Claire and KA1

1 loosely inspired by the invocation, “Hey, Kool-Aid!” used in certain old television commercials to attract forces of creative devastation.

Claire sits in her apartment. She sips a light orange drink. She makes a face. “This diet drink does not taste very good,” she says. It’s a ritual. It’s an invocation. “If only I had some artificial fruit refreshment. That would make my night complete.”

The wall across from her explodes. Great stones fall, crushing her television and one fern. “OH YEAH!” shouts KA, bursting in. He’s round and red, a great glass pitcher filled with a refreshing fruit drink. He’s smirking, but not in a bad way. He knows he’s just what she needs to make her night complete.

“Hi,” she says.

KA waves casually. “Oh, yeah.” He winks at her. Then he frowns. Claire seems oddly serious tonight. He tilts to one side, sloshing.

“I know how you feel,” Claire says, “but I can’t do it.”

“Oh?”

Claire shakes her head. “You know how complicated my life is. I’ve got a full-time job and I’m trying to get my painting career off the ground.”

“Yeah . . .”

KA lifts his index finger. He wants to protest, but he’s not sure how. He only knows two words.

“It’s too much for me right now.”

“Oh. Yeah.”

KA turns away for a moment. He closes his eyes. Then he turns back to her, suddenly, eyes lit with inspiration. He opens his mouth.

“No, KA,” she snaps. “It won’t work out. None of your crazy schemes ever do.” Her voice chokes up in the middle of that sentence, and by the end she’s almost crying. “You’re always telling me, you’ve got a big idea, next year you’ll be rich, next year things will be different, but they never are.”

“Oh.”

“I can’t have the baby,” she bursts out. “I need my own life.”

He doesn’t say anything. He just stands there.

“I’m sorry,” she says. “But it’s just a little thing. I’ll do it, and then it won’t be pink any more.”

KA chews on his lip. “Yeah.”

“It won’t be pink, and . . . we can still be friends, right? You’ll still come bursting through my wall when I call for you, right?”

KA sighs. “Yeah.”

Her chest is held tightly. Her eyes are closed. “I want your child,” she says. “Just not now.”

“Yeah.”

He walks to the window. He pulls the blinds. He looks out at the Manhattan skyline.

“Every day,” she says, “it’s like it gets harder to hang on to the dream.”

“Yeah.”

“Is it wrong of me?” she says. “To want to hang on to the dream?”

KA reviews his possible responses carefully. “. . . oh.”

She laughs a little. It’s kind of bitter. “Every day, when I shower, it’s like I can feel a little bit of myself washing down the drain. Another day when I didn’t do the right thing. Another day when I didn’t make it. Another proof that people were right about me all along.”

KA turns. He walks to her, and folds his tiny glass legs so he can look her in the eye. “Oh yeah,” he says; but the words mean “No;” and “You’re beautiful;” and “I love you.”

She smiles a little. It’s crooked.

He sloshes. She giggles.

They hug.

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