Ask Maddie: An Advice Column From Author Madeleine Swann

Dear Maddie, I’m not very good with words. How do I tell the woman in my basement she can never leave without upsetting her?

SincerelyPhill May

You seem like a very sweet, thoughtful man, and I truly hope this works out for you. The best thing you can do is keep her distracted and on her toes, all women love to be surprised. Leave a note for when she wakes explaining that she has to find a way out of the room before all the air is removed – trust me, she’ll be panicking so much she won’t stop to consider how unlikely that would be.

Videotape her mad attempts to smash walls, scrabble at the floor and cry for help, then when the time’s up you can go back in and replay it. You’ll both double over with laughter and the bond between you will strengthen, lessening the likelihood of her ever wanting to leave.

Alternatively a tea party can be a fun way to pass an afternoon. Make sure you tie her to the chair of course, and if you have any previous victims you can use their corpses to make up the other guests, it shouldn’t take a minute to dig them back up. She’ll be delighted to see both their beautiful party frocks and the one you’ve made of their faces.


Dear Maddie, I left an open packet of pecan brittle in the cabinet and now I’ve got crickets. Is it worth investing in resealable baggies?

Sincerely, G Arthur Brown

I’m not sure what kind of monster you are, young man, but I’ll not have that kind of filthy talk here. I dialed 1800-FILTH and the filth police are on their way. They deal specifically with Hoarders and riff-raff, Hoarders being their bread and butter between taking out potty-mouthed trash such as yourself.

I once applied to join the filth police but they said my mind had too many patches of dust and no-one would ever love me until I gave it a ruddy good polish, then they stamped the word UNCLEAN onto my forehead in bright red letters. Since then the only job I’ve been able to get is pimping, but the Night Ladies don’t trust me enough to let me be their boss so I tried the next best thing which was hiring animals for people to cuddle in back alleys, but the shelters and shops wouldn’t give me any with that big stamp on my forehead. So now I rent cabinets and cupboards and hang out on street corners, whispering “hey, wanna store your stuff for ten minutes?” They follow me into the darkness, piling book upon book onto pure, unvarnished oak shelves while I keep a look out. That’s what your words have reduced me to.

If you have a weird question for Madeleine Swann email her at with the subject line Ask Maddie. Please include your website.

For more Madeleine check out

New book Rainbows Suck available on Amazon.


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