Holy Mayhemby Pat G'Orge-Walker
Two church-ladies-turned-sleuths are sure to raise more than a little hell when they decide to make crime-solving miracles in this hilarious new novel. . .
They've been laid off, they're broke, and their faith is really being tried. But dedicated Mount Kneel Down Baptist Church members Patience Kash and Joy Karry figure now is the perfect time to pursue their
Two church-ladies-turned-sleuths are sure to raise more than a little hell when they decide to make crime-solving miracles in this hilarious new novel. . .
They've been laid off, they're broke, and their faith is really being tried. But dedicated Mount Kneel Down Baptist Church members Patience Kash and Joy Karry figure now is the perfect time to pursue their other true callingbecoming private detectives. And if that means putting up with their thug-wannabe cousin Porky's delusions while hilariously interfering with their famous detective godson Percy's investigations, it's still a heaven-sent opportunity to hear all the town dirt and find customers. . .
When a thief steals the prized family Bible right out from under Porky's nose and church funds are missing on Patience's watch, these sisters-in-God find themselves sleuthing out the strangest family and church secretsand up against someone more than ready to send them to their heavenly reward. Now, they'll need their most inspired hunches, their not-real-fierce dog Felony, and their license-to-missionary to uncover the truth and crack this holy case. . .
"Walker shines a little light on a wacky family reunion with her usual inspirational, knee-slapping style." Publishers Weekly on Don't Blame the Devil
"Deeply entertaining. . .a rip-roaringly comical read." The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin's Dead
"A comic novel about mistakes and second chances." Library Journal on Don't Blame the Devil
—Library Journal on Sister Betty Says I Do
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By Pat G'Orge-Walker
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2012 Pat G'Orge Walker
All rights reserved.
"How long have you been out of work, Mrs. Karry?"
Joy squirmed in her seat as she answered the unemployment benefits interviewer. "It's been about three weeks now."
She'd prayed a lot in the three weeks since her lay-off. Despite the warm weather that day, she'd worn a heavy blue cotton dress and a long-sleeve jacket. With her Christian upbringing, she'd never appear in public with her flesh exposed, no matter how hot it got. Hell was hotter, she'd always say.
She didn't quite feel comfortable with her interviewer. He was as slow as a turtle with arthritis; he even spoke slowly. He was also pastycolored and wore a ridiculous cheap blond toupee, slicked down to appear more costly. What was worse was that human turtle had made a ludicrous assumption about her. After all, she'd spent time and effort to fill out the mountain of forms using flawless penmanship, and he had yet to take a peep at it.
"It's Miss Karry," Joy said slowly, fighting to keep from chewing on her bottom lip that poked out. "It says it right there on the first page that I'm a single woman."
"Of course you are," the interviewer replied after scanning her slowly up and down, side to side, like an MRI machine. He pushed his glasses further down upon his small yet freckled hooked nose, as though to get an even better look. "Forgive me," he replied, frowning. "I don't see how I could've made such an assumption that you'd be married."
"Excuse me?" Joy's hand remained in her lap, but she could feel the blood pulsating through it as it struggled to morph into a fist. She wanted to knock him out, then maybe pray him back.
The interviewer, obviously used to threats real and imagined, didn't respond further. Instead, the man finally began thumbing through Joy's paperwork. Silently, like the wolf in the Three Little Pigs fairytale, he huffed, puffed, and appeared ready to blow away Joy's peace of mind.
Joy's dark moon-shaped face began sparkling with perspiration at the same time, dampening her curly raspberry wig du jour. While the interviewer contorted his face, she'd slid both hands under the weight of her heavy pocketbook, using it much like a paperweight, hummed her hymns, and whispered her prayers. She also thought about Patience and wondered how she might be faring two cubicles over, also applying for the unemployment benefits.
Though they shared the same home, the two hadn't been the same since the afternoon Joy came through the door to say she, too, had been laid off. The sudden shopping sprees, restaurant-hopping several times a week, and their beloved QVC shopping network were things of the past.
Two cubicles over, Joy's cousin Patience Kash sat as still and stiff as a statue. Being thin as a rail made her appear that way no matter how she sat. She swept aside her long brown hair she normally kept hidden under a scarf; today the tresses peeked out as though they wanted to be a part of whatever was going on. She'd also worn a long pink skirt and matching top with sleeves stopping at the elbow. Her shoes, pocketbook, and even her cell-phone case were pink. She loved being coordinated and could care less if folks thought she overdid it at times.
