In Part 3 of Daniel Woodrell's best, we return to "Muscle From The Wing," one of three novels that make up The Bayou Trilogy, all published between 1986 and 1992 and set in the fictitious town of St. Bruno, Louisiana.
The scene: Rene Shade is a police detective, hanging out at the bar where his girlfriend Nicole is "carrying pitchers of beer and margaritas to the needy" when a young woman named Wanda steps up and slaps her hands down on the bar.
Shade always checked out anybody named Lulu, Candy, Dixie or Wanda, so he did a quick scan: a young gal of about the old voting-age with hair of that eye-catching, burnt-red color that spelled trouble in pulp paperbacks, a short, juicy build with an abundance of feminine bounce and a feisty, freckled face that dared you to make something of it.
She pays for her beer and Nicole tells Shade that the redhead is a local girl, Wanda Bone, who married someone a lot older than her, a ne'er-do-well named Ronnie Bouvier. The next chapter begins with a quick sketch of Wanda.
Wanda Bone Bouvier had that thing that makes a hound leap against his cage. It was a quality that was partly a bonus from nature and partly learned from cheesecake calendars and Tanya Tucker albums. Wanda had realized early on that her body was a taunt that sent would-be Romeos off on quests for Love Oil and ceiling mirrors and nerve. She had gone clean up to her sixteenth year, wandering school halls and pool halls, public parks and private parties, doing an earthy shimmy and sashay through them all.
Though she had a deadpan gaze she had always sharply noted the weak knees and lolling tongues aound her. She had found this effect to be delightful and fun until that fateful sixteenth year when she had gone with a girl friend to a roller-skating rink at dusk,and had left before midnight in love forever with a fortyish gangster.
In Part 4, we'll meet Rene's dad, John X. Shade.
Photograph by Justin C. Cannon via Photobucket
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