible for his whiskey fogged eyes. It was a poetic metamorphosis. His mind became sharper and sharper by the day and he could notice the subtle changes.
‘I feel immortal.’ He told Rolland.
‘No! You just smell immortality. This smell can be the most addictive biochemical substance yet.’ He said, serious. ‘It’s not about living longer or shorter. We all live about the same unless you really push your mind through hell. A few years in or out at old age don’t mean much because you’ve been through everything you’ve seen enough pain, most of your friends are death. However, if you kept on with your whiskey and abstraction diet you would have serious health problems the last twenty years of your life. You’ll live, but in more real physical pain. Unavoidable pain. Not mind itches, as you have now. That will turn you into a bitter old man and you will make everyone around you miserable. Eventually they’ll tire of you and you’ll be spending your days regretting your past. That is not… how do you say…, fun.’
Everything he said always made perfect sense. Everyone should have a Rolland on hand, unfortunately most people settle for whiskey.
next chapter: THE BAKER 10
previous chapter: THE BAKER 8
all chapters: The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer
more by PETER ODEON
photograph from lifeofpix.com