“So,” Sandy said pulling a pair of cycling shoes out of her bag, “Try these on, will you? They were George’s and they’ll snap right into his pedals.”
Bryan complied, stood, wiggled his toes and said, “They seem to fit real well. Yeah, they should work great.”
“Great. So, what should we do? We need to get my bike, get your wheel and get a key made. And you need to be back here by what, eleven?”
“Eleven thirty,” Bryan answered.
“So, two hours. Not much time. Here’s my thought. We grab your bike, drive back to my place, get my Ruby, go to the bike store, get your wheel, have a key made, do our ride and then have you home in time for bed. Sound good?”
“What kind of in time for bed?” he asked.
“Probably just the sleep kind, sorry. Two hours isn’t much time.”
“For sex!?” he asked in mock horror.
“Ha, ha. Come on, get your bike gear, grab the blue bike and let’s go, okay?”
“Yep,” he answered, going to her, kissing her and heading back into his bedroom to grab the Giant. Bryan gathered up his belongings and they made it out of his apartment in record time. “Okay. I have my cycling clothes on under here, I figure if we’re going to ride I might as well be kitted out. Where do you want to ride? Here or down your way?”
“Hmmm. Great question,” she answered. “Do you think it makes sense to get my bike and then we can just ride back here leisurely? I can ride home on my own at my own pace.”
“Yeah. That should work great. What about my wheel? Forget it?”
“No, we can pick it up and put it in the trunk, that way it’ll be there next time I’m up this way.”
“Okay. So head to Morgantowne, grab the wheel, scoot to your place and then ride back?”
“After we stop and get the key made. There’s an Ace Hardware just south of 42nd Street on Center Point Road where we can get a key made, okay?”
“If we left the key to another day we might have time for other things,” he said raising and lowering his eyebrows quickly.
“You are persistent, and tempting. But I am the Gate Keeper even if you are the Key Master and I say probably not. Maybe tonight? If not we have all day tomorrow. I‘m willing, just the timings not good.”
“Got that one! ‘Ghost Busters!’ Okay, okay,” he said, putting the blue bike on the rack, “I’m just teasing. Sort of. Later is fine. Okay, ace, let’s get to Ace.”
“’Whatever you do, don’t cross the streams!’ Okay, wheel, key, home, ride. ‘We’ve got a full tank of gas, a half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark out and we’re wearing sunglasses!’
Bryan’s blank stare was more than Sandy could bear and she screeched, “Nothing! Just when I thought we were going to have a chance,” shaking her head. ”Let’s go!”
Bryan got in the car, Sandy removed her garage door opener from its perch on her sun visor and tossed it into her glove compartment and as she pulled out on to Blairs Ferry he asked, “What was that last one? And why’d you move the door opener?”
“’Blues Brothers.’ I saw it in the theatre when I was six. Told my parents I was going to, ‘Herbie Goes Bananas’ with a friend but it was sold out. They found out. Spanking plus grounded. It wasn’t my fault, but there it is. I mean, I wanted to see, ‘Herbie Goes Bananas.’ In any case I watched, ‘The Blues Brothers’ again when I was in college. Much funnier at eighteen than at six!
”And I move the opener whenever I’m driving home. I should really do it every time I put a bike up top but sometimes I get lazy. Helps prevents broken bikes.”
“Broken bikes? Oh. Ohh! Got it! I don’t know Herbie, but I do Jake and Elmo. I just didn’t catch the reference.”
“Elmo!? Elwood, Bryan, Elwood! Oh, Lord, forgive him!” she said with a laugh and a squeeze of his hand.
They caught a green light at Center Point but missed the one at Council Street. The parking lot was empty on the south side but full on the north. “That must be where the employees park,” Cassie said as she backed into a spot on the southwest side of the lot. “Let’s go, partner! Ride, ride,” she laughed, getting out of her seat.
They walked into the building using the southern door and made their way over to the service department. A youngish looking man wearing a name tag that said ‘Brad’ walked up from behind them and asked, “Can I help you with something?”
“Yes, please,” Bryan said. “I’m here to pick up a wheel.”
“A new one or a repair?”
“Pretty sure it’s just a repair. I dropped it off Monday and I got a message that it was done. It’s only like twenty three dollars and they said it’d be a lot more than that to replace it.”
“Okay,” Brad answered. “What’s your last name?”
“Tiernan, with a T.”
“Okay. I’ll go get that for you,” he answered and walked back into the service department.
