The Sequence of Kai
Trish greets me without tearing her gaze from the TV. I stay standing because there’s nowhere for me to sit. She’s lying down across the couch, Aaron is reading a book in the old armchair and I don’t like any of the other seats in this room.
We were taking a sabbatical!
She’s watching one of those old shitty sitcoms she’s so fond of. She has it up loud enough that Aaron clearly can’t concentrate on his book. He’s about halfway through it right now and I’m sure he was halfway done when he sat down.
“What are you watching?”
“What’s it about?”
“It’s about a group of friends living in New Jersey. They all really like coffee.”
“Oh, don’t be like that, it’s funny, look.”
She points towards the screen. The characters are all sitting, outdoors, at a café.
One of the friends leans over and tries to taste the blonde friend’s drink using a ‘comically’ large straw. Noticing this, the blonde friend swipes her cup off the table, spilling the drink over all of the friends.
“What the heck, I just wanted a taste!” says the visibly depressed friend.
“Zoey doesn’t share drinks!” says the blonde friend.
Trish laughs and then looks over to me to see my reaction but frowns upon seeing my expression. She turns back towards the TV in a sulk.
“Fine then, don’t laugh.”
“What? I just don’t think it’s funny.”
“It’s not just that, you’re making me feel bad for laughing.”
“Because you should feel bad for laughing.”
“Do you think you could maybe stop judging me for like five minutes?”
“Maybe I could, but I don’t have the self-restraint.”
Aaron, for some reason, decides now is a good time to open his mouth.
“I think she was asking you in a roundabout way to not vocalize your judgments.”
“Shut the fuck up Aaron. Did anyone ask for your opinion?”
“I-I was just-”
“Kai, don’t talk to him like that!”
Aaron’s smug expression is wiped off his face when he sees Trish isn’t pleased with him either.
She points directly at his face.
“I have a mouth you know, I can say what I mean if I want to. Don’t need anyone to speak for me.”
I sense a chance to get a dig in here, I’m going to take it.
“Especially not from a boy named Aaron.”
“Kai, I just told you not to talk to him like that.”
“What’s wrong with Aaron anyway? I think it’s a good name.”
He looks over at Trish who stalls as she thinks of something nice to say about the name Aaron. Another chance.
“You’ve single-handedly ruined an otherwise decent name.”
Aaron doesn’t even respond, he just opens his arms wide in an exasperated expression and turns to Trish.
“Yeah Kai, stop being such a bitch.”
“Exactly, Aaron is a great name!”
Trish shifts her eyes left and right. I’ve heard her talk enough about the aesthetics of boys’ names to know what she wants to say.
“Well… I wouldn’t call it ‘great’.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means it’s not, like, Alejandro or Fernando. It’s not exciting, y’know?”
She’s tried to put it diplomatically but it’s ended up coming out of her mouth even worse.
Aaron has decided he’s had enough. He stands up defiantly and slams his book shut. He looks me in the eye, despite the fact that it was Trish who spoke last.
“I’m going to go read somewhere else, somewhere quiet.”
As he strides out, I jump onto the chair he was just sitting on. His back clenches up a bit, it clearly annoyed him, but he’s too committed to making a show of leaving to stop now.
Trish has slyly changed the channel to the news while I wasn’t looking. I’m quite happy to not say anything about what she watches but if my facial expressions are going to bother her then there’s nothing I can do.
“What you over for anyway?”
There’s a hint of anger in her voice. I know she doesn’t like when me and Aaron argue but that’s not something I can help.
“I thought I’d check if we have anything to do, no one has called in three days.”
“I don’t know, disturbances to investigate, new players to find, anything like that.”
“Nothing like that, no.”
She turns around and looks at me over the back of the couch. I can see the frown receding from her face in real-time. She loves to forgive and forget.
“You can just come to hang out if you want you know?”
“I can’t do that, I’m busy.”
“Then are you gonna go home?”
“You’re busy though right?”
“I’m sure something more important will come up if I stick around.”
She looks at me with a smile she thinks is knowing before upping the TV’s volume. We’re late enough into the midday news now that they’re at the filler stories, the ones they have to fill the back end of the evening news if nothing more interesting happens during the day.
“… this Friday is the summer equinox and that means Scorpios probably shouldn’t be in the passenger’s seat this week…”
Trish’s shoulders perk up.
“Hey Kai, something more important just came up.”
“What could that possibly have reminded you of?”
“It’s my birthday on Friday, help me plan a party.”
“Planning your birthday party hardly counts as important.”
She gives me a real death stare, the one I’ve only seen her use when Aaron says something really insensitive. I gotta backtrack.
“So, you’ll help me plan my party?”
“Yay! I’ll go get some paper and snacks.”
