Keith’s high hopes are dashed








“Uh,” Keith asked, “you want something from the fridge?” Already heading to the kitchen.

“Anything cold. Thanks.” He got her a can of ginger ale, grabbed himself a beer. Poor thing, had a blackout. He had no idea where to go from there except to be glad she was here. “Who’s playing?” she asked. Then snatched the remote, putting on a different game. Only she, of all the women in the world, could come sashaying in, plop down on the couch, and find a Dodgers-Mets game out of nowhere. Keith sat back down. Lesli sipped at her can of ginger ale. “What’s the score?”

“L.A.’s up,” he saw from the teletype running across the bottom of the screen. “Four zip.”

She brightened a little. “Your Mets are playing my boys? Scoot over.” She quickly crossed the room, settled on the sofa, nudged him out of her way with swift shove of her hip. “Got any munchies?” He got chips from the cupboard, dip out the fridge, and they watched the game. Eventually the kittens wore themselves out and climbed up on his lap, snuggled in and went straight to sleep.

“They are so cute.”

“Little pains in the butt is what they are. Jesse palmed them off on me.”

“They love you.”

“They love being comfortable.”

“Keith?” He didn’t like her tone. She sounded scared. “I say anything else?”

“No, baby—” He caught himself. “No, uh, Lesli. You ain’t say anything else.”

She breathed deep, relieved. Which made him wonder what beans she hadn’t spilled. Relieved himself that she was in better spirits, Keith joked, “Aside from, oh, you’re so sorry you was so mean to me that way, just walking out, leaving me standing in the middle of the floor looking stupid, feeling cheap as two cents waitin’ on change.”

She was taking another sip and spit it out laughing. “You clown.” She wiped her mouth with her shirt, baring quite a bit of flesh. He had to look away. It took a minute for Lesli to stop laughing. Then, she wiped her eyes with the shirt, which this time rose a bit higher. One thing led to another. They never did see how the game ended, busy for hours before they finally climbed between the sheets and dropped off to sleep, pleasantly near dead.

Daylight came. Around noon. With a lot of sunlight. “Ah!” he hollered, pulling the blanket over his head.

“You know, I’ve always suspected you’re part vampire.” Lesli drew the drapes closed. And stood there at the window, grinning at him. He drank the vision in. “Now, that is a sight I’m going to enjoy seeing around here on regular basis again.”

“Whoa, fella. Not so fast.” He’d never seen her smile quite like that. Sort of mean. She squared her thighs, throwing her shoulders back. “Slow down.”

He didn’t like how he suddenly felt. He sure didn’t like the curve she’d just thrown him. Keith’s thoughts and feelings bunched up in a rush, running into and tripping over each other. He managed a slack-jawed, questioning stare. She looked away, went over to the dresser and lit a cigarette. Still slyly smiling.


“Yes, baby? Uh, I mean, Keith?”

“You’re not coming back?”

She took her time getting dressed. “Where’s my shoes?” He leaned over the other side of the bed, grabbed her shoes from off the floor, tossed them to her. “Thanks.” He repeated his dumbstruck question.

“It was a wonderful time,” she said “Let’s not make any more of it than that.”

He stared stupidly at the floor. Heard himself mumble, “Get out.”

“You say something?”

“No.” He was livid. Went to the dresser and poured a stiff one, no rocks. His gut was getting a real going over.

“I’ll take one too, thanks.” He reached into the mini-fridge on the armoire for ice. Poured her a round, set it down. Instead of throwing it in her face. Lesli lifted the glass, sipped. Eyes level on his. “If it’s any consolation, you still got it. Rocked me stone to the bone.” She raised her drink. “To old times, hunh?” Again, that smile.

It registered on him that she was eating this up with a knife and fork. That’s when Keith lost it. He resisted the impulse to slam his glass against the wall. Simply put the drink down, spun on her and screamed, “Get out! And I know you heard me the first time. Please, don’t make me call you outside your name.” Lesli looked shocked. “Now, damn it! Get your shoes on and get out!”


Next week: Lesli’s kiss-off drives Keith to Kisa.

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