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Hot and Bothered

  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Oct. 08, 2021 - 8:41 AM

Hot and Bothered

Alex McRae is a writer and ghostwriter. His debut novel, Rough Draft, is coming this fall. He can be reached at:

One of the biggest mistakes I made during college was test driving a book that a professor told me “smart people” should read.

It took me half a chapter to realize I could learn a lot more from the folks who hung out at the bait shop or the bowling alley or the cheap seats at a baseball game.

Since I write for a living, I still read a lot. I enjoy it. But except for a daily dose of scripture, I read to be entertained. And nothing entertains me like mystery and thriller novels.

I like them so much I just finished writing one. More on that project in weeks to come.

Reading mysteries and thrillers keeps me up to date about how the bad guys (and gals) operate and how good men and women try to catch them. The same books offer up an ever-growing assortment of ways people come up with to express their anger or settle a score.

A great example appears in the Book of Genesis when Cain slew his brother Abel with a rock.

Since then, people have learned they could do the job much more efficiently using knives, swords, spears, arrows, clubs, bats, crowbars, guns, cannons, missiles, and self-serving Congressional legislation.

When it comes to weapons, nothing is out of bounds or overlooked. If one person is determined to harm another, any gadget—from a flat shoe to a fat dictionary—will do.

Reading about the new ways people find to harm each other never brightens my day. But those stories can provide interesting material for a newspaper column. Including this one.

You don’t have to be Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker, or Bobby Flay to know that the average home kitchen contains countless items handy for serving up some pain.

I’ve read stories about people being beaten with pans and pots and clobbered with a colander.

I once read about someone getting creamed by an airborne Keurig coffee maker. If appliances won’t do, foods are an acceptable substitute.

A few years ago, I saw a story about a guy who beat his bride with a frozen tom turkey. Up in Brooklyn, a man once flung an unsliced loaf of salami at a business competitor. Tempers rise, food flies. It happens.

It just happened again. The perp was a woman. She is accused of attacking a loved one with a saucepan. But the pan wasn’t the problem.

The police report said, that “Contained within this pan was hot grits which spilled on the victim, causing a burn to his left arm.”

A hot grit attack? Horrors.

People have run off the rails more often than normal during the COVID pandemic. I get it. But if things have reached the point where humans are weaponizing grits, The End may be closer than we think.

But I digress.

The grit chunker was identified as 49-year-old Dereise Johnson. This was not her first fling with domestic violence. Police records show that two years ago, Ms. Johnson struck the same dude in the face with her hand.

The anger issues go way back. Police reports show that in 2017 Ms. Johnson was sentenced to 90 days in jail for beating on her 65-year-old aunt.

Following the latest caper, Ms. Johnson is jailed in lieu of a $5,000 bond. One day she will be set free. When that happens, I hope and pray that a cooler head—and cold breakfast cereal—will be the new rule at her roost.

Alex McRae is a writer and ghostwriter. His debut novel, Rough Draft, is coming this fall. He can be reached at: