Summary: Five things that don't matter as much as you'd think to Ray Kowalski.
Thanks to lyra_sena and pearl_o.
1. Not Getting Any
The way Ray sees it, most people go through the whole celibacy thing early in life, when they still have pimples and just their hand to keep them company. Then their sex life evens out when they’re in their thirties and they’re getting it on a regular basis. Except, he’s not like most people, never has been, never will be, ask anyone. Ray’s an original, and when most people where busy jerking off in their rooms to the Sears underwear ads in the Sunday paper, he was making it with Stella in her attic, which was bigger than any of the rooms in his house.
So he’s due for a dry spell. It’s karma, fate, kismet, whatever. He was having sex more often and probably better than anyone he knows right up until he got divorced, and for a little while after, too, when both him and Stell were going through the ‘I-want-to-be-alone-but-also-fuck-your-b
Anyway, not getting laid is not the end of the fucking world. Ray always kind of suspected it might be, but turns out it’s like he can finally *concentrate* on everything else. He doesn’t have to worry about what’s the right thing to say, and does his hair look all right, and did he shave close enough today because Stella hates the way his stubble leaves red marks on her skin. Now he can think about *other* things for a change, which is pretty refreshing, it turns out.
Ray can think about his job, and the stupid assholes who sit across from him and think he doesn’t notice they’re lying, but they always are, and more often than not it turns out that sex is what ends up pushing most people to crime anyway. Which is another notch in favor of celibacy, in Ray’s opinion.
And it’s not like he can’t get sex if he wants to; Ray’s a good looking guy. He’s skinny and kind of mean looking and maybe a little bit of a spaz, but he’s got his charm, he knows how to work a conversation, he knows how to make a woman smile, and once you’ve got her smiling, then you’ve nearly got her laughing, and once she’s laughing, she’s yours.
Ray’s just *choosing* not to get laid now. There’s a difference.
Besides, it’s not like his life has *lost* anything because of all the sex he’s not having. Ray is fulfilled. He’s *good* at what he does, and he’s got friends who he likes, and he has an apartment that he doesn’t have to clean every five seconds, and he sure as hell isn’t ever going to find himself in one of those awkward conversations that start with, “Honey, I’m out of tampons” or “So my mother thinks we’re not doing well” or “Hey, is this mascara really yours?”
There are three boxes of old, half-chewed pizza on Ray’s kitchen counter and nobody can make him throw them away until he feels like it. This is what being *really* single lets you get away with.
Anyway, sex is just too complicated. Because you have to go out, and you have to make small talk, and you have to pay for dinner, and you have to hold hands and hope your hand doesn’t get too sweaty, and you have to listen, and then you have to be able to judge which date is THE DATE, and Ray’s never developed those skills and Ray doesn’t want to.
He’s happy the way he is. He’s got a right hand, and he’s got peace of mind, and he’s got the best friend known to man, and a pretty damn impressive collection of porn, so who even *needs* sex, you know?
2. Living Alone
You’d think a guy who’d lived with somebody else his whole life would get freaked out by being alone, but it’s not like that. It’s not like that at all.
Ray’s apartment is his castle, his paradise, his tree-house, his turtle shell. He goes home, and he can unwind any way he wants, and fuck the neighbors, fuck the carpet, fuck the pricey prints of naked women all over the walls that Stell was always so proud of. Fuck the china, and fuck the dinner table, and fuck the dishwasher.
Ray can eat off paper towels and use his fingers and sit around naked and listen to the Talking Heads as loud as his stereo will go and then drink beer until he’s got a row of brown bottles lined up along the edge of the couch and he’s slurring as he curses the Flyers *and* the ref who gave them a power play.
He can scratch his balls any time he wants, and who cares who can see through the window?
Stella had all these weird ass little things throughout their apartment that Ray wasn’t ever actually supposed to use, but were there to collect fucking dust and show people who came over – if people ever came over, which got less and less likely the longer they were married – that Ray and Stella had Class. And Class, apparently, meant having at least one room that you weren’t allowed to go into unless there were strangers around.
Ray uses each and every room in his apartment, and he uses them however the hell he wants. If he wants to jack off in the ‘foyer’? He jacks off in the damned foyer.
It doesn’t bother him that when he comes home, nobody’s there, because it’s basically the same as those last couple of years with Stella. And it doesn’t bother him that the closet doesn’t have any of her suits lined up across from his, because she always took up most of the space and his stuff would end up pressed together so tight it’d be hard to pull any of the hangers off the pole.
He likes sleeping alone. Stella always used to lie on top of him when he was trying to sleep and he’d feel like she was suffocating him, or she’d push him over to one tiny corner of the bed and he’d be lucky not to fall off. Now he’s got the whole mattress to himself and he can spread eagle or do whatever he wants. He doesn’t wake up all hot and clammy from her body being pressed tight against his; he wakes up bright eyed, bushy tailed, ready to start his goddamned day.
Plus, now he can finally hang up the velvet Jimi Hendrix portrait he bought when he was in college. It looks great by the window in the kitchen, no matter what Stella said.
3. Playing Second Fiddle
A lot of guys would be jealous of Fraser. He’s smart, he’s athletic, he’s good looking, he can whittle, he can box, he can recite epic poetry from fucking *memory*, and he’s got some kind of mysterious Canadian pheromone working for him that makes women want to tear off their clothes and rub up against him.
Plus, he’s always on time.
So a lot of guys would be jealous, but Ray’s not. See, it makes Ray’s job easier, working with Fraser. Just follow the big red righteous guy, and whip out the handcuffs, maybe shoot a couple of people, and you’re done.
Granted, a lot of times, there’s the whole ‘near death encounter’, but the point is that Fraser being good at everything makes it so that Ray doesn’t have to be, which is comforting, kind of.
