Bravado and Bluster
KJ Hannah Greenberg


As her partner drove to headquarters, Dorothy touched the pokerwork rendering on the cruiser’s faux wood dashboard. She wondered if that art was actual pyrography, shrugged, and returned her focus to the forms she was completing. There’d be no respite at home.

Her strategy of not engaging her brothers in work talk had failed. When she interacted with them, emphasizing their lives, not hers, they grew miffed. Those fellows meant to be vicariously macho. The oldest among them was a scriptwriter. The youngest was a creator of pulp fiction. The twins, in the middle, were visual artists.

Those siblings demanded knowledge of Dorothy’s endeavors. Two were revanchists, who desired, above all, returning New Orleans to France. Two “merely” wanted to thwart the sitting President. All regarded Dorothy as a creative failure and all never read the file that she addended, yearly, to her Mardi Gras letters.

Annually, before that week-long, nightmarish assignment, Dorothy reminded them, cousins, parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles that she was pledged to uphold the law and that despite familial interest in, or desperation to possess, facts to which she was privy, she couldn’t oblige. She’d continue attending weddings and funerals as her schedule permitted, but could never disclose confidentialities. In case Carnival killed her, she wanted them to know they were loved.

Nonetheless, those brothers continued to chide her. They appraised her communication as bravado and bluster while busying themselves with sipping beer and watching the parade on TV.


First published: August 2018
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