Manny glanced at the clock, another three minutes to quitting time. He shifted in the chair, trying to ease the cramps and stiffness in his legs a bit. The chair was too small for him; chairs were always too small. He flexed his long fingers once and finished transferring the data from the paper invoice to the spreadsheet on his computer screen.
Then, changes in sound all around alerted him the end of the long work day had finally arrived. People were standing in their little spaces, gathering their things and rushing towards the elevator. Manny saved his work, shut down the computer and stood. He took his time, letting the main rush of people from the office get well ahead of him. Manny didn't like to stand in crowds; he stuck out too much, always looking down at the tops of people's heads.
Several times he heard the elevator doors cycle as he moved slowly about his cubical, straightening the stacks of papers, aligning his chair carefully in front of his computer, gathering his things. Finally, it was mostly quiet again and Manny strolled off towards the elevators.
Stabbing the call button with a long finger, he waited patiently, slouched a bit more and studied the floor. He didn't need to think about where he was headed, how his free time would be used, or even what he would eat until the next work period. It was always the same. Ride the elevator to the street level, straight out through the big glass doors in front, turn right and walk one block to the bus stop. Bus number 66 would be along in a few minutes, and then transfer at the 35th street stop. Finally off the bus, turn left and walk two blocks to his apartment building.
Manny turned the key in the lock and stepped into the quiet and dark of his apartment. He walked straight to the television, turning it on first to break the silence, next he went to hang up his coat and place his briefcase neatly on the floor of the closet. Next, to the kitchen, turning on the lights as he went, there he checked that the oven was set at 425F and clicked it to on. Waiting for the oven to heat, he opened cabinets and drawers, assembling the dishes and tools that would be needed for his dinner. The light on the oven door clicked off, indicating it was ready and he opened the freezer, took the box from on top of a tall pile of such boxes and closed the door. He slid the frozen meal into the hot oven and went to watch the news while he waited.
The buzzing of the kitchen timer interrupted the sound of the blond on TV, talking about the latest bombing somewhere in the mid-East, and Manny went to fetch his dinner. He settled again in front of the TV and began eating just as the news finished. He switched channels to start the night's round of sit-coms as he methodically consumed the food, not even noticing that it included roast turkey and mashed potatoes, these dinners all tasted pretty much alike anyway.
Later after some hours of sit-coms and made-for-TV movies Manny gathered up his dishes, turned off the television and went to the kitchen. Flimsy foil tray into the trash, dishes and utensils cleaned, dried and put away, he moved on to the bedroom. Finally, just as he reached to turn on the alarm which would ensure he started the next day on time he recalled that tomorrow was not a work day. Leaving the alarm off, he slid between the clean but worn sheets and closed his eyes.
Bright sunlight streaming through the bedroom window woke Manny the next morning. He stretched and yawned, on Saturdays he allowed himself to vary his schedule a bit, 30 minutes or so, a little early or late to do his shopping and banking did not matter much.
Later, with breakfast finished and the kitchen once again spotless he put on his coat to make the short walk to the mail box. Outside the courtyard was full of children enjoying their day off from school, screaming and running about as children will. Manny retrieved his mail and returned quickly to his apartment.
Today's stack of mail was added to the pile already on the corner of his desk and he hung his coat carefully in the closet again. Settling at the desk, he sorted the mail carefully into two piles. One pile included his paycheck and all the things he must attend to, mostly bills, the other was for advertisements and other unidentifiable clutter that usually stuffed his mailbox. Beginning with the first pile Manny prepared deposit documents for the bank, wrote checks and filled envelopes, each action also produced a careful, neat entry in his personal ledger.
The stack of envelopes was then set carefully aside and Manny began to investigate the second pile of mail. He took his time, examining each piece to see if it held any interest for him before dropping it into the trash bin hidden beneath his desk.
He was almost through the stack when a little folded over flier caught his attention.
The title was "Asylum!"; it listed an address not too far from his bank and suggested that it was a great place for people to go and make new friends, fill normally empty hours with games, music, companionship... Manny considered it for a moment, perhaps he would be able to fit in a stop there after he had finished his banking today. The flier was added to his stack of envelopes and he completed his methodical checking of the junk mail.
Back in his coat, Manny filled his pockets with the outbound mail, bank documents and the flier. He closed and locked the apartment door, setting off on his usual round of Saturday chores.
"Knock, knock, knock."
