The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part Two – The Bastard 4

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The first things Mandor bought when he reached the city were a mirror and earplugs. Mirror because vanity was indispensible tool in building up social image. Earplugs because the mélange of noises didn’t let him sleep at night or think at day.

Everything his universe had taught him so far seemed useless. He stopped locals on the street asking for work. Some laughed, some groaned, some flashed their teeth. He responded naturally with the coldest farewell the gypsies had thought him. Used only on acquaintances he was certain never to meet again ‘have a nice life’.

He was smart but not city smart. Smart was not enough. He didn’t stop asking for work on the streets until the day he saw his approach reflected as if in his newly acquired mirror. Across the street on the busy square, full of peddlers, stood a chubby middle-aged man with Einstein-hair, shorts, polo shirt and a tennis racket. The racket had a sign on both sides of the netting reading ‘awesome tennis lessons’.

The awesome tennis instructor was in a state somewhere between a warm up and a dance. He shifted his weight from one leg to the other, spun the rocket, backhand, forehand, giggled and put his tongue out like a tired dog. All this routine he did especially keen when a lady walked by. His face was red with sweat with rounded and shiny crazy eyes. If it wasn’t for the racket and the shorts he looked more like a rapist that an awesome tennis instructor.

Mandor didn’t look like him at all. But! The rapist’s approach to job search was parallel enough to his own. The ridicule and despair mostly amused people. Gave them something to chat about with their spouses when they reached the dull safety of home.

Nobody wants to be a rapist.

Mandor was inconspicuous to the crowds, like a bike chained to a pole in the middle of the night.
He sat on the square motionless staring at the rapist until dusk when he swung the racket on his shoulder and left his post.

Mandor went after him. The rapist walked funny and headed from the thickly planted toll building to the neighborhoods with thin ugly houses. They walked on a desolate industrial block when Mandor caught up, pulled the racket from the rapist shoulder and hammered it down on his head. The man didn’t make a sound. Mandor didn’t stop until blood was gushing steadily in a desperate attempt to cure the wound.

The previous few days of randomness vanished from Mandor’s mind and he felt beautiful. He pulled out his mirror and smiled in it. The corner of the mirror caught the fresh stream of red behind him. He inhaled the warm smell and felt he was inside a strawberry.

His mirror taught him a lot. It taught him how to dress, how to comb his hair, how to talk politely and respectfully with good diction.

He checked the pockets of the rapist and found a giant roll of cash and several tiny plastic bags full of white powder. He was a rapist after all, he raped people’s minds.

The earplugs kept Mandor sane and focused. He slept well and was sharp during the day. He walked the city grey and never smiled.

What is a smile or laughter? Is it not a vice! An interference into logical thought process. A distraction from the goal. Laughter and smiles gave him fake satisfaction, immediate gratification. They were illusions of satisfaction. They demotivated him by justifying his current state. Justifying it as acceptable. Acceptable because he could laugh and smile.

Sugar made him laugh. Sugar was bad for him. Hence, laughter was bad.

Instead, Mandor believed in a constant state of mind. A state of mind that required a very special type of food. A state of mind beyond laughter, smiling and happiness. He was grey indeed.

He kept relapsing and looping back to the crowded square where he first saw the rapist. Many artists leisured around the fountains trying to sell their drawings.

Mandor stared at the abstract brushstrokes that didn’t make sense. Deep inside (subconsciously) he knew they did, that’s why he stared at them for hours. Consciously, he had made up his mind about art a long time ago. Art was cheap suspense. It was like reading the content of a magazine instead of turning the pages. For him only life itself was a worthy medium. His life wouldn’t be sterile. Instead it would be timeless abstraction. It would be exactly the way smoke was, coming out of a cigarette. Shapeless, thick then thin, keen and unbothered by gravity. Mercurial, subject to sudden unpredictable changes.

next: The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part Two – The Bastard 5

previous: The Baker, The Butcher, and The Brewer, Part Two: The Bastard 3

more by PETER ODEON 

photograph by Travel Coffee Book

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