secret men's business

4

Roy calls Joël and asks him to meet him at the gym. Alone. Secret Men’s Business. Joël turns up in his little shitbox car half an hour later, by which time Roy has already run the equivalent of half way to Appaloosa Plains on the treadmill. He doesn’t want to think too much about what he’s trying to outrun. He tells Joël about Sonia locking him out. Joël screws up his face.

Joël: Shit, dude. That’s rough. What are you going to do?

Roy: I’m going to go and see my lawyer tomorrow, do everything properly through the courts. I should have started the process weeks ago but I kept putting it off because…I dunno. Denial? Admitting my marriage is a failure? You know I don’t do failure, dude. It’s lucky I’ve got Naomi to apply balm to my poor bruised ego. Otherwise I’d probably have to be committed, you know what I’m saying?

Joël: Dude, we ought to be getting drunk. What are we doing here?

Roy: I can’t get drunk. I’ve got to keep my dick hard and my mind razor sharp. Why do you want to get drunk? Don’t tell me Mia’s finally woken up to what a loser you are?

Against his better judgement, Joël tells him about Anita turning up at The Grind on Sunday night. He expects Roy to make his usual disgusted, smartarse comments but instead he looks pensive.

Roy: I never understood what kept you going back to Anita. Not until I’d experienced that kind of passion for someone myself. But now I get it. It’s worth giving up everything for, that feeling. All these years, I never knew. Fuck. To think I might have gone through life never, ever knowing. Dude.

Joël nods and frowns, concentrating on the bag. He’s reminded of when Roy lost his virginity. He was brimming with excitement and awe, just like he is now. He must have crapped on about it for three or four days. For the handful of people left in their year that didn’t want to murder him it was exhausting.

Roy: It’s not even about the sex. It’s the intimacy. You know what I’m saying? It’s the way she looks at me. Like no one else exists in the entire universe.

He throws a punch at the bag, but he’s not really paying attention, gazing off into the middle distance with a dopey look on his face. His fist connects with Joël’s cheekbone.

Joël: WHAT. THE ACTUAL. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-.