For the sake of argument, remember that I’m talking about fiction.
With that said, what might happen if a mugger approached your protagonist and she was carrying a weapon in her purse?
He might say, “Gimme your money or lose your life!”
Is she going to hand over her purse if there’s a weapon in it? Probably not, because it could be turned on her.
She could say, “Hold on a sec, sweetie, while I fish my gun/pepper spray/ knife/ mace out of my purse.” Not a good move on her part. Maybe, instead, she could say, “Hold on a sec, sweetie, while I fish my heart pills/hormone pills/inhaler/ lipstick (lipstick?) out of my purse. You can have everything else.”
Of course, many of today’s bad guys are worse than in years past, but we’re talking about fiction. The antagonist can be as good or bad as the author wants him or her to be.
I know I’m repeating myself, but a long time ago a friend and I went to the bank on our lunch hour. As we were leaving, she was mugged. Long story short, they were struggling on the ground when I raised my purse to hit him over the head. He glanced up and saw what I was doing and took off. I’ve always carried large purses, and apparently he feared for his life when he saw the monster I carried. By the way, the only weapon I carried was the purse itself.
Chances are that in real life the woman would just hand over her purse. Although… If the victim was carrying some kind of weapon, she might actually try something like I’ve mentioned.
I once read that your keys are a good weapon. Carry them with a key sticking out between your fingers. You might be able to poke someone in the eye or some other sensitive spot.
There’s a thought. Step forward to hand over your purse and in the process lift your knee quickly, hitting the bad guy’s Family Jewels.I guess that’s not such a good idea if he’s pointing a gun or a knife at you, though.
I’m making light of the situation, but remember, I’m talking about fiction. You can ask yourself what you might do under those circumstances, and you can write your character out of a tough situation. Just make it at least somewhat real.
In A Well-Kept Family Secret, Sandi Webster’s mother was waiting for her in a parking lot. She saw a mugger approaching and, surprise, surprise, she was carrying a large purse. As he rushed her, she swung the purse and hit him upside the head. In fiction, she got the drop on him like I’d wanted to.
Sometimes truth is so much stranger than fiction. Without going into it, a woman was recently attacked and she grabbed a rake. When the really, really bad guy tried to take the rake from her, he dropped his gun. She grabbed it and shot over her shoulder, killing him. Or so the story goes. It turned out, last I heard, that he may have been a serial killer. If you read that in a book, would you believe it? Yes, it happened in Cincinnati.
I remember reading one of Dorothy Bodoin’s books where the main character grabbed a salad bowl and dumped it on the killer’s head, leaving lettuce, salad dressing, and all the other ingredients running down the person’s face and into her eyes. Ingenious. I never would have thought of that, and it worked. It also made sense.
Have you ever surprised yourself by taking unexpected actions in a crisis situation? Sometimes our minds go blank and sometimes they kick into gear when faced with a horrendous situation. In fiction, we can make sure our protagonist thinks quickly and takes action. Please make sure it’s realistic, something that could really happen.
A salad bowl could really happen.
Now, sweetie, give me a sec to think up a new scenario. Nope. That’s all I’ve got to say on the subject.
Until next time, have a great week and walk with a key sticking between your fingers if you’re alone in a parking lot or walking down a dark street.
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If you read What Are the Odds? – A Sandi Webster Mystery, remember that everything about the house in the story is true. The rest is pure fiction. Isn’t that what they call a teaser?