Time to discuss things with Dan

When he got home, the kittens had left little presents, letting him know exactly how they felt about being left alone so long. Butch, who slept with Keith, had peed on Keith’s side of the bed and was now blissfully asleep on his own side. Sundance had taken a dump on his desk. “You little—” He changed the bed sheet, scooped up the turd, turned on the television and sacked out on the sofa.

When he woke, or rather came too, a movie was on. He had no idea what one. The boys were hunkered down on his chest, grooming each other. He swept them off, ignoring the dirty looks they gave him, and sat up. Went and took a leak. While he was in the bathroom the phone rang. He paid it no mind, stripped and showered.

When he came out, the guys were yowling, insisting on dinner. He obliged them. Then, after trying to figure out what the movie was, changed channels. Hoping against hope that it had been Lesli trying to reach him, he checked his messages. There weren’t many. And none from her.

The last one had him arching an eyebrow. “Keith, hi. It’s Faith. Sammie didn’t think you’d mind her giving me your number. It was wonderful meeting you.” She left her number.

No, he didn’t mind. Which wasn’t the same as knowing what to do with it. Sure, he wanted to rock her socks. But clearly she wasn’t just a casual one-nighter. And all he needed to do was get emotionally involved with this fox and have Les pull a reappearing act like she’d done before.

The next studio date was coming up in a couple days. He’d see Faith then.

He checked the time. It was four in the morning. He thought about hitting a club but wasn’t up for it. Too much noise and pretty people impressing one another. Maybe some other time.

He decided to go over and check in with Dan at the diner. For a fleeting moment, he entertained the notion of asking his friend to come out of retirement and produce the solo album Keith was thinking about somebody maybe recording.

He sure was going to tell Dan about UTC, which Helen had decided to do without a producer. And that Luis was hatching plans for his own project. Carl Beatty could be counted on to head-engineer both deals, assuring nice, clean sound quality.

Who needed a producer? Far as he was concerned they were, with one or two exceptions, tits on a bull. Prone to gimmicks and, like whoever that clown was Faith had been dealing with, full of themselves. You put the right notes in the right places, made sure the vocals were on pitch, and that was good music, plain and simple.

He dropped downstairs. Jesse was fast asleep at his post. Thieves could’ve walked away with everything in reception and the night guy would be none the wiser until he woke up next morning. Good thing the building manager wasn’t around.

Keith liked Jesse and would hate to see him go. He gave him a jostle. Jesse snapped to attention, groggy. Keith smiled and kept going.

Dan was, as usual, reading a newspaper. Cup of coffee getting cold at his elbow. He looked up as Keith walked in. “Well, well. Look who remembers his old friends after all. Mr. Big Shot, now in a band with Helen St. James.”

“How did you know?”

“You don’t think I still keep an ear to ground? Congratulations.” Keith sat the counter. “So,” Dan asked, “who’s this kid, Samantha something or other? Lot of people seem to like her.”

“She’s a piece of work.” Dan began preparing Keith’s regular diet: a hot, buttered corn muffin with jelly and a chocolate egg cream. “Pain in the behind when she wants to be, but sharp as a tack.”

Dan nodded. “Good.” And set the paper aside. “You’re not in here to update me on your career. Problems in your love life then?”


Next week: Keith visits Dan the Answer Man.

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