Kim stumbled wearily into the kitchen the next morning. She hadn’t exactly wanted to get up; she had gotten in extremely late last night and not slept well besides, but she had heard her father tinkering around downstairs and she needed to ask him a few questions about Mim and where her journals might be.
“Morning, Kimmie-cub!” her father called out cheerfully when she came in.
“Morning, Dad,” she mumbled, collapsing into a chair and resting her hands on the kitchen table. “Do you have a minute?” she asked.
“Sure, anything for my Kimmie-cub,” Mr. Dr. Possible replied. He looked at her more carefully, noting the haggard appearance. “Are you okay, Kim?” he asked, concerned.
“Sorta,” she answered. She paused, thinking of the best way to explain it to him without looking like a complete nutcase. “So, I had a mission to the Middleton Mansion last night, and I need to ask some questions about family history,” she began.
“Oh, this is about Great-Aunt Miriam,” her father interrupted, relieved that it wasn’t about some boy. Kim obviously was under some sort of stress, and if some boy had caused it, well, he was going to learn about rocket propulsion systems very, very quickly.
“Um, yeah, actually it is,” Kim said, surprised.
“What would you like to know?” her father queried affably.
“I guess for starters why no one has ever bothered to mention her,” Kim answered.
“Well, probably because you never asked, Kimmie-cub,” her father pointed out, obviously hedging. “Kids nowadays are not interested in such stuff.” Kim looked skeptical, pinning her father with a glare. Mr. Dr. Possible coughed, knowing he was busted. “All right. We did not want to tell you about Mim until you were older because we were afraid she would be a bad influence,” he confessed.
“Bad influence?” Kim echoed. “Why? Because she was wanted for theft?” she asked, remembering her dream.
“Theft? Mim? Mim never stole anything in her whole life,” her father stated, puzzled where Kim gotten that impression. Then he had a revelation where Kim might have gotten it. “Are you talking about that whole unpleasant business at the 1902 Expo?”
“Yes,” Kim agreed. “You know, the Electrostatic Illuminator was stolen, Mim was accused and she ran off.”
“Mim never ran off,” Mr. Dr. Possible replied. “She was accused and did leave Middleton for a while, but that was to track the real thief. Wait,” he said, stopping himself. “Her journal will tell it better.”
“We have her journal?” Kim asked excitedly.
“We have a journal,” her father corrected as they went into the living room. “Your Nana has some of them and the rest have been donated to museums and universities.” Kim grimaced, hoping she did not need to collect them all.
“Here we are,” Mr. Dr. Possible announced, pulling out a book that was the thickness of an unabridged dictionary and the size of a coffee table book. It was nicely bound and gold lettering announced that “1901-1902” was the title. As he looked through it searching for the right entry, Kim took the opportunity to find out why Mim had been deemed a bad influence.
“So, Dad, why didn’t you tell me about Mim?” she asked as casually as she could even though most of her was engulfed in rampant curiosity.
“Well, it is mostly your own fault, Kimmie,” he answered truthfully.
“My fault? How is it my fault?” she asked, offended and perplexed all at the same time.
“You were, um, how can I say it, very spirited as a youngster and your Mom and I thought it would be a bad idea if you heard stories of how your Aunt Miriam would jump off of waterfalls, tame wild animals and barnstorm with a bi-plane. You didn’t need any more encouragement to be adventuresome,” he explained. “Of course we had no idea that you would do most of those things before you were seventeen.”
“When were you going to tell me?” Kim asked wryly.
“At this point, we figured we would tell you when you turned eighteen. That’s when you are set to inherit her estate,” her father answered.
“Estate?” Kim questioned. “Why would she leave her estate to me? She did not even know me.”
“Mim was still alive when you were born, Kimmie,” her father contradicted. “And she loved you right from the very beginning. She called you Kimmie-Ann. Only person that ever did, too,” he mused as he turned pages. Kim stood there quietly, digesting this tidbit of information. “Here is the entry we want,” he said, pointing to the page.
Saturday, May 3rd, Nineteen Hundred and Two
Today was perhaps one of the worst I have ever experienced. I was accused of theft, arrested and incarcerated, all because the mulish Chief Barkin refused to listen to what had actually happened in the Exhibition Hall. As I wrote about yesterday, Dr. Demens was demonstrating his newest invention in the Hall today and Jonathan and I attended the lecture. Immediately something did not sit right with me and I found myself convinced that it would be purloined. I was right, and I was able to track the thief to Ferris wheel. We tussled, but I was unable to gain the upper hand and the thief (a woman; most shocking, that) was able to escape. Through logic that is unique unto his own self, Barkin became convinced that I had done the deed and hauled me off to the hoosegow. As of right now, I have a preliminary trial set for Monday during which I hope to protest my innocence to the presiding jurist.
