11 — a few days later, Thursday
Jay was at work. He hadn’t seen or heard from Rio since last weekend. He was totally comfortable with that. The last thing he ever wanted to do was to crowd the man or to come across as ‘clingy’. He knew the seeds were in the soil, they might sprout or they might not, but either way, they didn’t need to be watered on a daily basis. Let the man live his life.
It was 11 o’clock on Thursday morning. Jay was halfway through his mid-morning coffee as he stood at the counter, sorting through the books and other articles that borrowers had returned to the library overnight, preparing to put them back on the shelves or back into the stack.
A shadow cast itself across the counter. A man cleared his throat. “Excuse me, sir, but I’d like to join the library. I’d like to acquire a library card, if I may.”
Jay looked up. It was Rio.
Rio was wearing horn-rimmed glasses, a light blue long-sleeved buttoned-down collared business shirt, a pair of grey slacks, and brown leather loafers. No cap. No chains. No bling. He looked like he was on his way to the business lounge at the airport.
Jay was stunned, but he felt the need to appear super-professional, especially around his colleagues. He cleared his throat nervously. A smile curled up from the sides of Rio’s mouth. He knew he’d made the desired impression. “Certainly, sir,” said Jay, “we should be able to fix you up with a card in a few short moments.” They locked eyes. Jay couldn’t help noticing how sexy Rio looked. Those glasses were fucking killer. He smiled briefly before readopting a veneer of professionalism. “But first, sir, we need to see two forms of identification, one of which must show that you’re a resident of this area, meaning you are therefore legally qualified to draw upon the publicly owned literary resources of this county.” Blah blah blah. He’d never quoted this trash to anyone else before ever, but Rio was special.
Rio reached into his pocket of his trousers and retrieved his wallet. He produced his drivers’ licence and a credit card. “I trust all is in order with these particular documents?” he asked.
Jay examined the cards Rio had presented. His eyes briefly darted up at Rio, then back down at the documents. Brow furrowed, a study in concentration. “Hmmmmmmm,” said Jay. “Yes … yes, on balance I think these identification documents ought to be sufficient. I’ll just take a photocopy of your credit card just to verify its authenticity.” Jay moved across to the photocopying machine. He placed Rio’s card face-down onto the photoreceptor. Rio licked his lips as he noticed Jay’s sexy ass as he bent forward. Jay already knew the card was good, he’d already seen it in action at the sports bar. Nonetheless, procedure is important. He took a xero-image of both sides of Rio’s card and returned it. “Here’s your credit card, sir. And thank you.”
Rio placed the credit card back into his wallet. “And my drivers’ licence?”
“Oh, we’ll need to run a few simple checks on your licence, sir. Won’t take long. I promise,” said Jay. He entered Rio’s details into the machine.
The machine responded.
Bing. Bing bing bing bing. BIIING. Rio heard the noise. Libraries are quiet places, but people’s heads turned. ‘Fuck, the cops are gonna show in in a second and arrest me for borrowing a book’, he thought to himself. Jay wasn’t sure if he’d ever seen the machine shit itself like this before. He half-expected the machine to blow up.
“Wow,” said Jay, “someone’s been a naughty boy, haven’t they.” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement. “Traffic violations, DUIs … oh, my word, my stars, this just won’t do. I’m just not sure you’re the type of … clientele … we need here at our quaint government library.”
“Yeah,” sighed Rio, hanging his head, “I know these events are on my record. But that’s all in my past, and I’d like to make amends. I have a hunger for books and I want to read. See, I just got these new glasses. I went to the optometrist a few days ago and I just picked the glasses up this morning. I’m still getting used to them, and everything looks a little blurry, but I think they make me look smart.” Jay agreed; *fuck* he looked sexy. “Please don’t turn me away,” pleaded Rio.
Jay frowned. “I’m duly empowered by the county to make these momentous decisions, but I’m afraid I’m just not convinced you’re library-worthy.”
Rio looked at Jay across the top edge of his spectacles. Those dark, sexy, piercing eyes. “What would it take to convince you that I’m library-worthy?”
Jay cleared his throat. “Well, sir, can you tell me what you’ve read lately?” Jay knew full well that anyone who walked in off the street was welcome to join so long as they had ID and a pulse, but he wasn’t sure whether Rio knew this, and he wanted to string it out.
Rio cleared his throat. “So, I recently read a book called ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’. I don’t know why they spelled the year out in letters, they could’ve just used the numbers and saved on ink.”
“What güvenilir bahis was it about, Rio?”
