Person #1: Why don't I ever see you stopping by to talk to your niece?
Person #2: Her parent says I'm a bad influence. I still say C4 is an acceptable substitute for playdoh - the store was out! It's not like I gave her any detonators - it was perfectly safe! -- RecklessPrudence
Lots of kids had Best Relatives. And for Mary, her best relative was Aunty Phyllis. Aunty Phyllis had the catchphrase, "Some people just overreact about things." Usually in relation to Mary's Mom preventing Mary from talking to Aunty Phyllis.
Aunty Phyllis used to be a demo expert in the army. She blew up buildings for a living. She had a shed with all kinds of cool electronic stuff and a locked refrigerator with the explosives in it.
And on very special weekends, when Mom couldn't find anyone else willing to mind Mary, Aunty Phyllis would take Mary to the bomb range and make things vanish. With a loud boom and a lot of smoke. And sometimes, with the whistles and pops of fireworks. Aunty Phyllis let her practice making bombs with actual play-dough instead of the explosive. Taught Mary all about circuits and fuses and all the things that Mom thought were unladylike.
Which was why, when kidnappers took Mary, a twelve-year-old girl was able to make life exceedingly difficult for them. First, by escaping into the greater part of the building, and then by rigging all kinds of booby traps that involved ordinary household chemicals. And pieces of random technology left lying around. And, she had to admit, some of the copper wiring inside the walls.
Mary was able to walk free of the hideout and stroll to the nearest bodega, where the friendly lady behind the counter helped Mary call the police to tell them where the dead and the wounded were. When the police came, Mary was able to tell them about her adventure, care of Aunty Phyllis' extraordinary educational standards.
Her other catchphrase was, "Any girl who doesn't know how to escape handcuffs or zip ties isn't paying attention."
Mom was a lot warmer about Aunty Phyllis after that.