Friday 28 October 2011

The Ultimate Weapon - Bad Guys Take Note

Reprinted with permission

Recently, I’ve taken a lot of flack regarding the size and tonnage of my handbag.  Not surprisingly, most of the flack has come from the other sex – that one that can’t find the butter in the fridge and has yet to come to grips with the purpose of a dirty clothes hamper.

Personally, I adhere to the “Purse as Weapon” school of fashion, mace being illegal in this country.  Which is why I carry a large envelope shoulder bag. Very large.  Imagine the Roseanne Barr of purses.  One swing from the shoulder can knock a runaway truck back 30 paces.  In fact, I’ve been known to clear entire subway cars in rush hour.

But the most effective use of a purse I’ve ever seen is this story from back in my bank manager days…

One day, a young man with a gun tried to force his way to the front of our lineup to make his demands known to the teller.  Unfortunately, he chose to do this on the day the Old Age Pension cheques arrived in the mail, and worse, the person he chose to cut in front of was old Mrs. Pereira.  Now, Mrs. Pereira may have been only four and a half feet tall, and probably weighed only 90 pounds, but so did her purse.  And being somewhat shortsighted, she may have failed to see the gun, but she certainly did not miss the sudden appearance of a very rude long-haired youth stealing her place in the line.

Being old school, she did not call for help; instead, she commenced whapping him over the head with a particularly lethal black patent handbag with heavy brass corners, while kicking him smartly about the shins.  The hapless bank robber was last seen howling and limping from the branch, followed by a verbal stream of indignant Portuguese.

Which only goes to show that one should always walk softly and carry a big purse.

Wednesday 19 October 2011


Morticia's Massage Parlour and Advice Academy

Just in time for Halloween…

Try Morticia’s relaxing noose therapy (patent pending)
We’ll have you dead calm in minutes…

Dear Morticia,
I am a novice writer attempting my first novel.  Can you give me any advice?
Signed, Stephen Kingsley

Dear Steve,
To be honest, I’m not much of a fiction writer.  I have a lot of plots, but sadly, my characters are lifeless.

Dear Morticia,
Are you personally acquainted with any spirits?
Signed, Tele Pathic

Dear Tel,
Well, I’ve gotten to know Jack Daniels quite well over the years.  I’m also acquainted with Johnny Walker (…deadly for long spells, frankly).

Dear Morticia,
Whatever shall I do?  My eighty year old father has just been arrested for exposing himself – do you think they can make it stick?
Signed, Aghast in Agincourt

Dear Ag,
Couldn’t say for sure.  I once knew a ghost who was caught flashing, but they couldn’t pin anything on him.

Dear Morticia,
I’m a firm believer in the Occult and participate regularly in seances.  Are you a medium?
Signd, Spirtually Inclined

Dear Inc,
Nope, I’m a large.  Especially where it counts, hon.

Dear Morticia,
Do you actually get all this ridiculous mail, or do you make it up yourself?
Signed Sceptic

Dear Scep,
Of course I don’t make it up!  I have a ghostwriter.

Unless you all go out and buy my book, expect more Graveyard humour next week

Thursday 13 October 2011

Age Gracefully? No Way! (reprinted with permission)

I celebrated a birthday recently.  I didn’t celebrate it very well, mind you. I don’t celebrate anything well anymore.  I don’t know how to, primarily because the only time I stay up past midnight is with sick kids.

This was not your run of the mill, once a year, sort of birthday.  No, it was more your “SOB!  Not me!  I can’t have lived this long and still not paid off my charge cards” kind of torture.

The thing is, nobody needs birthday parties in order to feel older.  Our Drivers License photos do it perfectly well on their own.  Besides, you know you’re getting older because the cops keep getting younger and younger.  Soon they’ll be putting little cub scouts in uniforms and sending them out with toy guns to man the speed traps.
Getting older is particularly discouraging when you realize what other people have accomplished by the age of 40.  Attila the Hun had conquered most of Europe before he was old enough to vote.  Cleopatra had vamped the entire Mediterranean coastline while tossing Caesar Salad on the side, and Beethoven managed to write all sort of world class symphonies and go deaf by the time he was my age.  Actually, he was dead by the time he was my age.

The worst thing about growing older is not the weight you gain, but the dreams you lose.  For instance, I’m having trouble coming to terms with the fact that I will never be a major Vogue model.  For one thing, we older broads can’t walk in high heels anymore without toppling over sideways.  Something to do with the weight distribution further up.  For another, we can’t see five inches ahead without our glasses.  So unless Vogue wants a model crawling along the catwalk on her hands and knees, modeling is out.

No question, this birthday signals in new stage in life: when your furniture is much too nice to have another baby.

On the bright side, one of the minor irritants of aging is you tend to forget things.  This has certain advantages.  I forgot to phone my inlaws last week.  I haven’t weighed myself in weeks.  Any day now, I might forget I am married… oops, I forgot: this is a family column. 

Friday 7 October 2011

Meet....Author Stephen Brayton


I am pleased to invite Stephen Brayton to these pages, with this delightfully original post from his heroine.

Dear Mom,

I’m sitting here in my office on a Friday afternoon waiting for my next client who’s a half hour late. So, I thought I’d write out a quick letter since I’ve been very busy lately and we haven’t spoken for a few days.

By now you’ve heard I’ve been published. No, I didn’t write the book; a man named Stephen L. Brayton is the author. My secretary, Darren, gave Mr. Brayton the information about one of my cases. The book, entitled “Beta”, was released by Echelon Press on October 1.

Do you remember the time I was hired to find eight year old Cindy McGee? She had been kidnapped by a child pornography ring. I followed a trail around Des Moines and discovered that she had been transported down to Oskaloosa in south central Iowa, then onto the Quad Cities. Surely you remember Lawrence Cameron, the handsome detective I met when I stayed with Grandma in Moline.

He became my partner for the day as we searched the metropolitan area for places Cindy might have been hidden. I ended up fighting the ringleader back in Des Moines. You and dad visited me in the hospital while I recovered from injuries incurred during that final violent conflict.

As a result of the publication of this book, I expect I’ll be hearing from many more goofy clients. However, they won’t be too much of a change from who I deal with now. Except for rarities like Cindy McGee, my cases usually stray to the nuttier side of life.

On the other hand, my taekwondo school is doing very well. Since the resolution of the case, I’ve signed up many new students. They all want to learn self defense and martial arts from the ‘famous’ Fourth Degree Black Belt.

I know you and Dad will want to read the book and because of the subject matter, don’t let the neighbor kids see it. Even though I hope many of my taekwondo friends will buy the book, it is not for children. Don’t worry, though, Mr. Brayton does a fine job of weaving some of my more humorous moments during the case in with the horror Cindy suffered. The graphic details are very well handled.

Since “Beta” can be purchased at, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble as an eBook, I have nothing to autograph. However, I understand the author will send you and dad a personal message to your Kindle, Nook, or your computer if requested at

I understand Mr. Brayton also has another book, entitled “Night Shadows.” If you would like to know more about him, please visit his website at Darren and I have also read his blog at as well as his book reviews at

Apparently, Darren has also given Mr. Brayton the details of the case I worked on before “Beta”. I thought you’d like to know Mom, you’re featured in one particular scene. Stephen is working on this sequel, the sequel to “Night Shadows” as well as a few other projects.

Well, I’d better now, mom. Darren just poked his head in the door to tell me my appointment has arrived. He has this snarky smile on his face which tells me it’s another lulu. Call me when you and Dad have a free weekend and I’ll see if I can get down for a visit. Until then, I hope you enjoy the book. Please tell your friends.


Mallory Petersen