“So what’s the problem?” I ask.
“Well, you see this bit here, on your bathtub? It’s what stops the water from overflowing from the tub.”
“Sure. The sink has one too. Most things do.”
“Right. Well, it looks like it got twisted upward, and the screw came a little loose, and water got into the plumber’s putty and ate through, and was leaking out of the pipe and downstairs. Easy fix.”
“Oh. Er. Good.”
And Mssr. Maintenance Man does not notice, in his busyness, the curious chargrined nature of the Master of the House, who has suddenly gotten much less chatty, and who is admitting only gently to the possibility that this was all his fault, since he figured out after first moving in that if he rotated that thing upward, he could get another two inches of water or so into his bath, which was very nice. But he is not going to tell anyone else about this, except for his wife, to whom he told the clever story of a vicious Giant who came in and fiddled with the tub while we were all away.
And the Master of the House forbids you to make fun of him for it, and hopes that it will come off as endearing, instead of twit-headed.