Mim was livid. Never in the whole of her life had she been treated so insolently, and she was angrier than Jonathan could ever remember seeing her, which was saying something considering her reputation for temper. “This is preposterous!” she declared as she sat in the police station, her emerald eyes flashing. Chief Barkin looked at her dispassionately, convinced from the testimony of Dr. Demens that she was the culprit.
“You would do well to be quiet, Mim,” Jonathan whispered. “Barkin will throw you in a cell if you do not restrain yourself.”
“I would like to see him make the attempt,” Mim said darkly. “I am a respected member of the community that was trying to assist in the capture of a thief. I have a witness that declares under oath that he saw the true fiend yet because of the pompous arrogance of the local constabulary and their prejudice against the young, here I sit, accused of a crime. Be still I will not.”
At that moment, a voice cut through the room. “You are free to go, Miss Possible,” he said, and the room turned to see Middleton’s only judge, His Honor Bertram Director standing in the midst of them, the eye he did not lose in the war glaring at Barkin.
“But, Your Honor, I must protest,” Chief Barkin cut in. “She is the prime suspect in an ongoing theft investigation.”
“Codswallop,” the judge replied. “I have seen your notes, Barkin, and you have nothing against her. Miss Possible and her family are some of Middleton’s most trusted citizens, and I will not have you harassing her because of some hunch.” Barkin sat back down, subdued. The judge turned to Mim. “Please be in my courtroom at 9:00AM sharp on Monday, young lady,” he ordered. “Bring your witness and we should be able to get this cleared up.” Turning to leave, he paused briefly as a coughing spell came on. “And please tell your mother that I will be by to pick up my remedies.”
“Of course, Your Honor. Thank you,” Mim said respectfully.
“Not a problem, my dear,” he replied and walked out the door. Mim followed, giving Barkin a contemptuous glare as she walked out.
“You should not provoke him so,” Jonathan chided.
“I have more important things to deal with than Barkin,” Mim retorted. “The stolen invention needs to be recovered and the thieves tracked down.”
“You are not a police officer, Mim,” Jonathan protested. “You should leave such things to the men.”
“I should,” Mim agreed, “but I am not going to.” Jonathan chuckled, knowing it was useless to argue.
Monday morning turned out much as Judge Director said it would. Wayne Load, though a 10-year old, made a convincing witness, and Dr. Demens freely admitted that he had been hit from behind and never saw Mim remove the Electrostatic Illuminator from the Hall, leaving Mim to argue that the real thief had run off with it while she was helping him. Barkin could do nothing to counter her argument, so the charges were dropped and Mim was discharged from custody.
Her first stop after winning her freedom was the office of the Middleton Gazette. The woman she had grappled with had been unnervingly familiar, and Mim surmised that the best place to begin her search would be the Gazette archives. It proved to be a more formidable task than she had realized, and she spent the remainder of the spring and the beginning of the summer searching through yellowing stacks of newsprint only to find nothing. She was on the cusp of going mad when Jonathan, in his own blundering way provided the answer.
“How is your progress, Mim?” he asked, bringing with him a slice of the latest food craze to tickle his culinary fancy.
“Not well,” she replied tersely. She continued to work for another few moments until the odor of what Jon had brought with him had permeated her small workspace. “What is that?” she asked, looking up.
“I believe the vendor called it ‘pizza,’” Jonathan answered, taking another bite. Mim was about to respond when she noticed the newspaper that it was wrapped in. She gave a start and promptly snatched it away from Jonathan, causing his pizza slice to fall on the floor. “Have a care, Mim,” he protested, pulling the slice off the floor and dusting it off. After a moment’s inspection, he continued eating.
Mim ignored him, instead spreading out the abducted newspaper on the desk. She read the article and caption carefully before breaking out into a wide grin. “I knew I had seen you before.” Jonathan glanced over her shoulder. It was the society page, not of the Gazette, but of the Chicago Newsmaker, and the headline announced the engagement of one of Chicago’s most prominent young debutantes, a Miss Sheila Goshen. “That was my assailant at the Expo,” she stated.
Jonathan looked at her skeptically. “If this article is to be believed, she comes from one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in Chicago,” he noted. “Why would she need to be a thief?”
Mim dismissed his objections with the wave of her hand. “The thrill of the chase, the rebellion against authority, I have no idea, Jon,” she said, her words coming in a rush due to her excitement. “I must get home. I need to pack and then make haste to the train station.”
