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by Abigail Van Buren

Talk About Moving Is Cheap for Living Room Freeloader

DEAR ABBY: I have been living in a three-bedroom house with two other guys since May. Last September, one of my roommates ("John") allowed one of his friends to move into our living room. We all agreed it would be only until the end of the month -- less than two weeks away.

"Alan" had been having trouble with the people he was living with and needed to get out before the situation exploded. He said he would move in with a co-worker in a week and a half. Well, that apparently fell through. So have four other "possibilities" he has since told us about. I've talked with my two roommates, and they are also tired of Alan's continuing to "hang out." Yet they do nothing about it.

Abby, I've tried everything I can think of. As the only early riser in the house, I'm usually up by 6 a.m. I have told Alan that it's past time he moved on and have left the "Room for Rent" section of the newspaper open and circled. I've even collected "roommate wanted" information from the bulletin boards at the university I attend. I've blasted my stereo, turned on the TV, left the front door open in the winter air, pulled the blanket off him, and banged around the kitchen. He doesn't seem to get the idea. Short of changing the locks, I don't know what else to do. How can we get this thick-skinned freeloader out? -- FED UP WITH OLD FISH

DEAR FED UP: It's time for the three of you to confront Alan. It would be best if you did it together. Give him one week to be out of the house, then be prepared to hand him his belongings and change the locks. Expect no expression of gratitude for the time he has spent under your roof, and you won't be disappointed.