Dan the Answer Man

Keith-&-LesliKeith had to shake his head at his friend’s amazing acumen. The man was practically a mind reader. “Lesli left me again.”

Dan eyes widened. “What did you do this time?”


“Okay, what didn’t you do?”

“If I knew that I’d’ve done it.”

“Think she might come back?”

“Who knows? It doesn’t help things one bit that I’ve run into someone else. A special chick. I mean, I barely just met her. But you can tell, you know? When somebody’s…different.”

“Let me guess. Smart, easy on the eyes with personality.”

“Yeah, that about sums it up. How’d y’ know?”

“I know you. That’s your time. A bimbo would bore you to death. So would anybody who didn’t have…what’s the word? Uh…”

“Gorgeous curves? ‘Cause, she sure has that.”

“Charisma, schmuck. Charisma.  Reminds you, I bet, of the other one.”

“Well, yeah, kinda.”

“Who may or may not return. For good measure, this..what’s her name?”


“Takes a shine to you, does she?” Keith nodded. “Fella, you make being between a rock and a hard place look good.” Reheating his coffee, warmed up a croissant.

“Thanks.” Keith chewed on the muffin, sipped his egg cream. “So what am I going to do?”

Dan shrugged. “Y’ won’t know ‘til after you’ve done it.”

“Thanks. Thanks a lot.”

“Y’ welcome.” Dan went back to the paper. “Anytime I can be of help.”

Keith turned around and looked out on New York City dark o’clock streets. He and his friend kept company. Noshing. Every once a while talking shop.

Eventually, Keith turned down a second egg cream and stood off the stool. Dan said, “Good luck, kid.”

“Yeah.” Keith went out the door and headed back to his apartment. Had to wake Jesse again. “Man, this a good way to lose your job. Have you some coffee or somethin’.”

Jesse groggily got up to go in the office and do that very thing. “Thanks, Mr. Jackson, for not reporting me.”

“Doesn’t mean nobody else did. You better watch yourself.” He got upstairs and reflected. Talk about irony. Already living nice and comfortable, Keith would soon be getting seriously flush. He was going to have to think about things that never occurred to Jimmy Jack. Things like investing. In stocks, real estate, that sort of stuff.

This money would be made in no small part from singing about lost love. Yeah, talk about irony. Well, he’d rather have her back than any amount of millions.

Keith shook himself — dwelling on thoughts about her wasn’t going to do any good — and set about doing housework. Washing dishes, polishing this, that and the other thing. Eventually, cloth draped over his shoulder, he stepped to window, looking out over Second Avenue. He didn’t know quite what to do or what not to do. So he finished cleaning, sat down and put the game on. A sports channel replay from last night. The Mets were, of course, playing Lesli’s Los Angeles Dodgers.


Next week: Keith finds solace in Central Park.

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