The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part Five – The Brewer 25
The more he listened the closer he got to the conclusion that there was nothing that could be done to fix it. It was not fixable. That was one of the reasons poor and middle class children rarely made it out of the slums. Because only education could open the mind to the degree desired to foster broad alternative ideas and cultures. Education had come in fashion relatively recently. Especially in remoter places where tradition prevailed. There were still people who strongly believed that education was robbing them from their children. Combined with other factors it became like walking in circles. Most people walked in circles, regardless on which floor of society they resided. (If you mapped your daily, monthly or even yearly itinerary around town you would notice the circular pattern and dull routine. I sat on a shelf for two hundred years. On the map that would be a dot. A dot is a very small circle.) Human nature liked circles. If that was true then the Brewer was not human because he was terrified of the idea of repetition. He was more inclined to think that he was an exception. Was he?
The negative bragging of the two circular humans managed to improve his ego of a singular one. His mind was no longer idle and troubled but reflective, analytical and deductive. For the rest of the evening he would be cleaning up the emotional leakage of the two smokers from the marble.
At least that was what he thought for a moment. Then. He heard a fresh set of feet climbing the stairs.
The clock was eating his time away. After his chat with the Butcher, the Brewer felt like he was under scrutiny and watch every minute of every day. Mixed feelings brewed inside him as the decisive moment was approaching. The Butcher’s ambiguous statements and half smiles were not random. They were part of a pattern. And the Brewer was part of that pattern.
The Brewer’s mind was wired with a well-oiled machinery (by accident of birth). Like any machinery within a bigger system it required adequate infrastructure in order to perform well at full capacity. Which translated in having a strong heart that would distribute the inputted nutrients promptly where they were needed.
He had a weak heart (also by accident of birth). The infrastructure of his body required a very strict diet in order to optimally supply energy to his nervous system of which his brain was a part. That was the second best thing he could get. (One out of two.) The Butcher got the first best thing. (Two of two.)
The Brewer lacked the education to supply his infrastructure adequately for optimum efficiency. That put him at double disadvantage. He resorted to alcohol and cigarettes in order to tame his active mind (his heart was busy with more basic tasks).
He could not stop thinking about the Butcher. The Butcher never gave him a second thought. He was busy with bigger things.
He kept moping the floors, trying to distract his mind from the danger that lay ahead. His infrastructure was providing support to his thrills at full capacity. It was nowhere near enough.
He thought of the unachievable balance of heart and mind. A vestige of hate flickered in his soul for those that we born granted that balance. Giving up would be natural, he thought of taking up his slot in the lower echelons where balance meant whiskey. Then he considered that everything was explainable by a mathematical formula. Surely there was one for him.
He stopped listening to the conversation in the next room. It reminded him too much of himself.
He needed something more abstract and distant from his reality.
Before he could refocus the voices were amplified. There was a change in reign.
Sounded like the Butcher came up, busted the smokers and sent them out in despair. Then things got strange. He peeked and saw the second person with the Butcher. He seemed in charge and condescending at first. The Brewer retreated back so he could only hear them. Then he thought the stranger left and someone else came up. But he was wrong. It was still him but he sounded different, like a drunk telling his getting lucky stories. His voice went up and down. His words were slurred together. Still the Butcher sounded afraid of him. The Brewer considered withdrawing.
A dark heaviness fogged his mind.
He thought it was best for his purposes to stir away and mop a more distant corner of that floor. In his haste he knocked down the mopping bucket and the mop along with it. The sharp plastic sound echoed loudly in the relative serene silence of the halls.
Was a tiny simple mistake like that significant in the grand fibers of things!
Yes, yes, yes! (Most of the time. No! But in that case a loud triple, Yes!)
Stay tuned for next week’s installment of The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer – Tuesday, July 12th
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more by PETER ODEON
photograph by Steve Driscoll