My staff are about to put my female staff's Mum's house on the market. Anybody out there want to by a four bedroom, three bathroom double garage house in the beautiful little town of Cooroy in Queensland, Australia? Walking distance to the town centre, sports ground, pub and my staff's favourite Thai restaurant. It even has a roof, some windows and a few doors, not to mention a large Eastern grey kangaroo who visits now and again to leave muddy footprints on the concrete path.
The real estate agent suggested that my staff have a chat with what she called a "stylist" with a view to displaying the house to the best possible effect. A "stylist" turns out to be what my male staff calls an inferior designer. My staff arranged to meet one of these strange beings at the house last Thursday and she turned up right on time in a very large, very new four wheel drive thing. The driver's door swung open and what appeared to be a fourteen year old child clambered out and with great difficulty abseiled down to the ground, a feat made all the more treacherous by the ridiculous six inch platform shoes she was wearing. Apart from the silly shoes she was stylishly dressed in smart black slacks and a white blouse. Her blond hair was cut in a short bob. As she tottered towards them my staff could see she was more like twenty five than fourteen. She smiled and thrust out a soft, pale hand for my staff to shake. "Dominique Clutterd-Hoams, Wink." She said. My male staff did as he was told and winked. Over long years of bitter experience he's learned that doing what one is told is the safest thing when ordered to do something by a human female, so you can imagine his confusion when Ms Clutterd-Hoams looked horrified and my female staff glared at him angrily.
"Wink Interior Designs." She continued, and handed my male staff a business card, her smile slowly and with great reluctance returning to her face.
"Oh." Said my male staff.
"Let's go in then and we'll show you around the house." Suggested my female staff still glaring at my male staff. The first room was the lounge. My staff had furnished it tastefully with a spare cane lounge suite and coffee table, a large pot, a TV stand and a large flat screen TV. On the walls they had hung some rather nice limited edition Charles Billich prints.
Ms Clutterd-Hoams took one look. "Oh Puh-lease!" She exclaimed. "This is like so 2014."
"That was only last week......." My male staff started to say, but was silenced by another glare from my female staff and a pitying look from Ms Clutterd-Hoams. Clearly it was not his place to make a contribution. The stylist continued. "This looks as though it has been furnished with left over furniture from someone else's house. No no no no no. This will all have to go. We'll bring our own furniture and artwork for each room you want us to work with." My staff wanted her opinion on the lounge, the kitchen/dining room and the master bedroom and all met with either a stunned, horrified silence or the "Oh Puh-lease!" reaction. None of my staff's excess furniture was to stay. In fact if Ms Clutterd-Hoams had her way she would have built a bonfire with it there and then in the garden and had my staff arrested by the style police.
In the end my staff agreed to pay her a large sum of money to furnish the three rooms in question with Wink Interior Designs' furniture for six weeks and Ms Clutterd-Hoams would decorate all three bathrooms with nice soap, big, soft, fluffy towels and fresh flowers for nothing out of the goodness of her heart. This, she said would ensure that the place looked up to date and would stand out from the crowd in the online adverts. She also added that there was a lot they could do to improve the look of the garden and the outside of the house. For example for just a few extra thousand dollars she could create a beautiful water feature in the back garden that would look "simply stunning". There would be a fish pond with some huge coy carp at an extra nine hundred dollars per fish, a big, splashing waterfall and some lush tropical vegetation. She could also arrange for some real flamingos to live in the garden for a few hundred dollars, though my staff would have to feed them themselves.
"Greater or lesser?" Asked my male staff.
"Sorry?" Said Ms Clutterd-Hoams, her face a picture of non-comprehension.
"Greater or lesser?" Repeated my male staff. "The flamingos. Will they be the greater or the lesser variety?" The stylist's expression was still blank. "You do know that there are two sorts of flamingos don't you? Only we couldn't possibly make such an important decision without knowing which sort of flamingo you would be providing us with."
The stylist looked flustered and rifled through her paperwork. "Errrrrm, sorry no I don't know. I'll errrr have to get back to you with that." She stammered.
"Good, see that you do." Said my male staff and stalked off to find the four guinea pigs that they had brought with them to run about in the house for a little exercise and a change of scenery.
"I'll email my quote to you this afternoon." Said the stylist to my female staff.
"Okay, that would be great." She replied. "By the way, don't bother with the water feature."
"Very well." Said the stylist. "As long as you're sure."
"Okay then, I'll be off. Oh, may I use your toilet before I go?"
"Of course. You know where it is."
Ms Clutterd-Hoams tottered off on her silly shoes and my female staff went to help my male staff round up Alfie, Baci, Tom and Toby who had sensibly kept a low profile while the stylist was wandering around. Those great clodhoppers of hers could do a cavy a lot of damage.
There came a blood curdling scream which sounded as though some poor woman was being torn limb from limb by a grizzly bear. My staff forgot about catching the guinea pigs and raced to see what had happened. Cries for help interspersed with hysterical sobs were coming from the toilet.
"You'd better see what's wrong." Said my female staff.
"Bugger off." Said my male staff. "I'm not going in there. I've already winked at her once. If I burst in there now she'll really lose it."
"Sounds like she's already lost it." The sobbing continued.
Bravely my female staff tried the door handle. It wasn't locked. Slowly she opened the door. Ms Clutterd-Homes was standing with difficulty on the toilet seat, one huge platform shoe on either side of the hole. Her smart slacks and knickers were around her ankles and she was wiping her nose with her blouse. It was an impressive site. Below her on the floor a small brown rodent was looking curiously up at her.
"Baci!" Said my male staff. That's where you are. I was starting to worry about you. He eased past my female staff standing in the doorway and scooped Baci up in two hands. "It's okay, he doesn't bite." My male staff assured Ms Clutterd-Hoams as she hurriedly tried to pull her blouse down to cover her girly bits. "My wife will see you out. Don't forget to let me know about the flamingos will you."
Funny woman that Ms Clutterd-Hoams. I'm like mooching around in the toylit looking for sum toylit paypa to like rip up and then the door opens and in she comes with those hooge shoos and I'm like Whoa! I says to myself, Baci, I says, betta get owt the way pretty smartish or yule get skwished. So I runs behind the toylit pedestool thingy and weight for a bit. Then I heer this tinkling sound and I thinks Whoa! If I stay heer I'm like gonna get wet, so I hop owt from behind the pedestool thingy into this thing wot looks like a hammock between the laidies feet. I wuz just like dozing off when there's this orfull screeming sound and I get tossed owt of the hammock onto the flaw as the stoopid woman leeps up onto the toylit. Onustly, I reely don't see how I can be blaymed for enny of this.