The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part Four – The Brewer 24
He was not anticipating for something wrong or unplanned-for to come upon him on the fourth floor. Being ready with a hat full of improvisations was priceless at a moment when the forces of nature worked their magic. He was not. It was his first time. He just hopped for the bests. All he had to do that night was nothing. Work and wait out the night, come back for his next shift and do his best. He couldn’t help to think about how the Baker was going to feel about this. His most priced works vanished and replaced by the art of the Brewer.
He heard a gradual approach of voices coming up the stairs. Before they became distinguishable his smell detector indicated the aromas of light tobacco smoke, greasy hair and cheap cologne. This could only be people from the help on the main floor escaping for a cigarette break. Their encounter was not exactly threatening but the fewer eyes saw him the better. He hurried to the far corner gallery to slowly start his work. When the two creatures reached the fourth floor he could hear them with great clarity across the few rooms that separate them. It was so quiet that if any flies were present he would certainly have heard their buzzing as clear as a helicopter. Anyway, listening to strangers’ conversation was an unexpected delight and a great distraction for his mind for which he was grateful to chance. As it turned out this particular conversation didn’t suit his ears greatly. It rather gave rise to a bitter truth he had bottled deep inside.
‘So your parents are still busting your chops for not getting a ‘real’ job?’ Smoker number one went on.
‘I really don’t want to talk about that. But yes they do, every single time I hear from them, ninety percent of the time they brag about that. It is extremely demotivating!’ Answered the other one followed by a deep inhaling.
‘Sorry to hear that, I can only imagine how hard it is to really know what you want to do in life, to know the direction of your dreams and your closest ones to discourage you constantly.’
‘Everyone I know back home, all relatives and old used-to-be-friends are probably laughing on my account. You are not aloud to dream there.’
‘Well if it makes you feel better. My parents do not care what I do. I mean zero. They are too busy cheating on each other and keeping up with the coolest fashion trends. It is hurtful to the same degree or at least pretty close I think.’
‘Parents are just parents. They think they know best but after high school or so they really don’t.’
‘We are on the two extremes. If we can ignore our parents’ ignorance, we’ll be perfectly balanced and motivated.’
‘That sounds good actually. I wish mine didn’t remind me of their ignorance, too often.’
‘I know exactly what you mean but reverse.’
‘I am barely surviving on this assistant salary. They never miss to point that out. I have lost my faith in my merits and my art. I used to think I am immortal, know I smoke a pack a day.’
‘Why do you smoke so much? I mean, I smoke but on occasion.’
‘My life has begun to look like a pile of dirty clothes in the corner of a dirty apartment in the middle of a bad neighborhood. I am surviving on pulling the cleanest of these dirty clothes to re-wear because I don’t have the drive to wash them all.’
‘Wow, you should be a writer, not a painter. Don’t worry too much, nobody likes to do laundry.’ Both smiled.
‘I understand that but laundry is a necessity, almost like eating, water and sex. In any society that has ever existed on earth the wearing of clean clothes gives you a better chance of advancement. If one does not have the motivation to cover the basics there is only one conclusion. Depression! Depression leads to descent into darkness. Darkness leads to the adoption of vices (immoral or wicked behavior). One vice leads to another and soon vices become your life and all that make you ‘happy’. You cannot build a worthy building without solid foundation. That is the road to hell, both literally and metaphorically. I have been on that road. I have tasted its bitter sweetness. I want to put it behind me.’
‘Seriously, as I said you should write these things down. I feel like you are reading out of a philosophy book or something.’
‘What is the point of writing it? It all has been said and written at one point or another, how is that changing the world. It’s not. All the books in the world can’t make it a better and fairer place. Why would I write one?’
‘Because you seem to enjoy narrating these things. That is all that matters. You are right about one thing, you are in a dark place.’
‘Ok, lighten up a bit. I didn’t mean this chat to elevate to the darkest corners of my attic.’
‘No, don’t get me wrong. This is great conversation. It’s a nice break from work talk.’
The Brewer stood in the poorly illuminated corner of the last gallery a few rooms from where the conversation was taking place. He even stopped working. He was taken in and for moments at times when the voices paused he thought that all this was only in his head and there was nobody but him on the fourth floor. For he knew first hand the destructive power of parental discouragement.
Stay tuned for next week’s installment of The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer – Tuesday, July 5th
previous chapter: The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer – The Brewer 23
all chapters: The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer
more by PETER ODEON
photograph by Verne Ho