“Sure has. Kills on it. Why?”
“Nothin’. Just wonderin’. I can’t wonder?”
“Yeah, wonder all you want.” Then said, “I got a thought.”
“Well, speak, before it dies of loneliness.”
“Samantha, go to hell.” He smiled at Faith. “How’d you like to record Helen, too?”
She beamed. “You serious?”
He shrugged. “She lives just up on 23rd. Sam, why don’t you call her?”
“Who am I, your secretary?”
“No, you just closest to a phone sitting at your elbow.”
She stuck her tongue out at him and dialed. Faith chuckled.
He winked at her. She winked back. Then, said, “Excuse me.” Went to the john. Keith watched her walk away, hips switching.
Luis whispered, “Close your mouth. You gonna catch a fly.”
Keith snapped his jaw shut.
Sam walked over, handing him the phone. “Helen wants to talk to you. She doesn’t sound happy. Called you a few names besides Keith.”
Helen came on the line. “Have you lost your mind?”
“Uh, no, I don’t think so. Why do you ask?”
“Samantha said you volunteered me to come over, at whatever hour this is, and record. For her roommate.”
“Uh, yeah, that sounds about right.”
“Have you lost your— Keith Jackson, you listen to me. You know good and well I don’t even like doing reference tracks with anyone around. But I’m going to do this?”
Keith watched at Faith walked back into the room, nailing him with that eerie gaze. Then she looked to Sam, next to Keith. Stared blankly at him nibbling a fingernail, aware who was on the other end of the line. He gave her a small smile. Said to Helen, “You’ll do it if you love me.”
Helen was silent a moment, just breathing. “Wait a second.”
“You like the roommate, don’t you?”
“So far, so good.”
She gave a warm laugh. “Be there in a minute.”
“Thanks.” Put the receiver in the cradle and gave Faith a thumbs-up. She grinned all over herself. “I don’t have to tell you, right?” he cautioned. “What you hear here, what you record here—”
“Right.” He winked again and she sort of blushed, smiling at Sam. Who simply sat, well pleased with herself for hosting these general goings on.
He counted off and they hit it, a laid back, samba beat Luis worked to the bone. With no bass player, Sam filled in with the keyboard’s low register. It worked, providing just enough bottom. Faith fiddled with her dials. Keith soloed a while, weaving a nice little spell that everyone fell under. Then, sang. Trading off with Sam.
Each time they hit a harmony, it was beautiful. Almost eerie, her polished style blending with his raw, sinewy edge. They closed it, singing tighter and tighter together on the chorus. When they were done, the three of them sat there and stared at one another, realizing they were up to something truly special.
“Did you get any of that?” he asked Faith.
“No. Did balance levels, though, on the instruments.”
Sam said, “Good. Let’s run it again.”
“Sure,” Keith said. “Umma get me a drink first.”
Which is when Her Holy Hips sauntered through the door. “Hey, do you know there’s people sprawled on the floor all up and down the hall?”
Next week: A twist of fate for Faith
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.