Today, in a tiny bedroom that is part of the mansion of a divorced rich woman named Strinella, a sleazy, non-rich man named Andrew Squervil is packing his belongings into a suitcase.
Strinella enters the tiny bedroom, where she has been allowing Andrew to sleep at night. The sight of Strinella disgusts Andrew, as it always has.
Strinella sees Andrew packing the suitcase. “Why didn’t you join me in my bedroom, Andrew?” Strinella says. “I rang the bell. Didn’t you hear it?”
“What am I, a dog?” Andrew says. “Any time you ring that bell, I’m supposed to come running to you to satisfy your needs?”
“Yes,” Strinella says. “That was the idea.”
“I’m sick of that bell and I’m sick of you,” Andrew says. “I’m leaving.”
Strinella laughs cruelly. “You can’t be serious,” she says.
“I am,” Andrew says.
“Where will you go, some other mansion?” Strinella says sarcastically.
“I’ll figure something out,” Andrew says.
“Face it, Andrew: this is the best living situation available to you,” Strinella says. “You’ve exhausted all your other options. This is the only nice place left where you can live rent-free.”
“It may not cost me any money to live here, but I’ve been paying a price,” Andrew says. “A horrible, horrible price, multiple times a day.”
“Can I help it if I can’t get enough of you?” Strinella says. “It’s your own fault for being so irresistible.”
“If you like me so much, why won’t you get married to me?” Andrew says.
Strinella laughs again, her laugh even crueller this time. “Oh Andrew, how foolish do you think I am?” Strinella says. “I know what you’re all about. I know you only want to marry me to gain access to my money. I know that, if that were to happen, you would stop making yourself available to me. With the way things are now, I can have you whenever I desire you. Why would I give that up?”
“Well I’m done being your plaything,” Andrew says.
He finishes packing the suitcase. He exits the tiny bedroom, then walks down a hallway. He then begins walking down a long staircase leading to a doorway out of Strinella’s mansion.
As Andrew gets closer and closer to the doorway, he feels a sense of empowerment he has never felt before.
Strinella is now standing at the top of the staircase. “Come with me to my bedroom right now, Andrew!” she says.
“No,” Andrew says, almost at the doorway, almost free of Strinella.
“I’ll let you drive my car!” Strinella says.
Andrew stops. “What?” he says.
“You heard me,” Strinella says.
Andrew slowly turns around. “Which car?” he says.
“The blue car,” Strinella says. “I’ll let you drive it for one hour every day.”
In his mind, Andrew is seeing Strinella’s ultra-expensive, ultra-sleek blue car. He has been wanting to drive that car since the day he moved into Strinella’s mansion.
“Make your choice, Andrew: your dignity or the opportunity to drive my blue car every day,” Strinella says.
A few hours later, Andrew is driving Strinella’s blue car through a neighborhood. He is enjoying himself, enjoying the feeling of high status, enjoying the envious looks of people on the street, people who will never, ever get to drive a car this expensive.
Then Andrew’s cellular phone starts ringing. Andrew stops the car, then answers the phone. “Hello?” he says.
Through the phone, Andrew hears the sound of Strinella ringing her bell.
Feeling defeated, Andrew ends the phone call, then begins driving back to Strinella’s mansion.