Vignettes Regarding the Artwork of Brendon Kotes
Though Brendon tried to bow out, Orion insisted on treating dinner in that confident way of his. Yet with each passing moment, Orion’s presence felt more like an imposition rather than a treat. The entire day more a press of weight, a guilt riding on Brendon’s shoulders and a sick sense of dread that kept him from reaching for his sketchbook.
“We’ll have to go through your sales book,” Orion said as they waited for a table. “Find the most likely to cause problems and double-check that everyone is safe.”
And if they’re not? Brendon wanted to ask. What then? Did he take the blame for the suffering, the death? Would the legal system even consider his guilt? Would they—
“This way, sirs.”
A heavily tanned girl—no more than sixteen or seventeen, with plastic nails and purple eye makeup that cast interesting shadows around her eyes—guided them into a booth and rattled off a series of daily specials that sounded decidedly unspecial.
Then she whisked away to fetch Orion a couple fingers of bourbon and Brendon a water. Just a water, he’d said. He couldn’t handle anything else. Or maybe he should drink. Drown away this inexplicable dread, tear away the filters stopping him from cursing Orion for all the doubt he’d brought.
“This whole situation is troubling. Just got off the phone with Wendy and she agrees that we need to get to the bottom of this. Not just the paintings you’ve already done, but why and what and how. Can it be replicated? Can it be militarized?” Continue reading