Something about KatebyEgmontGrigor2011©
As a child Kate Childs would wake up crying, at that age unable to understand she had been dreaming vividly but the worry of her parents had her believing they were nightmares.
Perhaps they were. No one got into Kate's head to check it out and of course years later she couldn't remember those early childhood dreams.
In ageing Kate came to accept that generally she had good dreams. She could manipulate her gift a little by thinking of something and then within a night or two she often dreamt it. She couldn't change a dream.
Gradually Kate's mother accepted her youngest daughter possessed a gift and to her credit she told no one and urged Kate to do the same otherwise Kate would be pestered by people to dream for them to meet their expectations.
"Just keep your dreaming ability secret darling."
"Okay mom. I don't want people I don't know pestering me."
Laura's realization that her youngest had a real gift came one morning when husband Basil had taken the two older children hiking.
Kate came to her mom's bed crying.
"Oh darling what is it," Laura said, hugging the 8-year old.
"Da-da is dying."
Laura was shocked. Her father was in hospital waiting to have a benign growth removed from his stomach. Her mother had said it was just a routine procedure, that there was no need for Laura to worry.
But the shock of hearing such a positive statement about 'Da-da' as the kids had always called him made her react. Remaining reasonably calm, she said to Kate to get dressed and they would go and sit with grandma.
It was a 90-mile drive and Laura's mother was surprised she'd come but was delighted that she had arrived and brought darling Kate.
"I want to see Da-da."
Gran checked her watch and said, "He'll be in the recovery room darling. We'll see him soon."
The surgeon came to the waiting room and told grandma everything had gone well.
Later the smiling nurse said, "Only two visitors at a time please Mrs Knowles."
Astute gran said, "Then would you please mind my granddaughter while my daughter and I go in?"
"Um you can take her in Mrs Knowles but please keep her quiet."
They sat quietly and chatted with the patient who looked poorly but said a few words including asking Kate what she'd been doing at school and she told him in great detail as if she were reading script.
They were about to leave when Da-da had a seizure. The visitors were hustled out and two hours later Mrs Knowles was taken aside and told the distressing news that her husband had died, probably as the result of a blood clot.
That night when the weary Laura was patting Kate to sleep at grandma's house she murmured, "Thank god you dream darling."
She then went out to meet the rest of her family who'd arrived in a borrowed vehicle and they hugged but no mention was made of Kate's dream that enabled Kate and her mother to be with Da-da moments before he died.
* * *
At college, freshman Kate Childs was under investigation accused of cheating. Her English class had been asked to memorize as much of Milton's epic poem as they could, and with more than 10,000 lines of blank verse that request was more than a tall order. Students knew that next morning they would be tested.
Kate was third person up for the recitation and she just went on and on until the instructor called stop and asked Kate to hand over her recording playback equipment.
"What playback equipment?" Kate asked looking perplexed.
"You have quoted that poem, perhaps word perfect but who knows, for almost thirty minutes, boring us all to death. No one is that good. Yesterday no one in the class, including you, claimed to have read that poem. Please hand me the recording apparatus."
Kate denied she was reading via any recording prompt and caused further uncertainty when she said angrily anyway how on earth would she have known 'Paradise Lost' would be the test piece? Nonetheless she was reported and next day appeared before a three-person panel.
Again she denied cheating.
"What would be the purpose? What we did yesterday wasn't a marked test."
At that even the convener of the panel, Assistant Professor Knowles looked confused.
"Okay Kate," challenged Kathy Knowles, "then how did you do it?"
"Memory retention I guess. I was almost up to where I'd read the night before the test when I was stopped. That poem is in our folio of suggested reading."
"How many times did you read that section?"
"Just the once; I had other things to do."
Professor Knowles went to her side desk and returned with two copies of the college's last annual report. She handed Kate a copy.
"Have you sighted this published magazine before?"
"Yes and I skipped through it."
"Did you read the President's three-page report?"
The panelists had to smile at that.
"Please read the President's report."
