Helen waved goodnight to the crowd and the lights turned off.
Keith followed Helen and Sam off-stage, Luis nudging him in the ribs. “Yo’, iss some girls want to meet us, man.” Keith grinned. Luis was not going to be happy until Esme left him. Dropped him like a hot rock.
“Louie, you go ‘head on.”
“Cool.” Luis left.
Sam picked up a good-looking guy on her way out of the dressing room, hopped in a limo. And left.
“That leaves just you and me,” Helen said.
“Yeah, darlin’. Kinda look like it.”
She handed him a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and grabbed herself jug of Chianti. Then snatched Keith up, took him to a limo. It wasn’t lost on Keith that suddenly limos had become part of the scenery. She gave the driver an address. It wasn’t, Keith noted, the Holiday Inn. “Where we goin’?”
“Investor. Partying with one of the investors. That’s where we’ve been staying, waiting for you.”
“Oh.” He sipped Jack Daniel’s. She chugged Chianti.
“When, Mr. Director,” Helen demanded, “are we taking that tune into the studio?”
“Like that, do y’?”
“Yeah. You really gonna work out harmonies?”
“You kiddin’, Hel? The song cries out for it.”
“When do I hear my part?”
“Soon as I work it out, darlin’. Soon as I work it out.”
She pretended to pout. “Better be quick.” Then smiled, winked and, laughing, threw her head back. “Can’t wait! We’ll have your things sent over from the Holiday Inn. We’re here the rest of the week. Rent free.”
They rolled up into a neck of woods he wasn’t sure could afford to live — and he made good money. He sarcastically thought, Cool. Somebody’s mansion. A place where the pretty, plastic people get together to show themselves and each other how special they are. He wouldn’t know anybody there and wouldn’t be interested in meeting anybody there.
Well, he didn’t have to, so he didn’t. Soon as they stepped into the place he asked where he was crashing. Got shown to a room. Stretched out on very nice double-bed to get some sleep.
Woke at some weird hour of the morning to hammering and hollering at the door. Sat up and looked around, getting his bearings. “Who’s there?”
“It’s me! Open up!”
My God, he realized, that was Helen. Hurried and answered the door. She had changed into baggy sweats and a sports cap, pony tail sticking out. Was cross-eyed, drunk as a monkey. He thought he’d die laughing.
“Girl, if you don’t get in here before somebody see you.” Grabbed Helen by the shoulders, pulling her into the room and shutting the door. “What you want?”
First words out of her mouth were, “You got anything to drink?”
He handed her the bottle of Jack. “Thanks, baby boy.”
“Just came by to say hello.”
“Well, Hel, that’s right nice of y’.”
She took a slug, handed him the bottle back, waltzed over and stretched out on the bed, kicking off her sneakers. She patted the bed beside her, scooted over. Keith sat in the chair. Wondering what in the world was on her mind.
He sat that far way because, shape he was in, had he joined her just then, one of two things would’ve happened. Either she’d’ve had to beat him off or he’d’ve finally found out what all that gorgeousity looked like naked.
“Talk, darlin’,” he said. “Talk.” He was waiting for her to drop off.
She blurted, “I want to say this! Keith, you are a good man. And if she is a good woman, she will — well, if she got any sense — come back to you. And being as she is a good woman, she probably got…” Lost her train of thought.
God bless her heart. Completely screwed up — which rarely happened to Helen — and still thought to come by and feel sorry for him. That’s a friend. He let her ramble.
Before long she stopped to have a thought and, next thing, was out cold. He watched her chest heave, looked at those marvelous hips and thighs. Then, so she wouldn’t throw up in her sleep and choke, he hooked his hands under Helen’s waist, heaved, and turned her onto her stomach. He had to catch his breath.
Helen groaned, grunted. Wriggled. Then, settled down. If she did have a husband, Keith swore that guy was the luckiest so-and-so on the face of the earth. He yawned, stretched, lay down beside Helen, and in no time was snoring too.
Next week: The show goes on.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.