“Oh, so it was about … the arms race … and … the Reagan presidency … and there was something about the Soviet Union, and about how it was morning in America, and there were lots of farmers waking up and kids going to school and stuff like that. Lots of stuff about freedom.” Rio paused. He’d made his case, but he felt the need to add an exclamation point. “It was one of the best books I’ve ever read.”
Fuck, Jay was loving this. “OK, that’s good. A perfect description of Orwell’s masterpiece. What else have you read lately?”
“So I read this other book called ‘Heart of Darkness’. I thought it was excellent, even though it was quite long. It was all about this surgeon in the middle of a war in South America who had to do open heart surgery during a power failure.” He paused. “I thought it was powerful. I gave it four stars on Amazon.”
“Oh, I agree. It’s an incredibly powerful book,” encouraged Jay. “Have you read anything else recently, sir?”
Rio searched the corners of his mind. He licked his lips. Jay had noticed Rio did this whenever he felt nervous or anxious. If Jay played poker, this would’ve been the most obvious ‘tell’ in history. Rio continued. “Yeah … so I read this book called ‘To Kill A Mockingbird.’
Jay waited. This was gonna be good.
“Yeah so it’s about this bird, in Mexico. He works at a bar and he makes alcohol-free cocktails, which they call ‘mocktails’, which is why he’s the ‘mockingbird’. The bird’s name is ‘Tequila’. It’s amazing what this bird can do. This book changed my entire fucking life.”
“In what way, sir?” asked Jay.
“I’m never gonna have a bird mix me a drink.”
Jay nearly pissed himself laughing. “OK, what else have you read?”
Rio was nearly out of ideas. “I read this other book called ‘War and Peace’. You’ll never guess what it was about.”
Jay interjected. “Can I take a guess?”
“Yeah,” said Rio.
“It was about two things. The first one was war,” stated Jay.
Rio nodded. “Go ahead.”
“It was also about peace?” asked Jay.
“Yeah, it was! You must’ve read it too,” said Rio. “It’s a really good book, hey.”
Jay was broken by this point. “You want a library card, you got one, man,” he laughed.
Jay finalised the system requirements for Rio to be granted a library card. Fuck the traffic infringements, this man was way too sexy to be denied a license to read. Jay was already imagining Rio sitting in a wide armchair near a window, reading deep as the afternoon sun streamed in, illuminating his pages. Fatigue eventually captured him, and he rested the open book on his lap. Rio’s sexy thighs were spread wide as Jay crawled towards him …
The machine beeped as Rio’s library card was processed, produced, and spat out. Jay’s daydream about creeping up on Rio after a post-read nap ended, and he returned to earth. “Here’s your card, sir,” said Jay. “You’re now a member of this library. Please treat our collection with care and reverence, as if it was your own.”
Rio accepted his card. “Thank you. I’m glad to be a member of this establishment. If it’s OK with you, Imma wander around for a while to check things out.”
“Of course it is, sir,” responded Jay. “You’re a member with us now, and we’re glad to have you as part of our communal literary family … despite what the machine said.”
Rio took his fat wallet out of his trousers and placed his new library card inside it. He returned his wallet to the front right pocket of his trousers. He wiggled his fingers around the inside of his pocket so that Jay could see where his new library card lay — right next to his fat dick. Rio noticed Jay’s eyes drifting south, and he saw Jay’s mouth gape open. Rio licked his fat, kissable lips. “I’m just gonna check out the books now, dude.”
“Yes, of course, sir,” responded Jay. “Would you like me to assist your search in any way?”
“Well, yes, that sounds like a splendid idea,” sprouted Rio. “Could you, my good man, show me where you keep the publications on sexual intercourse?”
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh kay. “Do you mean, sir, books on the psychology of sex? We have the collected works of Freud and other notable experts in Class 100, about two shelves to your right. Or are you perhaps referring to volumes related to biology? You’ll find those in Class 570, contained within our science section.”
“Nah, dude,” replied Rio. “Where’s your section on pornography?”
“Well, sir,” said Jay, “we have a few books on sexual ethics, and …”
“Bro, no. Show me the books where the big dick goes in the wet pussy.”
Jay nearly died. For him, the pantomime was over. “Fuck, man, what the hell?” he whispered under his breath.
“Well, I was led to believe this establishment held copies of everything published or publicly available within this vicinity,” elucidated Rio. He had absolutely no fucking idea what he was talking about, but in a loud, steady, güvenilir bahis siteleri bold voice, he expressed his desire. “Show me where you keep your collection of pornographic magazines, my good gentleman.”
