October 17, 2002

Rod Ryder. The saga(y) begins.

Rod clenched his jaw. Of all the parts of his body that were clench-enabled, it was his least favourite one. To clench. Jaws were, in his opinion, much more fun when they were open, or at least vigorously and rhythmically returning to an open state.

But still, he clenched. And his balls ached. It was not a good day.

Rod stared at the teller in front of him. The teller stared back, expertly it seemed. Rod shook his head, sighed, and turned around, affording him both an air of aggrieved exasperation, and a chance to get a look at the queue of people behind him.

"Look, sir, I can't help you. If the computer says the cheque hasn't cleared, then it hasn't cleared. You'll have to wait for the funds to become..."

Rod shushed the teller with three geometrically precise, practiced, and efficient moves of his hand, without taking his eyes off the boy four people down in the queue. The ball-ache intensified, but in the good way.

Prior to arriving at the bank from Hades (not, Rod reflected, that that was any kind of distinguishing characteristic to set it apart from its competitors), he had taken sufficient time to ensure that the Ryder grooming distinction was, well, distincti veve. Yes, it was only a bank. But as always, venturing out into the public eye required – as always – a certain sartorial preparedness lest an unexpected assignation befall him. Or he befell it. And after 34 years skimming this plane of existence, Rod knew that the delightfully unexpected was most pleasurable when you expected it all the time.

Rod glanced again at the queue behind him, and appraised the latest potential assignation, swiftly followed by an appraisal of his own expectations. Ah, yes.

He smiled. This seemed to give the teller new resolve. Damn, thought Rod. Save the charm for something with a reward at the end of it.

The teller had launched into something or other about cheque procedures. This only served to remind Rod of the reason for his CK-cosseted testicular discomfort – Czech Procedures. 85 minutes of militaristically scripted, hopelessly idealistic, superfluously subtitled, masculine carnality. Perfect. Rod reviewed the third scene in his head, whilst nodding and feigning interest in the teller's fumbling efforts to provide customer service. He'd watched Czech Procedures twice already. Well, two and a half times, at which point the remote had become sticky, and it had gotten late. In addition, he'd gotten sore.

As if triggered (oh, the irony) by the memory, a lingering twinge emanated from down south. And then settled once more into a dull throbbing ache.

Eeny, meeny, miney, mo...

Rod reached down and adjusted the left one awkwardly, not taking too much care to hide it from the teller. He hoped it would bring about a speedy end to his banking experience. It was honestly the worst deposit he'd ever made: he was getting absolutely no satisfaction from anyone but himself, he was having to endure inane post-fiscal coitus banter, and worse – he suspected he was being screwed. His memory pressed rewind.

"There, I think I've cleared that up for you. Mr Ryder? Are you satisfied?"

The teller, having completed his explanation of fiduciary restraints, beamed at Rod with the grin of the manically cheerful, the kind of facial rictus employed for 45 minutes by out of work actors on any given infomercial.

Rod assumed the teller was referring to the explanation about cheques, but he answered in the affirmative anyway. In the absence of a skilled partner, one has to be responsible for one's own satisfaction.

That reminded him: that guy four positions behind him in the queue. He wondered how quickly and deftly he could get rid of the intervening humanity. Rod hated long-distance relationships.

And having a good man right behind you was its own reward.

Like a well-oiled Alaskan coastline, Rod's seduction glands oozed into effect. He retired to the strategy room, which in this case was one of those little side tables banks have, upon which are gathered all the forms for various transactions, complete with attached pens. (Rod hated those forms. Or rather, he hated having to use them. Whenever he had to complete one at the bank, he would always fill in the absolute minimum – which he reckoned was his signature – and then hand it over to the teller to complete after he told them what he wanted. The subsequent expressions on their faces, over the years, had become strangely comforting. A bit like towelling when you haven't used enough fabric softener. Rod hoped he never learned how to complete a CD2-7A.)

A pile of blue CW5(2c) provided convenient cover activity while he thought. Rod's right hand began his favourite banking pastime: using a black pen to alter the small computer account numbers printed on the bottom of each of the forms (the numbers which, up until now, were meant to provide speedy and efficient electronic processing of transactions by computer. Rod's bank was not doing well. He had a brief nagging feeling that his cheque woes were tied into this somehow, but the seduction neurons, sensing deserters in the ranks, quickly pulled his brain back from that abyss of pecuniary perceptiveness.)

The queue, in defiance of all expectations, moved forward one person. The zombie teller notched up another victory on his money belt. Rod's brain notched up a gear.

Target acquired. Locking on. Analysing physical attributes. Subject is male ... need we continue?

(Rod's inner voice fancied itself a bit of a wag. The internal dialogue was fascinating, and would have kept quite a few psychiatrists busy for many years, had Rod felt that that was the best way to spend time on his back.)

...is male, approximately 6 foot tall, late 20s, short black hair, clean shaven, clean cut...

... Subject appears to be sober. Downgrading estimated chances of success.

Rod made a mental note to fight back with recreational narcotics that weekend.

Subject has acquired eye contact. Your turn.

Rod blinked. Then the unthinkable happened. With just one person in front of him, Clean Cut left the queue. And walked over to Rod.

"God, I'm so dumb...!", Clean said, as he reached past Rod for the table.

(Rod fervently hoped so – it made things so much easier.)

"...I've been standing in that queue for 10 minutes, and I didn't realise that I needed to fill in the form first. Doh!"

Clean accompanied this last admission with a big ‘aw-shucks' grin, and proceeded to fill in a freshly-violated CW5(2c). A small part of Rod's conscience, lacking influence, though not a sense of cause-and-effect, suddenly thought of a second reason to hope Clean was rich, but was rapidly out- manoeuvred by an unholy alliance of testosterone and serotonin.

"Yeah, banks suck."

As pick-up lines go, Rod wasn't especially proud of this opening gambit, but, given the venue, it easily surpassed "Come here often?", and "Can I buy you a drink?"

Clean nodded, head still down, writing. Rod inspected the top of head, and rapidly filed -- against future disappointment -- Fantasies #309, #310 and #311.

"My name's Rod."

"Scott – call me Scotty," said Scott, and promptly thereby provided material for #312. He shook Rod's proffered hand, and then continued completing his application for abuse by the bank (block letters only, please).

  :::  a Rod Ryder ritual performed at 10:31 AM   :::