Maldwin and the student butlers were prepared for the evening’s festivities. They were all formally dressed and ready to serve. The hors d’oeuvres were waiting to be popped into the oven. Cheese and crackers and crudit'es were out on the tables. Champagne was chilling in the refrigerator.
“The Princess of Love went hog-wild with this party, huh, Maldwin?” Vinnie asked as he ran a comb through his hair.
“Never comb your hair in the kitchen, please!” Maldwin scolded.
“Now while we are waiting for our guests to arrive, I’d like to go over a few things with you. No sense wasting time. Let’s sit in the living room.”
Vinnie, Albert, Blaise, and Harriet took their places on the love seats around the room. Maldwin stood at the window and looked over the group. It was not exactly an inspiring sight. He cleared his throat. “Now, what is a silent butler?”
“A butler with laryngitis,” Vinnie answered.
“Vinnie!” Maldwin scolded.
“A silent butler,” Harriet began, “is a small receptacle used to collect crumbs off the dinner table and ashes from the ash trays. It is found in every good home.”
“Thank you, Harriet,” Maldwin said.
Harriet beamed at him.
“You all need to study the sheets I hand out to you. I’m going to start giving pop quizzes. But on to other things. As you know, Stanley Stock, the television producer, will be here again tonight. I’m going to suggest to him that he ask each one of you about your dreams of being a first-rate butler. Who knows? Your future employers may be out there watching.”
“How exciting!” Harriet cried. “Can I go first?”
I’m going to get sick, Blaise thought. And I don’t want to be interviewed on-camera. Last night I did my best to stay out of sight.
Lydia’s voice came over the intercom. “Maldwin, I need you for a moment.”
Maldwin looked at his watch. “You may relax until the party starts. Now remember, this is an important one!” He strode out of the room with purpose.
Albert turned to Vinnie. “What are you going to say?”