DATE NIGHT by J. Bradley

“Why did you knock on the door instead of burst through one of the walls of my apartment?”

“I only do that to houses and only when making commercials. The ad men said that invading apartments is too depressing. People who live in apartments normally can only afford Flavor Aid, so the folks in marketing tell me.”

I remembered the way the djinni that came from Pavement’s vinyl album cover sleeve of Wowie Zowie looked at me when I wished to take the Kool-Aid Man out on a date.

“Are you sure you want this? You can have anything you want, money, cars, superpowers, anything.” I nodded my head.

At the tapas restaurant, the Kool-Aid Man and I share stuffed grape leaves, a cheese plate, bell peppers stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese and sweetened chorizo. I try not to watch the digested food disappear into his cherry food colored plasma. “That was delicious”, he rasps. “Can we step away for a moment? I need a cigarette.”

Outside, we lean against the restaurant. He digs a pack of Lucky Strikes and a black Bic lighter out of his blue swim trunks. He grabs a cigarette out of the pack using only his mouth, then lights it. “I’m not allowed to drink booze or pop pills. It’s in my contract. This helps calm my nerves down after spending hours and hours with child actors, bitter adults working for scale. I’m having a good time, by the way. I forgot what it was like to have dinner with a decent person.”

“I figured you needed a nice night out. I’ve always wanted to meet you, find out what you would be like away from the cameras, children, and animation. I’m having a good time, too.”

“Anything else you’d want to find out,” his right eyebrow forms a come-hither arch.

Fifteen minutes later, we’re back at my place. He tries pinning me against the wall to kiss me; I look like an insect on his windshield. We then try fooling around on the couch, his glass mouth lukewarm against my neck. I don’t reach into his shorts. I already know what he doesn’t have.

“Kool-Aid, sweetheart, this isn’t working. Our bodies are just too different. I hope you aren’t disappointed.”

“You’re just like the others.” He picks his yellow Hawaiian shirt off the floor, puts it on, then walks out the door. Even in his anger and frustration, he still walked out the door instead of burst through a wall. I might call him tomorrow and see if we can go out again.

J. BRADLEY is the author of Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books, 2009) and The Serial Rapist Sitting Behind You is a Robot (Safety Third Enterprises, 2010). He is the Interview Editor of PANK Magazine and lives at iheartfailure.net.

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