The Stinky Letter P

by Daniel Errico

Illustrated by Michiko Cayce

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Letter P lived in the Land of Words.

When he was a lowercase p, he always used to tell his mom, “I don’t want to take a bath, and you can’t make me!”

She always made him take one anyway, but he said that when he got older he’d never take another bath again.

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So when he became an uppercase P, he never took baths and never washed up.

He never even brushed his teeth.

He was the stinkiest letter of them all!

When he went to the lake to swim, everyone else went home.

“It’s getting cold.  Let’s come back another time,” they’d say as they held their breath.

He liked having the lake to himself.

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None of the other letters liked to stand near him, so he never had to wait in line.

When he visited Letter T, the Dentist, to get his teeth cleaned, he’d be done in less than a minute.

“They look good enough to me,” said Letter T from across the room, “That’ll be a hundred dollars, please.”

The Stinky Letter P was very happy that he didn’t have to stay long at the dentist’s office.

“This is great!” he thought.

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But then he started to get lonely.

When he went to the movies, nobody would sit within 4 rows of him.

When he ate at a restaurant, they made him eat outside, even in the winter.

When he tried to write his friends from faraway places, his mail got sent back for being too stinky to deliver.

“I need to find a way to smell better without bathing,” he thought, “Then I can have friends and still not have to take baths!”

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He went to see the smartest letter he knew, the Letter E.

“Do you have anything that will make me smell good?” he asked.

“Hmmm,” said Letter E, “try some of this.”

He sprayed the Letter P with a fancy concoction that smelled of plumberries and orangesuckle.

Then he sprayed him again.

Then he dumped the whole bottle on him.

“Did it work?” asked the Letter P.

The Letter E did not answer because he had fainted from smelling the Letter P.

It had not worked.

Next Letter P went home and made nose plugs for all his friends.

“If they can’t smell me, they can’t think I stink!” he said.

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The Letter P passed out the nose plugs to everyone in town.

“Did it work?” he asked.

“No!” said Letter Q, “Now I can’t smell flowers or pies.  The only thing strong enough to smell is you!”

It had not worked.

The next thing he tried was keeping his smell from reaching his friends.

He made a giant bubble wand and blew a humongous bubble!

He climbed inside and floated around town.

“Did it work?” he asked.

But before anyone could answer, Letter P started to realize that this plan wouldn’t work.

There was no fresh air inside the bubble.

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And that’s when the Letter P finally said out loud, “I STINK!”

“Baths might not be fun, but they’re certainly better than being dirty.”

He went home right away, and (after he cleaned the dust off his bathtub!) he took a long, long bath. 

Everyone loved being around the Letter P after that.  He took a bath every day, and he was one the cleanest smelling letters of them all from then on out.

But now that he didn’t smell, Letter T, the Dentist, got a good look at his teeth, and his next visit wasn’t so short at all.

In the Land of Words, a clean friend is a welcome friend.

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