No. He couldn't do it. He wouldn't risk it. He was a first-class sergeant - "Sarge" was even his name! What if they found out? What if they mocked his girlish script, or his pathetic cry for help? He'd be forever ridiculed; what's more, he'd surely tumble from his illustrious position to the lowest ranks of private.
He put the pencil down. Yes. That's right. He'd leave this stupid letter be. He didn't need it. What for? He was a man's man; he didn't need any help from some woman who, for all he knew, might not even exist anymore. He would continue his upstanding life as a proud sergeant, guiding his men across the battlefield. Oh yes, he would triumph over his woes, his sadness at never having had a meaningful relationship with a woman. He hadn't had the chance - most of his day was spent around men, after all. With them, he had built a sort of camaraderie. He enjoyed their company, their manner, and their commitment to him. Women, on the other hand, were unknown territory. It was easier to be with men.
But it wasn't better, he thought as he slumped in his chair. There was no comfort to be had in only relating to one sex. And his privates - as he'd found out one day while spying on them via top-secret military technology - already gossiped about him while they worked. They wondered why their leader hadn't married. This - much as Sarge hated to admit it - was worrisome to him. Either way, he was in a pickle. If they found his letter, he'd be ruined, and if he didn't write it, they'd endlessly question his authority.
There was no other choice.
He grasped the pencil once more, and wrote:
I'm worried. I'm over 40 and I'm still not married. The trouble is that I'm just afraid of women. What can I do?"
There. That was easy enough. Now all he had to do was slip it into an envelope and -
He was afraid of women?!
How pathetic was he?
"Don't bother answering me," he added to the bottom of the page. "I'm tearing up this letter as soon as I finish it!"
Hands trembling, he tore the letter apart and discarded the pieces on the desk, not caring who saw. Then he pushed the door open, stormed out, and headed up the hill.
Miss Buxley saw his sobbing face at her desk a few minutes later.
"Clearly," she said, "we've got a lot of work to do."