This next time next week, they’d be on the road. Not a bad way to start putting Lesli in his rear view. One thing about touring — no shortage of women who couldn’t wait to knock your boots. Keith would just have to grin and somehow bear it. A big old Kool-Aid smile spread across his face.
Next thing he knew, just like that, Central Park was alive and just about bustling. The couple feeding fowls had left. He decided he felt better, got up, stretched, yawned and followed suit.
Returning to the crib, he didn’t kid himself. It’d be a lot of up and down, this business of leaving the lady behind. There’d be feeling better, feeling bad, feeling better, feeling bad. For right now, he was going with the feeling better while the going was good.
He had things to do before the session. Like get a head start on packing. Butch and Sundance had to see Dr. Philmon before the rascals could travel. So it was time to brew some coffee, sit down, and make himself a to-do list, including whatever he had to buy — a new shaving kit, for one.
By the time he got done, there was plenty of time, before he had to go shopping, to kick back, peruse the newspaper and put a flick on. Thought about opening Linda’s letter, decided to leave it.
Rustled through his DVD library, came up empty and put the tube on, changing from the sports channel. Caught a bit of entertainment news. Turned out there might be truth to the rumor that Motown the Musical would be made into a movie. He’d seen a touring production of the Broadway hit with Allison Semmes as Diana Ross and dug the show pretty tough. If the rumor was true, maybe she’d be in it.
He had a second cup of coffee, setting a drink down beside it — one thing he loved about his line of work. If he decided to have bourbon for breakfast, wasn’t nobody going to say he couldn’t.
The television screen changed and so did his expression, eyes widening. Lo and behold, UTC’s wheels, sure enough, were in motion. Whose bright, shining face did he see grinning into the camera but the brat, herself. She was being interviewed at what looked like backstage at a Long Island University show, maybe the campus out in Hicksville.
She handled herself well, the little ham. Mugged for the camera just enough to be cute but spoke plainly, matter-of-factly and down-to-earth. The reporter remarked on the meteoric rise of Samantha Smith, a music student this time last year, who presently had Are You Ready for This? entering the charts. Had sung backup for Helen St. James and, now, joined St. James with their backup guitarist as Uncle Thom’s Cabyn. Whose single “Midnight Train” charted with a bullet.
How did it feel to go so far so fast? “It feels great. Feels fantastic,” Sam quipped. “How do you think?”
Questions also came about her sudden modeling career, how was she managing both, how much of her choice to go into acting had been influenced or inspired by Helen St. James? Did she consider her a mentor?
Sam responded sharp, succinct. Then added at the end, “Keith Jackson rocks!” Winked at the camera with a saucy smile.
He laughed. “Get outta here.”
The show then aired a special segment on the legacy of Black rock bands. Starting with Sly and the Family Stone, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Chambers Brothers and such. The phone rang. It was Luis. “Yo’, man, you watch that?”
“The kid? Yeah. She looked good.”
“You know, man, that friend of hers? Faith? She’s hot.”
“Louie, was I you, I’d leave that woman alone. You see she don’t particularly like you.”
Luis chuckled. “Oh, she like me. She just don’t know it yet.”
“Yeah, right.” They both laughed and Keith hung up. Then got in gear, changed the kittens’ litter box, freshened their water. Then went over to the West Side to pick up the necessaries. There wasn’t anything there that the East Side didn’t have. Except an absence of so much snobbery.
He spent the rest of the morning and into afternoon just relaxing, roaming up and down streets and avenues, replacing his shaving kit and buying a few other things, too. Spending money sometimes could be downright therapeutic. To top things off, he ended the day at 72 Street Cinema thoroughly enjoying a comedy double feature, Undercover Brother and Next Day Air.
Next week: Keith finds himself out of practice.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.