After a night without sleep and the early morning phone call to Kim Shego spent the day sitting in the rocking chair, staring out the window for long periods while holding Catherine on her lap. She sometimes varied the routine by staring into Kitty's emerald green eyes, eyes so much like Kim's it hurt Shego to look at them, and yet she couldn't stop herself. The phone call was a mistake she told herself. Even if there were no legal repercussions she wasn't sure what she would do when she saw Kim at court next week. How could she have been so stupid?
Why was she even here in Middleton? Wouldn't it be easier to just move somewhere and drop out of sight? She didn't need the money, she could live comfortably on the accounts she had hidden away. She told herself it was not that she wanted to see Kim. She hated Kim for ruining her life. “No,” she whispered to Kitty, “forgive me for saying you ruined my life. Not you, her.” Shego's mind continued to wander, her infatuation with Kim was the biggest mistake in her life. She knew she needed to walk away from it, and yet she couldn't.
Kim slept in late the day after the phone call, and spent the rest of the day in bed, staring up at the ceiling. She didn't have anywhere else to go and no one to see. Why was she so frustrated by last night's phone call? Why had she even started talking with Shego instead of just hanging up? And she had participated in the phone sex game… She must have been too tired to think straight… “Think straight,” Kim laughed to herself. She always had serious trouble thinking straight around Shego. Whenever she was around the older woman she found herself with ideas that didn't belong in her head about another woman. Shego's call had left her dangerously close to confessing that confusion. Half a dozen colleges had accepted her. She'd change to whichever school was the furthest away from wherever Shego chose to live and go there so she would never have to think about Shego again… Except for the child support checks… And if her parents got custody of baby Catherine then Kim would never have a chance of forgetting the pale green woman… Kim wanted it all over, and had no idea how she could face Shego in the courtroom next week.
Judge Pepper hadn't noticed when the initial paternity suit hit his desk. A law clerk first drew it to his attention and his initial response had been to dismiss it completely, but he hesitated; Sampson Brass was strictly a small timer in the Middleton legal community, but he wasn't a bad lawyer. The judge felt like he owed him the courtesy of a call before dismissing the case.
“Sam? Judge Pepper. I just looked at your paternity suit against Kim Possible. I was wondering if you could tell me what in the hell you're thinking before I throw it out?”
“You want what I'm thinking or my client is thinking?”
“Either… No, give me both.”
“Well, I'm not completely clear on what she wants. She's some old enemy of Kim's. Maybe she thinks it will make Kim look bad -- but she's just going to make herself look ridiculous. Still, everyone is entitled to his or her day in court and if she wants to file the suit I think it's important for me to follow it through.”
“Cut the crap, Sam. You want the billable hours. I'm disappointed that you're handling a nuisance suit. I'm dismissing.”
“Please, don't. Business is a little slow right now--”
“You're defrauding your client! You're billing her for a suit you know will lose!”
“She wanted to file it. She insisted. I warned her it would be thrown out. She's said she'll pay for an appeal!”
“She really said that?”
“Really. I warned her that a hoax would backfire on her. She claims this is for real. I figure she's probably crazy and when the evidence comes in she'll just drop out of sight. If you dismiss the suit her appeal might just raise the profile on the case. You can't do anything about the suit until after the baby is born. I suggest you just let it sit on your desk for now.”
Sampson Brass had been wrong in his prediction that it would be ignored if left in legal limbo. Judge Pepper told himself he should have dismissed it then, even if Shego won her appeal, it would be some other judge's worry.
Now, a couple months later, Shego was pardoned and back in the US, and a long list of medical experts were willing to testify that Kim was the baby's ‘father’ based on the genetic evidence -- even though not one of them had any explanation of how it was even possible.
Judge Pepper dreaded next Monday. He couldn't imagine any scenario which didn't make everyone look foolish for participating in such a case.
By the Friday before the trial a battalion of reporters had besieged Middleton. The judge refused to issue any statement about the suit. The lawyers refused to issue any statements, and their clients both listened to their legal advisors and said nothing.
Several medical experts who would not be testifying at the trial were happy to confirm the findings and offer their own speculation about how it happened. Two delivery room nurses were willing to talk about what a beautiful baby Catherine was. Mego, like a virus during the influenza season, seemed to be everywhere at once. He claimed to be in town to offer moral support to his sister during the trial, but spent more time promoting his own book. He hoped to parley the trial into an interview on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Bonnie Rockwaller did almost as many interviews as Mego. Between Mego defending his sister and Bonnie tearing down her old rival Kim wished Ron was back in town or Monique had been able to give more interviews.
Vendors sold a range of tacky souvenirs, some of which had only a marginal connection with the trial. The tackiest item for sale, however, was directly linked to the trial; a t-shirt took the prize for poor taste. On the front it featured a picture of Kim and her motto: Kim Possible: She Can Do Anything. On the back it featured a picture of a very pregnant Shego.
Monday morning dawned clear and beautiful, but far more people wanted to spend the day inside the courtroom than the limited seating allowed. Trials of the century only come along about every five years, and this one was slightly overdue. Court TV and two other cable channels and a major network all petitioned to broadcast the trial, but lawyers for both sides declined.
