"Okay, household meeting!" Lou announced to everyone else after he'd gone.
"So, Derek wants us to consider something," Lou began, as the other Utopia House members gathered.
"He wants to ask Kelly to marry him," she continued, "and he's found a house he wants to buy for the two of them."
"Yippee!" Regina exclaimed, happy for the couple.
"And he wants some money NOW from the Utopia House funds," Lou continued. "BEFORE we've paid our taxes for our second week here. Now, Bill's seen the house that's on the market--what do you think of it, Bill?" she asked. "Is it a worthwhile investment for them?"
"The house is pretty basic at this point," Bill admitted, "but it's solidly constructed, and would be a great starter. It needs a bathroom, though, which I've told Derek I'll install for them, to save them some money."
"What are the costs involved?" Peter asked. "To make it liveable, that is."
"Well," Bill continued, "the house itself will cost almost $40,000--which Derek and Kelly have. Putting in a bathroom will cost another $2,000 to $4,000, depending on the quality of fixtures installed. They also need a couple barstools and some lighting. Oh, and a bed and a dresser. So, between another five and ten grand to do it up decently--but not lavishly."
"How much money does our Utopia House have now, Lou?" Regina asked.
"We've got just over $40,000 as of this morning," Lou replied, "meaning that AFTER we pay our taxes two days from now--which I estimate will be around $7,000--we'll have $33,000 left over, or only $4,125 per person. That is, IF we split it up evenly."
"Why ON EARTH wouldn't we split it up evenly?" Peter asked.
"Well," Lou said slowly, "you should know better than most, Peter, because you contribute WAY more to the household finances than any of the rest of us do."
"But I don't MIND!" said Peter. "Sure, I make a lot of money from painting, but I'll also CONTINUE to make a lot of money from painting. And--if Derek and Kelly's share of the household funds as a couple about to be married is only $8,250--I don't think they can even buy a decent bed, in addition to getting a bathroom put in, and the rest of the things they need in order to live reasonably. And I FOR ONE would be willing to do some extra work to give them more money to start their life together."
Lou found it difficult to counter Peter's argument,
and the meeting broke up. Peter got up and returned to his painting.
He seemed quite annoyed, and stabbed at the canvas.
Regina went over to sit next to Lou. "Gotta tell you, Lou--I think you're pi**ing off your biggest ally among the guys," she said soberly.
As usual, no one had bothered to ask Alice for her opinion.