The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part One: The Baker 29
Serial Fiction Novel
The journey back was quiet. The Baker was busy thinking how he was going to reencounter his family and wife to be. From the capital of Andorra on they had a driver that took them to Archibald’s house in northern Spain. He went to sleep and the next thing that mattered was that he was back at the pipe’s garden table. The pipe wasn’t there.
Instead he was facing his carefully selected eternal companion in life, to be. His first personal challenge that would impact his professional aspirations. She was splendidly beautiful, peaceful at mind, unimaginative (so he thought), undemanding, ready to soothe all his pains. She was brought up for the behind the curtain seat of a supporting part in a great play. Outside of that role she was helpless in the face of life. She was masterful at her art but her audience was ignorant. Appreciating the little things was her specialty and she made a grand show of it. The way she always sipped her tea and praised its deliciousness always made him smile. The care she took in selecting the food they put on the table rivaled insanity. She fell asleep as soon as she touched the pillow and was out of bed as soon she opened her eyes. He was the opposite and thought she was pure magic. In that respect he was the one helpless in the face of life (life outside of his abstract world of canvas, paint and pedantic dissection of his work).
‘Thank you for coming to see me first. Your mentor said that you have made great progress and your work will be widely recognized very soon.’ Said she with a smile. And he was expecting a fight. Archibald was helping him more than he should have.
‘Thank you for understanding. It looks like I will be even busier going forward.’
‘Don’t worry I am not going to be in your way. You don’t need my kind of help any more. I’ll just cry for a few days and then laugh like before, slightly darker.’
He glanced at the place where he buried a bottle of whiskey some time ago. He knew it is no longer there but he wished it was.
‘Do you want a drink?’ Uttered she with almost shaking but piercing voice simultaneously pouring a little bottle in his tea.
‘You should, give me that little pleasure of feeling useful again.’
‘You should have some as well.’ He forced a tear back into his eye.
‘I am not as smart as you are, so I don’t need to drink as much you do. I am not going to fight it. Success is at your doorstep, you finally have a goal and the drive to achieve it. I just want to be part of that drive.’ She paused. ‘That sounded pathetic. See just because I don’t strive for greatness it doesn’t make me dull and ‘normal’. Remember when we were kinds and our senses were keen and minds open. We didn’t need anyone else just me, you and a yellow balloon on a string. Now you look like a stony beach and all the sand in the world can’t better it.’
‘I want you by my side all the time.’ He managed after a giant sip of bitter tea.
‘I want you to want me by your side, in your bed and for dinner company.’
Her soft-spoken charm completely disarmed him. She was stronger than he remembered.
He felt like he had found a strong allay to help him navigate the wilderness of life. It was hardly possible without her.
Gradually he became acquainted with the soft-spoken, dull-faced and unimpressed people that ruled the world, as men knew it. Their firm handshakes and measured laughs echoed in his sleep. His great art got him in this world of politics and favors. From then on it was mostly about politics and favors. They bought, sold, donated, collected, and auctioned emotionless business transactions. His name in the corner of the canvas was the currency.
Plastic smiles, charts and tables filled with numbers. Art was a commodity and like in any trade timing was everything. He began to accept that reality as the only way of eventually reaching the people who he thought mattered. The idealist artists full of love for the world. Really, anyone out of the border-line-sociopathic ruling class.
‘You look paler than usual, you drink too much coffee and overeat on every occasion. What bothers you?’ Archibald noticed his frustration with the world.
‘Too many soft-spoken people to please. I see the goal for the long run but for the short, I am exhausted. I am out of positive energy, inspiration, motivation and drive. Even my lovely soft hearted companion at home can not sponge all the negativity that has accumulated in me.’ He complained.
more by PETER ODEON
Photograph by David Marcu