Butzerbakker the Calendar Maker
Butzerbakker the Calendar Maker hard at this work in his Mayan studio apartment. Tireless. He built them. Square upon square.
Thirty days hath September. April, June, Nov…
He lined them up. He conquered them.
“Butzerbakker,” they told him, “you are a hard worker. If you finish the entire calendar now, all the Mayans will never have to worry about the calendar later.”
“That,” said Butzerbakker, “is a noble idea.” And so he got to work. “This will be my crowning achievement. Every day I will fill with days until my final square has come.”
They were tiny, these squares, but they consumed his life, these four corners, sides, all the same degree and all the same length–painstaking precision. And what’s more, he had to find the photos–moose, castles of Scotland, kittens, swim suit models (do not tell his mamaka, but this latter was his greatest and sometimes sole pleasure–Oh, Butzerbaker, you were so diligent in your work!), and then there were bank holidays, moon phases. Butzerbakker. The Calendar Maker, a living track of time, grew old in his work.
Near two-thousand years without so much as even the smallest of formal respite. The 1950’s went by as fast and smooth as ever (if not the so slightest misalignment of months and picture discrepancies–a group of marbles in the dust, two of the same Scottish castles in the same year, his mamaka baking breakfast in her morning gown), but then he grew ill. He was an old man and his tireless work had dragged for ages.
“Mamaka,” he said, “my eyes are tired and my fingers cramp once a month.” He gripped his gnarly knucklers. “Not real months, Mamaka, these calendar months. I cannot bear it.”
Mamaka, the wife that she was, may her memory live on in ever, kissed Butzerbakker on his furrowed brow, dried and caked in the salt of his work, and said, “My Papappa King, your calendars are godswork. People from afar come to see your exactitude, your moose. You have charted times probably that even our ancestors shall never see,” she stroke-backed his hair, “you should rest.”
The room spun–BUTZA! BUTZA! Calendar squares drip-dripping-droppo, dripper-pipper-poppo. Happy New Year. Kippy Kwanza. Boxing Day. Merry Easter. Butzer, oh so exact, oh so squarefully persistent–the Moose, Butzer, so masculine, so much the nature and so less the office space. You bring the outdoors in, Butzer. The work of the champions. Oh and your JUNES! My days, Butzerbakker, are more marvellous because of your ever-splendicious exactitude. You are the creme-de-la-weekdays. You are my nights, Butza! One through thirty-one! Thirty-one to infinity!
Capital work, Butza. Capital work.
And the room was like a top, like the birthday party wood toys–weee-weee!–like the dancing girls of Caracol–mee-mee! And it settled like an avalanche heft heaped on the bosom of the mighty Mayan calendar man–he he.
“My son.” It was Butzerbakker. Charlie, the Calendar Prince. Progeny of one. Deathbed. My only heir! Weeping.
“Carry on my work, Charlie,” said Butzerbakker, muttering past the death so decided in choking him. “You are young. Seize the day, my son. All of them.”
And his eyes were closed in sleep.
Charlie sat in his room the whole night. What Butzerbakker didn’t know is that Charlie had dreams of his own. He was a dancer. The measured repetition of calendar work was not the the sort of outlet that would full-grasp appease him. The stars had called his body to move and the wind had bid him listen. He was gone.
The town was in an uproar–Charlie’s curtains billow-blowing in the breeze. And then Muminba spoke.
“No worry. We have thousands of years and millions of calendars,” he said. “Let us dance, too,”
And they did.