Ruth scooped a handful of jelly-beans into her mouth and enthusiastically chewed them. She needed the sugar rush. It was ten-twenty nine, and already she’d read and replied to forty-two emails requesting help and, astonishingly, money. Oh the joys of being an on-line Agony Aunt she sighed.
Dear Ruth, the forty-third plea started, my brother – who I shall call Pete out of fear he will find out I’ve written to you – is sixteen years old and smells rotten. I can’t stand being near him, especially when he comes home after playing rugby and grabs me and then shoves my head under his armpits. I am ten years old and can’t afford to buy him deodorant as my pocket money only covers a cool drink and a packet of chips Monday to Friday at the tuck shop. Please tell me what I can do to make him wash regularly. My mum thinks he’s funny and says she can’t smell anything. But I think that’s because she’s got really, REALLY bad sinus problems.
Tommy – not my real name, which actually starts with a G and ends with a Y.
PS Please don’t print that bit about my name.
PPS Is Ruth your real name?
Yes it bloody well is, she fumed. She’d begged Ted, her editor, to let her use a pseudonym, implying, without any factual evidence whatsoever, that no other Agony Aunt in the world had to use their own name. But he’d been adamant, Dear Ruth she would be. When pushed for a valid reason, he’d confided that remembering she was somebody else and not Ruth would push his stress levels into a dangerous zone, the result of which would be a nasty rash around his groin region, which in-turn would piss his wife off. He’d further confided that as his wife was prone to mood swings he wasn’t willing to take the risk.
Ruth hadn’t been sure what the mood swings had to do with the rash, or why he would have to remember she wasn’t somebody else, but was reluctant to ask and left Ted scratching, not so subtly, beneath his desk.
Back at her desk, she began Tommy’s reply.
Dear thicko Gary, ooops sorry, Tommy!
Squeeze his balls until he begs you to stop. Then refuse to relinquish his crushed testicles until he promises to wash his ever increasing stench before he comes near you ever again. Or, if you’re too much of a chicken shit to do that, wait until he is asleep and then shove his foul sports clothes into his mouth.
Don’t be such a loser Gary, thump him where it hurts.
Obviously this reply was not for publication. It was more an outlet to say what she really wanted to say, instead of the perfectly legal and kind words she was supposed to respond with. That reply she would send shortly, but first she needed her umpteenth cup of coffee…