Keith decides whatever happens they’ll cope

Keith-&-Lesli“I wish you’d stop doin’ that,” Keith told Lesli the second time she whacked him with that towel. He kissed her and went back into the living room. Where Butch and Sundance, for once, were messing with each other and not Bruno. In a play-fighting ball of fur they bit, kicked, scratched and made all kinds of war-cries. Until Sundance chomped a bit too hard on Butch’s hind leg and Butch started limping. The game was over.

Sundance went over to his brother and commenced grooming him. Bruno watched them from across the floor. Probably wishing for all kinds of bad things to happen to both of them. Keith sat back down in front of the morning news, not paying a bit of attention to what was on the television screen.

This was one hell of a time for Lesli to join the two-percent club. Nothing like more pressure to help them deal with a situation of transition, the kind of commitment that by itself changes your life. Well, they’d cope.

He was confident of that. Keith had never met a more capable person — woman, man or whatever — and he was no slouch himself. They would cope.

About a half-hour later, Lesli came out of the bedroom having settled on a gray affair in light material. She was shrugging on her blouse, breasts shifting around under her bra, and he smiled. She scolded, “I know that look. Forget about it.” He laughed.

She picked up the phone and made an appointment with her gynecologist. When she hung up, he couldn’t resist saying, “Can’t wait to see the expression on the waiter’s face when you ask for a banana split with a side of tomato soup.” And laughed again.

“Go to hell, Keith. Do not pass go and do not collect two hundred dollars, nigro. Just go straight to hell. And stay there.”

“Oh, by the way…” He cut the news off and crossed the carpet to look for a CD to play. Got hung up scanning the titles.

Lesli, buttoning her blouse, walked over and said, “Oh, what?”

He grabbed one of his dad’s old Muddy Waters albums and put it on the stereo. “Got an email from Scott. Gonna go on the road a hot minute.”

She liked getting this kind of news. One, Lesli couldn’t for the life of her understand how Keith took what he did for a living so calmly. People would kill to be in his line of work. And he just took it as, “Les, I do what I do. That’s all.” She would then look at him in amazement. She stopped what she was doing and brightly asked, “Where, baby? How long?”

“Twin Cities.  For a weekend. We leave in a few days.”

She wheedled up to him. “So, big sugar daddy, how much richer is this gig going to make you?” Cocked her head to the side, slyly smiling. “Is it going to be worth my while to stick around?”

“If you behave yourself.” He knew she’d always been impressed with his making a freelance career work. Digging up work with dogged determination. And not doing too badly at all.

She’d said her father would like him. Mom, though, could be a bitch. With or without a good reason. He slid his arms around Lesli’s waist, kissed her and said, “I need to bone up on Helen’s material.” He walked over and grabbed a guitar from its stand and sat on the sofa running scales. Noticed a sour look on Lesli’s face.

“I don’t like that woman,” she muttered.

“Yeah, Les, and she knows it. She sure likes you, though.”


“Okay, Grumpystilsken. Go on to work and let me rehearse.”

Which she did and, before going out the door, behind briskly giving the back of her skirt a pure fit, planted a kiss on Keith that would rouse a dead man. He simply smiled as she sallied forth to conquer the world one more time, and shook his head.


Next week: Keith meets his in-laws-to-be.

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