“Train station? Where are you going?” Jonathan asked.
“To Chicago of course,” she answered distractedly as she bolted for the door. “I will call when I get back.”
“Mim, wait!” Jonathan protested, but she was already too far away to hear him. “But this paper is a year old!”
Chicago, Illinois, several days later
Mim fidgeted in her seat as she waited for the mistress of the house to attend her. The trip to Chicago had been no problem, and upon her arrival, she had looked up a colleague at the Newsmaker to inquire about the Goshen family and how she might arrange a meeting with them. When told aboutthe family, sheheard nothing but good things about them and their business. Archibald’s workers were some of the highest paid and his factory had a reputation for cleanliness and safety that was unrivaled in Chicago’s entire industrial sector.
Sheila herself was another matter, for she had also been updated as to the status of the impending Goshen nuptials. Sheila, it seemed, was restless and free-spirited and had taken off soon after her engagement had been announced. Her family had not heard from her in months until she suddenly came back to Chicago about two months ago. She had been somewhat of a recluse since and had been rarely spotted outside of her family’s mansion.
Mim had related the tale of the stolen invention to her colleague, leaving out the specifics of Sheila’s involvement in the caper, saying only that she would like to speak with her regarding the incident, and her colleague had been happy to arrange a meeting with Lillian Goshen, Sheila’s mother. So, here she sat, waiting in opulent splendor to tell an upstanding family that their daughter was a thief cavorting with strange men. She was not looking forward to the task.
“Miss Possible, it is so wonderful to finally meet you,” Lillian Goshen said as she came into the room.
Mim rose. “Thank you so very much for being willing to see me,” she said, turning to Lillian and offering a hand.
“Of course we would see the famous Mim Possible,” Lillian said, taking it with a smile. “Your insightful articles on the deplorable conditions in today’s factories were the talk of the dinner table for weeks.”
Mim blushed slightly at the praise. “Well, thank you very much, ma’am,” she said modestly.
Lillian chuckled. The young lady was adorable, polite and obviously well educated. It was quite the wonder that she should be asking after Sheila, who though very intelligent herself, always seems to associate with the biggest imbeciles in the world. “So, Miss Possible, I hear you would like to speak with my daughter,” she said.
“I would very much, yes, ma’am. She is a key witness in a theft that we recently had in my hometown,” Mim replied somewhat truthfully, liking the woman immensely already and not wishing to expose her daughter for the thief she was.
“And what was stolen that it required to make a trip all the way to Chicago?” Lillian inquired politely. “It must have had great value.”
“It was an invention, Ma’am,” Mim answered. “One that has great potential to do public harm if not recovered.”
Lillian appeared thoughtful, as if she knew Mim might not be telling the entire truth. “I see. Well, Miss Possible, you are in luck, for Sheila is in residence today. I will go fetch her so that you two might talk,” she said, an interesting expression in her eyes.
“I would be much obliged, ma’am,” Mim said and rising, disappeared from the room. Mim did not have long to wait for less than 10 minutes later, she returned, and with her was indeed the woman that Mim had been searching for, the woman who had stolen the Electrostatic Illuminator and nearly thrown her off the Ferris wheel.
“Good day, Miss Goshen,” Mim said politely, her expression betraying nothing. “It is so nice to see you again.”
“As it is to see you,” Sheila replied, a mildly polite smile on her face even as she unintentionally paled at Mim’s recognition of her. Her mother quirked an eyebrow, sensing the undercurrent passing between them. She decided it was best to leave well enough alone and so made her excuses, leaving the two of them. As soon as she had departed, Sheila got right to the point. “Why are you here?” she asked abruptly.
“Because you committed a crime that I was subsequently arrested for and I do not like being made a fool of,” Mim responded acerbically. “ I am here to see that the invention is returned and you are brought to justice.”
“I have no idea where the fool thing is,” Sheila stated. “And if you think that a nobody like yourself can accuse me of a crime and actually have me arrested, I would be delighted to see you try.”
“I am a nobody with a readership of thousands and a reputation for bringing the most powerful of malcontents to bear for their actions,” Mim countered.
The sheer force of will coursing through the room was a wonder to behold. On the one side was a desire for justice and the retribution of wounded pride, countered on the other side by arrogance and a sense of entitlement. Neither woman was sure if she could hold her position, though. Mim, in spite of her boast, was unsure if she would be able to surmount the power found in the Goshens’ wealth. Sheila, for her part, was unsure if her wealth would be able to protect her from Mim’s powerful connections to the media and law enforcement. The tension was compounded by the fact that neither one was willing to leave the situation unresolved; too much was as stake for the both of them. Mim wanted someone else to admit to the crime, for even now in Middleton there was talk that she had only been freed because her family’s relationship to Judge Director. Sheila, wanting to forget that chapter in her life entirely, did not want Mim to have such damaging information in her possession that she could reveal at any time. So, even as they glared at one another balefully, they both came to the same conclusion. Compromise would have to be reached or both of their reputations could suffer for it.
