Which didn’t mean the other two were amenable. Faith flat-out didn’t like Luis. Sherry wasn’t sure but likely would lean against the idea.
That left Lola. She’d been shacking up with Helen while they ironed out the rental on a fourth bus. Now that she had her own space, here comes Luis. She had to think about it. “Meanwhile,” Keith suggested, “go find yourself a hotel.”
“You cold. You wrong.”
“Yeah, well, I’m cold and wrong then. Need a directory? Sure there’s someplace nearby.”
“Aw, come on, man.”
Keith relented. “Make yourself useful. Clean this mess up while I get us some drinks.” He cautioned, “Only until Lola gets situated. If she don’t want you, Louie, you out.”
“Cool.” Luis being Luis, Keith knew it’d be just a matter of time before his buddy screwed up again. It wouldn’t be on his watch, though. Let Lola keep Luis on a leash.
They rolled into Boston and, thank God, Lola’s bus was ready and waiting. Much as he loved Luis, Keith was glad not to have the headache. Couldn’t help him move his gear fast enough.
Lola, crazy as she was about the guy, agreed only on the stipulation that Luis stay legal. Witting, unwitting or otherwise. First offense would be the last. If homeboy wanted to keep this lucrative gig, he would, for once in his life, have to be circumspect where, when and with whom he was indiscreet.
They were booked at the Boston Common. Richie was less than pleased at the prospect. Outdoor acoustics were tricky anyway. Sound at this venue was literally subject to how the wind blew. This was not Stony Brook University, where he could shield the monitors well enough for the singers to hear themselves.
The place was shaped like a clam shell, full of echoes, and the monitors may as well be decoration. He’d do his damnedest, but it would be tough.
And Faith was about to get a true trial by fire. Nobody, Richie assured her, was going to be able to listen to playback without considering a new career.
Sure enough, the gig reminded Keith of the old line, “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy your evening?” Helen kept going off-key. So did Sam. Keith, having worked here before, had witnessed more than one fine vocalist sounding like crap. He had the presence of mind to sing soft as he could yet still be heard. That way he stood a decent chance of staying on pitch.
No one was thrilled. They got done, got out of town and, to a one, swore to never play Boston Common again. For any amount of money.
New Haven. Traffic against them, they barely got to the gig on time. Keith stepped off the bus in no kind of mood. Wasn’t speaking to a soul outside what was necessary.
Sound check went by the numbers. Or he was going to know why. This wasn’t right. That was wrong. The gals all wondered why he was being such a beast. Luis knew.
Lesli had holed up here and Keith was going to see her for the first time since she’d dumped him. Was nervous about that and taking it out on everybody else.
Keith looked around. No Lesli. Took sound check through its paces. Rehearsed. Then walked away from everyone, went to be by himself. Even Luis left him alone.
Next week: Look who shows up out of nowhere.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.