Kenneth watched the love of his life sleeping next to him and thought back to the day they met, last Tuesday. She had been preparing a grande white chocolate mocha frappuccino and Kenneth had never seen anything so beautiful. The girl, that is. Not the frappuccino, although it was very nice as well.

“What’s your name?” he asked. As if he didn’t know already.

“Don’t you know who I think I am?” she said, pointing at her Starbucks badge. It read, “Laura.”

“Do you believe in magic?” Kenneth asked.

Laura shrugged and gestured to the room. “Could this be magic?”

Kenneth reached over and pulled a coin from behind Laura’s ear and handed it to her. “Could this be magic? How’s your love life, Baby? Can I call you tonight?”

“Are you strong enough to be my man?” she asked, bemusedly.

“What does it take to win your love?”

“Why don’t you try?”

Kenneth turned to the woman behind him in the queue and asked, “Isn’t she lovely?”

The morose-looking man waiting for the chai latte observed these proceedings with scorn. “Is she really going out with him?” he scoffed.

They met after she got off from work at 6 pm and drove south of San Francisco to a little Italian place he’d heard of. It was supposed to be intimate and romantic, which was just what he was looking for. Unfortunately, he got lost along the way and had to pull into a service station.

“Do you know the way to San Jose?” he asked the attendant.

Luckily, Laura found his lack of a sense of direction amusing and the rest of the evening was harmonious. The dinner was a symphony for the palate and their conversation maintained a steady rhythm. It was raining when they left the restaurant, but that didn’t dampen their harmony.

“Who’ll stop the rain?” Kenneth asked as they walked toward his car.

“Have you ever seen the rain?” Laura said. “Isn’t it romantic?”

He had to agree. He drove her home and they kissed while the raindrops maintained a steady staccato on the windshield.

“When will I see you again?” Kenneth asked.

“How soon is now?” she responded.

That was then. Then came now. And here they were, sharing a bed. Kenneth couldn’t believe his good fortune.

Laura opened her eyes to find Kenneth staring at her. She smiled. “What’s new, Pussycat?” she purred.

“Do you love me?” Kenneth asked.

Laura’s face scrunched up. “What’s love got to do with it? What time is it?”

“Does anybody really know what time it is?” responded Kenneth in a pouty voice. “Is you is or is you ain’t my baby?”

Laura sighed. “Why do fools fall in love?” she asked, not expecting an answer. “Do you wanna dance?”

She jumped out of bed and turned the radio on, looking for a rock station.

“What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” she asked.

The radio started playing a Rufus Thomas song, “Can Your Monkey Do the Dog?”

“Who let the dogs out?” yelled Kenneth. He jumped up and they began to dance, but before the song was over there was a loud rapping at the front porch.

“Who can it be now?” he muttered.

They got dressed quickly and Kenneth opened the door to find his friend Tommy. Nosy as usual, Tommy pushed his way in. “What’s going on? Who’s that lady?”

Kenneth made introductions.

Tommy whistled and asked her, “Are you lonesome tonight? Da ya think I’m sexy? Don’t you want me?”

Laura laughed and Kenneth shook his head, getting annoyed. “Can’t you see that she’s mine? What am I gonna do with you?”

“How long has this been going on? Does your mother know?” inquired Tommy.

Kenneth put his arm around his buddy and directed him to the exit. “Have you ever loved a woman?” he whispered. “Why don’t you leave me alone?”

“What’d I say?” asked Tommy. “Should I stay or should I go?”

“Tommy, can you hear me?” Kenneth pointed to the door.

Tommy got the message. Kenneth saw him out and then turned back into the house. After closing the door, he noticed Laura flipping through his cellphone pictures. His heart skipped a beat. Oh, no.

He discerned from Laura’s expression that she had found the photos he had been surreptitiously been taking of her for the past several months. She looked up with hatred in her eyes.

“Is that all there is? What’s your game?” she growled.

Kenneth knew it didn’t look good for him. “Didn’t I blow your mind this time?”

Laura screamed and pointed at the phone. “Is this love? What kind of fool am I? You’ve been stalking me!

Kenneth was startled by the absence of a question mark.

“Where did our love go?” he mumbled.

Laura collected her things and marched out of the house. “Hit the road, Jack!” was the last thing she said as the door slammed behind her.

“Why does love got to be so sad?” moaned Kenneth. He dejectedly erased all of Laura’s photos and wondered whether that new girl at the Burger King might be the real love of his life.


Songs Referenced

Lynyrd Skynyrd. “What’s Your Name?” Street Survivors. Rossington, Van Zant. 1977.

Fall Out Boy. “Don’t You Know Who I Think I Am?” Infinity on High. Stump, Wentz, Trohman, Hurley. 2007.

The Lovin’ Spoonful. “Do You Believe in Magic?” Do You Believe in Magic? Sebastian. 1965.

