Bonnie saw Clive for the first time in seven years at an illegal get-together outside Killington. No masks—a good thing, or she wouldn’t have recognized him. She hadn’t seen Clive since her sister’s wedding.
Bonnie had a hazy recollection of making out with Clive after the reception.
Later that afternoon, she was in a pickup heading north after Clive had offered her a ride home.
“All this natural beauty,” Clive said. It was stick season, and the leaves were down. “But it feels like the bottom’s fallen out.”
“I got almost no income,” Bonnie said. “I had things patched together with part-time jobs. Not anymore, thanks to the lockdown.”
Clive said, “I’m back in Vermont living in my parent’s basement.”
Bonnie said, “Got anything lined up?”
“Not specifically,” Clive said. “I’m trying to be open to all possibilities, expand my—” He made a motion with his hand.
“Range,” Bonnie said.
“Exactly,” he said. “It’s about money. So I ask myself, Where is the money?”
Bonnie said, “In banks. With my car.”
Clive glanced at her. “Now, take you,” he said. “Good looking, only twenty-six—”
“Barely two hours and you wanna pimp me?”
“I didn’t mean that,” Clive said. “Just exploring the possibilities.”
Bonnie said, “At some point, every woman wonders if she could make a living selling her body.”
“There’s the sugar daddy route,” Clive said. “Find a refined older gent with dough.”
He drummed his fingers on the wheel.
Clive said, “Okay, let’s look at the typical set up. Hypothetically, of course. A partnership with someone who does the marketing, vets the clients, provides security.”
“For fifty percent,” Bonnie said. “All I do is drop my drawers. And get the clap.”
“Maybe not,” Clive said.
“I have a question,” Bonnie said. “When there’s a client who’s into guys, will the hypothetical partner take it up the ass? And split fifty-fifty?”
“I got another idea,” Clive said.
He opened the center console and handed Bonnie a revolver.
“A thirty-eight?” she said.
“This a collector’s item you’re selling on eBay?”
Up the road, a UPS truck pulled out of a driveway.
“They’re all over the place,” Clive said. “Everybody’s shopping online.”
“Are you stealing shit off porches?” Bonnie said.
“The key is getting rid of the stuff,” Clive said. “I know a guy.”
The delivery truck turned into the driveway of a house set back from the road. Clive pulled over and parked.
Clive took the revolver from Bonnie. “You drive. I’ll wave, you come get me.”
Bonnie said, “Fifty-fifty, right?”
Clive slid out and bushwhacked through the trees toward the house. Bonnie got out of the pickup and walked around.
Delivery done, the UPS truck pulled out and drove off.
Bonnie put her foot on the brake and started the motor. Her right hand went to the shift lever. It moved. A five-speed manual.
Bonnie thought, Fuck.
A shot came from the direction of the house.
Bonnie thought, I can drive a snow machine, a twenty-seven speed mountain bike and a four-wheeler, but not a manual transmission.
Clive was half-running through the woods toward the pickup, limping. Bonnie saw a red splotch on his left thigh.
Clive climbed in. “Hit it!”
“It’s a stick shift.”
Clive stared at her.
“Gimme the gun,” Bonnie said.
She jumped out and ran through the woods. Then two shots, seconds apart.
A couple minutes passed. Clive determined it was only a flesh wound. He wasn’t going to bleed to death.
A car started down the driveway. It pulled up in front of the pickup. Bonnie was behind the wheel and signaled Clive to get in.
He hobbled to the car. In the back was a jumble of boxes.
Clive got in and said, “You shot him?”
Bonnie said, “That fucker was between me and the money, Clive.”
She put the car in drive.
“Unlike you, I grabbed the delivery,” Bonnie said. “And the wallet. More than six hundred dollars.”
She made a U-turn and drove down the road to a stop sign.
Bonnie said, “Which way you think that truck turned?”