The Clumsy Home Minder
Jenkins was a true champion. His profession as a fire fighter had dealt him many a tough situation. He was a man’s man and a player’s player. But his mettle was surely tested late one evening twelve months ago when he turned out to a raging fire at a mansion in Vaucluse.
Not only did Jenkins deal with extinguishing the blaze almost singlehandedly, he managed to get in deep and rescue the family pet. As he emerged from the smouldering ashes with the whimpering lap dog safely in his clutches, he was deemed a hero.
One man who was extremely impressed was the owner of the property, Mr. Ian Bellenstein. Bellenstein, loaded with cash up to his eyeballs, was the commodore of the local sailing club. He could not give Jenkins enough praise, inviting him to become an honorary member of the exclusive club. Jenkins took the offer with open arms.
One evening while enjoying a few spritzers at the local sailing club, Jenkins was approached by Bellenstein.
“Listen here Jenkins, ol’ boy. I am heading over to my Swiss chalet next week for a stint and I need a reputable chap to look after my digs up the hill at Vaucluse.” Jenkins almost choked on his drink. “The regular chap, Bill Maurice, my hairdresser and stylist, is unavailable to housesit as he is away on tour with his dancing instructor, Kenny Menczer.”
Jenkins was beside himself. Here he was mixing it with the hierarchy of the Eastern Suburbs social set and now he was being offered the key to one of the most palatial homes on the eastern seaboard. He jumped at the proposal.
The next week Jenkins was handed the keys and given a tour of the home. The instructions went in one ear and straight out the other as he was mesmerised by the sheer luxury of Bellenstein’s refurbished dwelling.
“Go easy on the plonk,” the owner tipped with a wink as they passed through the bar area. Jenkins knew his way round a stubbie of VB but was sure to give the top shelf liquor a gentle nudge while taking in the grand view of Sydney Harbour before him.
“Whatever you do Jenkins, keep the place clean and don’t bother to make any repairs. Just call the maintenance guy and get him on the case. He is a good man and needs the dough.”
The first few days at the Bellenstein residence were filled with a few chores the owner had left for him. Jenkins vacuumed and mopped the floors, watered the garden, mowed the lawn, fed the spoilt lapdog, collected the mail and even managed to fend off a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This could not get any easier.
On the fifth evening, as Jenkins geared up for a hot shower after his days work, he noticed one of the light globes in the bathroom had blown. Being a diligent house minder, he ignored the owner’s instruction to call for the maintenance guy. It was only a light bulb and Jenkins could change one in his sleep. He put his shower on hold and rummaged around the garage for a ladder and spare bulb. He set up the ladder in the swish bathroom and carefully scaled it to reach the blown bulb.
The repair was going to plan until Jenkins overbalanced and lost his footing. As he tried to rebalance on the ladder, he dropped the bulb, grabbed the shower curtain rail and dragged it to the ground, somehow landing on the toilet bowl with his heavy Blundstone work boot kicking a hole straight through the porcelain base. As he lay on the ground in shock, two priceless Italian vases came crashing down onto the Italian marble floor inches from his face.
Jenkins gained his bearings and looked at the mess before him. What had started out as an easy assignment had turned into his worst nightmare.
“Whatever you do Jenkins, just keep the place clean and don’t bother to make any repairs. Just call the maintenance guy and get him on the case.” The words of Bellenstein rang in Jenkins’ ears in stereo.
After paying a hefty bill and eating a fair serve of humble pie, Jenkins was eventually forgiven by Bellenstein. But the welcome mat back at the sailing club had been removed and was not likely to be replaced anytime in the near future.
Jenkins was in despair, deeper than he had ever been. Even deeper than some of those fires he had bravely fought over the years.