“What if I implicated Lipsky?” Sheila offered, deciding to end the stalemate. “He was the ‘mastermind’ behind the heist, and with my testimony you are sure to get a conviction.”
“And you just get to walk away from the whole affair with no blot on your record and minimal inconvenience to you? I think not,” Mim scoffed.
“Think about it, Miss Possible,” Sheila wheedled. “You have no guarantee that you can even get me arrested, much less convicted. With my cooperation, Lipsky will be sitting in jail within the year and your sterling reputation will be restored.”
Mim frowned. Miss Goshen was right. She hated the idea of a criminal walking free, but as the saying went, a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush. “All right, I will accept your offer, but only if you help me find the Electrostatic Illuminator and return it to Dr. Demens, if you help me find Lipsky and apprehend him, and if Lipsky is convicted and sent to prison,” she stated, her tone indicating that no other offers would be given or accepted.
Now it was Sheila’s turn to frown. That was a numerous collection of “ifs,” and Sheila was debating whether her and her family’s reputation could survive intact if she was merely tried for larceny and not convicted of it. She decided quickly that it would be better for all concerned if she avoided a trial all together, and she could do that by working with the Possible woman. Lipsky was such an idiot that he would be easy to snare and then she would be free of the whole business forever. She hated the thought of helping Mim, but if those were her conditions, then she was willing to live with it. “I will agree to those terms,” she said.
Mim was surprised, but she hid it well. “Then perhaps you should pack for Middleton,” she replied bossily.
“Perhaps I should,” Sheila agreed snidely and retreated back up the stairs. Mim watched her go, wondering all the while how this strange partnership would play itself out.
As it turned out, it worked out much better than either of them was anticipating. The Electrostatic Illuminator was discovered in the sign of the defunct taco stand after Mim and Sheila reenacted their fight and calculated its trajectory using a model built to scale of the Expo. It was returned to Dr. Demens with little difficulty, but ironically, he dismantled it soon after its return because he had still not thought of a use for it.
The apprehension of Lipsky turned out to be less simple. They started their searchwith his mother, who, thinking that Mim was doing an article on her brilliant son, gave them his whereabouts. He was no longer at that location, however, causing Mim and Sheila to spend a good portion of summer and a bit of fall to actually track him down. As Sheila predicted, once they brought him to trial, her testimony sealed his fate and he was convicted. She was able to pass off her own involvement in the affair as that of concerned passerby, owing a great deal to the fact that Wayne Load had not seen the fracas but had only heard it and thus could not identify her as the thief.
With her duty to Mim dispatched, Sheila at last left Middleton to return to Chicago, and Mim returned to life as a reporter by writing up Lipsky’s trial for the Gazette. Much to their mutual amazement, however, it was not long before they realized how much they had enjoyed working together, and improbable though it was, the few weeks’ separation actually made them miss each other and their odd antagonistic friendship. Mim was the first to acknowledge this new development and wrote to Sheila in Chicago. Sheila wrote back and soon correspondence was flitting back and forth between the two of them. It was decided that they should meet after the holidays just to see one another and perhaps discuss the possibility of Sheila assisting Mim in her duties a reporter.
Wednesday, December 31st, Nineteen Hundred and Two
And so it is I find myself anticipating the New Year and my meeting with Sheila. I would have never thought it possible that she and I would find ourselves friends, but we here we are, and I reckon, as Father used to say, “Anything is possible for a Possible.”
Kim closed the journal as the plane carrying her to Nana’s retirement villa touched down. Her mind was still trying to process all that she had read, but at least one thing was clear: her dream for the most part, had been accurate. Lipsky and Sheila had stolen the Electrostatic Illuminator and Mim had been falsely accused of it. Unlike her dream, however, Mim had not run, but had taken off to find the real thieves, and had in the end been exonerated. She wasn’t quite sure how she felt about the deal between Mim and Sheila that had accomplished this, but at least she did see why Mim might have agreed to it. She sighed. The journal had been a fascinating read, but it had mentioned nothing about anything that could cause the end of the world, meaning it was the wrong one for finding out anything useful about her mission. Kim hoped that Nana had one that could help, or they might run of time while she was hunting for the right one.