Seeing the potential in administering some adult re-education, Slightly Mollified catches up with Wor Cheryl, Toni and the rest of the gang to try to deliver the good news. At a premium rate
“Roll up! Roll up! Your man playing away from home?! Bit of footy but he hasn’t even got his kit on?! Eh… having sex… and, and… being a footballer?! Ah, f**k it anyway – are you gullible enough to pay for my dubious help, you silly cow? I think so!”
I can actually say the last line as loud as I like, because the girls haven’t arrived yet – I’m just practising my bit. It helps to stay on top of your game, especially when you’ve been away for a little while this season.
Bob’s off fetching them and bringing them back here. He’s a good lad, Bob is. He’s only been with me for a little while, but I’m impressed with what I’ve seen so far. Good pedigree, if nothing else – did an awful lot of contract work in Iraq… but had to leg it fairly fast when Saddam’s regime fell. He was working as a hired gun – literally – for the Electoral Commission in Zimbabwe when I offered him the contract. Now’s the time to expand, you see – green shoots and all that. The market’s awash with out-of-work Bob types at the moment, so get them while they’re cheap. It won’t be forever that $150 per week will get you someone who’s as equally proficient at Americano-making as they are at finger-breaking.
But I digress. With a creak, the door to the basement – sorry, ‘counselling centre’ – swings inwards, and Bob trots down the stairs. Now, here comes a slightly tricky aspect to this week’s tale, boys and girls. You see, in this politically correct world we live in, even a strictly fictional character like Mollified has to be most careful what he says. If, for example, I was to continue by implying that draped over one of Bob’s shoulders, wrists bound tightly together, was one of the members of a best-selling UK girl band, I could get in an awful lot of trouble. Just like the last time someone did something like that – oh, just Google it. Anyway, we wouldn’t want that, would we? So I won’t.
So let’s just call her ‘Cheryl’. And, in an unrelated vein, let us also take this moment to observe that, until at least the 1970s, the mining and exportation of coal formed a major part of the Welsh economy. Ah, Mollified, you dedicated practitioner of the fine art of punnilingus! Let us continue.
So, Bob dumps his human bundles on the chairs I’ve thoughtfully arranged. Mind you, it was the least I could have done with the seminar venue in the state it is. The chairs are sharing the floor with a rusted bucket and a moulded suitcase. Still, I have my laptop, meaning we have PowerPoint, and Mr and Mrs Mollified upstairs have promised that Bob and I can work away for as long as we like, provided we aren’t too noisy. Yes, I know I mentioned green shoots, but that doesn’t mean an amoral young entrepreneur like me can afford to turn down a good bargain when it’s there.
I snap my fingers in the basement’s cool gloom, waiting for the girls to slowly drift back to consciousness. Slumped in the chair beside is… well, we’ll just call her by her full, Italian, name: Toni Wifeofaphilanderingfuckwita. Toni probably works best for short.
It’s Cheryl who comes around first. “’Ooo the f**ck are you, then?”
Top class, as ever. I clear my throat. “Relax, Cheryl. It’s me, the relationship therapist you were emailing. My apologies about the slightly unorthodox method of colleting you, but it’s all part of the programme, don’t worry.”
She sniffs slightly and looks me up and down. “You don’t much look like ‘Sheikh al-Swarmy, The Relationship Guru’?”
“Well observed,” I flash back, “but the headshots on my website were taken in Tel Aviv!” The quip goes totally over her head. Honestly, bothering to sprinkle in the odd current affairs quip with these people is like feeding After Eights to a terrier.
Beside her, Toni stirs and sits up slightly, her eyes blinking as she takes in her surroundings. “What?! What’s goin’ on ‘ere, then?”
It’s all right, though, because I’ve done my biographical homework here. Before meeting her sportsman husband, Toni was a beautician. Reaching slowly into my coat pocket, I take out the most sparkly, shiny dog-ball the chemist around the corner had to offer, and I fling it in her direction. In a flash, she’s off, scrambling to fetch it.
I turn back to Cheryl. Not that it’s saying much, but I’ve deduced that she might just be the more intelligent of the pair. My teaching efforts, I’ve decided, will concentrate on her.
“Cheryl, we need to start thinking about the factors that make your husband such a pathological shit. We won’t know how to deal with these issues until we know just what they are. Come on, help me help you. Let’s make like Ashley does on the pitch and think outside the box.”
“Thinkin’ ootside ‘is troos-ars, more lyke!” Cheryl squeals, happy she’s finally getting into the swing of things.
“Yes, quite,” I mutter, suddenly realising that this may take longer than anticipated. “Look, let’s just cut to the chase here, girls, because I really want those cheques you’re going to write me, and, God love the shred of integrity I still have left, I actually do want to try and help you in return.”
Blank faces back, like mascara-plastered puppies wondering where the next biscuit’s coming from. “I mean, come on! From the way you’ve been acting, anyone would think that you’re actually happy to just let these guys treat you like absolute mugs. A detached observer might come to the conclusion that you’re willing to be used as a doormat in return for the security and lifestyle of a Premier League footballer’s wage; that you see it as a fair trade-off… ah. I see.
In front of me, their twin WAG heads are nodding rapidly in unison. The girls are delighted that they’ve finally gotten something right in class. Probably the first time since about 1995, as well.
I give up. There are some things in life that even Mollified can’t solve.