After weeks of circling between sober and hungover, trying to figure out what went wrong between Trevor and him, Jared finally threw the idea of “Karma” into the dustbin. He cleared away all the mess of the apartment, as well as the mess of himself, and spent nearly half of the credits he had earned in this town. He used them to buy a ticket to the Temple of Sacrifice, to put an end mark on his 23 years of virginity and isolation.
‘It’s about time,’ he said and confirmed the payment on his smartwatch.
Just like those two singing sisters in “Frozen”, the gates of fate were opened by guardians. For him. “For the first time in forever.” And contrary to what he had originally thought, this place looked more like the castle from Beauty and the Beast, run-down on the outside, but still spectacular and elegant on the inside, rather than like a random underground kinky SM Hotel. He walked through a place called the Gallery of Sex, where dozens of oil paintings bloomed in their own unique form. They showed cavemen having intercourse with cavewomen beneath a multitude of shining stars, a muscular teenage boy “shooting off the plane”(meaning “boy masturbation” in Chinese slang) in front of the MacBook 2077, male turtles enjoying the eternal bachelor days at the seashore, and TV industry workers shooting their orgy in Sense 8 for the eighth time. Every piece suggested the grand harmony of life itself.
‘Please select your preference, Sir,’ said the Al Butler.
He had waited for him at the terminal of the gallery for a long time. Jared looked around and saw four exquisite doors. They were sapphire, gold, crystal, and white jade to mean straight, gay, bisexual and lesbian.
‘What if I were asexual, Mr Carson?’
He had asked a smart question, or so he thought.
‘Then I guess you wouldn’t have to be here, Sir,’ the butler replied gently. ‘Besides, everybody has a desire for something – truth, love, fame, anything you can imagine.’
Then the butler opened the golden door for him without knowing his so-called “choice.” Four doors and four colours. The gold one was decorated with the sword of Gryffindor from Harry Potter, the skyscrapers from The Great Gatsby, the battle scenes of the Greek god Apollo and the roses of Highgarden from Game of Thrones. He wondered what kind of surprise was behind these cheesy symbols of male reproductive organs. Seconds later, a mixed feeling of satisfaction and loneliness arose within him. The Hall behind it was neither a boring pub nor a hideous wedding banquet. Instead, it was a library without the archmaester. Billions of books were quietly stored on shelves that reached the top of the sky. Young footmen were quietly sweeping the dust, stone plus the kindle, fire dancing with blood. This image had gone beyond all of the trashy VR games Jared had ever played.
‘This is brilliant,’ he said.
There’s a golden rule from Asian Yaoi Culture:
Since the dawn of time, a blonde boy and a black-haired boy have always been the perfect match.
Through thousands of readers, he finally found that perfect guy: short blonde hair, green eyes, barely taller than him, fit and cute. The lad was reading Jared’s favourite book at the corner of the tables: A Song of Ice and Fire: A Clash with Kings.
‘Valar Morghulis.’ Jared greeted him in the old-fashioned way that the characters in the book did.
‘Valar Dohaeris,’ the boy replied with a gorgeous grin. He continued to read the chapter of his one true king: Renly Baratheon with his Knights of the Rainbow.
‘Why do you like Renly?’ Jared said.
‘For his equality, my lord. Nothing comes without a cost.’
That was absolutely true. A straight friend had once asked Jared a similar question. He had replied to Jared, ‘equality and freedom had never been given by the majority who already owned them. They require courage, struggles or even blood. Sometimes, it’s not a bad thing to be too progressive.’
He followed the green light. The boy grabbed his hand and went into an inner room with a lonely sofa. Guided by the green eyes, at last, he was able to kiss this Mr. Right.
While there was only a short distance between their lips, the image was now suddenly frozen, all the lights up. The boy vanished into steam. The room it turned out not to be a bedroom at all. There were dozens of real humans sitting individually, reading something. One guy looked at Jared with a little sympathy.
‘Quite shocking, right? They’re all robots. And we are all the servants now, from this day, until our last day. Do I like you? No. Do I wanna sleep with you? That’s beside the point. Even if you’re as extremely fabulous as Milo Yiannopoulos, super-Republican, freaking intelligent, no one will lift a finger. We are all trapped in this lounge permanently unless someone who truly likes us saves us from this goddamn chaos. After all, “these violent delights have violent ends.”’ And then, this jock returned to read his alt-right newspapers.
Jared thought he was about to spend the rest of his life and die alone in this temple. However, he had always believed that there was a silver lining behind the oncoming storm. He walked to the windows and closed his eyes. He imagined what it felt like to be free, to dance with a better guy; not with the perfect fabricated guy, but with the ones who could dream.
Wait a second, he thought, who is that dowdy man out there standing across the street staring at me beneath the rain?
And there he was. That guy who was taller than him by 30 centimetres, the sole love of his bright, short life. Trevor.
Both boys smiled.
Haoyi Jason Zou