A Word of Advice by Laurel Ruff

Dear Dr. Flaughearty,

I am of the opinion that advice columns are utter rubbish and serve no purpose other than to provide an echo chamber for the disturbed to whine about their own misfortune, but that happens to be exactly what I am and exactly what I need. So, against my better judgement, I will stoop to this level. 
In my many years of being a librarian in the underbelly of this city, lending to those too ashamed to show their faces on the surface, I’ve had my fair share of odd clientele wander through these doors. This was not where my problem lay, seeing as I have never been fond of humans in the first place, but rather every other customer of mine seemed to leave in a ‘better’ state than they entered. 

So what is my problem, you may ask, and to that I will start at the most recent of events. A woman with feathers for hair and silver-plated arms checked out one of my books in Braille. An ordinary event by all means, one would think. I furthered our exchange by remarking that while many had checked out books in Braille before, she was the first I’d seen who didn’t seem to have eyes anywhere. Being naturally charismatic as I am, things went from there. Soon enough she was visiting daily, and our relationship grew into a brief romantic entanglement.

How sweet, you may think; a perfectly unremarkable little love story to anyone else (aside from it being between a six-armed man and a statuesque bird-like woman). But no. The first time we kissed, something miraculous happened; her feathers slipped right off her head and were replaced with a tumble of curls. Her delightfully beakish mouth became a pair of perfectly ordinary lips, and when she stared at me with those big blue eyes that emerged from nowhere, my god! That was the worst of it. I much preferred when she had none at all. 

My discomfort was only heightened when she collapsed and wept in my many arms, thanking me profusely for ‘breaking the curse.’ After she left, I made a few phone calls, and an entourage was sent to retrieve the supposedly forgotten princess. I closed the library early to stew in my own resentment. 

Now, you may be wondering why this affected me so profoundly, and the answer is that this is not the first time this has happened. Through my many failed romantic escapades, I have learned that for as many otherworldly creatures (such as myself) inhabiting these streets, there are just as many miserable cursed humans walking around in second skins. I seem to have dated the majority of them. 

To name a few: the scarecrow that ended up being the disgustingly conventionally attractive son of an emperor and the snake-faced woman who turned out to be the strikingly pretty daughter of a famous priestess. 

This would be all well and good, except I’ve become increasingly doubtful that I’ll ever find someone who’s my type. I tend to find them all rather boring when they turn into their regular selves, and once the novelty of dating someone such as myself wears off, they all flee home.

I sincerely doubt that you, "doctor," will be able to offer advice of any value for my unique predicament, but I thank you for your time nonetheless. And to any stuffy old authority figures reading this, I beg of you, stop sending your estranged children my way. I am a desperately single librarian on the wrong side of my 20s, not a therapist.


Addressed: Return to sender

Dear Consultee,

I thank you for your letter, but regret to inform you that we will be unable to publish your submission in this month’s issue of Witch’s Brew. Attached is a heavily censored version of your letter drafted by my assistant, but after much deliberation we have concluded that it simply does not fit our demographic and would be frankly quite inappropriate in comparison to the positive advice we attempt to convey through our column. 

Aside from this, there is nothing I could say in response to this that would constitute as proper advice. 

All the best, 
Dr. Flaughearty

Laurel Ruff is a Junior at Woodford County (Kentucky) High School. 

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