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Black&SingleBlues

They sat on leather-cushioned wrought iron benches outside a gyro bodega in the small park behind the Chrysler Building. A stone’s throw, basically, across the street from Grand Central Station. Kisa dabbed a drop of cucumber sauce from her lower lip. “That was, you know, a long time ago.”

They’d been idly chatting about one thing and another — Phantom, goings on at the studio — not managing to get around to whatever it was on her mind and why she’d called and asked him to lunch. Good as it was to see her again, Keith thought this was chat was running out of gas and brought up the subject of their first meeting.

Kisa giggled, sort of blushing, and said, “You know, I owe you an apology for getting you all the way up to my hotel room back then and leaving you high and dry. And then never even mentioning it again. So, I’m sorry.”

There it was. The other shoe had dropped. It’d sure taken her long enough, however many years and all through lunch. Some women. Well, now that it was out of the way, maybe they could move on past the small talk. He’d been looking for an opening, but she just kept bringing up one idle subject after another. Perhaps things finally were getting somewhere. “I really shouldn’t’ve gone even that far,” she added

“Huh?” Far? he thought. What far? “You may not remember, kid, but we didn’t do anything. You passed out.”

“Well, actually Keith, I didn’t.” She looked a little sheepish. Even embarrassed. “No, I pretended to because it was the only way I could see to get out of it.”

“Huh?” he repeated.

“I shouldn’t have been alone with you like that. I was married.” No wonder she’d avoided him afterward. “But, I really liked you. We hit it off so well, I just got carried away. You know, it was very sweet of you to put that blanket over me. A lot of guys would’ve taken advantage.”

“We call what you and I got that night, Kisa, damned good and stinking drunk.”

“No, I’ve drunk like that before. It wasn’t that. I still liked you. A lot. But, at the last moment, I just couldn’t go through with it. I had, I guess, a crisis of conscience. You forgive me, don’t you?”

“I didn’t see any ring.”

“I took it off soon as I saw you come into the hotel.” Plain fact is, Keith surmised, she simply hadn’t known what the hell she wanted to do. For all he knew, she still didn’t.

She let her hand drift to the table, fingers idly landing on his. “So, are you and Lesli really through?”

At least eleventy-million people live here in the world’s busiest city, Keith mused, yet everybody’s got time to know my business. He waved for the check. “Yeah, she dumped me pretty good.”

“So, you’re single.”

“Duh.”

“Don’t be salty. Just asking.”

“Yeah, Kisa, that pretty much goes without saying that if she and I have split, I’m single.” He added, pointedly, “Are you?” She waved the back of her hand at him showing the bare ring finger. “You don’t happen to have a wedding ring that you stuck in your pocket before you got here?”

She got a bit serious. “We broke up right after Phantom. I flew home early. Caught the bastard in bed with some brain-dead floozy. Do you know she had the nerve to give me a great big cow-eyed look and ask me if I wanted to join in?”

“Huh. Guess you were glad you’d been so faithful.”

“I wanted to kill him.”

Kisa then went on about how, after hubby sent Bambi the Bimbo on her way, he tearfully begged for forgiveness. Upon which she dragged out of him that this wasn’t the first time. Her bags still packed, she turned right around and rang for a cab.

He confessed at that point to having a sexual disorder. “I didn’t know what disorder he was talking about,” Kisa said with a grin, “and told him if he’d given me anything, I was going to cut off his—”

“Yeah, yeah, I get it. Way too much information.”

 

Next week: Keith can’t pull the trigger! 

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

 

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