Black and Single Blues

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Keith reflects on Lesli’s imperfections, including that jealous streak

Luis, Keith mused, had given him hell about dropping him off at his doorstep last night lit up like a Christmas tree. Well, too damned bad for Luis. Luis, after all, had somebody to come home to and catch hell from. Keith sat in the kitchen nursing his hangover and a cup of strong coffee, nibbling at a bagel. Remembering a morning not so long ago…

He and Lesli had exhausted each other in bed. Continue Reading →

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Lesli gets blamed for a drunken brawl  

Maria cut Keith and Luis off. After one had downed several double-Jack-rocks and the other polished off as many Margaritas. Luis gave her a look. Keith started to say something. She gave them both a silencing look. Luis paid the bill and they got on their way. Continue Reading →

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Helen in a cab, Keith walks home

He saw Helen to a cab, pretty much poured her into the back seat, made a show to the driver of writing down the license number and gave the guy a huge tip. Then he wondered what the hell to do with himself. Outside of gigs, he didn’t spend a great deal of time in Greenwich Village or, for that matter, lower downtown at all. He’d never forgiven New York City or Bill Graham for tearing down the Fillmore East, just off Second Avenue, where, according to his dad, all the old rock music headliners had held sway. He had in his address book the numbers of a hottie or two. Continue Reading →

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Keith stands his ground — but for what?




Lesli was getting a roll going. He knew he wasn’t going to get a word in edgewise. Not that he had done very much when he had the chance to speak. She stopped roaming around the living room — the way she kept scanning the space, he could’ve sworn she was looking for the heaviest object she could find to brain him with — and stood, hand on hip, the robe coming undone. She didn’t bother retying the belt and simply let him have it, her eyes darkening, glistening. Continue Reading →

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Keith recalls why he has steered clear of relationships




He’d been sitting there, bugging out to Nicole Scherzinger and Busta Rhymes on the Pussycat Doll’s video “Don’t Cha.” Having searched high and low for the uncensored version. Digging it tough, toking, sipping, grinning all over himself. The intercom rang. It was Jesse downstairs, the doorman: “Ms. Hall is on her way up.”

“Oh, no! Stop that crazy witch. Continue Reading →

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Even back in New York, Keith could not escape Lesli’s reach


The only thing Keith hated worse than taking off in an airplane was touching back down in one. He’d done this dozens of times but still couldn’t get used to it. As the ground got bigger and drew closer, Keith wondered, every single time, what would happen if they don’t put the brakes on in time. They did, of course, put the brakes on in time. Every time. Continue Reading →

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In love or not, Keith gets bored just hanging around



Editor’s note: This is the 17th episode of “Black & Single Blues” since the series began in our February 14 issue. Thus far, Dwight Hobbes’ continuation and expansion of a story that originally appeared in Essence magazine has taken Keith Jackson through prolonged reflection on his relationship with Lesli Hall, who remain unaware of Keith’s doubts about their future. Readers who have followed the story from its beginning will find their anticipation amply rewarded in upcoming segments. Readers who have only recently tuned in can access the entire series on the MSR website. Enjoy! Continue Reading →

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Lesli grew under Keith’s skin and into his brain



A long week. Spent in good spirits, but it was long. After leaving Lesli off at the airport, Keith had ridden back to the hotel and gotten his regular routine in gear — looking over the sheets, running fingering scales. Then he’d punched in and, throughout the show, guitaring in the orchestra pit for The Lion King, his mind was on her. The leading lady, portraying Nala, sang “Showlands” with rich, earthen intensity. Reminding him how Lesli made love. Luis, second chair to first percussionist Lola, once in awhile — when not staring at Lola’s Amazon physique — shot Keith a sharp, smirking glance. Luis, Keith thought, could go pee up a rope. As much as Luis loved riding his buddies who fell for one of these broads on the road, Keith knew the guy was himself holding out for a new lady love. Continue Reading →

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Keith had given up on the long-term relationship thing — ‘til Lesli came along



Fear is a funny thing. Not that he was anywhere near laughing. It was just queer. Lesli was the best woman to have happened to him — and scared him to within an inch of his life. Someone, somewhere, might’ve been his mother or an aunt, had said, “Never lose your head over some tail.” Whoever it was had never met Lesli. Beyond question, no one else had been in, as they say, the same league. There’d been Laura, a saintly, tall, broad-hipped, blue-eyed blonde. Could’ve stepped off an ad for suntan lotion. Continue Reading →

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