Keith knows what he wants but not how to get it


How in the hell do you get someone to want you back? Keith was always a firm believer that you can’t make someone want you. Which is why devastatingly gorgeous women never drove him quite as crazy as they did other guys in this line of work.

You ran into them all time. If you developed a crush on one and didn’t know how to get over it when she didn’t have one on you, you were going to make yourself insane every time you saw her. Especially when she was with another guy — or, for that matter, a woman.

A cover girl he knew from the theatre district made his pulse run hot. But he wasn’t the least bit interested. He learned to live with it.

This time was different. Lesli had wanted him once. And, now that he thought about it, he wouldn’t’ve got so mad if she didn’t still want him. That didn’t mean, however, she was going to take him back. She was stubborn enough to hold out until that want died.

So, what was he going to do? It wasn’t about just re-interesting some casual bed partner, taking her someplace nice for dinner, out to see a good show, and you’re back in it with a good chance to win it. Lesli’d left angry as a hornets’ nest.

If he called, she might hang up on him. After giving him a fresh cussing out. Well, maybe not. One thing, she wouldn’t cuss him out over her work phone. His spirits were about to brighten when he realized, well, she just might not take the call and have her assistant brush him off.

Getting some air turned out to be a lengthy undertaking. He was deciding whether to go further uptown or maybe go down to the Village when he heard, “Hey, Keith!” He looked up and there was Ginger coming up out of the park with that jaunty strut and sunny smile.

“Hey, girl,” he called back. “Where you been hiding?”

“Europe,” she answered blithely, casually, as if Europe was someplace like Brooklyn. Or New Jersey. Which, for her, it may as well be.

The chick probably kept a set of bags packed as often as she found herself winging off to somewhere like England, Spain, Germany, singing backup for A-list headliners. Usually old-schoolers on the order of Anita Baker, Janet Jackson, even that anniversary tour with Diana Ross. She had the industry’s typical must-have requirements: crystal clear, bell-like tonality, pretty, svelte, nimble afoot.

“Just got done traipsing all over God knows where with Patti.” That’d be Patti LaBelle.

“Cool. So, where your White husband at?”

She punched him. “Behave yourself.”

On cue, Phil strode up merrily. “Hi, Keith.” He returned the greeting. She and hubby were music shopping, looking to add to their CD library. He hadn’t picked up any new sounds in awhile himself, so the three of them hit it over to the subway, hopped on the Lexington Avenue line and made it on down to the East Village, giving The New Discophile several hundred dollars worth of business.

He had meant to just kill time but was glad to stumble across a pair of British imports, The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Electric Ladyland and Go for Your Guns by The Isley Brothers with that bad jam “Tell Me When You Need It Again.” For some reason the domestic release had practically gone out of print. They paid up, arranged to have the orders shipped, and stepped back out into the air. “I’m hungry. Who’s for dinner, my treat,” offered Phil. “Italian?”

“Naw,” Keith said, “I’m good. Y’all behave.” He gave Ginger a polite hug, shook Phil’s hand, and headed for the west side wondering what to do next, where to go. Decided on having a drink after all.

On his way to find a watering hole, Keith saw a marquee of one of those ritzy, art-house cinema venues. Honeydrippers was playing. He’d heard from everybody he knew who’d seen it this was a fine flick about blues folk in the rural South. Cast of actors bad to the bone, tight script, directing, not to mention hellified music. “I’m in.” He went to the box office, bought a ticket and, finally catching up to a double-Jack-rocks at a spot across the street, came back and watched the movie.

Coming out into what now was night, he decided he’d caught enough air and done enough thinking. He was going to give it a break. Something would come to him. One way or another, he was going to come up with a way to get his woman back.


Next week: Does Keith find a way?

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