Jensen Barnaby is a Little Cross with You

by Cameron Burry

Jensen Barnaby doesn’t like you. If there is one thing that he could say directly to you right now, it would be just that; he doesn’t like you, so stop acting like he will tolerate your incessant need for affirmation. Jensen Barnaby thinks that you’re vapid, odorous and possibly Korean. Of course, he has nothing against Korean’s specifically, but he has read a lot in the news about how nefarious they can be, so frankly, he’s a little bias. Please know that Jensen Barnaby is not a racist.

Well, except against Italians, but that’s just because his father’s mother came from an Italian family, and Jensen Barnaby was never thrilled with how loud they were.

Jensen Barnaby is smarter than you. At least, that’s what he tells himself as he shuffles down the hallway after you tried to say something nice to him. Or, maybe you said something snarky, causing his sharp nose to point towards the ground, mumbling how meager your IQ is. Jensen Barnaby takes solace in the fact that, though you might not actually be as dumb as he says, at least you walk out of the bathroom with a little strand of toilet paper on your shoe, while he does not.

Jensen Barnaby checks his shoe.

Jensen Barnaby loves Jane. You don’t know Jane. You probably wouldn’t know her if she flashed you. But Jensen Barnaby knows her. And Jensen Barnaby loves her. Even though he has never met her and does not call her, he loves her more than he loves life itself.

Jensen Barnaby works downtown with all of the other suits. He doesn’t wear a suit though. In fact, he hates suits. He once told a tailor that his job stopped being relevant in the 1800’s because the tailor asked if he wanted a new tie. The fact of the matter is that Jensen Barnaby does not like ties. He does not like slacks. He does not like sport coats. He much prefers to wear jeans and a comfortable shirt. Of course, this often gets him heat from the other suits, who prefer that Jensen Barnaby conform. They always tell him that it would be much more appropriate if he wore something that looked less like an advertisement for a comic shop.

Jensen Barnaby tunes them out and plays Solitaire on his phone.

Jensen Barnaby works in an office that does something really important. But, frankly, he forgot what it was a couple months ago, so don’t ask him in front of his supervisor, because that could get really awkward for everyone.

In all honestly, Jensen Barnaby is very good at what he does. He may not like that he is very good at what he does, but it’s true nonetheless. It’s something with computers, but if you ask him to explain it, he will call you a moron and tell you to take a computer class at the local community college so that you can at least start to understand how he checks his email.

Jensen Barnaby can be a little cross at times. But that doesn’t change how much he loves Jane. If I were you, I wouldn’t mention Jane around Jensen Barnaby. He doesn’t really like talking about her. He loves thinking about her, though. It’s really the only way that he is able to get through the stress of whatever his job is.

Jensen Barnaby likes salads for lunch. He usually takes his with Ranch dressing, but it often ends up being more Ranch than salad. He doesn’t care. Jensen Barnaby has a decent metabolism, so it doesn’t really matter what he eats.

At least, that’s what he tells himself. The truth is—and don’t tell him I told you this—but the truth is that Jensen Barnaby has gained a few pounds since college. His mother told him that he needed to slow down on the soda, but he couldn’t help it. He loves soda. Even though he has a salad for lunch, the Big-Gulp from the convenience store by his house kind of negates all of those greens. And the fact that he gets one most mornings is certainly not helpful to the overall state of his health.

Jensen Barnaby would eat better if Jane told him to. In fact, he would do most anything that Jane told him to. He might even stop being so cross all the time. It might not be easy for him, but he would certainly try.

Jensen Barnaby sits in his office one afternoon, sipping the Big-Gulp that he got from the convenience store by his house. It’s nearly gone, but it doesn’t matter, because he plans on leaving work early today. He wants to read a new book tonight, and intends to stop by the coffee shop down the street from the parking garage to get a large cup of coffee to help him stay awake tonight. He has to put espresso in his coffee because all of the soda has built up his tolerance for caffeine.

His boss comes into the office to ask about something that Jensen Barnaby was supposed to have done by the end of the day. Jensen Barnaby tells him that he finished it earlier that morning and that his boss needed to check his email. His boss scowls, but says nothing because he knows that there are not very many people that could do Jensen Barnaby’s job. He doesn’t like that Jensen Barnaby is so cross with everyone, but there is not much that can be done about it, so he grumbles and leaves Jensen Barnaby’s office.

Jensen Barnaby is really cross with everyone except for Jane. Of course, he has never met Jane, so that would mean that he is cross with everyone except for the people that he has never met. But, if he were to meet you, he would probably be cross with you.

Jensen leaves his office at 3:22pm. He usually stays until 4:30pm, but he ducks out before anyone notices. By 3:30pm, most everyone in the office is in a coffee coma, so they do not notice much of what he is doing. By 3:29pm, he is on the street and walking towards the coffee shop that serves his favorite coffee blend. Jensen Barnaby does not drink coffee that often, but when he does, he likes it to be medium bold with some espresso. This is because he thinks that medium bold is just strong enough to keep him alert, while not strong enough for the espresso to take the coffee taste overboard. He views it as sort of a middle ground for coffee. He also is aware that “Middle ground,” is a coffee pun, but he Jensen Barnaby does not like puns, so try not to make one.

It’s 3:36pm and Jensen Barnaby is standing in line at the coffee shop. He can’t see the barista. He thinks it’s a girl, but there are too many people ahead of him. He is getting very cross with all of the people between him and the barista, but he stifles his agitation and starts playing solitaire on his phone. One by one, each of the patrons get their coffee and leave the shop until finally, he is next in line. Jensen Barnaby puts his phone away and crossly steps forward to make his order of a large, medium bold coffee with some espresso in it.

But, when he steps forward, he suddenly forgets everything. He forgets how he got here. He forgets where he works. He forgets what kind of coffee he likes. He forgets that he is going to read a new book tonight. He even forgets to be cross.

Because, standing behind the counter, waiting for him to take his order is Jane.

Jane is beautiful with chestnut hair that was tied up in an elegant, curly pony tail that reminded Jensen Barnaby of a show-horse’s tail when they bounce into the arena. She has a smile that melts silver and eyes that reminded him of that feeling you get on the last day of school when the final bell rings and you run home to three months unencumbered by pointless algebra homework.

Jane asks if she can help Jensen Barnaby as he stands, entranced her scent—roses and cinnamon. You wouldn’t think that they would blend together, but for Jensen Barnaby, it is the only scent that he wants to smell for the rest of his life.

He asks her name and she says that it’s Iris because her father liked the flower. Jensen Barnaby asks for his coffee and sits in the coffee shop for the rest of the night, glancing up to see what Jane is doing every now and then. Jane walks over to him at the end of the night and tells him that they are closing, so he would have to leave. Jensen Barnaby nods and gets up to leave.

Jensen Barnaby turns back around and asks her what she was doing the next night. Jane smiles politely and asks why he wanted to know.

Jensen Barnaby wants to tell her that she is the most beautiful woman that he had ever seen. He wants to tell her that her hair reminded him of a show horse’s tail when they bounce into the arena. He wants to tell her that smile could melt silver and that her smile reminds him of that feeling that he got on the last day of school when the final bell rings and he ran home, unencumbered by pointless algebra homework.

But Jensen Barnaby cannot bring himself to tell Jane. He shuffles away from the coffee shop  that night and returns home.

Jensen Barnaby is a little cross with you. But, if he were to be honest with you, it is not your fault that he is so cross.

Category: Fiction, SNHU Creative Writing