Ray was bored and it was already late but he couldn’t sleep, he had tried to but he just didn’t feel tired enough to drop off. So he sat on his couch and flicked through the channels but nothing held his interest. He switched the TV off again and leaned back against the couch cushions.
There was a quiet clonking noise and Ray looked to the left to see his turtle trudging around in its tank. He had a brilliant idea how to get rid of his boredom.
“Hey green guy,” he sat up and concentrated on the turtle which was currently munching on a salad leaf in that rather unenthusiastic way turtles had. “I’m going to tell you a bedtime story,” Ray warmed to the idea, “and maybe once I’m done I can finally grab a little shut-eye.”
Ray looked around for inspiration when a sudden idea struck him. “Ha, I know. You get to hear Sleeping Beauty, how does that sound for a bedtime story? Only, you get to hear my version of it because no one ever gets to hear my side of the story. My version is called the Sleeping Mountie… well, it’s more about loneliness than sleep but for Mr. Oblivious it’s still one hell of a wake-up call. Anyway,” Ray settled comfortably on the couch and began.
“Once upon a time there was a man and a woman and they wanted to have a child very much. Only, they never saw each other all that much because he was always away on duty and it was so damn cold where they lived that you had to be careful not to freeze your nuts of, you see how this could be a bit of a challenge. But when Caroline finally gave birth to a beautiful baby boy they were so happy that they wanted to celebrate this in a really big way.”
Ray watched the turtle to see if it was following his story and decided that the way it was chewing on the salad leaf looked definitely like it was hooked.
“They invited all their friends and relations and all the wise women of their kingdom in Freezerville and there were thirteen of those. I know, thirteen ain’t much but there aren’t that many people in a land that looks like a walk-in freezer so they were lucky to have that many. And because they lived in an igloo they didn’t have enough plates so they could only invite twelve,” Ray continued.
“They celebrated Yukon style, meaning d-u-m dumb with lots of fish and cabbage, and all of the wise women presented the child with awesome gifts which is really the only reason why anyone celebrates a birth anyway. It’s not as if the baby can remember. Okay, okay, back to the gifts.
Let’s see, he received exceptional beauty and more knowledge than anyone has a right to possess, an incredibly loving nature, strength and selflessness, courage and dignity and a bunch of other qualities that would take too long to explain.
Anyway, because some of the women meant a little too well he had a bit too much of other stuff. Like the fact that he wasn’t only single-minded but downright stubborn and not only good with words but with a fondness for really, long, drawn out, complicated anecdotes and… well, you know what I mean.”
The turtle obviously thought that Ray’s story was dragging on a bit as well because it started to walk in the other direction.
“Hey stay here, gee! You’re a difficult audience.” Ray wondered vaguely when it had become normal for him to talk to animals but he figured that this was really low scale compared to everything else that he got used to since he was friends with Fraser.
“As I said, he got all of this great stuff when the thirteenth woman – the one they didn’t invite – appeared like a bat out of hell. And she screamed like a banshee that he would lose everyone that was dear to him and live alone far from home in Russia or Wisconsin or somewhere equally gruesome without anyone who loves him – basically a life cursed with loss and loneliness.
That’s women for you, resentful as hell.” Turtle started on another salad leaf which Ray took to mean “been there done that” and continued with his story.
“Naturally, everyone was real shocked. Which I don’t get because what did they expect? But never mind that now, moving on: there was still one of the good women left so she stepped forward to utter her wish for the boy. She couldn’t take back what the bad witch had said, which just sucked big time but at least she could soften the blow a little.
So she said that he would only have to live in Chicago – which is actually a pretty great place to be if you ask me but has, of course, nothing on the frozen wasteland – and that he only had to stay there for a while and that he would find love once he takes a much needed holiday… which will probably be the first holiday of his life, too.
And everything happened just like the old hag had foretold. First, he lost his mother and then his father and than his home because they sent him to Chicago and then he lost his new home to a fire and – this sounds even more depressing when you say it like that – and the only woman he ever had an interest in was a complete psycho who betrayed him and everyone that was important to him.
And then he lost the only real friend he had in Chicago because that was when he decided that he had suffered enough shit and that he would take this holiday after all, thank you kindly… which I am still sure was his first and only one ever but that’s not the point here.
So he goes away for a much needed vacation because hey, loss and grief and more loss and more grief – you get the picture, spells holiday time in big capital letters.”
The turtle was stumping her next round through the tank and Ray thought that it was probably a bit difficult for a turtle to understand the concept of a holiday when it didn’t even know that there was supposed to be anything else.
“And that’s when a deadly handsome man with experimental hair and a devil may care attitude hears the story about the Mountie.
And they tell him that no one expects him to like the guy because he’s just plain weird and there’s loads of other stuff that’s odd like fuck, like, deaf half-wolfs and what have you, that they tell our hero to scare him away, to get him to run as far away as he can to save himself but he is fearless and ever more set on risking his skinny neck to rescue the Mountie from his fate.
And it’s a hard battle, I tell you turtle. We’re speaking of e-p-i-c proportions here. Women fling themselves at the Mountie from all directions but they all fail for one reason or another and there are burning cars and ghost ships and jumping of buildings and voodoo, can’t forget about the voodoo.
But it’s all good ‘cause they’re all trials the hero has to face in order to win the love of the oblivious Mountie and of course because he’s just that cool he prevails and –“
“Is the knight in shining armor coming back to bed any time soon or are there any other damsels in distress that he has to rescue first?” Fraser’s amused voice interrupted him.
Ray turned around and looked at Fraser who was leaning against the doorframe of the bedroom in sleep rumpled clothes, a soft expression on his face. God, he loved this man.
“How long have you been listening? And it’s only Mounties in distress that I’m saving from themselves,” Ray corrected.
“A while,” Fraser said affectionately with a crooked smile.
Ray turned back to the turtle tank.
“Okay, so you already know the ending, right? They lived happily ever after and shagged like bunnies and with a little luck they will even live to see retirement… if the Mountie manages to put a lid on the weird and stops to endanger their lives in wildly bizarre ways.”
Ray stood up and grinned at Fraser. “There, all done.”
Fraser took his hand and pulled him close. “You know Ray it wasn’t actually Prince Charming who rescued Sleeping Beauty. He only succeeded because the allotted time for her slumber had come to an end.”
Ray frowned at this. “Get out! Where’s the fun in that? My version’s definitely better.”
Fraser smiled and kissed him.
“Let’s get you to bed, you deadly handsome man.”
Ray blushed in embarrassment but let Fraser drag him into the bedroom anyway.