Barney was feeling a little bit lost. He had been diagnosed with tendinitis in his right shoulder. He was told not to play guitar, or at least play as little as possible. He wasn’t sure what to do with the time that he had normally put into his music and guitar. He had his jazz band The Swingin’ Shards, they had 2 more gigs to play and then a planned layoff had come along. His bass player, Splendido, had to go to Europe for reasons he could not divulge to Barney. Barney knew Splendido would not make up something and lie to him. They were friends. They respected each other both as persons and musicians. So after the show Saturday Barney would be able to lay off the guitar from a professional standpoint but not playing just wasn’t in his fiber. Even now he tried only to play when he was rehearsing with the Shards. He hoped by June he would be better. It was the middle of April now. In June he was heading to Cleveland to work on the next Headwhiz consort CD. Babakar would be in the country for an extended period and as many of the Consort who could make were going to try and get their also. He wanted to be there and to be in shape to play. He didn’t want to let Babakar down. Plus Vladimir had confirmed as had Jean-luc. They were always fun to hit the town with afterwards. Vlad usually led the way while Barney and Jean-luc would follow along. Vladimir had lived in Cleveland once and knew the inns and pubs and bars the best. Even though John McGrail, a songwriter who worked with the Consort, lived there he didn’t go out much. Vlad clearly had superior knowledge of the cities drinking holes.
So Barney had the day to himself. “A bike ride sounds good” he thought or maybe a walk. So Barney go his bike out and waked it down the steps of his apartment. He lived on the 3rd floor and almost never used the elevator. He got out onto the busy New York street and got on and started riding. He wasn’t going anywhere he just wanted movement. If he couldn’t sit inside practicing he would get outside and get some air. He eventually crossed into Manhattan and rode around there for a little bit and then turned and went home. He had been out for a couple hours. He took a shower and opened a beer. It tasted good. It was a cold Bass Ale. Barney’s favorite. He liked to try a bunch of different types of beers but Bass was his stand by. Then the buzzer rang. He walked and spoke into the communicator and asked who it was.
“It’s me Sheryl, can we talk Barney”
The buzzer rang and Sheryl went in and started towards the elevator. When she got off Barney was standing in the door of his apartment looking up the hall at her. She didn’t realize that after he had buzzed her in he’d said “Oh fuck, the bitch has come to haunt me.”
“Hi Barn, is it OK that I popped in unannounced” she asked not really caring what the answer was.
“Sure” Barney lied “I was just drinking a beer, ya want one or a glass of wine or something”
“A wine would be good” and Barney was thinking he was about to be served her ‘whine’. As he uncorked the bottle he’d started with his dinner the previous night she started to speak.
“Ya know Barney, the other night was really fun, I...” and Barney interrupted her “You are wondering why I haven’t called.”
“No not really” she said.
“You aren’t?” he asked baffled.
“No what I was going to say is that it was fun and we should do it again sometime, don’t worry, no strings, just don’t give me anything, ya know. I don’t want a relationship anymore than you do. But I still got my urges”
Barney handed the glass of wine to her and smiled, this was not what he was expecting. He was expecting the whole “You don’t love me do you” crap that he’d gotten from numerous women he’d poked.
“You were not expecting me to say that were you, Barney.” and she sort of chuckled to herself.
“Nope, can’t say I was.”
“You were expecting the whole ‘why don’t you love me shit weren’t you”
“You’re good, do you always read minds so accurately, although I was using the word ‘crap’ instead of ‘shit’.”
“I know it makes me sound slutty but you seemed to have a similar attitude so it could work to both our advantages. Just don’t get pissed off if I do fall in love with someone.”
“How can I accuse you of being slutty without accusing myself ?”
“Great well thanks for the glass of wine, wanna go grab some lunch somewhere. I’ve got the afternoon off so I was gonna do some shopping but I’m hungry”
“Sure there is a great little sandwich shop up the street a bit and they serve beer and wine.”
So as they walked up the street Barney told Sheryl of his tendinitis and how he had to quit playing guitar for a bit. She sympathized and going through both of their minds was “that is extra time to have sex.”