Keith tries to kick the doldrums

Keith-&-LesliLuis would be the first one to second Keith’s plan to get his mind off Lesli. “You up for a little studio time?” Keith asked him. “I’m in town for a hot minute with some time to kill. Thought I might book a session, something you might could use as a demo. Release it on CD Baby or somewhere. Anything you see fit.”

“Fantastic. When did you have in mind?”

“Tomorrow, maybe day after.”

“Oh I’d love to, but I’m in Minneapolis with a show. It’s a traveling tribute to women singers. Daughters of Africa. Mixed Blood Theatre.” Talk about a kick in the head. Their paths had crisscrossed, neither knowing it. “I’ll be back in a month, though.”

Keith couldn’t count how often that kind of thing regularly happened. You had no idea what friend was gigging practically around the corner until you or they had broken camp and gone about your business. Keith and Sarah said they’d try and hook it up when she got back if they were both standing still in the same place long enough.

He rang off and went ahead figuring out how to catch up to Helen, Sam and company. He simply was not going to sit and stew, letting himself become a nervous, heartsick wreck. At least no more of one than he already was.

Keith felt like he’d run into a brick wall doing ninety and was trying to pick himself up off the sidewalk. Not the least bit sure he could do it — this woman meant the world — but what else was he going to do but try? Clutching at whatever straws were around.

Kisa Mathews sounded like a good straw. Despite that they’d never been able to get things off the ground. The first time, she’d had a crisis of conscience about being faithful to her then-husband. The next time, Lesli had blocked like a big-dog. Kisa had been mad as a soaked cat when Lesli showed up out of nowhere, thwarting Kisa’s intent to seriously rock his socks. She hadn’t been real thrilled with Keith, either. For letting Lesli ruin things.

He was reasonably confident he could convince Kisa to try out the adage — how’d it go? Something about a third time being the charm? Given a chance, he’d do his very best to charm that superfox.

Ultimately, what would it hurt to hit her up? Worst she could do was turn him down. Which, to his knowledge, had never proved to be fatal.

He reached for the phone. Then realized he’d tossed her home number when he got back with Lesli. He looked up the studio and tried her there. Had to, surprise, leave a message — turned out she’d signed on to production stage manage a European tour of Wicked.

Keith grumbled, “Y’ spend half your life in this business leaving messages. If people stayed put once in awhile…” Then, had to laugh. He was one to talk. Even when Keith was home he seldom answered the phone and thought nothing of letting the cursed thing fill up with messages.

It drove Lesli nuts.

Lesli. Alright, Helen wanted him to sing? Sam thought it was such a hot idea? He had just the very thing for them, and it would be a proverbial license to mint money. Not to mention good personal therapy for him. A good way to start getting over this heart of his that had just begun seriously breaking.

He forced himself not to cry, went and grabbed his Ovation and tuned it up. Set it down on the sofa, whereupon Butch and Sundance decided an acoustic guitar made a wholly enjoyable musical trampoline.

He pulled from his library a CD that had to’ve been recorded somewhere around the time they invented dirt. Dad Loves His Work with a painfully haunting ballad by James Taylor and J.D. Souther that just made you want to sit, stare into space and lament lost love, “Her Town Too.” He was going to arrange it for three voices. He chuckled, knowing full well that soon as he broached the idea to Helen she was going to scream with joy.

He’d always dug singing, just never thought of himself doing it as a performer. Well, that was about to change. And if he thought he had success with the chicks now, they were gonna be falling off him soon.

Lesli who?

Next week: Keith’s back in action

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