Friday, November 9, 2007

Relief Is At Hand

Once Wotan and Loge had descended to the depths of Nibelheim, Frank O’Connor (whose professional duties for the evening were now over) locked the door to the press room and headed home. After passing through the revolving door in the Met’s north lobby, he strode across Lincoln Center Plaza, turned left and walked north along Broadway.

Passing the Juilliard School of Music, O’Connor crossed West 66th Street as soon as the light changed and anxiously made his way through the familiar entrance to Tower Video. Frank stopped here often.

So often, in fact, that most of the sales clerks knew him by name.

Initially, Frank browsed through the section of the store which featured old movie musicals and romantic classics from the 1940s. After selecting copies of two of his favorite films (Now, Voyager and Flying Down to Rio) he headed for the adult films, where the selection process would be infinitely more difficult.

From September to May – the months during which the Metropolitan Opera was in season – O’Connor led a lifestyle which was mercilessly celibate. Like many workaholics, making love to himself in front of his VCR was the 38-year-old marketing director’s only sexual outlet. His work left precious little time for dinner dates or bar crawls. Even if someone had shown the slightest bit of interest in hopping into bed with him, Frank probably would have been too tired to get it up.

After several minutes of scanning the racks for something new, he grabbed three more boxes and headed for the check-out counter. Thank God for the bastard who invented VCR machines, he thought. Without that man’s help, I’d be crawling the goddamn walls.

With a vacant look on his face, Don, the clerk on duty, handed O’Connor a receipt on which the cash register had printed the exact time of his video rental: Saturday, March 7. 1987 -- 9:38 p.m.

Carrying his five videocasettes in a bright yellow plastic bag, O’Connor left Tower Video and headed toward his apartment, stopping at one of the late night Vietnamese fruit stands on Broadway to pick up some groceries. If the video worked its magic, Frank would be relieved of his sexual frustrations and sound asleep by midnight. Maybe, if God showed some mercy, he’d even be able to sleep late the following morning!

Next: We Meet In The Shadows

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