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I have all the qualifications. A closet and a wardrobe full of old clothes.

The closet contains Secrets that would horrify Victoria. Like underwear that started off white but has become very colourful over time. And garments that have lost their elasticity faster than I lost mine. Pairs of socks that would get you arrested in rural Mississippi. Tee shirts that are holier than thou…

DSCF0027The wardrobe has row upon row of fashion statements – statements such as ” No.”, “NO!!”, and “Get that thing away from me.”. There are garments still in use that were purchased so long ago that the factories where they were made have been pulled down. In some cases the cities where they were made have been left in ruins and in one case the entire country disappeared. Looking at the clothing makes me think it had something to do with the disaster.

We’ve all looked at fashion purchases that we’ve made and thought; ” What was I thinking?” in my case I just add a little punctuation and it comes out better; ” What? Was I Thinking?”. Every sight of these garments is a painful one – I see myself in the store and I see me inspecting myself in the shop mirror. Then I see me handing over money to the shop assistant and them doubling up over the counter laughing. Shop assistants in clothing stores have a peculiarly penetrating laugh.

And then I see myself cleaning, ironing, and storing this stuff for the last 40 years. And here is still is. Unworn, unwrinkled, and unwearable, and I just can’t bring myself to sacrifice all that horrible investment by throwing it out.

I know I have tried. God knows I have tried. I have put it in green garbage bags and lugged it to the Salvation Army and Goodwill bins after dark and shoved it in. And you kVictoria’s Secret, underwear, socksnow what happens?

A Salvation Army lassie turns up at my door and shoves it all back in. I am lucky if she doesn’t hit upside the head with her tambourine as she leaves.

Rewarding The Repellant – A Modest Proposal

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We have often been asked in The Guild to avenge wrongs done to people outside the organisation. In some cases this has been in the form of a direct business proposition and in others a cry for help. In all cases it is given a sympathetic hearing before the person requesting help is ejected. The BGA is not a group of contract killers or social workers – people can deal with the Mafia or the Salvation Army if they want help. The only advice we offer is to choose which organisation you really want to talk to – the ones with the cornets and tambourines are a savage lot…

Yet there are times within the Guild itself that members do encounter situations that cry for revenge. BGA members may be cheated, robbed, cut off in traffic, or slighted in love. Normally we would view these incidents with a critical professional eye – after all we are in the business ourselves – but there is a world of difference between a properly crafted act of treachery and mere nastiness on the part of an outsider. A professional response is required.

Of course the classic advice in any Guild matter is to gain access to and the confidence of the potential victim. It is no good planning the wildest scheme if it is merely venting in air at an unknown. If you have been hurt, find out who hurt you. Trace the detractor, sleuth the errant lover, get the paper trail for the missing money. It is nearly always there if you look hard enough. To this end, many Guild members carry small cameras with them at all times to capture clues – licence plates, faces, addresses. No diligent Guild member will pass a rubbish bin full of discarded paper documents without a cursory glance at them – you never can tell what you may find.

Once the target is identified the other mechanisms of the BGA can be brought into play – the financial strike, the family revelation, the public disclosure. Rarely these days is a physical stab thought necessary – most assassinations can be of character. Still, it is worthwhile keeping a Sykes-Fairbairn ready at all times just in case.

But what do you do if there is no real chance of attacking the mark? If the encounter, as harmful or nasty as it might be, is patently not going to be enough to yield targeting information or the opportunity to strike back? If you are to be struck without revenge. The drive by swiping or the cutoff on the road when you do not have a GoPro camera to record the licence plate number, and the perpetrator is laughing at you….it is a hard thing to say, but the advice of the Guild is that you reward the other person with complete and utter success in their sin – beyond their own expectation. If they cut you off, wobble wildly and turn off the road in a spectacular but safe manner. You can be sure that they will observe this in the rear view mirror. If the encounter is of a personal nature, wail and shriek and carry on as if the world has ended. Play the scene melodramatically. Howl to the skies so that they see and are puffed up in the pride of their victory. Reward them. Become haggard with grief – any book of theatrical makeup will sow how this can be simulated.

What you are doing is twofold – exposing them to the possibility of others discovering them as monsters…and encouraging them to behave the same way again. Success breeds success and you want them to continue doing the wrong thing until they make the fatal overstep of doing it to the wrong person. There are a number of very wrong people out there, and if you cannot strike an adversary yourself, you can at least funnel them toward someone who will.

You may not see the result, but you can read the newspaper and wait for good news.