After that first night with Lesli, Keith had to admit it: He was in love



Black&SingleBluesCome morning, room service rang at the door. He’d forced his eyes to open, dragged himself out of the bed, staggered across the floor and was about to answer the door before remembering to put his pants on. Snatching one of the complimentary robes from the closet and tossing it on, he’d opened the door, let the cart in, and closed the door in the poor waiter’s face. Then got right back under the covers.

Lesli, half asleep, stretched like a cat, reaching her arms out, not opening an eye. He’d nestled close, letting her arms fall around his neck, her fingernails slightly scratching his back. Whereupon she enveloped him, thighs wrapped around his waist, and breakfast went uneaten.

Around afternoon, the phone rang. Keith reluctantly pulled himself from Lesli’s embrace, the woman cuddled even in sleep — a sign she might be a keeper — and grabbed the receiver. “Yeah?”

“What you mean, ’Yeah’?” Luis. “We gonna split cab fare or you comin’ later? We’re leaving in ten minutes.”

“Holy sh—…uh…” Luis laughed so hard Keith had to hold the receiver away from his ear. Soon as Luis stopped, Keith knew the knucklehead was going to talk smack and cut him off: “Louie, you and 10 minutes both go to hell. Just make sure you hold the damn cab, a’ight?”

Lesli groaned, turning over, sheet falling away to entirely reveal her exquisite form naked as the day she was born. He seriously thought about calling in sick. “On my way”, he’d said into the receiver and hung up with Luis still chuckling.

Keith wondered why God didn’t invent more hours in the day. He needed to rustle the sleeping beauty and get to taking care of business. Looked at his watch. It was going on two o’clock. Some women are at least reasonably good at getting woke up. Most of them, well, no, it wasn’t pretty. You think waking up a hibernating bear is risky?

He’d left her a note and got busy busting his butt to get to rehearsal. He splashed water in the bathroom sink, waved a bar of soap around, and reminded himself to steal the towels. He hustled into his clothes, the first rags he pulled out of his bag, mismatched socks, grabbed his guitar case and was hurrying to the door. “Baby,” she said sleepily, “where you goin’?”

“Work, darlin’. Messed around and overslept.”

She raised up on her elbows. “When you comin’ back?”

“Soon as rehearsal’s over.”

“Can I stay and wait?” Lesli still hadn’t opened her eyes.


“Okay.” She fell back and hit the pillow so hard, he thought it might hit her back. Keith shook his head, marveling at the movement of Lesli pulling the sheet up to her shoulders. There was a natural sensuality about her that he found absolutely fascinating.

He’d finally stopped staring at her and headed downstairs shaking his head. Just like that, he was in a new relationship. And was Luis ever going to give him the business. Well, Luis could go straight to hell, not pass go, not collect $200.

Keith had fairly danced down the stairwell, waltzed into the lobby with a great big Kool-Aid smile spread across his face, and flipped a broadly grinning Luis the bird. “I don’t wanna hear it. Yes, I’m in love. You got something to say about that, I hope you know what you can kiss.”

Luis howled. Gerry, so glad to get the heat off himself about Denise, cackled. Going through the revolving door and piling into the taxi, they were all smiling, in fantastic spirits. These touring Broadway shows were always a gas. The trickiest thing would be figuring out the music director’s ticks. Luis and Gerry had worked with him. They’d pull Keith’s coat.

Soon as Gerry gave the driver directions, both of them turned on Keith. “Well?” they asked, in perfect unison. Luis grinned like a Jack O’ Lantern. Gerry, sitting between them, nudged Keith and asked, “So? How was she?”

Keith had fixed a very satisfied look on the two of them. “Like Helen of Troy on fire. That’s all the details you jackals is gon’ get.”

“Oh, no,” Luis protested. “We want photos.”

“Yeah,” Gerry chimed in, glad somebody else was on the hot seat. “Photos.” Even the driver had to grin at Keith in the rearview mirror.

“Louie, Gerald, y’all can want in one hand, take a dump in the other, and see which fills up first.” At which they’d all had a good laugh.

Settling into the seat, gazing vacantly out the window, he’d ignored his friends, thinking, Yeah.  How about that? I’m in love.


Next week: Lesli grew under Keith’s skin and into his brain.

Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403. 


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