Fraser grew up in one of those places where there wasn’t anything to do *but* learn to be good at everything. There probably wasn’t another kid his age within, like, nine hundred miles of ice and snow and grizzly bears and that kind of shit, so Ray doesn’t begrudge him anything.
The time Ray spent feeling up girls and stealing cigarettes and getting drunk behind the gym with his friends, Fraser was learning how to ride horses and tango and parasail and all the other crazy weird ass shit he knows how to do.
It’s sort of sad, but Ray’s never going to say that to him. The guy’s got his pride, and Ray isn’t about to try and comfort him for something he probably doesn’t even think is a fault.
How could being perfect be a fault, right? That’s how Fraser would see it. That’s maybe how most of the world would see it.
Most of the world would look at Ray and see a skinny two-bit loser, and feel bad for *him*, especially next to Fraser who plays Super-Cop and Super-Canadian to the upright, outdoorsy hilt.
Most of the world doesn’t know them, though, so most of the world doesn’t know shit.
Ray knows, though. So he sits back, and he watches Fraser jump from moving cars and through glass roofs and into swimming pools filled with sharks or whatever stupid thing Fraser’s going to do next because Fraser can do everything, and he makes his arrests, and when everyone congratulates Fraser on being a genius, a super-hero, a stud, whatever, Ray’s not jealous.
Not even a little bit.
4. Being Queer
Sexual crises are supposed to happen when you’re in your twenties. That’s what everyone tells you, that’s what all the movies are about, that’s why everyone thinks all women have some kind of hidden college-lesbian experience, right?
Except, Ray’s nearly forty, and he just had his, and truth is – it doesn’t really change a damn thing.
So, turns out, Ray likes guys. He likes women, too, because he’s not blind, and he remembers what it’s like to have sex with somebody who’s soft and round against him, but a lot of times these days when he’s jacking off, he’s jacking off to the image of a body that’s not so soft, not so round, not so womanly.
He’s queer. Big fucking surprise, right? Except it isn’t, really, because it doesn’t matter that much, because Ray is still not getting any.
He’s still not *choosing* to get any, that is.
Which makes everything pretty fucking theoretical, but all his theoretical fucking has been with men these days, and it’s not like it’s rocking his world or anything. It’s not like it makes him any less *Ray*, it’s not like he’s wearing silk shirts and hip huggers.
He’s still a cop. He’s still a guy. He’s still as weird as he was before, and this isn’t even nearly as weird as his fear of squirrels, which is mainly based on the possibility of rabies which he never wants to get because he read Old Yeller and it left an impression.
So maybe he wants to suck cock. Big deal. People suck cock all over the world every day. People suck cock in Chicago every day, people suck cock in *Canada* every day, maybe even Fraser’s sucked cock and if he has he was probably *amazing* at it because he’s good at everything.
And so what if maybe Ray has this new habit where he takes off all his clothes and lies in front of the television watching hockey over the phone with Fraser, and silently jerks off? It’s his house, isn’t it? It’s his dick, isn’t it? He’s not hurting anybody. It’s not like he’s *forcing* himself on Fraser or anything, and he always hangs up before he comes, so Fraser doesn’t have to listen to him losing his mind or anything.
Ray’s liked guys for about three weeks now.
Or, maybe he’s always liked guys, but only three weeks ago he realized it because he and Fraser’d both gotten caught in the rain, and Fraser didn’t want to get pneumonia or stink up Ray’s house with wet wool. He watched Fraser take off his Henley, standing in Ray’s bedroom, and change into a pair of sweats Ray got him, and Ray could see through the open door and there was water trickling down from Fraser’s wet hair. It went over his neck, down his back, across all that skin, those muscles, everything, and Ray was tenting his boxers, and it was Fraser’s fault.
Not that Ray holds it against Fraser, or blames him or anything. These things happen. Besides, it isn’t like Fraser is the only guy Ray’s attracted to all of a sudden.
There are other guys. Most of them are famous and play the guitar and wear leather pants, and some of them are dead now, but they were still *guys* so they still count.
Anyway, what the hell does it matter, right? If Ray’s not having sex, then gay, straight, queer, llamasexual – it’s all the same difference. Doesn’t matter.
Besides, Sid Vicious probably sucked cock.
5. The Fucking Tundra
Plus, the only color anywhere is the stupid orange hat that Fraser wears so that Ray can find him anywhere, and the dogs’ eyes, which freaked Ray out in the beginning because what kind of animal that isn’t an albino or possessed or something has eyes like that? The dogs are cool though, and Fraser’s hat is reassuring whenever Ray sees it bobbing along in front of him like Fraser’s head is a buoy.
Ray’s body doesn’t remember what it’s like to be clean at this point. It’s not like he’s fussy or anything, but he’s always liked taking showers, feeling good, that kind of thing. The layers of dried sweat on his skin now do not bear speaking.
And the food? The food is almost as bad as the cold. It’s re-constituted seal fat and pinecones and herbal ginseng tea made with melted snow. The food is a freak show.
But when Ray wakes up, Fraser’s smiling at him from like a heartbeat away, his hair silly and spiky over his forehead, and his hands are big on Ray’s back, and he says, “Come here, Ray,” and even his breath in the morning is *perfect*.
Fraser kisses him easy and slow in the mornings and playful and happy in the afternoon and sexy and hard at night. Ray’s got Fraser, and it’s good, it’s so good.
He’s also got snow, and frostbite and lips so chapped they’re like a Greek tragedy. There are about nine million things that could go wrong every day and lead to their slow, excruciatingly painful deaths.
Who cares if it’s the fucking tundra? Ray’s got *Fraser* here, with his orange hat, and his Mountie smile, and his warm, wet mouth, and there isn’t enough snow in the world to make Ray mind that.