Getting Old Is
the Best Revenge
A D E L L B O O K
GETTING OLD IS THE BEST REVENGE A Dell Book / April 2006
Published by Bantam Dell
A Division of Random House, Inc.
New York, New York
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead,
events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved
Copyright © 2006 by Rita Lakin
Map and ornament illustrations by Laura Hartman Maestro
Book design by Karin Batten
Dell is a registered trademark of Random House, Inc., and the colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc.
eISBN-13: 978-0-440-33590-0 eISBN-10: 0-440-33590-6
This book belongs to Gavin and Howard, my sons, who have blessed me with their loyalty and their love
"Senior citizens. People say they don't know how to drive. You think it's so easy to maneuver a car on the sidewalk?"
—Jack Rothman, 78, Los Angeles, a new stand-up comic
"Comedy is tragedy plus time. These funny people have a lifetime of things to say."
—Judy Carter, teacher of stand-up comedy for seniors
"I'm very earthy and I sing earthy songs."
—Estelle Reiner, 91 (wife of Carl, mother of Rob), discussing her late-in-life cabaret
career in an interview in T
magazine, December 2005
Yiddish (meaning Jewish) came into being between the ninth and twelfth centuries in Germany as an adaptation of German dialect to the special uses of Jewish religious life.
In the early twentieth century, Yiddish was spoken by eleven million Jews in Eastern Europe and the United States. Its use declined radically. However, lately there has been a renewed interest in embracing Yiddish once again as a connection to Jewish culture.
bubkes - nothing, worthless
fakackta - dirty
gevalt - cry of distress
kvell - glow with pride
kvetch - whine, complain
maven - know-it-all
mensch - a person of wealth and dignity
meshugas - craziness
meshugeneh - crazy
pupiks - navel, belly button; a term of teasing endearment
putz - penis
rugallah - pastry
schlemiel - a loser
schmaltz - grease or fat
shmuck - penis
shpilkes - on pins and needles
shtups - push, shove; vulgarism for sexual intercourse
tchotchkes - little nothings
vantz - bedbug; (slang) a nobody
yenta - busybody
Getting Old Is
the Best Revenge
Death by Double Bogey
argaret Dery Sampson, sixty-four, alway
said the seventeenth hole would be the death
of her, and she was right.
Let's not mince words. Margaret cheated at
golf. After all, being wealthy (inherited, not earned)
meant being entitled. It meant always getting what
she wanted. And what she wanted was to break
the women's record for the course. She had a feel
ing today would be the day.
She was with her usual perfectly coiffed and
outfitted foursome—rich women who played every
Friday at the exclusive West Palm Beach Waterside
Country Club. It was a beautiful, perfect Florida
day. The lawns glistened in the sunlight. The
weather was not too muggy. Margaret was playing
brilliantly. All was right in her world.
One of Margaret's techniques for enjoying the
game was to golf only with women who played less
skillfully than she did and were easily intimidated.
She knew her caddy saw through her, but she
didn't care. He was the caddy everyone wanted, so
she paid triple in order to get him at her conve
nience. He was worth it. The money bought his
loyalty. When things went wrong, she blamed him.
So here was the dreaded seventeenth hole and
all she needed was a bogey. Unfortunately, here too
was a troublesome serpentine water hazard. She
routinely selected her best balls for this hole, but
that never helped. Invariably she'd hook the ball
before it cleared the water, and it would land in the
trees. Today was no different. With angry, imperi
ous strides, she marched into the foliage, leaving
behind her the timid catcalls of the gals. "Meggie's
done it again!"
As her caddy began to follow, she waved
I'll get out of it!
way would she take a penalty.
To her dismay, she discovered her ball wedged
hopelessly in a clump of decaying turf. Without
hesitation, she kneeled to pick it up.
"Naughty, naughty," a strong baritone voice
Startled, Margaret turned her head to find a
pair of snappy argyle socks at her eye level. She
stood slowly, preparing her defense. When she saw
who the other golfer was, her expression turned to
"Well, look who's here. I didn't know you be
longed to our club."
Abruptly, he grabbed her, pulling her against
him with one hand as he expertly shoved a hypo
dermic needle into a vein with the other. Moments
later, Margaret stopped struggling and sank down
onto the dark and mossy rough.
Her last, dying thought was that she should
have used the three iron instead of a wood.
One parting shot was irresistible to the killer.
"Sorry I ruined your day, Meggie, but you shouldn't
toy with a man's game."
I'm Still Here
ever Trust Anyone
Take Care of Our Own." That's the motto of our brand-spanking-new Gladdy Gold Detective Agency. Because, if I've learned anything from the traumatic last two months, it's that once you are "old" you become invisible.
It opened my eyes to the fact that senior citizens had no representatives in the crime department. They were sitting ducks. No one cared. Who could they turn to when in trouble? Who was old enough to understand their problems? Me. If not me, who? If not now, when? T
ing. I was their only hope.
It all began when I realized someone was murdering the elderly widows of Lanai Gardens, Phase Two, Oakland Park Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale. Right in my own backyard. I did go to the police, and although Detective Morgan Langford was young and adorable, he treated me like I was faded wallpaper. He didn't believe me. There was no motive. The women were all over seventy-five, so naturally they must have died of old age. Besides, who'd want to kill old ladies? he asked me. The general attitude? We're all on the checkout line anyway.
Well. I showed him with the help of the girls: my sister Evvie and my friends Ida, Sophie, and Bella. I use the term "girls" loosely. They're so old, they think they invented Medicare.
I proved there was a killer. And guess what? I identified the killer. And guess what else? Along with the somewhat decrepit senior residents of all six phases of our condo complex, we actually captured said killer.
It woke us up. No more sitting around waiting for the day we leave this mortal coil and go wherever it is we go from here. We're not dead yet and there's lots more living to do. That's why I started our detective agency. Boy, did it get the juices running again. We can't wait to get up in the morning and see what new adventure awaits us. Hey, we're the new "Old."
My experience for calling myself a P.I.? I read mysteries. I've read hundreds of them. With Carl Hiaasen and Edna Buchanan as my Florida gurus, how can I fail? Though, hopefully, I won't run into any of Carl's creepy alligators.
We made the headlines in the
and got on local TV, and now the phones won't stop ringing. If you missed us the first time around—well, I haven't got the strength right now to tell you the whole story. But if you happen to be in Fort Lauderdale, ask anybody to direct you to Lanai Gardens, and drop by for a Danish and a cup of coffee. I'll be glad to fill you in. That is, if I'm not napping.
By the by, I picked up a boyfriend along the way. The very sexy, very tall Jack Langford. Not bad for a gal who sees her eighties looming ahead. But oh, when the girls found out—what aggravation. . .
Well, enough gossip. So, say hello again to Gladdy Gold, now the oldest living private eye in Florida— or anywhere else, for that matter.