GC: Should we talk about your love life?
Peri: If we don't who will? (laughs) I've been dating Skip Carlton for, um, about 6 years now.
GC: Wow, six years is a long time.
Peri: I know what you're thinking. It's what everyone else is thinking. Six years and no marriage? Skip wants to, but I don't. I've been married three times, so for me, it's kinda "been there, done that, got the t-shirt."
GC: So, it doesn't sound like marriage is for you?
Peri: Not really. My first husband was in the Navy, a nice guy but we were both too young and it was probably more about the physical attraction than anything else. I tried to pick the second husband based more on what we had in common.
GC: What happened there?
Peri: We were both college graduates, Protestant, liked classic rock and and old movies. We differed in only one way - he liked being a sociopath. Me, not so much.
GC: Ew. And the third?
Peri: Brilliant, funny, gorgeous, kind, generous. Unfortunately, a year into the marriage he figured out he's gay.
GC: Whoa, that would have been nice to know earlier.
Peri: Ya think? Anyway, I like the way things are now. Skip and I spend a lot of time together, but we both have our own places, so when things get too tense, we can go to our corners and cool off.
GC: How's Skip taking this change of careers?
Peri: Ha, speaking of things getting tense. He tries to act nonchalant, but I know it makes him nervous. Even though I'm doing background checks and surveillance, he worries about me. Now he knows how it feels.
GC: Because he's a cop? Does Placentia have a lot of crime?
Peri: No, but he carries a gun, other people carry guns. Chances are good, sooner or later they'll meet up.
GC: So let's talk about your career. Why did you get into private investigation?
Peri: I was a successful housecleaner for years. I did private residences, offices, you name it. Didn't make me rich, but I could afford to buy a little house, take a few vacations. When I turned 45, I started thinking about how long I'd have to work before I could retire, and I pictured myself at 60, on my knees several times a day, scrubbing bathtubs. I'm in good health, but what if I had back or joint problems?
My friend, Blanche, always teased me about figuring out everyone's secrets just from emptying their trash. Then, when the Franks' son went missing, I kind of helped with that investigation (Gayle's note: see Missing). It made me think I could make a living doing something that didn't involve bleach and rubber gloves – as a rule.
GC: Now that you've been doing it for awhile, how do you like being a private eye?
Peri: Sitting in my car with a camera sure beats schlepping garbage, although I'm hoping not every case is as dangerous as my last surveillance job (Gayle's note: see Freezer Burn).
GC: Thank you for your time, Peri, and good luck with the new business!