Patience squirmed in her seat, making just enough noise to gain attention. She placed one hand under the chin of her elongated mocha-colored face while her thick glasses perched precariously on the tip of her pointy nose. She peered over her glasses at the young black man going over her paperwork slowly with a pen. He pointed the tip of his pen line by line, and seemingly word by word, as though he were reading a novel.
Waiting for the man to finish his methodical read, she looked at the paneled frosted-glass cubicle, toward where Joy had gone. She said nothing but began to remember, as she'd done almost daily since her lay-off, how things were when she worked.
"I'm almost finished," the young interviewer finally told Patience. "I'm just trying to find one more item."
"No rush," Patience replied with just a hint of cynicism, and then she smiled. She understood how looking for things was a tedious task. After all, there were always two things she could never find during her time in Robbery and Homicide: her spare glasses and a typo.
For the next thirty minutes the cousins sat inside separate cubicles. Each gave their interviewers an earful of what happened when they worked at the precinct and their hopes for any future employment.
In the beginning, they revealed, they'd taken whatever tests came their way in their efforts to obtain their ultimate dream job. Both wanted to become detectives. "If our godson Percy LaPierre can become a superstar detective, so can we. After all, snooping is in our blood," they'd each told their interviewers.
They also conceded that their dream had never happened.
Five of their ten years at the precinct they'd spent taking and passing written police tests, scoring higher than most. Unfortunately for them, their dismal failures at the physicals brought the test scores down to almost zero.
Joy's problem: too short, too overweight, and too knock-kneed. Coworkers talked about Joy behind her back, calling her "Joy the neatfreak, who can't run fast enough to clean up crime."
Patience also suffered physical setbacks. Skinny Minnie weighed more, and Patience couldn't see two inches without her glasses, let alone see a crime.
Finally, the head of the Pelzer Police Department's Human Resources told the cousins to throw in the towel. "Y'all might as well stop taking and failing these physicals. Y'all need to stick to cleaning toilets and typing reports. Leave the crime-solving to the professionals."
The interiewers each told Joy and Patience they'd hear from unemployment within two weeks and wished them good luck.
"I don't need luck," Joy replied. "I ain't worried. God's got this all under control."
Patience told her interviewer the same.
"We know that faith without work is dead," Joy later told Patience. "No matter what we told those interviewers, we need jobs."CHAPTER 2
While Joy and Patience waited to hear from the unemployment interviewers, they continued worshiping, racing off to prophecy services, telling any who'd listen that God would see them through. Yet, in reality, dreams die hard. So while they waited on the Lord, the cousins relived their real-life failed detective dreams from the comfort of their living room sofa. While thumbing through their Bibles for clarity and gorging on handfuls of popcorn and donuts and drinking coffee, they watched television.
With their imaginations in free fall, they set about solving crimes by watching their favorite Law & Order episodes, the NCIS television series, and Murder, She Wrote, as well as any movie of the week with a mystery theme.
The cousins weren't alone in their love of anything crime-related. They had their beloved, neurotic dog, Felony, constantly wagging his stumpy tail. He'd lay spread between them on the sofa.
Around Pelzer, and anywhere the dog went, Felony's appearance caused jaws to drop or tongues to wag. He had the features and temperament of so many breeds: long floppy ears like a beagle, pot belly like a bull dog, and short stumpy legs like a dachshund. With a stubby tail like a boxer's added to the mixture, he looked like a Doctor Frankenstein — type experiment gone wrong.
Doggy heaven for Felony was watching an old television episode of The Thin Man. Felony wagged both his stubby tail and tongue, excited each time the phobic dog, Asta, was in a scene. As long as Felony's favorite china bowl overflowed with warm, buttered popcorn (though it sometimes caused him to release a loud and foul-smelling mutt-gas when Joy massaged his fat belly) he was good. Woe to anyone trying to interfere with that mutt-pup's personal space.
At their home church, Mount Kneel Down Non-Denominational Center, Joy carried on her missionary work. "You know, I'm beginning to see things the Lord's way," she told Patience over breakfast one morning. "I can use this spare time while I find another job to continue to do God's work and see if there's anything needing investigating along the way."
