“That’s him,” said Luis.
“Hey, Sam.” He found himself in an almost cavernous, two-tiered studio loft. Caught sight of his favorite rascal resting, forearms across his drums, grinning that perpetually smug grin. Samantha smirked, elbows on her keyboard.
Between both these perennial pains there was a mischievous, good vibe in the air. With Sam being her naturally naughty self. He vowed, for hardly the first time, not to touch the brat, having seen too many cases of bands breaking up over internal bed-hopping.
Sam stood up and sashayed over. Dragging by the arm a light-skinned, fetching, somewhat embarrassed young woman about Sam’s age, maybe a couple years older. She was fairly tall, sort of thick in the thighs.
Keith looked into her eyes, a piercing, lambent gaze, and suddenly had trouble holding on to his wits. This was Samantha’s roomie? Who wanted to meet him? Things were looking up.
“Faith!” Sam was gleeful. “Here’s the man whose autograph changed my life.”
Faith freed her arm, gave Sam a sidelong look. Forced a shaky smile and shook Keith’s hand. “Hi.”
“Hi,” he said. Having a hard time taking his eyes off hers. “I don’t know all ‘bout change her life. That’d be Helen. But, yeah, I gave this hellion my address to send a demo. Can’t blame me beyond that.”
Sam nudged her, said something in Faith’s ear. Faith elbowed her back. And said to Keith, “Let me get you a drink.” He followed her into the kitchenette.
Luis hollered out, “Hey, man. You bring that thing for show? Or you gonna take it out of the case and do somethin’?”
Keith said to Faith, “I guess you met Luis.”
“Yeah.” She didn’t sound pleased about it.
“Y’ have to take that fool with a grain of salt.”
“I’ll be there in a minute, man.”
Faith said, “Jack-rocks, right?”
“Yeah, that’s me. Thanks.”
“We want Keith, we want Keith,” Sam began to chant, and Luis chimed in. So did the rest of the room.
“Lord,” he said. “Faith, please, let me go get in there before these two lunatics have the whole building in a uproar.”
She winked. “Not a problem.” He thanked her, taking the glass and, on his way, noticed she also drank Jack. Straight up.
He took the guitar out. “Y’all can be a royal pain. Where to do I plug in?”
Sam hooked him into her p.a. They tuned up and commenced to kick it. Taking off on “Midnight Train.” Keith filled in on Helen’s part. Sam got caught off guard, amazed, still getting used to him singing at all.
Luis thought nothing of it. Having hung with Keith for years, he knew the cat chirped better than a bird. “Close your mouth, Sam, before you catch a fly.” She did.
The three had a ball, going from there to some blues standards, nasty, down-in-the-alley blues. Keith and Luis taught Sam the old-as-dirt gem “Born under a Bad Sign” with that refrain, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, wouldn’t have no luck at all.” She loved it and insisted on doing it again. And again until she could do it by heart. Keith laughed to himself, “Bet she gon’ cover that one.”
They kept coming up with music to play. Blues, jazz, pop, you name it. With a touch of funk thrown in for good measure. Liquor flowed. Eventually, Keith found himself wincing at risen sunlight, figured it was time to take a break. Sam and Luis agreed.
He looked around for Faith. Nowhere to be seen. He shook his fingers loose and poured another drink. Looked around again. Everybody was worse for the wear, hangers-on all knocked out. Sam, reading his mind, sauntered over and whispered, “She’s asleep.” Pointed to a curtain. “Wanna wake her up?”
Next week: Sam shows her stuff.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.