Kate asked was it some kind of test and was told yes.
Several minutes later the three members of the panel huddled over the convener's copy as Kate put down her closed copy and began to recite. After a third of the way through Professor Knowles sighed and said, "You can stop Kate. You do have phenomenal memory retention. You may go. Please understand this investigation was necessary. Um how do you do it?"
"I just seem to be able to picture what I have read but must concentrate hard if I am to see the continuing imaging of that feedback."
As Kate left one of the panel members said, "Does she have a specialist career if she retains this gift?"
Professor Knowles said, "Perhaps CIA or military intelligence, police interrogation or a supermarket career."
"Yes she'd be employed to walk around the aisles and return to her computer and order replacement stock where shelves needed restocking."
"It would be a damn sight cheaper than automating the re-ordering system."
After that nasty experience, not liking being accused a cheat, Kate decided not to reveal her power of memory attention and the occasional flash of seeing things she later found were predictions and often came true. Her mom had been right, it would lead to her being embarrassed.
Each year at college before graduating with a master's in political science, Kate studied all the published material of class testing and always finished that year no higher than 5th position in her class. She knew the information she possessed at exam time could have placed in in the top two but that would only risk attracting attention. The effect of that was no one remembered the revelation as a freshman that she exhibited a phenomenal power of memory retention.
Kate returned home to live with her parents in Roxton, a city with more than 400,000 inhabitants and so had a variety of employment opportunities if she could appeal to recruiters.
She failed to really impress. Well most of the interviews asked so dumb and irreverent questions such as, what was her work experience. Her answer was practically none as she'd not worked because of possessing indolent parents and good scholarships. She hadn't been asked, for example, about the theory of rocket propulsion having read about that in a tech mag once. Her shortest interview came when she applied for the position of assistant research officer for a large Women's Collective. She answered the first interview question did she plan to marry, "Of course, do you think I look as if I'm gay?" and the angry interviewer told Kate to leave.
Kate finally was hired as an office assistant in Senator Mitchell's office and was taken around at introduced to all thirty-one employees. She sat fiddling her thumbs for the remainder of that day and next morning was given a trolley by the head clerk and asked to deliver the mail. It was designed to embarrass the new recruit hired on the basis she had a degree in political science but had no office experience. Everyone in the general office concealed their mirth.
She arrived back within ten minutes and the head clerk looked at her sternly.
"This trolley is empty. What did you do with the mail? You can't have delivered all of it so quickly."
"Well I did. Now I'd like some real work."
"Let me think. What about analyzing the Senator's workload over the past year?"
"For what purpose?"
Kate sighed and said to advise how he could improve his efficiency rate.
Maxine the head clerk grinned and said she would apply for authorization for the new genius from college to access the Senator's electronic diary. She then checked to find people who'd been given the wrong mail and hadn't received their usual Monday morning mail and was astonished to find everyone had their mail and said it was surprising the new girl had remembered their names.
When she returned to the office Kate said, "Please could you make that the Senator's current diary as well as his previous diary. I need both to cover the last twelve months since July last year."
"Yes Miss Childs. God is there no humility in you or awareness of the role of an office junior?"
There were sniggers around Kate and she wondered what the hell Maxine was talking about.
Not surprisingly, she received no authorization to access the electronic diaries that day and spent the day sorting mail and incoming invoices. She learned that the Senator received funding for eight staff that was divided between two locations. Others in the offices in the CBD worked in the administration of his family trust, his wife's family trusts and his portfolio of investments made when he'd sold out of his law firm that had grown to become the second largest in the city.
That night Kate's mom asked where the guys were.
"Before you went to college and for much of the time you were there, guys kept coming around here sniffing."
Kate decided a tease was in order.
"Sniffing for what?"
Laura's face turned pink and she hurried from the room.
Yes thought Kate. Where were the guys? Then it hit her. Because of her absence she was no longer on the dating circuit and neither were many of her girlfriends were hanging about because they were going steady or were even engaged.
God, she was growing old!
