A sharp knocking on the bathroom door almost made me drop my magazine into the toilet.
‘Occupied!’ I grunted, annoyed.
They hammered on the door again, making it shake in its housing. Muttering to myself about the peace and quiet a man could expect in his own home, I got up, cinching my trousers back around my waist as I stomped towards the door.
‘What the hell is so–’
The door burst open as soon as I unlocked it, knocking me back a step. An extravagantly dressed man stepped in, followed by a gaggle of young women, pencils hovering over notebooks. He didn’t even give me a cursory glance, knocking designer glasses down onto his nose as he surveyed my bathroom.
‘Ah yes,’ he murmured, in an indeterminate European accent. ‘A pristine example of the form. Take note, bathroom designers; near Melbourne, this style is still – how you say – prevalent.’
The pencils eagerly scratched at the notepads as he took precisely two steps forward to examine my shower curtains.
‘I’m sorry,’ I feigned a smile. ‘But who the hell, are you?!’
Without looking back at me, he produced a thick business card and waved it in my general direction. Frowning, I stepped forward and took it.
‘Stefan Mollieua,’ I read. ‘World-leader in bespoke bathroom design.’
‘He’s a genius,’ one of the girls nearest to me whispered.
‘You know I hate that word!’ Stefan snapped, twirling around so that his oversized scarf carved through the air. ‘I’m just a man. Students: what am I not?’
‘A genius,’ the all crowed in unison. He nodded.
‘So… what?’ I asked, and he turned to look at me. ‘You do, like, bathroom and laundry renovations around Melbourne?’
He gasped like I’d shot him. ‘How dare you, sir!’
‘How dare I?’ I gaped. ‘You just broke into my home!’
‘Many would pay millions for but a minute of my time,’ he huffed, whipping his scarf even tighter around his neck.
‘Then think how much money you could be making somewhere else!’
‘Students!’ he clapped. ‘We are clearly unappreciated here. We shall leave this man to his…’ – he gave me a derisive look – ‘business.’
And in a flurry of scarves and pencils… they were gone.