The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part One: The Baker 12
By the time he finished with his narrative they reached the cottage and settled right outside of it with a small fire. They were domed by a living universe with blinking stars and colorful clusters. Perfectly quiet, the gentle crackle of the fire was the voice of God. All thoughts were vacuumed out of their heads and a whisper of peace took hold. The universe made sense, creativity blossomed like clockwork. The moment existed, everything else didn’t.
Archibald didn’t talk any more, they were equals here. He knew he had plenty of time for preaching down on earth. While up there with the gods they were utterly free, contemplating was useless. They silently agreed and just sipped on grappa until the end of times. At least that’s what they wished, to stay in this moment forever. Teach time to stop. Childish peace. Time had a lot to learn from men.
On the way back Archibald was unmoved. He had been in the clouds too many times, like he often said himself. Anton believed him. He woke up with the morning syndrome of invincibility. He leaped from a boulder to a boulder with the confidence of a man that controlled fate itself. He walked different and talked different and people listened.
‘Most men inflict pain to every creature weaker than themselves.’ Said Archibald climbing down in all his warmth of manner. ‘Let’s go down there and punish them for it. We are certainly to need dependable carriage horses.’ He concluded with sizable smile. Anton was wrong he was moved at least an inch.
When they reached the base house there was lunch waiting for them. They ate silently for their stomachs were bruised from the grappa and their minds from dreaming.
Anton noticed a cluster of houses in the distance harmonically dotting the low portion of a steep mountain shoulder. Like a music sheet. There was something idyllic about this panorama, the snow covered peaks, the greenest fields, the cultivated patches, the mountain stream bubbling among the houses. The uniformity of color, silence and peace made more sense than a booming city tolling every single nerve in his body. His blissful stare did not go unnoticed and Archibald invited him to walk there.
‘We have eaten enough, a walk will do us honor. I love the fast life, good cloths, fine wine and good company.’ He smiled. ‘But this village remains my most longed for place in the world. Because it is sub-society within society. It is a metaphor. A poetic metaphor! It is a town, a thousand years old, that had seen true war and is still smiling. Let’s smile with it. The three fundamental professions here are still the baker, the butcher and the brewer.’ They both smiled.
‘Were you born here?’ Anton ventured.
‘It would seem so, for that is a natural question derived from what you have seen. The answer is no. Me beginnings are far less poetic. I am from a place similar to this one not so remote and far more westernized. Meaning, electricity, cars and television are in every house. The King of Andorra is from here. I helped him secure his international situation and he brought me here one day. I didn’t want to leave. He noticed my affection and offered me the house on the hill, where my father lives now. The previous resident had long passed and the house had been empty for years. I took it as a payment, which delighted him for skipping a hefty commission. The only condition was to keep the walls yellow, the roof burgundy tiles and the doors and windows blue.’
His last words rung in sync with the approaching houses, which were all strictly in that color code. They went on what seemed to represent Main street. Street is a strong word for the dirt goat trails among the few houses. They could see a few caws feasting on the fresh grass and a few loose chicken running around but no sign of people.
next chapter: THE BAKER 13
previous chapter: THE BAKER 11
more by PETER ODEON
photograph from unsplash