Next morning Kate slipped out of the general office and went to the office suite of Senator Mitchell.
"Hi I'm Kate and wish to see the Senator."
"Miss you are required to make an appointment like everyone else."
The arriving Senator Mitchell looked at Kate's A1-shaped butt and said, "I'll deal with this Gaye. Come with me Ma'am."
"It's Miss Senator. Call me Kate, I'm new in general office."
Gaye appeared close to having a seizure.
"Well Kate, the Senator said turning after removing his jacket and blinking at the sight of a pair of sweet breasts.
"Here allow me," Kate said taking his jacket and opening the closet and hanging it. "I won't keep you long."
"Oh there's no rush um Kate." the Senator said and called out, "Two coffees please Gaye."
"Senator I've just started in general office and had been given no duties and so asked if I could have access to your diaries over the past year to see if I can find ways to improve your efficiency."
"Well that's very kind of you Kate but what purpose would that achieve?"
"It would give you more time with your wife and your daughters Barbara and Nikki and with Hope, Tracy and Noel and..."
"You have just started here and know the names of my daughters and their children?"
"Well I read your CV when I was hired as this business revolves entirely around you."
"And you remembered their names?"
"Yes and what's so strange about that?"
Gaye entered with coffee and snapped, "Watch your mouth when talking to the Senator young lady. Senator she's the new junior in general office and Maxine was shocked when told she's up here."
"I'm aware of Kate's role in this office and shut the door on the way out. I feel safe."
"What do you know about the federal system of politics in this republic Kate?"
Kate began delivery of what the Senator realized was an excellent resume of the republic's history since Minola became an independent nation twenty-three years ago.
"Who was the first majority leader of the inaugural parliament?"
"Our current President Lord Desmond Boon."
"Recite me the first clause of Minola's Constitution."
"The people are thankful that God is on our side."
"Well that was too easy. What about Clause 27?"
"Under a vote of two-thirds majority or more of the General Assembly vote, any qualifying female candidates may stand for election to Parliament and in due course also be elected to the Senate. The Constitution of Minola decrees that the election from the Senate of the person to serve the next ensuring five years as President of Minola may be any Senator irrespective of race, creed or being male or female."
"Excellent, your answers suggest you have good political understanding. Is Laura Childs, or as she was known in her younger days, Laura Schultz, your mother?"
"Hmmm. I remember my sister babysitting you and Alice used to bring you in a stroller and you looked so cute even then."
"Looking cute gets you a long way Senator."
He laughed and asked what did her parents say when she announced she was working for Senator Richards?
"I only told them I was working downtown in an office and gave mom my direct-dial work number."
"Are you ashamed to be working for me?"
"Of course not Senator, I was attempting to be discreet in case you didn't wish people to know who worked for you. You are entitled to your privacy."
"Everyone who works for me in my role as a Senator has to be recorded on a register at parliament."
"Yes of course, for the purpose of transparency but Senator how many members of the public request to read that register? It's not online because members of the public are required to sign in before being allowed to peruse that register."
"How do you know that?"
"I read it somewhere or heard someone say that as fact."
As Kate was leaving Senator Mitchell said, "Lydia58.
"Oooh a quiz but that's too easy. Lydia is your wife's name and she's aged fifty-eight until late this year."
Tom stared at the remarkable young woman. "It's also the low-security password to my online diary."
"Good morning Senator," Kate smiled. "Have a lovely day and surprise your wife by taking home flowers to her. If she asks have you been naughty say no, you had the urge to say you love her with flowers."
Tom called his personal assistant at his office in parliament buildings.
"Shelley a young woman started working here in the general office a day or two ago by the name of Kate Childs. Her mother is Laura Childs, executive director of the State Forestry Management Corporation and her father is Dr Basil Childs, I seem to recall he's a research fellow or something that sounds like that at Bellona University. Have her checked out and if she appears clean get a full security check done on her with particular emphasis on political activity."
"Yes Tom. Will you tell me why this young woman has captured your attention?"
