The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part Four – The Bottle 4

nonlinear fiction

Serial Fiction

 

One last frivolous history of myself, your humble narrator, before I focus entirely on the Brewer.
It started with an old man. His hair and beard were evenly grey. His eyes were still sharp. He returned to his home in a tiny mountain village after years of travel. In his travels he had acquired me. A bottle of scotch. By a befriended distiller with a giant sideburns and a big nose. I was a gift of a good fortune from a batch of exceptional harvest distilled with grand mastery. Aged and educated by the wisdom of ancient oak barrels.

In the whiskey world I was born as a piece of art. I was cherished as a trophy by the old man. When he got back home he built a cellar where he kept me and a continuously growing collection of wine and spirits. A worthy hobby he had for a man of the world.

He enjoyed his silver years like a gentleman should.

He often sat on a bench at the edge of three old ladies. One was his wife the other two, widowed neighbors. Every late afternoon they gathered at the bench and reflected upon the day.

He counted to two hundred between every peanut he took out of his jacket pocket. The peanuts were the only thing keeping him sane around the constant women babel. He was diligent enough to pace their consumption. His deeply carved face was expressionless but his neat cut, hat and tie spoke of a gentleman with still a strong grip on life. Roughly, every three minutes he ate a peanut. His supply lasted him hours.
The women would periodically glance at him simultaneously. He would turn slightly and nod if he agreed with the verdict on the current gossip or pop a peanut in his mouth to manifest indifference.

He knew what very few man know. That life is about counting. Counting peanuts, minutes, coins, blinks, drinks. Counting equals success and signifies control. Randomness is beautiful but not profitable.

After what felt as an eternity but was only a couple hundred years I was meant to travel once again.
Many tenants, some good, some bad, some hard to tell have passed through the cellar. They brought wine, drunk, smoked, laughed, cried. I saw it all first hand. The fates of nations were decided before me.
I was ignored. The well balanced minds of the ruling class preferred wine. Or may be they were afraid of spider webs for my cubbyhole had gone quite rusty. But not! Certainly they were ignorant of me. Because of their ignorance I promised to myself I would find the right human to incarnate my beliefs and fight my battles in the world outside this bottle.

I have only gotten better with age. After the short episode of frivolous story telling by the current tenant, a shadowy man with a big smile, I was about to part with my comfortable dwelling. For him possessions, no matter the value, were nothing more than bargaining chips. Great principle for a great man. He gave me away lightheartedly to that confused youth, the Baker, who as chance would have it I would confront with my human incarnation, the Brewer. Centuries my junior he didn’t stand a chance.
Life quickly got exciting.

I traveled across mountains and oceans and I reached a great city. City full of people and stories.
The biggest city in the world, I thought. Later, form the stories of the travelers I found out that there was always bigger. People flocked from every corner of the known world. Some to trade, some simply to see it, all to drink in its public houses. All to take pictures. Lots of pictures as evidence to prove to their friends and acquaintances that they had a good time. That seems more important to people, prove of their great times past, instead of living the present.

 

next: The Baker, the Butcher and the Brewer – The Bottle 5

previous chapter: The Baker, the Butcher and the Brewer – The Bottle 3

first chapter: The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer – The Baker 1

all chapters: The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer

more by PETER ODEON

photograph by Maojin Lang

 

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