Alicia found the most perfect flat. It was in the right
place, had everything she could want, the only problem
was the rent.
As there were two bedrooms and two baths she would
advertise for a flatmate.
Many people responded to the Ad, but Alicia had a
specific type in mind; no one like herself; that is a
beautiful, sophisticated, stewardess type.
She selected mousy Elspeth Blumenthal who worked
nine to five at a nearby office in some drudge work.
Elspeth had almost not responded, after all, a woman
like her did not live in prestigious apartments amid
However, having had some very unpleasant experiences
on the subway, Elspeth wanted to be close enough to
walk to work, and the apartment was two blocks from
Elspeth moved in immediately and often had the flat
to herself as Alicia was on Transcontinental flights.
It was a fantastic apartment. Elspeth spent her time
cleaning it, when she wasn’t cooking in the enormous
She had nothing else to do. Outside of very few
programs on television and some surfing the ‘Net,
she had no life outside of work.
Alicia has chosen wisely.
She suspected a mousy thing like Elspeth wouldn’t
have much in her life and would be one of those
‘neat freaks’ who’d keep the flat spotless and
In short, Alicia had selected a maid who paid rent.
Troy Everton had inherited the Co-op and would have
sold it if the market wasn’t depressed. He made a great
salary, but not great enough to maintain the premises as
it should be. Unless…..
Troy advertised for a flatmate.
He didn’t want a man like him, who’d bring the girl of the
minute to crash, he didn’t want someone who might search
his possessions when he was out of town, wear his clothes
or try to become his new best friend.
He had a certain type in mind, and Arnold Blaustein was it.
Arnold was a nerd; but not one of those Dorito eating,
World of Warcraft types. He was a beancounter, who
spent his life making sure the ducks were in a row.
He reminded Troy of Aunt Agatha, who never put a glass
down without a coaster, and lined up her canned goods
in alphabetical order.
With Arnold there, Troy could travel, stay out all night,
and never have to worry who cleaned the flat.
Alicia met Troy on a flight and he was perfect.
Wonderfully, he also lived in New York City. They
exchanged numbers and she invited him to a Party
she invented for the day after tomorrow.
As she arrived home she told Elspeth about the Party,
and invited her. Elspeth had nothing to wear so Alicia
took her shopping, it was the least she could do.
For the five months they had lived together, Elspeth
had cooked, cleaned, washed and ironed for her. After
all, if she was washing, what were a few more pieces?
Elspeth had never owned a cocktail dress, nor heels of
this quality, and although the outfit expensive, it was a
beige thing she could wear anywhere.
She thought the price exorbitant, but Alicia paid without
a blink. That was because the dress cost Alicia far less
than a caterer and cleaners before and after the party.
Troy dressed carefully for Alicia’s party. He set himself
to arrive forty minutes late and leave after ninety minutes.
He didn’t want Alicia to think he was that interested in
It had been his experience that when a man shows too
much interest in a woman she takes advantage.
He had already decided to have his own party, and
depending on what he would experience tonight he’d
know the price range.
He told Arnold where he was going and what time he’d
be back, not that he had to, but Arnold did deserve his
The rooms were spotless, there was always food in the
fridge. Arnold would cook and freeze his creations in
‘one serving’ portions, meaning that at any time of the
day or night, Troy could open the freezer and select
from lasagne, moo goo gai pan, Beef Wellington, and
pop the item into the micro.
He thought, for a moment, of inviting Arnold, but
didn’t want to be seen in public with him.
The party was fabulous. There were stewardesses,
pilots, folks from the ‘arts’ and everything was perfect.
Elspeth had outdone herself in the kitchen.
Troy, and everyone else, bubbled with compliments,
and for the reflected glory, Alicia introduced Elspeth.
Troy and he virtually begged her to cater the party
he was having next week.
Elspeth, blushing, for no man as handsome as Troy
had ever spoken to her in that fashion, agreed without
He wrote her a cheque for a huge sum of money as
if she were a professional caterer.
Her friends had always told her how excellent and
creative she was in the kitchen, and she wondered
if perhaps she shouldn’t consider the option.
Next Saturday would be Elspeth’s true test.