Sam shows her stuff

Keith-&-Lesli“Don’t you dare bother that girl.” Sam had caught Keith pondering the sleeping Faith. Sam’s smile broadened. He couldn’t get over how much she and Luis were kindred devilish spirits.

It was time to get some hot cooked grub. Keith, Luis and Sam went around the block and hit a diner. On the way there, glancing around, he recognized this was Lesli’s neighborhood. Lapsed into a funk.

The whole time they ate, he had his mind elsewhere. Nodded along to small talk but wasn’t really there. Finally said, “Look, I’ll catch up to y’all. Gotta go run a few errands.”

Luis said, “Oh, no. You going home to feel sorry for yourself.” He could read Keith like a book.

Samantha chimed in, “When there’s a woman almost as fine as me upstairs? Waiting for you to go help her hold down that bed?”

Keith laughed. Decided to stay, eat breakfast and, munching a mouthful of eggs, waived to the waiter for another cup of coffee. Sam asked him out of nowhere, “When do we start working on that song, that one you did at Stony Brook? You have an arrangement for all our voices?”

“Still ironing things out, but trust me, it’s sweet.”

“Well, when do we start? When do we go in the studio?”

“Soon as I get done. Soon as I say. Put some food in your mouth.”

She didn’t like that one bit. Scowled at him. He tried hard not to smile at her belligerent expression. And had to look away. She said, “Look, maestro, I have my own ideas, if you will, for the harmonies. So, can you show me yours so we can see which is better?”

Keith collapsed, laughing. So did Luis. When Keith managed to collect himself, he looked at Sam’s charts. Which, no surprise, were pretty sharp.

She cheerfully slurred, “Long’s we’re here, let’s work on it.”

Keith knew the kid had chops, but nowhere any idea they were this strong. “Long as we’re here.”

“Great! Hurry up and eat!” He finished his food. They all paid up and got out. Went back upstairs and got back to work.

Faith, padding around in just a robe emptying ashtrays and straightening furniture, didn’t bother turning when the key turned in the lock. “Sammie”, she said, “you have to help me get some of these dead bodies out of here.”

“Sure thing.”

“Can I help, too?” That was Luis, smirking. She turned around, surprised. Scowled at Luis, gave Keith sort of shy smile and disappeared behind the curtain.

Sam went about waking the dead, unceremoniously clearing the place out. Had to get harsh with a few folk but avoided literally putting her foot in anyone’s behind. “Cockadoodle-do, rise and shine! Hit the bricks!” Once the last straggler was gone, she turned to Keith. “Okay, musical director. Direct.”

He grabbed his guitar. Luis fell in. Sam got behind her keys. Before long they were locked in. Faith came back out. In sweats. Sat and fixed dials. Said, “You two sound good together.”

Luis, congas between his knees, slyly smiled. “What about me. Don’t I sound good, too?”

 

She gave him another sour look that said he was already skating on thin ice with her. Luis decided not to push his luck and left her alone to go be a pain in somebody else’s behind.

Sam was toying with the transition into the bridge, a sweetly dramatic moment in the song. Keith ran a few riffs. Each time they went over it, she found a new, more haunting voicing on the piano. And some interesting choices about her vocal.

Where this boozhie brat learned to go to church like that baffled Keith and one day he was going to find out. Meanwhile, he was content to be amazed by her abilities. Also caught himself thinking she did nice things for that top she had on. Then blinked, dispelling the reverie. “Let’s go from the top.”

 

Next week: Keith pulls strings to hook Faith.

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