|The Genome Kunstler (standard:other, 6430 words)|
|Author: Austen Brauker||Added: May 25 2010||Views/Reads: 1137/763||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
THE GENOME KUNSTLER By Austen J. Brauker (Genome = a complete set of chromosomes in a gamete Kunstler = German for an artist) Crane wasn't sure exactly why, but he stayed in Germany after the war. He had come to know the countryside quite well as a driver, and the differing characters of the little towns along the way. He enjoyed finding new places and often just wandered aimlessly. One place in particular caught his eye. He stumbled upon it by sheer accident, while exploring, lost and happy to be that way. A lush green park led past a river to some old buildings with strange and interesting architecture. It was a University, complete with expansive botanical gardens, which amazed him. Plants were friends. He had learned many of the different herbs from walking in the Michigan woodlands with his Grandma. The garden piqued his interest. It had been slowly getting easier for Crane to get along in this foreign environment. His German was improving, but Crane found out that it was more beneficial to try to speak the language in a real situation. He became a regular at a local butcher shop and eventually gained a job there. It was hard to study in written German, at first, but the butcher at the shop where he worked always had uplifting words that helped him to gain insight. The man was a bohemian. “A good butcher sharpens his knives sometimes. A poor butcher sharpens all the time. A great butcher lets the knife do the work, lets it flow to the perfect place and invites the flesh to separate. The greatest butcher of all never has to sharpen.” He pointed his knife blade upward to the ceiling, indicating god, and then brought his blades together and sharpened them off of one another as if it were a genuflection. He winked at Crane and laughed deeply. The metal made a tone of C sharp. The butcher's chuckle made Crane respond with a laugh of his own, in the same key. “What kind of butcher will you be?” the carving master added, still laughing. Crane continued working, holding a smile on his face. He had skinned animals with regularity since he was a boy. It was second nature. After working at the small butchery, he had become quite good at the job. The butcher saw a natural skill in him. Crane cut the meat into precise little chunks. He did it at a blurring speed. The knife only lightly touched the wooden block before it rose again for the next cut. “There you go.” the butcher said, pointing to Crane's work. “You're on your way!” He pointed the blade toward god again and laughed all over. Crane smiled back and kept carving. He was glad to have met the butcher, though their relationship extended no further than the workplace. The man's wife made it clear that she did not want the Indian at their home. She avoided the shop when Crane was working, never knowing why he scared her. There must have been thousands of plants in the gardens, each with a small tag indicating its species. The common and Latin names were listed. Crane came upon a particularly pungent plant, which sparked a memory in him. He was away in his mind, hunting at home where he and his uncle Al used skunk cabbage to block their human scent, before setting out for deer. That is what this plant reminded him of, the spray of a skunk from slightly down wind. The leaves were long serrated fingers reaching out an invitation. Crane looked for the identification tag but couldn't find it. Across from him, on the other side, a student was measuring one of the large tertiary buds of the same plant. “Excuse me.” said Crane. “Could you tell me the name of this plant?” “Cannabis Sativa.” Said the student, noticing Crane's American accent and dark skin. “Are you an American Indian?” He had only seen pictures. He stared at Crane's brown face and pitch-black hair. “Yes. I am an Odawa.” stated Crane. “Fascinating.” Said the student. “I have never met a real Indian before.” The young man's name was Wilhelm. He was studying plant medicines, looking for a panacea. His sand blonde hair held onto his glasses, draped over his head and perched on his ears. Wilhelm's blue eyes gleamed in response to Crane's interest in what was one of his favorite plants. Science and philosophy were Wilhelm's passions. He eagerly began a dissertation of his knowledge about Cannabis properties and potentials, for Crane's benefit. “This plant contains certain alkaloids, which when smoked, produce a state of euphoria. It is a psychoactive plant, but has mostly been cultivated for its utilitarian purposes such as for rope and oil.” He stopped for a moment. “I'm sorry, let me introduce myself.” He held out his arm. “My name is Wilhelm.” He said, and shook Crane's hand. “Crane.” He responded and shook back. Wilhelm was amazed at the practical knowledge Crane had of plants. He had actually been taught the uses of plants in a hands-on way, which Wilhelm found to be of profound interest. It was fascinating for him to learn the various native uses for the same species he was Click here to read the rest of this story (457 more lines)
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