"How you gonna do that?"
"Well, let me see. I can read folks' mail that ain't up to snuff to do it themselves. I can straighten out closets for them that can't do that, either."
"Joy, what if you come across something you shouldn't?"
"I'll investigate. What's the point of finding dirt if ya can't dig into it?" Patience then decided she'd do her thing, too. She'd come to the same conclusion as Joy: perhaps God had changed her assignment. Part of Joy's acceptance of her early retirement situation was to try to become president of the missionary board. The only thing standing in her way was the possible reelection of Mount Kneel Down's current missionary president, Sister Boodrow.
Later that evening, Joy continued sharing her thoughts. "You know what, Patience?"
Patience stopped peeling the potatoes she intended on fixing for their meal and wiped her hands on her apron before joining Joy at the kitchen table. She would've continued her chore but Joy's excitement of God's new direction had already spilled over from breakfast right on through lunchtime, and now it didn't appear she had any plans of waiting for supper to continue.
"That Sister Boodrow still is a big problem with my wanting to become missionary board president."
"That's a shame, too, Joy. I know you're much more of a Christian than that supposedly turned-around stripper."
"I most certainly am. That's why I don't trust the woman's instincts about morality. She ain't fit to lead the missionary board, and I don't care how long she been leading it."
"So what are you gonna tell the folks the next time that you ain't already told them the last three times you tried to uproot the heffa?"
Each time Joy had pled her case before the church board, she'd only said she had a better vision for the missionary board, but without giving details. It wasn't easy, because she also needed to convince someone on the church board making the final decision to give her a chance. Preferably someone Sister Boodrow hadn't bedded. In order to do that, Joy needed to step up her missionary game.
Joy's opportunity came one Friday afternoon. Out of the blue, the telephone rang, and Patience answered it before Joy could.
"Praise the Lord, may I speak with Sister Karry? This is Deacon Campbell Whistle."
Patience mouthed the words Deacon Campbell Whistle.
Joy sucked her teeth at the mention of the man's name. Almost two years ago, from the moment she'd first laid eyes upon him, Joy's third-eye — what she called her Spirit of Discernment — had begun twitching. It hadn't taken her long to understand why that third eye went on alert. In her opinion, Deacon Whistle was a pasty-looking, self-righteous, middle-aged skeezer. He'd claimed he was a retired investment banker with a lot of cash. To Joy, money didn't equal class.
Most of her mistrust came about when he began coming to church service only twice a month. She'd seen him on several occasions lurking around the pastor's study and inside his private office. Of course, he'd only dallied around the pastor's study whenever Rev. Stepson was too ill and couldn't make it to service.
"That man just wants to see that all his money is working and doing the will of the Lord," Patience would always tell her when Joy complained. "After all, he is the church's largest investor and tithe payer. And whether we or the pastor like it or not, the church board did make Whistle a temporary head of the finances — although they done gone ahead and made him permanent now. You might need to make nice with him 'cause he does okay the auxiliary positions, too." She took a deep breath to keep a measure of Christianity in her voice as she answered his call.
"Hello." Joy's single word was as stiff as she'd hoped it would be. Her greeting of "Praise the Lord" was reserved for her fellow Christians.
"I'm sorry to learn of your lay-off" — he suddenly began wheezing into the telephone like a hairball was stuck in his throat — "and that it's taken me so long to acknowledge your situation. It is not how I connect with the saints of God in the pastor's absence. However, I understand from our First Lady Stepson that you are planning on campaigning for missionary board president again. Is that right?"
"Yes, I am." Joy took pains to keep from laughing at his struggle to sound extra relevant as he wheezed and snorted.
She quickly decided she'd need to adopt a more Saved-Christian tone. "I believe I can bring another Christian view; especially the one God keeps giving me in His and mine constant conversations."
"Do you converse with our Lord often?"
"I most certainly do," Joy replied. She wanted to brag about her prayer and fasting habits, but now wasn't the time.
"That's good to hear, Sister Karry. Another reason for this phone call is to have you come by the church this afternoon so we can discuss your Christian view."
She didn't know what to make of the added little extra something when he imitated the way she'd said Christian view. Was he snorting, choking, or being sarcastic? Whichever, she'd soon find out when they spoke in person.
