Stanley was in his gas station-turned-apartment having a very exciting morning. The New York World was spread out in front of him. His tapes of the parties at Lydia’s were on the couch. Maldwin had phoned to tell Stanley about the break-in at Nat’s apartment in the middle of the night.
“I thought it was only fair to let you know,” Maldwin said. “I still hope you’ll concentrate on the butler school and Lydia’s parties in your special. It means a lot to us.”
“I will,” Stanley had assured him.
Now his tapes might be more valuable than ever! I’m so grateful, he thought. I have truly been blessed. To have all these disasters happening at the club when he was the reporter on the scene! It was a very lucky break, a break many journalists never experienced in their lifetime. And he’d be there tonight for the one hundredth anniversary party, recording history again.
It was a good thing Maldwin wrote to him about the butler school. Stanley wanted to review the interviews he’d done the night before with the four student butlers.
He popped the tape in the VCR and pressed PLAY. The first student interviewed was that dreadful Vinnie. Stanley could not imagine for the life of him who would hire Vinnie as their butler. He was disrespectful and didn’t seem to care in the least about gracious living. He must be paying off a bet, Stanley thought. I wouldn’t hire him to be the butler for the gas station, let alone a country estate.
Next up was the handsome Blaise. He looked like a soap opera star. He certainly has that aloof, remote quality that Hollywood portrays so many butlers as having, Stanley thought. Is he putting on an act?
“I like to devote myself completely to what I do,” Blaise said into the camera. “And I know that butlering can be a 24/7 job. I look forward to it.”
What a crock, Stanley thought.
Harriet came into view, smiling that saintly smile. “Oh, wow,” she began. “It’s always been my dream to be a butler. But I never thought I’d be able to. Thank goodness I live in a time where women are finally being accepted as butler students. I say that women have a natural instinct for taking care of a home, and I will channel that instinct into my devoted services as a butler. Thank you soooooo much.”
Who could put up with that Pollyanna sweetness all the time? Stanley wondered. It gets grating.
Finally there was Albert, who couldn’t seem to wipe the goofy expression off his face. “I enjoy the finer things in life and know that I’d never be able to afford them. So I thought, Why not be a butler? Then you can be surrounded by beauty and help take care of it too. I used to work in a video store, and when they started renting out pornography, I said, ‘That’s it! It’s too disgusting for me!’ The next day I signed up for Maldwin’s class and the rest is history.”
Not exactly an inspiring bunch, Stanley observed. But with a little music in the background and proper editing, he could do right by Maldwin. Maldwin deserved that much.
With all the confusion of the movie company shooting yesterday, Stanley hadn’t had much of a chance to film the park in its peaceful state. The movie trucks had been parked all over. I’ll go up there now, he thought. Thomas had said to get to the club early and film the preparations for the party. He could change in Thomas’s apartment.
Stanley packed his tapes and his camera in a bag. His dark suit was pressed and ready to go. This is going to be exciting, he thought.
Who knows what direction my special is going to take?