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Black&SingleBluesWhen they woke up again, they were even more exhausted. She sat up. In reflex, he rolled over, reaching for her thigh. Lesli brushed Keith’s hand aside and swiftly slid out of bed, declaring, “We need to decide living conditions. You have an apartment and I’m invested in a condo. Logically speaking, practically, you should move in here.”

“Logically, practically, it ain’t gonna happen. I’ve had that crib for the longest. You had this place how long?”

“Baby, it’s bigger.”

“Fine. We’ll keep it as a summer home.”

 

“Be serious.”

“Okay, a winter home. I don’t care. Rent this bad boy to someone, I don’t know. You and Bruno talk it over. I’m gettin’ up go start clearing out some drawer space and get my stuff out of the bedroom closet, put it in the one in the hall.”

“You might have an idea.”

“What, talking it over with your cat?”

She nudged his ribs. “Honey?”

Keith didn’t even look at her to know whatever she wanted he could give was hers. She put more sweet in that one word than all the bees been born. “Your wish is my command.”

“You sure, love?

“Okay, what’re you up to?”

“Gwen might be looking for a place.”

“Perfect. Greatest idea since they invented dirt.” Lesli sensing sarcasm, got ready to say something. Keith beat her to it: “First time the broom-rider rent is two minutes late, I’m throwin’ her snotty, stuck-up behind out on the sidewalk.”

“You will do no such thing. The lease will be between her and me.”

“Fine, she late, I’ll throw you out.” She went to smack him on the arm and missed as he’d figured that last remark might get a response. Keith was on his feet, stretching, and moved to get dressed. “Why don’t you run over to that liquor store up the block, get you some boxes?”

She scowled. “How dare you, Mr. Jackson, assume my decision is decided. And blithely proceed as if to your affections I ascended?”

“Who, what? Blithely, ascended. Them’s nice words.”

“Let me have to give you a real nice piece of my mind. Keith, I haven’t agreed.”

“When you do, gorgeous, see you back at my place.” Frustrated, Lesli looked like she was ready to take his head off. But simmered down. Relaxed, leaning back. Smiling in a way he didn’t much like. A smirk that might as well had said, “You got me on this one. Wait ’til next time.” He wasn’t looking forward to whatever she had in mind as a way of getting even.

He gave her kiss. She kissed him back. Still wearing that smirk. “Yeah. See y’ at your place. Wanna take somebody with you?”

She went in a closet and got the cat carrier. Then, went and got Bruno. She put them both on the floor and the dumb brute actually walked into the carrier. the only cat Keith had ever seen do that — they hate being constrained. Stupid as hell. “Make sure he plays nice with Butch and Sundance.”

“They are going to eat him alive.” They did, sure enough.

Keith caught a cab, since the subway chaos would probably scare Bruno half to death, despite the feline’s minimal IQ. He got to the reception desk and showed him to Jesse, who immediately took a liking. “What a handsome guy.”

“Yeah, yeah. Do me a favor, will y’? Get another set of keys made. Lesli’s moving in.”

Jesse brightened. “You made up?!”

“No, she’s moving in because we’ve now become bitter enemies. Get ‘em made, okay?”

“This afternoon.”

“Thanks.” He went on his way, getting his mail from the box.

“Your friend in the cage got a name?”

“He ain’t my friend, he’s Lesli’s. This is Bruno. Italian for dumb as a bag of rocks.”

“Bruno going to move in to?”

“No, Jesse, I’m taking him upstairs to throw him out the window. ‘Bye.”

“‘Bye, Dr. Weisenheimer.”

Keith hustled Bruno upstairs and barely got in the door before Butch and Sundance, ripping and running as usual, crashed right into his ankles, knocking the wind out of themselves. He set the carrier down. The inhabitant stepped out cautiously.

The kittens strolled up, sniffing all over him. He sniffed back. Sundance punched him on the nose. Bruno turned around to go back in the carrier. “Nothing doing, buddy. ‘Bout time they drove some crazy around here besides me.” Keith closed the carrier door and went to go pull down a food bowl and put it next to the kittens’.

 

Next week: Keith ponders risks of commitment.

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

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