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  • Gary Hunter

an unsuspecting place gets an unexpected gift - Sept. 27, 2023

I tape up the box, 35 mangoes stacked in a crisscross pattern, and head to the local police station. I fumble with the weight as I shuffle into the lobby. A very sweet 30-something with a tight bun of hair sits at the window. “Can I help you?” I’ve got mangoes for everyone. The rest of the all-female staff behind her bend their bunned heads into the aisle, on cue, and steal a look. “Oh, how nice. Bring them over here”. I follow her along the mirrored glass, seeing myself lugging the box in a blue pickleball shirt and blue shorts and feel clownish in this serious place. It’s heavy – do you want me to bring them in, understanding a little too late, that would be entering the inner sanctum with all its schemes and strategies and secrets. “No, that’s alright”. As I gently slip the dense weight of the fruit into her arms, an officer with a stern face comes out another door and snaps a question at her. I wait for their discussion to end and watch the policeman walk away before I exclaim in a loud voice The mangoes are for everyone! The officer half turns and sneaks a smile.

Maybe that’s why I brought them: To soften the toughness of this place - that never-let-your-guard-down job of theirs, belt-strapped with guns, tasers and batons in a steel-blue buttoned-up uniform – with a mango, ripe only when the skin gives way to a gentle touch, and sweet enough to bend lips and widen eyes.


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