If Jay nearly died a second ago, he was completely dead now. He coughed nervously. “Well, I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t have any publications of that nature or ilk in our collection.”
“Really?” asked Rio. “How disappointing. I thought you had copies of everything.”
“Well, sir, we have copies of all … reputable publications … fine literature and poetry from inland and from across the seas …”
Rio raised his voice. “But you’re telling me you don’t have any ‘literature’ (airquotes) of men with big dicks fucking chicks in their tight asses? What kind of second-rate literary repository is this?” He raised his booming voice and addressed the reading room. “I ask you, fellow citizens, tax avoiders, and people with nothing better to do on a Thursday morning. Do we want porn in this library? I say, ‘fuck yeah we do’. Who’s with me?”
Silence was everywhere. You could’ve heard a pin drop, if not for the 80-year-old retiree in the reading room who fainted at Rio’s words. Jay called an ambulance for her.
“Dude, you gotta rein it in,” whispered Jay. “You’re gonna fuckin’ kill someone if you keep this up. And you’re gonna get me fired.”
The ambulance arrived and the paramedics swarmed in to assist the octogenarian. Thankfully she was OK, and later on, Jay learned that she was deaf and hadn’t registered anything Rio had said. Instead, she’d swooned at a passage in the Barbara Cartland novel she was reading, which said: “He lay his good lady out on the soft mattress, and his earnestly erect meat entered her delicate reproductory passage. She quivered and moistened, and …”
The Cartland book remained on the reading room table as she was carted off to the ER.
“Look at this. Fuck, Rio,” hissed Jay, “fucking stop.” He wasn’t joking.
Rio raised his palms in apology. “Sorry, man. Truly, I am. I just wasn’t thinking. I do that quite often, just so you know.”
“Do *what* often?” asked Jay.
Rio cleared his throat. “Not thinking.”
Jay looked at him.
“I can be pretty stupid sometimes, man, and I pre-apologise for the hundreds of times I’m likely to make you mad or piss you off.”
Jay stopped. On one hand, this new library member had, in his first act of membership, sent an old person off to the emergency room with talk of hardcore porn, yet on the other, he’d just foreshadowed some kind of ongoing future friendship.
Jay looked at Rio. Those new glasses were sexy as fuck. The paramedics took their elderly patient away. “Hey, so I got lunch in about an hour. You busy? If you can keep your thoughts to yourself and not send anyone else into intensive care in the meanwhile, we could grab some lunch together. I mean, if you wanted to.”
Rio had nowhere else to be and nothing else to do. “Sure, Jay. I’ll come back to your counter in an hour. In the meantime, I’ll just browse the non-existent pornography section.” He grinned, and Jay’s heart melted.
Jay went back to the counter and attended to customers. He processed incoming returns and assisted with enquiries. An hour passed, but Rio didn’t return. Jay notified his colleagues that he was taking lunch, and he went looking for Rio. He found him sitting quietly at one end of a long reading table in the quiet room. Perhaps he was so engrossed in his book that he’d lost track of time. Jay approached Rio from behind and gently touched him on the shoulder. “Hey, man.”
“Hey, Jay,” replied Rio.
“What you reading there?”
“I feel embarrassed to tell you, but you’re looking over my shoulder, and I know you can probably already tell what it is.”
Jay could. “You’re reading the dictionary, Rio?”
“Yeah, it’s the dictionary. I found it in the reference section. I asked one of your colleagues if I could borrow it, but the bitch said no.”
“Yeah”, informed Jay, “you can’t borrow from the reference section. That’s where we keep the books that everyone needs access to, all the time. Dictionaries, encyclopaedias, thesauruses …”
“Uh, what was that last one?” asked Rio.
“Thesauruses. I don’t really know why people can’t borrow reference books anymore. Actually, I don’t even know why we keep them at all. Everything is online these days, and printed reference books go out of date quickly. I mean, does anyone still use the phone book? Anyway, thesauruses aren’t much use, unless you’re gonna start writing poetry.”
Rio pretended to be offended. “Hey, wait, Jay. You telling me I can’t be a poet?”
“No, man. Didn’t mean that at all. I think anyone can be a poet. It’s all about inspiration. If you’re gonna write, and fuck, everyone *should* try to write, then write what you feel. And you’re writing poetry, rhyme is king. I wish I was good enough to write poetry. I’ve tried, but it’s fucking hard. It’s easy to write rhyming bullshit, iddaa siteleri but I think it’s really fucking hard to inject it with emotion and deep meaning. It takes a kind of genius to write truly exquisite verse, but that shouldn’t ever be a reason not to try. I know thesauruses are more about synonyms and antonyms, but they can sometimes help with finding the right word for the end of a sentence.”
