“In another mile,” the man said. His voice had dropped down into
his throat. Soon it would be down by his dick.
Coming in the other direction toward them then was—oh, fuck,
oh—was a Connecticut state trooper. Their cars were gray and plain,
and they didn’t look like official vehicles. But she knew it was a cop. Her
heart leaped! She had always been told how lucky she was. After the
death of her parents, of course.
She looked in the mirror at her child. BRB smiled, she couldn’t help
it. She knew what to do, she was about to do it, she was going to make a
sharp U turn in the middle of the road, she was going to block the police
car like a fucking action film! She caught the man’s eye.
“Listen here,” he said quickly but not frantically, “I don’t mean to
get away with what I wunna do. You hear me?” His voice was low and
friendless. She saw the knife come down to her daughter’s scalp, she
saw the tip and then she saw her daughter look up. Fuck it, she was going to do it anyway, she was going to take a chance! She looked back to
the road. The police car was gone. It had been driving so fast, it passed
Suddenly the car filled with the smell of shit. She looked in the rearview at her daughter’s cheeks, which were red. The child was wincing.
“I pooped, Momma,” she said.
“It’s OK, baby,” BRB said. She was crying loudly by now.
“I’m sorry, Momma,” the child said. The week prior, they had spent a
whole day trying to potty-train her. By nightfall, all three of them were
crying. The child was sweating and afraid. BRB attached a diaper, messily, to the child, who crawled atop the garbage bin and blew a load into
the smell of talc.
“Fuckin’ hell,” the man said. “What the fuck! That smells in-fuckin-
“I’m sorry,” the child said, trembling.
“Don’t miss the turn,” the man said, holding his nose. “Right here.”
It was a dark time after her mother died. BRB was living precariously,
without a soul. Joe in the hinterlands, always waiting to save her. BRB
was obsessed with some guy from the South, a banker with a giant
floor-through on Cornelia, who was an asshole like the rest but who
didn’t sound like one. She loved the artifice. Then came that rainy spring