"You keep pestering me for an assistant. I want you to teach her everything you know about the Governments actions, its systems and its secrets between now and my retirement next year. Within a couple of months we should know if she has what it takes to become Rodney Hagen's media manager."
"So you are serious about wanting Rodney to become your successor?"
"Yes but keep that under wraps until I announce my preference."
"But Tom, are you doing the right thing about aspiring to place Rodney's political interfacing with the media in the hands of a young and untried woman?"
"You'll answer that yourself within a day of Kate working for you Shelley and by then you'll have answered that question."
"Tom it just doesn't add up."
"I know and that's why I'm so excited about this. She's also attractive enough to make Rodney desire to screw her."
"Well I suppose that's one attribute."
* * *
Shelley called Tom three days later and asked him to come over to deal with the report she'd received from his golden girl. If he could get there in an hour the investigation officer would wait.
"Give me twenty minutes."
Tom walked into his parliamentary office, kissed Shelley, recognized the officer and shook his hand as Shelley closed the door.
"What have you got Brian?"
"She's as clean as a whistle Senator."
Shelley said, "You didn't tell me her degree is in political studies."
"Well if I'd known that I may have told you. I don't require office juniors to hold a degree."
Brian and Shelley glanced at one another nervously.
"Okay, out with it."
"Well that's the problem Tom, this girl is an enigma."
"Oh Jesus, I wanted her investigated for security rating, not to be psychoanalyzed. Give me the report."
They watched as he read quickly, frowning and scrubbing his jaw.
He finished and grinned, looking at them, and said "Jesus. I knew there was something about Kate. I meet and assess people day in and day out and tick or cross boxes but with her I failed to place Kate in any category and this report shows why."
"She entered college with a very high IQ rating and her senior high school performances suggested she was going to college as a straight A's student. But she didn't and I smell a rat. Something appears to have happened in her freshman year and what looks suspicious to me as is the line of her academic achievement. Jesus it would have to be manipulated to flat-line like that and I think the manipulation was done by the student herself."
"Question: but why? Answer: it's up to you to find it Brian. Go to her college and question her freshman year professors. The answer is there, find it and report to me day or night Brian. Oh this is the type of intrigue that really pumps my blood. It's better than... er winning a big car race. I really feel like walking on air guys because we'll have at our fingertips the best agile brain we could ever dream of securing."
"Tom the report finds she was reprimanded at college twice for being involved in two political sit-ins."
"Yes but they were campaigning for equal treatment of females at the college Shelley. Be supportive of your sex. Go get what I want Brian."
* * *
Kate was in hot water with the general office manager Mrs Frankton and head clerk Maxine Ross.
"Mrs Ross says you went to Senator Mitchell's office without authority. Why?"
"To talk to him."
"Young lady, don't be facetious with me. I..."
"I'm not being facetious. Ask me precise questions and you'll get precise answers."
"My god you are insolent. What did you ask Senator Mitchell? We have been told you were in his office."
"I asked him for the password to his diary."
Mrs Frankton sighed and shook her head.
"And he said no way, get back to your work station and keep your head down unless you wish to be fired."
"No, actually he was very pleasant and we had coffee."
Maxine glared, "Kate is that the truth? Be very careful how you answer."
"Of course it's the truth. I only lie to guys."
Mrs Frankton said, "And you came away with the diary password?"
"Yes, turn your backs so that you don't see me enter the password," Kate said, and gained access to the diary on Mrs Frankton's desk computer. She opened a page to yesterday's date.
"Omigod, Mrs Frankton puffed. "There are the meeting details with the Envoy from Washington. I saw Tom with other Senators and the majority and two minority leaders at that meeting on the TV news bulletin last night."
Kate cancelled out of the feed from the computer server.
"Senator Mitchell says he doubts that I can show him how to be more productive with his engagements but invited me to try."
"I would think so Mrs Frankton. We all know men are not particularly good at time management. He probably doesn't group any appointments not requiring a particular fixed time."