Rio stroked his chin, faking deep thought as if he had any genuine understanding of what Jay was talking about. He had no idea what synonyms or antonyms were, but fuck, he loved to hear Jay’s thought that anyone could be a poet.
Jay heard Rio’s tummy grumbling. “Time for lunch, dude.”
“Can I leave the dictionary here?” asked Rio.
“Sure you can. Someone might put it back on the shelf while we’re away, but if they do, you know where to find it, and I’m sure you’ll remember where you’re up to,” replied Jay.
“Fuck, man, I got libraries all wrong,” admitted Rio.
They left the building to get lunch. They arrived at a sandwich place about three blocks from the library. Rio ordered a toasted chicken breast sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cheese and mayonnaise, while Jay went for the haloumi burger with salad. Their food arrived and they continued talking.
“Hey, so about the other night …” commenced Rio.
“Dude, everything’s cool,” soothed Jay.
“No … wait, let me talk,” stumbled Rio. “So, I mean, I think we got some stuff to talk about.” He glanced nervously from side to side.
Jay bit into his burger. Tasty. “I think you’re right. You go first.”
Rio took some deep breaths in an attempt to centre himself. He already knew the words wouldn’t come out quite right. They never did. “Hey so I really like you…”
Jay unwisely interrupted: “Hey, I like you too, man …”
Rio saw red. He regained control of proceedings immediately. “Shut the fuck up, man,” he exploded. “Just shut up. Can’t you tell when a man is … is trying to speak his fucking mind? I like what you said, but just … shut up for a minute. I don’t want to hear yo’ mouth right now.”
Jay nodded. Rio took stock and tried to recollect and reorganise his thoughts. More deep breaths. “So, as I was trying to say, I really like you …”
Silence from Jay. Rio continued.
“Yeah so I really like you. Those words — “I like you” — are really hard for me to say to anyone. But we both like football, we both like a few drinks, and we both seem to like hanging out together. I feel comfortable with you.” He dropped his voice. “And I like your wet mouth and your tight asshole.”
Jay was bold enough to intervene at this juncture. He leaned forward. “And I like your fat pornstar dick.” He bit his bottom lip. “And I also like your new glasses. They suit you.”
Rio smiled, but it was a pained, awkward smile. There was something heavy on his mind. “It’s just … it’s just that it’s weird for me to have a relationship with anyone. Like, ever. I’ve always been a loner, I’ve always been apart. Sure, I have friends, and I know there are shitloads of people who know me from my work, including people I’ve never met, but fans aren’t friends. Relationships with fans are superficial. They don’t have much meaning. I’ve never been able to have good, strong, solid relationships with people who come close to me. Either they end up hurting me, or I end up hurting them. I already told you about how hard it can be to maintain a healthy, meaningful relationship when one person is in the industry and the other isn’t. Short term, it means I can’t get close to people. Longer term, I put up walls to protect myself.”
“What do you mean by ‘walls,’ Rio?”
“I think I have psychological walls which I build to cut myself off from people. That’s how I protect myself, that’s how I keep myself sane. When I rock up on a set to shoot porn, the camera gets to capture my body and my dick, but never my mind or my soul. That’s what I protect.”
“Dude, that’s so sad. I never would’ve known if I never met you.”
Rio took a deep bite of his chicken sandwich. Mayonnaise oozed between his fat, tattooed fingers. “I don’t want to cut myself off from you. Like I said, I like you. But you’re gonna end up hurting me. I know you will, Jay. Everyone does.”
“I won’t hurt you, Rio.”
Rio looked across the top of his new glasses. He spoke softly. “Yes, you will. I don’t believe you, Jay. It’s not just you, I just don’t believe anyone.” He gazed into the middle distance. “I … can’t do this, Jay.”
Rio stood up mid-sandwich and walked away. Jay watched him leave, knowing that in this moment, there was nothing he could say or do to make things better or to bring him back.
Jay finished his lunch and went back to the library. He knew it’d be a strained and difficult afternoon, but at least work kept his confused emotions at bay.
Later that night, after work, Jay lay in bed, reading. He was re-reading Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”, prompted by Rio’s hilarious take on it from earlier in the day. With his mind deep in the darkness of the Belgian Congo, his eyes glanced up from the page and he thought about how Rio might be feeling right now. He picked up his phone to text him. He thought twice. He thought better.