The young man who had checked Bryan’s wheel in when he dropped it off looked up from his work bench and caught Bryan’s eye. “Oh, hey, uhm, Bryan! How you doing? That wheel turned out real good, I don’t think you’ll have any trouble with it.”
“Oh, great, Joe. How are you? That’s good news.”
“You must be glad that winters finally over. Pretty sure we won’t get any more snow now that we’re a week into April. Hey, have you ever thought of buying a Fat Bike to commute on in the winter?” Joe asked. “They’re great in the snow.”
“No, I haven’t,” Bryan answered as Brad walked up to the counter with the wheel.
“Hey, Brad. You should show Bryan that Fat Cooker we have on sale. He’s an all year commuter.”
“Oh, wow,” Brad said. “They’re fantastic. Let me show you one and then I’ll ring you up,” he said, placing the repair wheel next to the checkout counter.
“Wait!” Sandy interjected. “We’re kind of in a hurry today. Can you show him another time?”
“Oh, sure. Sorry. Total’s twenty three fifty four, please.”
“Here you go. Twenty five and five cents,” Bryan answered, pulling coins from his wallet’s change pocket.
“Okay. Your change is $1.51. You should look at the Fat Bikes. I got one last fall and I love it. It’s a blast. Cooker’s on sale, ten percent off.”
“How much is that?” Bryan asked.
“It’s down to nine hundred. It’s sweet.”
“Oh. Well, maybe when I come back in I can look. Thanks.”
Brad picked up the wheel and handed it to him. “You’re welcome. Thank you!”
As they were leaving Sandy asked, “How long is it on sale?”
“Just till they’re gone. We’ve got them on clearance. Kind of a winter bike, you know?” the salesman asked.
“Okay. Thanks, guys. See you, Joe.”
“Yeah. Bye, Bryan. Don’t let anybody crash into you.”
“Okay,” Sandy said as she pulled out of her space. “We’ll get a key made and then head to my place. That should give us about forty minutes to ride.”
“Cool. A thousand dollars on a Fat Bike. That’s a lot of money,” Bryan mused.
“Well, yes and no. My Ruby was about two and a half. You get what you pay for. You’ll find it’s easier to spend money when you have it.”
“Yeah, especially since I don’t do credit cards,” he replied with a wink.
The Ace Hardware was less than a mile from Morgantowne. Sandy led them to the key kiosk where an older man was stocking shelves. “Help you?” he asked.
“Yes, please,” Sandy replied with a big smile. “Would you please make a copy of this,” she asked, removing a key from her ring and handing it to him, “and also his?” she added pointed to Bryan with her thumb.
“House keys, huh? Sure, sure. No problem. Shouldn’t take ten minutes for the pair,” he answered as Bryan handed his over. “You should be done in a jiffy. Give me ten.”
“Great. Thank you.”
“Sounds like you from this morning,” Bryan whispered in Sandy’s ear.
She cocked her head and looked at him, silently asking for an explanation.
“’Give me ten’? Could be a drill instructor.”
“Ah. Got it. You know, I have George’s old mountain bike just collecting dust. That’s a Fat Bike, isn’t it? I could loan you that for winter commuting.”
“That’s very generous. That might work better than Ol’ Red. I think his Cannondale is way too little for me but for a two mile ride that shouldn’t really be a problem but it’s not a Fat Bike, it’s a mountain bike.”
“What’s the difference?”
“Size. Mountain bike tire might be two or two and a half inches wide while Fat Bike tires are twice that size. They make studded knobbies for both so I think the old Cannondale might work great. But you can’t just give it to me. I have to pay you for it.”
“I said loan, not give,” she answered.
“I heard you. Then I just need to ‘rent’ it. I’m not a charity case.”
“Alright,” the Ace man said as he handed them a work order slip and laid the keys on the counter top. “Keys are ready. You can pay for them up front. You two have a nice day now.”
Sandy took the keys and said, “Thank you,” handed one set to Bryan and put one set on her key ring. “That’s a key to my front door and the door from the garage. You can get in without waking me up that way, plus I usually like to lock the door from the garage into my house so now I can. Thanks for trusting me with this, Bryan. I don’t take it lightly,” she added as the cashier rang them up.
“No. Neither do I,’” Bryan agreed. “Other than my super you’re the only person who has a key to my place. It feels kind of nice to have somebody else who can get in.”
“Trust. It’s a great thing when it’s earned. Okay! Next stop my house and the little ruby Ruby!”