by Denise Duhamel

bullet Bio


There was a state trooper we’d see nightly on the new Route 29,
the straight shot into Lynchburg where we would get a Starbucks
after dinner. The cop car hid in the same bend,
and several times we’d seen her giving out tickets.
She had a bun that was reminiscent of the late 60’s,
almost a bouffant really, and we got a close up of it
one night when she also was in Starbucks ordering a Venti latte.
She had a stern face and the kids behind the counter
seemed afraid of her like we were. It was hard to tell if she was 30
or 50—especially because we were reluctant to stare, except
when she was turned the other way, her elaborate hair
like a brunette pastry on her head. We wondered if the coffee
would put her in a better mood, if she’d be less of a stickler
with her radar. We started calling her The Bun
and saw her in Staples, then The Food Lion,
each time getting in a few more glances.
She had severe eyebrows and wore burgundy lipstick
while in uniform, her gun looking a little too big
resting on her hip.
Her life became a game to us:
The Bun lived in a bungalow, slept in a bunk bed, and had a pet bunny.
She loved bungee jumping but suffered from bunions.
She’d tried detective work but was a bundle of nerves and bungled the case.
What had been her favorite subject in school?
Science, so she could use the Bunsen burner.
Her favorite cake? Bundt. Her favorite mall court treat? Cinnabons.
Her favorite TV show? The Brady Bunch.
She danced the bunny hop and skied the bunny slopes.
Though she was of average height, we surmised nonetheless
that she descended from Paul Bunyan.

There was something
about The Bun that made us want to be bratty,
to shoplift something small, to drive two miles over the speed limit
to see if we’d be caught. Maybe The Bun reminded us
of the schoolmarms of our childhood, the ones we’d always wanted
to rebel against but were too scared. Not much had changed—
I was teasing Nick with a pair of big white Target panties,
running them along his arm, dangling them close to the red slats of our cart.
But when we turned the corner and saw The Bun, I sobered up
and went to put the giant briefs back on the shelf. Even though The Bun
had let her hair down and was wearing jeans, even though she seemed
to be with a boyfriend or husband or brother, she wasn’t very jovial
or engaged with the bargains around her. Nick nodded
her way, but he couldn’t tell if The Bun acknowledged him or not.
I made sure I folded the panties nicely
and put them back where I found them in a stack of XXLs.


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The Redneck Review 2007