She yawned and padded barefoot to the door, wondering tiredly who would come calling at this hour.
"Oh, it's you. Give me five minutes." She stepped back to let the man in then locked the door behind him.
He settled onto the sofa, feet encased in expensive shoes finding a home among the fashion mags that littered her coffee table and she disappeared into the bathroom to the sound of running water.
Five minutes later she emerged from the bathroom, her still damp body smelling of soap and barely covered by the towel wrapped about her, paused a moment there a bit uncertainly, watching him chat away on the ever present cell phone.
Finally he looked up, acknowledging her presence and motioned for her to join him on the sofa. She slid on to the sofa next to him, nearly losing her towel in the process, and retrieved a magazine from among the piles on the table. Idly she flipped its pages, wondering how long the call might go on, she was clueless about the subject since he was speaking Italian and that was not one of her languages.
Finally a clue that his conversation was coming to an end, the phone was transferred to the far ear, freeing his closer hand to push the towel aside and squeeze her thigh. She smiled, moved a bit closer and tossed the magazine back towards the table, it overshot the mark and slid off the far side taking half a dozen others with it.
'Ci sentiremo domani.' He clicked the cell to off and added it to the mess on the coffee table.
She stood, letting the towel fall into a heap at her feet and reached for his hand. Words were not needed, he rose and followed her off towards the bedroom, watching the way her ass swayed slightly as she climbed the stairs.
She pushed the rumpled covers aside and stretched out across the bed to wait, a bit impatiently, while he removed his clothes and tossed them in the general direction of the empty chair in front of her dressing table. Watching through half closed eyes she felt her pulse start to quicken, it wasn't that he was that good looking, and his body was nothing to rave about either, still there was something. For her men were mostly business, even if they didn't know that. This one was different, there were some obvious reasons she saw him differently but there was more to it than that. He came and went in her life like clouds passing over the sun, here one minute and gone the next. They were close in a physical way but the workings of his mind, the way he felt about things, if he felt at all even, these things remained a mystery to her. Yet she always welcomed him, she was in fact pleased, excited even, whenever he chose to make an appearance in her world and oddly enough almost as pleased when he left again.
Maybe it was just the unpredictableness of it, the bit of danger and living on the edge it represented to be this close to someone she couldn't either predict or control, or maybe it was the challenge, or perhaps this was love?
Whatever the reason, she was more than ready for him by the time he had finished stripping and turned towards her. The hugeness of his cock standing tall made it quite clear he too was more than ready. Foreplay was not needed and he entered her quickly, silently.
Leaving the bank Manny pulled the flier from his pocket and checked the address again. Yes, he thought, it should be just a few blocks north and east from here, in a quaint older section of the town, where he rarely ventured. Carefully replacing the flier, he set off at his usual brisk pace.
The day was bright and sunny, the streets crowded at first with impatient drivers, horns blasting, and the usual mix of loud smelly trucks and buses. Further along, as he approached his destination, the vehicles thinned and the street seemed almost quiet by comparison. Here and there were also a lot more pedestrians than he was accustomed to, people strolling casually as if they had all the time in the world. He responded to the relative peacefulness of the place, slowing his own pace and looking about a lot more than was his usual custom.
The streets here were lined with trees, many of them protected by short walls, just the right height to sit comfortably and rest, watching this slower paced corner of the world. Many of them were indeed occupied, and he examined their occupants casually as he strolled by. There a young couple, holding hands, chatting earnestly with each other as if the rest of the world did not exist, here an old man studying the pavement at his feet and smoking, and further along a woman perched carefully on the edge of a wall sorting through bags of things.
It was tempting to find an unoccupied wall and join them, perhaps he would. Later.
Arriving at the address specified in the flier he pushed open a door and heard the soft tinkle of a bell in the distance. Stepping in a bit he saw what he imagined was a gentleman's club, of course he had never actually been in such a place, but he had seen many representations on TV and in movies. What Manny could not detect was that it was much like a girl wearing her mother's shoes, a bit awkward and ill fitting. There a TV was placed wrong, it would interrupt conversation, the newspapers on the table were folded too neatly, the books on the shelves pristine and untouched, brightly shining their virginity to the world, and there was a film of dust on the chess set indicating its lack of use.
"Good afternoon, my name is Fred. Welcome to Asylum." The man stuck out his hand and smiled broadly at Manny.
"Over there in the corner, with his nose buried in a book as usual is John."