Back to her bubbly stuff, Trish jumps up from the couch and rushes out the door to get her ‘supplies’.
An hour or two later and the living room is a mess of empty bowls, crushed beer cans and sheets of A4 paper with plans on them.
I didn’t really do anything planning wise, it became clear early on that my role was going to be shooting down some of Trish’s more outlandish ideas.
The criteria that we (Trish) came up with were, that it must be fun for girls and guys because Trish wants to invite plenty of both from college. There must be plenty of good (and cheap) food. Wherever it is everyone needs to be able to dress sexy (Trish’s birthday is not to pass without ample flirting). And finally, plenty of Alcohol should be involved, this point has been underlined and circled.
“It sounds like what you want is a beach party. Barbecue, swimsuits and beer, beach hits everything.”
“Yeah, but have you actually been to Brighton beach in the summer? Last year it was nothing but old pervy men and the worst kind too, English.”
“Then you need a private pool party. Know anyone with one of those?”
Trish’s eyes slowly light up as an idea forms in her head.
“… but we don’t need to know one!”
She rushes out to the hallway and a few moments later I can hear protests from Aaron. A few moments later, he’s been dragged by his wrist back to the living room.
“Trish, tell me what you want, please!”
“You’re officially part of the pool party planning posse!”
Trish waves her hands around the room at all of our ‘work’.
“Oh, you’re planning your birthday party? I’ve had a couple ide-”
“Plan has already been made, that part is done.”
“There are architects.”
She points at me and her.
“And there are builders.”
She points at Aaron. His face twitches as he realizes, at the same time as me, that Trish’s plan involves the utilization of his powers.
“I don’t like the sound of this plan.”
“That’s why you’re not an architect.”
He glances over at me with a suspicious eye. He doesn’t like talking about his power with me around, pretends that it’s something other than what it actually is. Or at the very least, he’s hiding its extent from me.
“Trish, I told you I can only use my power in serious situations.”
“You saying my Birthday isn’t serious?”
“What? No, uh- I-…”
Aaron just walked into the same trap I did. I’d nearly feel sorry for him, if it wasn’t him.
“So then you can be my builder right?~”
“Uh yeah, sure……”
“Great! Here’s what we need.”
The next 10 minutes are a fascinating time. Trish explains to Aaron everything she wants him to make for her party but due to the sheer number of things she’s thought of between hatching her mutated version of the plan and roping Aaron into making them, she’s explaining it to me also. She’d make for a shitty architect I think, but I’ll keep that to myself.
She’s spoiled. She wants an open bar that can serve any drink in any amount. A barbeque that can instantly cook anything. A self-installing pool that can be stored away (in case she wants to use it again). The pool needs to be self-cleaning too, she insists. She wants him to make the house secure, so no one could stumble upon any of their stuff or disturb Paul. She wants a speaker that can play any song without being connected to the internet (the connection is notoriously spotty out back), she wants everything.
She probably included a few of those to make some of the others sound comparatively reasonable but I still don’t know how she came up with so much, so quickly.
“We can’t have half of those things, unless you want me to create a drug that’ll wipe everyone’s memories after the night.”
He can make something like that? He flinches when he realizes what he’s said with me around.
“Forget I said that… anyway we can just buy most of those things and we already own a barbecue.”
“Yeah, but it’s shit…”
“Look, I’ll do the pool and the house since I don’t see how else we get it done in time… or afford it for that matter… but nothing else, that’s the limit.”
“Yay! Thanks, Aaron, you always come through when I need you.”
She kisses him on the cheek and his entire face goes red. Embarrassing, sickening, immoral.
“Don’t want to rain on your parade but is Paul going to be OK with any of this?”
“I’m OK with it as long as you leave me out of it.”
Well, there’s our answer, I guess. I’m surprised he heard us from the other room.
“See, I told you he’d be OK with it.”
You didn’t tell me anything, I bet you didn’t even consider asking him.
Aaron is scratching his hairless chin while considering what to do.
“I’m going to need time to consider how to make everything work… I’ll try getting started on things tomorrow…”
“Yeah, yeah! I’m gonna start making an invite list. Do a good enough job with the pool and you might sneak on it.”
“But I already live here.”
“Only because I let you.”
“It’s not even your-”
“Go! Go get thinking, you’re wasting precious builder time.”
She playfully flicks him on the forehead and Aaron, reluctantly, shuffles off up to his room, to consider things.
“I should probably go, I really am busy.”
“You can just stay Kai, why don’t we watch a movie?”
“No… I really need to go home.”
She sounds disappointed but brightens up quickly.
“I’ll see you tomorrow Kai!”
I decided not to tell her that I’m not coming tomorrow, I don’t want to ruin that smile.