The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part Four – The Brewer 18
He concluded that was no good to run over the same old ground but to make something out of it. Since this was the first dream he had in years that he remembered clearly, he decided to use all the magical components from it and paint. Yes paint, paint as a method of therapeutically calming of the nerves and escaping reality. It was times better than whiskey. He got everything ready and started with a garden team. More specifically, a hand, holding a tomato, the tomato taking most of the foreground embodying a reflection of a young boy’s face in it. Inside the boy’s eyes an ice-covered island with a princess inside a cottage handing him a bottle. Inside the bottle an old fisherman. In the background, more tomatoes and other edibles.
As he painted tirelessly more focused than a pencil sharpener, his shirt’s top button kept unbuttoning. He persistently kept buttoning it back on but it always came off. Was it trying to tell him something, it was just a button. What did a button really know! He sensed some symbolism in it and left it open. The afternoon flew away speedily, he was nowhere near to finishing that painting before he was due at the museum. He did not feel like going even though he was aware of the gravity of his work. The more elaborate nature of this painting would have him perfecting it for several days. He hoped he would not have to finish it in prison.
He went in for one of his last normal shifts as a janitor where he wouldn’t have to do anything out of the ordinary. Just contemplate.
It was time to simply polish the floors. He smiled on his way in. His mind was relaxed from hours of painting. He walked by the security stand, waved, smiled and went on his way in. As he was advancing in he heard his name and froze.
‘Excuse me Sir! Rokas right?’
‘He turned around. Yes, how are you doing?’ He responded, his voice trembling.
The security guard walked up to him. ‘Rokas, you have to go the preparatory before the shift. They need a chat with you.’
‘Ok, thank you! That was the office with yellow door opposite of the Butcher’s, right?’
‘That’s the one, you know it. Be careful walking by the Butcher’s office.’ The guard smiled.
He walked on and went right to the yellow door, which was familiar to him since he would have to frequent it on the fateful night few days from then. He knocked steadily twice. No answer. He was about to repeat when the door opened. He was let in by an elderly lady well kept and well dressed.
‘Hi, come on in. So nice to finally meet you.’ As she closed the door behind him.
‘Thank you. Nice to meet you too.’ He mumbled.
‘Please have a seat.’
‘I am good, thank you. What do I owe the pleasure of this invitation?’ He said, overly kind, which came across as slightly awkward and elaborate but that was the purpose of it. He wanted to sound like he was putting an effort to be intelligent while it was obvious he was not. Masquerading that he actually was.
‘Mr. Porter will be with you in a moment and explain. He wanted to meet you personally.’
The Butcher was a vague persona to the Brewer. He did not know much about him, not yet. He knew the Butcher was the director of the museum, the chairman. He had never met him before but the nickname spoke for itself. He was as ruthless as a pig, as rude as a goat and as eccentric as a jellyfish learning how to fly. People were scared of him so was the Brewer. He was a little worried but he clearly understood that there was nothing for them to suspect him for. He had only taken intangible steps toward his demise. And if they did, he thought, he would be in handcuffs by now. When the fever of suspicion was reasoned away he noticed that there were enormous amounts of unpacked boxes that look like just arrived. The Baker’s pieces must be all in, he thought. He could smell them. The subtle sense of aged oil paints clarified his mind.
He had never been in a preparatory. It looked a lot like an artist studio but it was not. A lot of art everywhere, packaging materials, working tables, cutting knifes, hooks and metal strings for the hanging works. A corner with fancy computers, water cooler, coffee mugs all reminded of office working environment. The combination of both office and workshop made it more hip and interesting almost romantic. The high ceilings and the equally high windows gave it a lofty effect. During the day the space must be beautifully flooded with natural light.
The lady that opened the door for him was back behind one of the computers, grinning and glancing. She was kind but she had no sympathy for the commoners, which he represented.
His train of thought was interrupted by his eyes landing on a famous painting by the Baker. It consisted of a rhinoceros’ giant pink head and a skinny blue monkey hanging from its horn. This was probably one of the most famous pieces of modern art. The singular painting that most people in the world would recognize. It was as famous as Albert Einstein’s photo with his tongue out. Why? Like anything that had built a momentum of that size it was a combination of factors. The piece was quite abstract, the colors were simple but peculiar at the same time. They were pink and blue but not everyday pink and blue. The Baker had worked hard to create those colors. They were the opposite sex, which was the on going never to find peace war between men and women. Hence, people of different walks easily related to it for they certainly had fought in one of those battles. Then was the animals. The enormous, massive rhino, solid and impossible to move from its pedestal in the food chain represented the rich, the Baker’s family and the likes. The skinny blue monkey represented the poor, the hunger, the playful life of people left with nothing but the simple small things to debauch on. Hopelessly plugged into the system of the rhinos and depending on it. The people without a chance of a perspective change because their horizon was obstructed by the enormous figure of the rhino. The rich liked the painting because it reminds them of their power and the poor loved it because it made the whiskey taste better. That was without getting too deep into it. The trick was that it said all this if you were looking for yourself in it and at the same time it said it all if you were not.
Stay tuned for next week’s installment of The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer – Tuesday, May 24th
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more by PETER ODEON
photograph by Mike Ruusunen