Van Halen. “Could This Be Magic?” Women and Children First. Van Halen, Van Halen, Anthony, Roth. 1980.

Jackie Moore. “How’s Your Love Life, Baby?” I’m On My Way. Moore. 1979.

Dayglow. “Can I Call You Tonight?” Fuzzybrain. Struble. 2018.

Sheryl Crow. “Are You Strong Enough To Be My Man?” Tuesday Night Music Club. Crow, Bottrell, Baerwald, Gilbert, Ricketts, MacLeod. 1993.

Jr. Walker and the All Stars. “What Does It Take To Win Your Love?” Home Cookin’. Bristol, Fuqua, Bullock. 1969.

Kelly Clarkson. “Why Don’t You Try?” Stronger. Hutchinson. 2011.

Stevie Wonder. “Isn’t She Lovely?” Songs in the Key of Life. Wonder. 1975.

Joe Jackson. “Is She Really Going Out with Him?” Look Sharp! Jackson. 1978.

Dionne Warwick. “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” Dionne Warwick in the Valley of the Dolls. Bacharach, David. 1968.

Creedence Clearwater Revival. “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” Cosmo’s Factory. Fogerty. 1970.

Creedence Clearwater Revival. “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” Pendulum. Fogerty. 1971.

“Isn’t It Romantic?” Rodgers, Hart. 1932.

The Three Degrees. “When Will I See You Again?” The Three Degrees. Gamble, Huff. 1974.

The Smiths. “How Soon Is Now?” Hatful of Hollow. Marr, Morrissey. 1985.

Tom Jones. “What’s New Pussycat?” What’s New Pussycat? Bacharach, David. 1965.

The Contours. “Do You Love Me?” Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance). Gordy. 1962.

Tina Turner. “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” Private Dancer. Britten, Lyle. 1984.

High School Musical 2 Cast. “What Time Is It?” High School Musical 2. Gerrard, Nevil. 2007.

Chicago. “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” Chicago Transit Authority. Lamm. 1970.

Louis Jordan. “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby?” Austin, Jordan. 1943.

Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” The Teenagers Featuring Frankie Lymon. Lymon, Santiago, Merchant. 1956.

Barry Blue. “Do You Wanna Dance?” Barry Blue. Blue. 1973.

R.E.M. “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” Monster. Berry, Buck, Mills, Stipe. 1994.

Rufus Thomas. “Can Your Monkey Do the Dog?” Walking the Dog. Thomas, Cropper. 1964.

Baha Men. “Who Let the Dogs Out?” Who Let the Dogs Out? Greenberg, Traynor. 2000.

Men at Work. “Who Can It Be Now?” Business as Usual. Hay. 1981.

Marvin Gaye. “What’s Going On?” What’s Going On? Cleveland, Benson, Gaye. 1971.

The Isley Brothers. “Who’s That Lady?” 3 + 3. The Isley Brothers. 1973.

Charles Hart. “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” Handman, Turk. 1927.

Rod Stewart. “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” Blondes Have More Fun. Stewart, Appice, Hitchings. 1978.

The Human League. “Don’t You Want Me?” Dave. Callis, Oakey, Wright. 1981.

The Dave Clark Five. “Can’t You See That She’s Mine?” The Dave Clark Five Return! Ryan, Smith. 1964.

Barry White. “What Am I Gonna Do with You?” Just Another Way To Say I Love You. White. 1975.

George Gershwin. “How Long Has This Been Going On?” Funny Face. Gershwin, Gershwin. 1928.

ABBA. “Does Your Mother Know?” Voulez-Vous. Andersson, Ulvaeus. 1979.

Freddy King. “Have You Ever Loved a Woman?” Myles. 1960.

Hank Williams III. “Why Don’t You Leave Me Alone?” Risin’ Outlaw. Hancock. 1999.

Ray Charles. “What’d I Say?” What’d I Say? Charles. 1959.

The Clash. “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” Combat Rock. Headon, Jones, Simonon, Strummer. 1982.

The Who. “Tommy Can You Hear Me?” Tommy. Townshend, Entwhistle, Daltrey. 1969.

Peggy Lee. “Is That All There Is?” Is That All There Is? Lieber, Stoller. 1969.

The Ramones. “What’s Your Game?” Leave Home. Ramone. 1977.

The Delfonics. “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)?” The Delfonics. Bell, Hart. 1969.

Whitesnake. “Is This Love?” Whitesnake. Coverdale, Sykes. 1987.

Sammy Davis Jr. “What Kind of Fool Am I?” What Kind of Fool Am I? Bricusse, Newley. 1962.

The Supremes. “Where Did Our Love Go?” Where Did Our Love Go? Holland, Dozier, Holland. 1964.

Ray Charles. “Hit the Road Jack.” Mayfield. 1961.

Derek and the Dominos. “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?” Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Clapton, Whitlock. 1928.


Pete Simons