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Open Features: Master Smoke - 8

...“My friend, we consider you as unrefined when you are under the influence of alcohol and only then! Otherwise, in an un-inebriated state of consciousness you are a great human being. About your second question, we forgive you for being in a state of tipsiness!”...

Alfred Mielacher continues his astonishing tale.

Eighth evening

The heat wave that had covered our part of the globe the past few days was replaced by reverse conditions within 24 hours – climatically speaking! At one time the previous evening, after Sir Log had left me, I had stepped onto the veranda because of some noise I had become aware of... horror! A gentle but very icy breeze immediately drove me back to the fire!

During the peak hours of the heat wave, the quicksilver had reached an all time high of 37 degrees Celsius. Last night it was hovering around zero; with the wind chill factor it felt like freezing! I had no idea that such extreme temperature fluctuations were possible within 24 hours. I could just imagine what the locals would have to say about it!

This morning severe frost was covering the lawn around my house and leaves of all shapes and sizes, of various semi tropical plants and trees, had turned black over night. Frost bite! The white sheet topping the grounds looked amazing and the blackness of dead leaves scattered on top bathed the garden in a surreal atmosphere. Now locals really had something to complain about! Even I would, if I didn’t know that nature provides new life once spring approaches!

Not having an outside thermometer anywhere around my house, I guessed the temperature way below zero – and that at nine in the morning! I searched for thick insulated winter clothes in the darkest corners of my wardrobe, got dressed like an Eskimo in arctic summer and marched to the village. On my way I passed a few folks who looked like they were certainly not enjoying the cold. Shame, they certainly weren’t dressed for the occasion either!

The sight that offered itself on the market square had a somewhat bizarre appearance as well. Usually the small plaza is buzzing with people in light clothing, the real hardy ones in shorts, T-shirt and sandals; even during winter months. But not today! The few that had emerged from their homes were dressed as if they were embarking on a polar expedition!

Having no specific business to attend to, I just wandered around and chatted to a few folks. Have one wild guess what the one and only topic was? The weather of course!

“But it is winter! It is supposed to be cold!” I replied to every single complainant.

“Chilly? Yes! Cold? Maybe! F..king freezing? No way!” one answered.

“I have to move to a warmer country! This is completely unacceptable!” another mentioned, and sounded serious too.
“F..k this weather, I am off to Australia!” said a third!

Then I met the village drunk - a skinny little fellow. Today he probably wore his entire wardrobe! After the initial pleasantries, he surprised me with the following statement: “You know what? I think I drink myself to death! At least in hell it’s never that f..king freezing!” I hardly could believe my ears!

As I was up in the village anyway, I bought a few essentials, just in case a severe snow storm was going to lock us into our homes for a few days. Back home there was only one thing to do – light up a fire!

It wasn’t noon yet and the lounge warmed up nicely, or at least the area close to the Jet master did. I was alone, having no definite plans for the rest of the day - nor did I expect any visitors and Sir Log would surely only appear once the sun had set. I felt cosy and content that some ‘Gluhwein’ was in the making. A pleasant atmosphere calls for good music - hence Led Zeppelin went into the CD player!

Hours went by, a lot of wood went up in smoke, CD’s changed and the cosy ambience remained the same - only the delicious Gluhwein had found its way into my brain!

By late afternoon I had burnt only strips and had decided to start with logs; perhaps Sir Log wishes to speak with me. It took quite a few of these spitting logs before, “Good evening, my friend! How does your head feel?”

“Oh, hi! My head? Last time I glanced at myself in the mirror it was attached to my neck! Why?” I said coldly, knowing that my relaxing time had come to an end because all my thoughts were an open book from now onwards. “Sir Log? Can I ask you a big favour? If you are able to turn off your computer, or whatever it is that allows you to read my thoughts, please do so. I enjoyed such a great afternoon so far, but with you around scanning my poor brain, the fun is over! I can’t speak with you under such circumstances. We silly Earthlings call it tipsiness, you know?”

“Well, let me ask Master Smoke for advice!”

I kept very silent and tried to concentrate on nothing in particular because that did not require any thinking; or at least that’s what I was hoping.

“My friend” he announced. “Master Smoke grants you your wish! With one condition though!”

“Oh yes? Am I being conditioned now?” I interjected half laughing, half crying. The Gluhwein being responsible for my un-called-for outburst!

“My friend” he continued. “We know that alcohol does turn humans into unrefined Earthlings!”

“Oh yes? Am I unrefined as well? Why doesn’t your precious Master Smoke chose someone else less crude than me then?”

“My friend, we forgive you!”

“Oh yes, I like that! I like being forgiven for things I haven’t done!”

“My friend, Master Smoke has disabled my ability to read your thoughts. You can ask anything you wish!”

Now here was an interesting turnaround! But do I trust him? What if I now think rude thoughts about him? I wondered what he actually looks like. A scrawny ghost dressed in white linen perhaps? All sorts of alcohol induced thoughts appeared between my ears, but Sir Log remained silent. Right I got you by your invisible ‘short and curlys’!

“Sir Log?” I asked as non-slurring as possible.

“Yes, my friend?”

“Right! Let’s start from the beginning then. What condition is the Master thinking of?”

“Since you have burnt most of your stock of strip wood today, how about only burning us logs from now on?”

That of course deserved a second or two of thinking. “You got a deal!” I said. “However I have my own condition in regards to the deal!”

“And what would that be?”

“Well, that that computer of yours remains disabled whenever you are in my presence!” I announced feeling quite chuffed about that move.

“Well, let me check with Master Smoke for advice again!”

Cool if they go for it I have the upper hand from here forth!

“My friend”, he announced. “Master Smoke grants you your wish! Under one condition though!”

“When is this conditioning business ever going to end? Your precious Master is a bad loser, hey?”

“No, my friend, he is not! He only asks for you not to drink before we meet in the evening! Will that be acceptable with you?”

“Oh, sure! I never drink before dinner, today was an exception-de-luxe!”

“Very well, then! Wish granted!”

Great, this is truly great. I am conversing with logs on an equal basis. I better get pen and paper to write down questions I wish to ask. This is going to be exceptional fun!

“Well, do you know what I was thinking now?” I asked humbly.

“No, my friend! I had told you ...”

“Yes, sorry, I know! Just checking! It’s not easy, you know, speaking with someone or something I can’t see or feel or anything. Who says I have not gone mad? If I tell anyone that I have talks with flames every evening, they would surely put me into a straight jacket, you know?”

Silence prevailed for a minute or two since I had to collect my thoughts!

“Are you still around? Sir Log?”

“Yes, my friend, I am!”

“Well then, what does make me unrefined and what am I forgiven for?” I wondered how he is going to answer these two insinuations.

“My friend, we consider you as unrefined when you are under the influence of alcohol and only then! Otherwise, in an un-inebriated state of consciousness you are a great human being. About your second question, we forgive you for being in a state of tipsiness!”

“Thank YOU, and YOUR Master Smoke. That is sooo kind of you lot, seriously! Where would the world be without such forthcoming and understanding spirits around! By the way...”

“My friend, enough for this evening. Your frame of mind is not conducive to continue our conversation. Speak tomorrow evening! Good night!”

“Good night, Sir Log!”

Of course he was right, by now I was way beyond being tipsy; drunk is more likely the case. However I did not feel tired whatsoever! I pushed the Led Zeppelin CD into the player once more and started the three ballads – and another glass of Gluhwein was called for in celebration of my achievement regarding the day’s events!

**

To read earlier chapters of this story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=alfred+mielacher

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