The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part One: The Baker 26

Mountain, Short Fiction Novels

Serial Fiction Novel

‘I will not piss on top of the potatoes.’ He smiled

‘I certainly hope so.’ He grinned, chewing on a piece of dried meat.

‘Only the goal matters. Focus on the goal!’ The Baker hummed.

‘What goal is that?’ Archibald kept serious.

‘To create art that will move the unmovable.’ Great excitement makes weak people idealistic.

‘Eat, drink!’

‘You must learn the art of fencing. For it teaches you not only self-defense but mostly discipline and sharpness of mind. All leading to confidence and feeling of invincibility. You will never need fencing to defend yourself per se, but you will need the lessons that come with it. They will be plenty of envious and cruel people that would love to feast on your corpse. They will keep you busy and guessing.’ Nestor appeared shadowy again seeding random sentences in-between puffs on his pipe. The sentences were not random but practiced and clumsily executed.

‘His fencing speech is the same like his cilantro speech.’ Archibald was not smiling that morning.

‘I think a morning pipe is in order.’ The Baker commented.

‘Be mindful of soft-spoken and unimpressed people. They are your greatest enemy.’ Nestor glanced at them both sitting on the table.

‘I will smoke to them.’ The Baker tried to grin but the air felt heavy.

After breakfast he went for a walk, alone. Reflecting.

That night at the town circle by the fire and wine there was one man that never approached him. No one bothered to introduce him either. It wasn’t like he was an outsider, for there was one even among predators. On the contrary he was in high regard but un-approached. As if he was above all. Above social life, indulgence, appearances, love and bitters. He was painfully present and not present at all.

Some noticed the Baker’s nearly offensive stare at him but did not dare bring it up. He never looked at him or maybe he did but their eyes never met. He must have been the first to leave. He remembered thinking that he might have imagined him. But not, there was a subtle change of mood after this vision disappeared.

Everyone laughed harder and drunk more.

On the way to the house he asked Archibald about him. He avoided straight answer. His demeanor strictly discouraged him to inquire further.

By the morning he had forgotten about him.

He was encouraged by his companions to take this walk.

‘I would fallow the base of the hill, north.’ Said Archibald.

So he did.

There was no path. The base of the hill led him to the center peak, south of which the settlement was built. It was slightly shorter than the surrounding handsome mountains but it was steeper and with more bushy vegetation.

He wished he could climb it but it appeared un-climbable.

He started around it when he heard loud evenly paced clicks, metal on rock. Shortly after, he saw a man in the distance hammering against the mountain wall. There was a pile of randomly shaped and sized rocks on the base of what looked like stairs. As he got closer he confirmed to his amazement that steps were going up that impossible peak. A rustic stone build staircase was zigzagging up a few meters.

At the newest step a man was kneeling with a few basic tools about him. He was hammering away crumbs from a small stone. Then he proceeded to insert it in between the wall and another rock forming the newest step up. It fitted perfectly after what it seemed days worth of work.

He rose and smiled.

Then aware of the Baker’s presence he turned around and smiled again.

‘Do you have something in your pockets?’ He asked as if they were childhood friends.

The Baker tapped his pants’ pockets to make sure and produced a sterile. ‘No.’

His smile increased in size and fertility.

‘There is no feeling greater than riding a bike on the dusty summer streets with your pockets completely empty. No keys, no wallet, no notes and reminders of society’s shackles.’ The stranger smiled.

‘Freedom.’ He smiled back.

‘Close enough. Close enough.’ He kept smiling.

He completely ignored the custom of introduction. The Baker didn’t mind.

‘Come up, take a look. You will participate in the construction of number twenty nine.’ The stranger smiled.

The Baker smiled and counted his steps up to the last step. Number twenty-eight.

‘Why are you building the stairs, what is up there?’ He asked casually.

‘Nothing is there. Nobody knows, nobody has ever been there.’ He smiled wildly enthusiastic.

The Baker smiled at his genuine delight of suggesting that he will be the first.




Photograph by Ales Krivec

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