The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part One: The Baker 14
They fitted right in the armchairs. A heavy wooded box with a royal insignia was the first thing the host reached for.
‘Do you fancy tobacco? I know you do smoke on occasion. This is a blend of aged African and Asian late harvest, high elevation well ripened goodness. It is made by a master blender with as much precision as a clockmaker. People have killed over it. Wine and tobacco my two worse enemies that I keep very close to me.’ He staffed two pipes and poured the wine.
‘Life is simpler than most people think. However, most people make the mistake to overindulge and by that make it too simple for the body and too complicated for the mind. I tell them, one thing is certain beauty does not last. No more than fifty years anyway. Because the wine in this bottle is the most age worthy vintage and it has reached its peak. I should know. I love wine because it is parallel to men, it has the same life span and during that lifetime it either ages to reach the highest levels of perfection and wisdom or it spoils. Now enjoy for today is the last day you are drinking according to my watch. From tomorrow it’s your time to talk and mine to listen.’
‘I understand.’ Anton uttered after a sip on what must have been the wisest wine in the world.
‘Another note, this is the right setting for it. People in the real world drink in excess on regular bases. Thus, depriving themselves of any significant advance in their future not aided by accident of luck. Luck doesn’t stick around. There is a practical reason I devote so much to wine. If you are to be drinking your choice must be wine. I am not talking about association with royalty and gods. But that should give you a hint since the aforementioned are usually wise and clever people. Firstly, it posses great depth, complexity and character. It is a thinking drink. Secondly, red wine in relative terms is the best soothing to the nervous system of all alcoholic beverages available on this planet. I am not going into details about that just know it is a fact. All this is supported by history. All great societies, countries, kingdoms and empires that have flourished more than average have had wine as their most common merry drink. On the contrary, historically most political entities that due to geography and climate had to indulge on distilled spirits or brewed malt and hops beverages had hardly escaped their barbaric ways and perished or had been conquered. Cheers!’
He spoke eloquently with random but specific examples. That quality of his made him look clairvoyant and frivolous. He had a few passions but he had mastered them. History, good literature, the human character, wine and tobacco were enough for him to make up a perfect meal of a lifetime.
‘You have this energy, passion, lust for perfection in everything you do. Where does that push come from?’ Anton produced a wine induced question.
‘Outside of the direction in which we channel ourselves mainly formed by our early environment, all other benefits of our brains and protein based bodies are purely accidental chemical reactions in part aided by the health of our parents. I have been blessed by accident of birth to be composed of a rare combination of an excellent brain, strong heart and nerves of steel. By what I have seen, you are as well but you don’t know it yet.’ He lied. ‘It is one thing to have gifts and another to master them. It takes time and extreme dedication and devotion. Forget about your old friends and little pitiful pleasures of a commoner and start thinking as a prince for you are on a path of becoming one.’
‘So I am a successful bio-chemical accident that had the bad chance to have an easy life!’
‘From the oldest winemakers with the longest beards I know that true wine is bitter. Hard life is the best teacher. To your question, yes. I sense, you condescend yourself a bit. Don’t! It is just the way of nature. Natural selection works its ways through numerous layers weeding out non-perfection. Reaching great heights takes consistent hard work to compliment your talents. I had a great mentor myself. He was the most eccentric man that ever lived. I don’t doubt it. The most important things I learned from him were his mistakes. He created too many enemies for he used his considerable powers of intellect to greatly aid some by destroying others. Which in his late years made him a paranoid old man with no place safe enough to hide.’
next chapter: THE BAKER 15
previous chapter: THE BAKER 13
all chapters: The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer
more by PETER ODEON
photograph from unsplash