The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part One: The Baker 13
‘Sixty three.’ Archibald went on. ‘The population of this blissful town. I know everyone by name and they are all wonderful well- mannered folk. Some were born here, some paid for the privilege to live here. All are well cultured, traveled the world, studied in the best of schools and exceeded in their crafts. They have chosen to come back. Two of the world’s top novelists live here, an accomplished painter (permanently out of inspiration and wonderfully sarcastic) has retired here to drink at large. Along with some simple folk with big hearts and no aspiration for more than a peaceful being. They are the best story tellers, the ones that will never write. They are the center of attention around the evening fires. If these people write and show their words to the world, literature would change forever. They do not wish for more than they have. Genius and humble, you have a lot to learn from them. The very cornerstones of this small society are what the world has lost over glass towers and fake anonymity. Great people are great for a reason and eventually metamorphosize, aspiring toward or against their values. That process is born by their greatness and fitted for their mind and environment they want to live in. Out in the world that means they cut down the drinking and exploit their dreams to the best they could. Their counterparties forsake dreams due to some sort of weakness and eventually become oppressed by the system (the former created and govern). The oppressed rebel on occasion, only to justify their mediocrity. To defend it really! Hopeless last stand for they are already in the habit of settling for less. Here, there is no social pressure to succeed. Literacy rate is one hundred percent and people understand that if they break the inner rules they will affect the outer rules. They manage to keep balance. It helps that they have no financial worries, for the great that succeeded in the world have shared with all in return for the privilege to live here. The most important of all rules is that they all know if they want to vice they go out in the world, do their worse, come back and do not tell a single soul about it. It is the most perfect society I have encountered, but it can only work on a small scale and with selected individuals. You have to respect that the benefits outweigh the losses. Enough politics, I wish to show you something I think you will find interesting.’
He dashed ahead as he spoke and opened a blue door of a house that seemed to have been their destination.
‘Where is everyone?’ Anton spoke.
‘People turn into chicken and cows during the day. In the late afternoon they take human shape. That is when the drinking begins.’ He smiled.
They entered into the plain but comfortably furnished house. They passed into the kitchen; Archibald opened a door and descended down a pitch black dungeon. Anton didn’t see any signs of locks on any door or window. A warm feeling of safety crept in him. He had previously dreamt of an intellectual utopia. He thought its existence was possible but not probable. Here he was on the verge of getting an answer to that riddle.
Archibald came back carrying two gas lanterns, which he lit with a matchstick. Anton knew there was no electricity but on the first instance that they actually needed it he began to appreciate this oddly formatted lifestyle. He felt in a fairytale world as they descended down the stone- carved cellar and the natural cool temperature of a cave discontinued his theses. When they reached the bottom his host lit yet another stationary gas lantern. The light bounced off the walls of the, indeed in-rock carved, space. It was a wine cellar, the king of wine cellars. The light grew tired in the darkness of the far edge and they couldn’t see the end of the room. They walked in the same direction with their lanterns in hand to reach the far end with lounging armchairs and a small table with a stack of ledgers. It was medieval. Endless racks and niches in the walls filled with bottles some not even labeled (just dated and abbreviated) covered in a thick layer of dust. There were stacks of wooden cases in the middle of the room that looked newer and un-aged.
‘These are the new arrivals from America. I have regular shipments from all the good vintages around the world.’ He answered Anton’s glance while browsing through a deep niche with his lantern. ‘Aha, there it is!’ He brought out a bottle. ‘This is just ready to please. It is a bit early but you look like you need it, in order to start digesting your experiences a little more comprehensively.’
next chapter: THE BAKER 14
previous chapter: THE BAKER 12
all chapters: The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer
more by PETER ODEON
photograph from unsplash.com