Keith can’t pull the trigger


Sandwiches finished, Keith and Kisa took their sodas and started walking toward the IRT. They got to the nearby entrance and then stood to the side, letting the mad foot-traffic come and go past them while she continued filling him in on her ex-husband’s sexual problems.

“Turns out the damn fool meant he was sex addict,” she said. “Like that guy from X-Files, you know?” Hubby swore he would get help with his problem. She’d informed him that was all well and good, but he now had two problems: couldn’t keep his fly zipped and was about to lose his shirt in divorce court.

That was how she bought her partnership in the recording studio. “I didn’t mean to go on and on, Keith. I just wanted you to know. The first time, I felt too guilty to go through with it.  And whenever I ran into you back home, I was too embarrassed about having been cheated on by a world-class asshole.”

“Hell, I didn’t know anything about it.”

“I knew enough for both of us. So did half of New York City. Anyway, whenever I wanted to say something to you besides, ’Hi, how ya been’, I thought of that night when we might’ve had ourselves a very nice time. And then I thought about having blown it while my cheatin’ husband was getting laid behind my back. It just ruined any kind of mood for me.

“Pretty sure I’m over it these days, though,” she said, perking up. “So, now that we’ve enjoyed a nice lunch, where you taking me? For…” giving him a sly eye “…desert.”

“You are so bad.”

“No,” she winked. “Actually, I’m pretty good. From that smile Lesli always kept on her face, so are you.” Kisa didn’t have what anyone could call a subtle way with words. At least, not today. You want to get someone in the sack, you don’t bring up your ex and his sex addiction. Oblivious, she moved closer, wearing a canary-swallowing Cheshire cat grin. “Why don’t we go to your place?”

“Behave yourself,” he tried to joke. But, the moment simply wasn’t going well. A look passed between them, an uncomfortable lapse, and they both understood this was not going to happen. She looked disappointed. No more so than he was in himself.

He’d always wanted to jump this lady’s bones. Now here she was handing him the golden opportunity on a damned silver platter and Keith couldn’t quit thinking of Lesli long enough — especially with Kisa bringing her name up — to pull the trigger. “What can I tell you, gorgeous? Haven’t got her out of my system.”

“It’s okay, baby, I understand,” Kisa said. “She’s a lucky girl. And doesn’t know it. Rain check, huh?” She gave him a nice kiss, square on the lips. Then, putting on a bright smile, she spun around and was off down the sidewalk.

He watched her walk away, wanting to kick himself. Thinking hell, I must be losing my mind.

Somebody’s speakers were blaring a cut he’d always dug, Ronnie Milsap’s greatest hit, the smooth groove, “There Ain’t No Getting Over Me.” He nodded along and caught himself playing air guitar, a half-smile on his face. Then Milsap sang, “I’ll be the bill you forgot to pay. The dream that keeps you awake. I’ll be the song on the radio. I’ll be the reason that you tell the boys no.”

Keith went down and caught the train. He sure hoped Lesli told the boys no. Did she wonder whether he told the girls no? The way she’d told him off and stormed out and slammed that heavy-ass door, for all he knew Lesli no longer gave a damn one way or the other if he slept with every broad in New York City.


Next week: Keith gets two new buddies.

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


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