The appointment to meet at the Mount Kneel Down Outreach Center, right next door to the main church building, was set for three o'clock that afternoon. Joy had no intention of being late, but she also had to decide what she'd wear. She planned on walking through the door already looking the part of a missionary president. But she'd still carry her Bible and a can of mace in case he wanted her in another sort of missionary position.
After showering, she dusted her body with lilac talcum powder. Lying across her queen-size bed, lifting her sagging breasts up to where they rested upon her collarbone, she grabbed a large feather duster. After dipping it, she dusted extra powder under her breasts. Once the dusting was complete, she shimmied, pushed, stuffed, and prayed her way into an expensive body-shaper corset. The material felt like something a NASA scientist would design; supposedly it was her size and guaranteed to redistribute her fat.
The weather wasn't too hot, but the humidity was high. Joy chose a bright yellow muumuu with brown circles dotting its bodice and long sleeves. Since Patience had gone to run a few errands, she wasn't there to tell Joy the dress made her look like the sun with planets orbiting about it.
Normally, Felony would've curled up at the foot of the bed, staring as she put on each piece. He'd have jumped around, barked his approval, or growled his displeasure. At that moment, though, she supposed he was outside terrorizing the neighborhood — or he may have passed out from growling.
It didn't matter. In Joy's mind, she looked good.CHAPTER 3
Before rushing off to the church's outreach center, Joy left a note for Patience explaining where she'd gone. She drove with the A/C blasting, imagining how a soldier driving through a desert felt, braving the hot sun in bumper-to-bumper camel traffic.
Joy arrived and the reception area was empty. She was certain she had the time right. Perhaps he was running a little late.
Fifteen minutes passed, and she grew anxious for Deacon Whistle to show up. As much as she wanted the missionary president position, she wasn't happy waiting around for him.
Joy was in the middle of reciting scripture, trying to keep calm, when she happened to look down the hallway from where she'd sat. Suddenly two doors away, she spotted the shadow of Deacon Whistle's potbelly looking like a mountain lying on its side. It was so big it protruded over the pastor's study's doorsill.
"Ahem!" Joy almost shouted the warning as she pretended to clear her throat. She didn't care what tone her voice had; she was way past annoyed.
She stood up this time, with her hands on her wide hips, a huge pocketbook dangling from one wrist. Tossing aside her good manners and caution, she called out louder. "Listen, Deacon Whistle, time is passing. You called and set up this appointment for three o'clock. It's almost three-thirty!"
Excerpted from Holy Mayhem by Pat G'Orge-Walker. Copyright © 2012 Pat G'Orge Walker. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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Meet the Author
Pat G'Orge-Walker is the Essence® bestselling author of almost a dozen novels and contributed a short story to the anthology Proverbs for the People. Growing up a preacher's kid gave G'Orge-Walker a quirky perspective on the church community and inspired her to create a one-woman comedy show centering on Sister Betty, an elderly super saint whose un-Christian-like behavior blocks her blessings. With the success of the Sister Betty comedy show, G'Orge-Walker turned her humor and imagination to writing. Visit her online at SisterBetty.com, Twitter @ PGOrgeWalker, and Facebook.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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The First Lady of Gospel Comedy and Fiction is back with another installment of the hilarious Sister Betty Series. Faith. Crazy characters. Comedy. These are all a combination for a book that will not only warm your heart but will set your book shelf on fire. G'Orge writes with such clarity and humor that even that novel reader will instantly fall in love. With good humor, and enjoyable characters this series is one that I will never forget. Holy Mayhem is about family values, loving ones church and solving cases. This was an interesting book with colorful characters. The author does a wonderful job creating relatable characters that will remind readers of their own family members. Pat G'Orge is one writer that will be remembered forever for warming our hearts and delivering a classic tale from the heart.
The character's names will have you laughing and giggling all through this book. What a sense of humor Pat G'Orge-Walker has. We meet the Godmother's Joy and Patience, and their Godson Percy...that they refer to as Little P. He is a Police Detective who places cases notes in the treasured Grandmamma's Truth's Bible. If you can get through this book without rolling on the floor laughing you are doing well. These treasured Godmother's have a dog named Felony...yes! Also some things and people are not how they appear. If you want a really funny enjoyable read this one is for you. Don't miss this hard to put down book! I received this book from Tywebbin Virtual Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Very good reads. loved them cousins