I put on Rachel’s gigantic sunglasses and, holding a glass of wine, extended my arm.
“Come, come Mr. Bond. You derive just as much pleasure from killing as I do.”
David has a late-night adventure on a Vermont country road with a girl from Baltimore.
Rachel laughed. It was her turn now. We were sitting on tall stools in my Vermont kitchen. We had just watched a British comedy, The Trip. The two main characters, driving together through northern England, try to outdo each other’s impressions: James Bond, James Bond villains, Michael Caine. We had moved to wine after finishing off Rachel’s bottle of Hendricks, having mixed a half-dozen of that most humane of drinks, the gin and tonic. It was almost midnight. We had been together since about nine, when we met for our latest check-in: she showed me her day’s studio work and I read her what I had written in my novel. We did this every day. I discovered that I wrote a lot more when I knew I’d be forced to read it to Rachel later. Rachel, she was beautiful I thought: a country-girl’s face: open and wide-eyed and freckled. She was from Baltimore. She had a crazy laugh; she punched me when she felt happy. She had blond hair and it fell over her eyes. But she was a dark-spirited painter who painted dark scenes on tiny canvases, as though to prove a world absent of light. One night we had driven up the hill to the star-gazing field to watch a violent lightning storm coming from Canada. A few days later it ended up in her paintings.