Tuesday, July 13, 2004

vignette: cooper

Swish-swish, goes the liquor in my belly, sloshing against my stomach, burning the lining at whatever proof it really was. It’s always a bitch to contain alcohol, because the spirits of wine are cantankerous sons-of-bitches, wanting in, then wanting out, never satisfied, like almost every woman I’ve known. I keep on drinking anyway, because I can take it, because it’s my duty, dammit. And because that's what I do.

I’m a Cooper, and in the face of fucking chaos, I’m a soldier of order. A shit-faced, ruddy-drunk bastard with only one ball to call my own, but what can you do? It’s the way of the world.

There’s This, which is how things really are, and there’s That, which is how things are when they get fucked up, mostly by spirits, but almost as often by bastards like me.

It’s true, believe me. There are others Crafts out there, other Craftsmen, that play with the tried-and-true and change things like my dead mother used to change her mind (seventy-two times on one particularly savage day, if you want to know). In some ways, these bastards are as bad as the spirits themselves.

No, no, not true. Nothing and no one can ever be as horrible as the spirits I ‘coop.

Spirits of alcohol, roulette and petty kicks are small time – we can ‘coop them in our sleep. It’s the bigger ones that are worth fighting: thrill and passion and true-fucking-love – that’s where the action is, where we get into the trenches and learn to pray.

They have grades, you know. They do. Ranks and levels and a pecking order, the whole hog. But they all share the same miserable goal – to change things.

And we can’t have that.

Once, all spirits were one (yeah, I know, sounds really stupid, but what can you do when your job requires you to toe the line?), changeless and eternal, the true nature of our reality, etc., etc. But of course, some asshole just had to wake up on the wrong side of bed one morning and say to himself “Fuck, I don’t need this” and bam! Here’s the new world for you, confused and as pissed off as you would be if someone suddenly decided to stick a sharp stick up your ass.

So, yeah, we’re trying to get things back to way there were. That’s the company line. Not all of us believe it but we all act like we do, from the grim panjandrum himself to the freshest girly-girls with their tightly-bound perky little tits.

It’s not a bad gig as far as gigs go. The perks are amazing and the feeling you get when you ‘coop a spirit or some arrogant Craftsman is worth all sleepless nights.

Besides, it’s a rare Craft that lets you drink on the job. You learn to ignore the swish-swish and get on with what you need to do.


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