Keith and Sam chat in Chi-Town

Keith-&-LesliKeith stared at the receiver. After a while, placed it in the cradle. Something still wasn’t sitting right with him. He assured himself that getting married’s a big step for her. She finally got your fast self to stand still long enough and might be wondering whether it was worth it. Or whatever women think when they get cold feet.

Keith felt like doing something. After all, this was a far cry from Minneapolis or St. Paul, where they pulled in the sidewalk before things had a chance to get going good. He got up and took a shower, then changed clothes. Called Luis’ room and got no answer. “Missed him.”

Slapping on a Mets cap, he was out the door and on his way to the nearest nightclub. Went downstairs, got as far as the lobby, and who should come sashaying up but Sam, shining a sexy smile at him.

Truth be told, he had, while he and Lesli were broken up, idly entertained the notion of taking a run at her. Had she not pushed him over the edge that time in the recording studio and got herself fired, he might’ve entertained it a bit more than idly. She was, after all, a good-looking gal, even if she was somewhat slim. Pretty with swingin’ hips and a saucy walk to her.

“Hey,” he said to her, “ain’t it past your bedtime?”

“Baby, wouldn’t you like to know about my bedtime?”

Walked into that, he admitted. “Which way you headed, in or out?”

“Closest watering hole. You?”

“Let’s go.” Then added, “Dutch.” She smiled. The incurable flirt could, he thought, smile all she wanted. No way was he picking up her tab or so much as pulling out the chair for her. He knew she’d do her best to turn the slightest gentlemanly gesture into an invitation to offer him close attention with most unladylike intent. It’s just the way she was: Like a lot of musicians, she loved to have a good time, and what better way than sex to have a good time. It sure worked for the guys.

Keith and Sam didn’t get far. There was, it turned out, a club on the premises. They went to the reception desk looking for someplace close by and were steered to the elevator. At the penthouse level was Studio 7 with festivities in full swing, including a live, hot-rockin’ blues band with a strong singer who owed a great deal of his style to the obscure great James “Baby Huey” Ramey.

There was, Keith saw, an expansive patio from which to look out on Chi-Town in tastefully appointed luxury. That’s where they directly made their way, finding a small open-air booth for two.

Taraji P. Henson’s twin, except slightly on the thicker side, quickly came up to wait on them with a winning smile. “Good evening, are you guests of the hotel?” He wound up buying after all, since it would’ve been a pain to charge drinks, whatever they wound up eating, and tip to separate rooms.

“How was it,” she wanted to know, “working on the movie?”

He shrugged, looking the menu over. “It was alright. I ain’t do much. It was Helen’s thing.”

“Still, how was it?”  She usually carried herself so confidently, he tended to forget how new she actually was to the business.  How understandably impressed a 20-something-year-old was with things he did without so much as an afterthought.  “To tell you the truth it was boring as watching paint dry.” For the most part, anyway.

Next week: Keith and Sam toast to changing spots.

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