Neither side wanted a jury and Judge Pepper drew a sigh of relief. His nightmare had been that the farce would drag itself out for weeks. Court was called into session, and the bailiff read the complaint. The judge turned to counselor Brass, “I assume you have a battery of medical personal who will say that genetic tests prove Kim is the father.”
“Yes, Your Honor.”
“Good. We'll start with them in a minute. And you,” he said turning to counselor Vholes, “will have medical experts waiting to disprove their claims?”
“No, Your Honor.”
“No. We are willing to concede that Kim is the parent of the child in question.”
Sampson Brass rose to his feet, “That's fine with the plaintiff, Your Honor.”
“Well, it's not fine with His Honor,” Judge Pepper snapped. “I want a medical expert I trust to explain in words I can understand how a baby can have two mothers.” He looked over the bench of doctors. “Dr. Woodcourt, can we swear you in to explain what happened?”
“Uh, sorry judge. I can tell you about how the baby's DNA reflects Kim and Shego, but none of us know how it happened.”
The judge sighed, “Well, I'll settle for what you can do.”
At the end of Allan Woodcourt's testimony neither lawyer wished to redirect, so the judge asked the questions himself.
“And you really believe the sample was not contaminated or manipulated in any way?”
“We were all extremely careful.”
“I have to ask this, did money influence the evaluation of the DNA evidence in any way?”
“Your honor, there must have been ten of us. We represented every position in this case and I was there just to see the hospital work was done. It didn't matter who paid our salaries, we all found the same thing.”
The judge looked at the bench of medical experts, “Any one want to dispute that?” The doctors and technicians all nodded their heads no. The judge actually felt happy for the first time in months. The trial of the century might be over in one day.
Counselor Brass put Shego on the stand to make her case.
Shego dwelt on her loneliness, how she felt Kim had taken advantage of her, how Kim was the only person she had sex with for years.
“Are you going to explain how this happened?” the judge demanded.
“Isn't it enough it did? I've made the claim, Kim admits it, and the DNA evidence proves it. Isn't that enough?” The pale green woman realized the judge wanted the answer everyone else wanted. If Kim just kept her mouth shut there had to be some way to make money on that curiosity.
Her lawyer continued his questioning, holding up a copy of the Tattler with the picture of Kim standing over a hurting Shego in the Havana apartment, “And then, after leaving my client pregnant, the defendant sought her out in Cuba and threatened her.”
“Ah, actually, no,” Shego spoke up.
“No?” her own lawyer asked in disbelief. What was going on with Shego's testimony?
“No, Kim did not come to Cuba to threaten me,” Shego told the judge and the reporters frantically recorded her words. “She came to see if I was all right,” Shego admitted before starting the lies. “I had a camera taking pictures and caught that image when the baby kicked. I sent it to the papers to draw attention to the case. I didn't want to hurt Kim's reputation -- but I hoped if the public heard about what was happening I might get a pardon.”
Sampson Brass was at a loss on how to continue, “Then did Kim ever threaten you?” he asked in bewilderment -- remembering Kim sitting with Shego at the mall.
Shego smirked at Kim, “Kim was never a threat to me. Even when we were fighting for real she was never a threat to me.”
Kim flushed and rose from her seat, “Threat! You want threat? I'll--” before her own lawyer grabbed her by the arm and pulled her down onto her chair.
Shego had a satisfied smile. She'd told the ‘truth’ on the stand and showed herself a ‘good girl’ and Kim had lost her temper.
Sampson Brass, frustrated by his own client deceiving him, announced he was through with questions and sat down.
“Do you wish to cross-examine the witness?” the judge asked Bob Vholes.
“Uh, yes your honor,” he said. Like Sam Brass he wasn't sure what either woman was going to say or do. He asked some general questions about how long the two had known each other while he tried to figure out a good angle to pursue. Kim beckoned him over and whispered something in his ear. He didn't like it as a question, but realized he had nothing better to ask.
He turned to the witness stand, “So, you and my client had sex without any precautions?”
“I think the answer to the question is with the nanny this morning.” The answer brought some laughter from the spectators.
“Did you, in fact, tell my client that sex without any precautions was safe for the two of you?”
“Object your honor. My client could not have known Miss Possible would leave her pregnant.”
“Over-ruled, you will answer the question young woman.”
“Yes,” Shego said softly
“I didn't hear that.”
“Yes,” she repeated louder.
The judge called a time out, “Am I to understand you are both idiots who didn't realize that children are a consequence of sex?”
“Your honor,” Sampson Brass reminded the judge, “Our clients are both women.”
The judge closed his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose. This case gave him a headache. “Any further questions for this witness?”
“No.” “Not at this time.” they answered.
“There will be a ten minute recess while I take two aspirin.”
After the brief recess Kim took the stand.
“You admit having sex with my client?”
“I've been admitting it since I asked my lawyer not to dispute the medical evidence.”
“Ah, yes. That's true. And your sole defense of your behavior is that she made the perfectly reasonable assumption that two women could not have a baby?”
“No. I feel like she seduced me.”
Shego cleared her throat noisily and Kim blushed. “Well, the first time we had sex I feel like she seduced me.”
“So you had sex on more than one occasion?”
“Well… I'm not sure how you define occasion. It was only the one night, but it was three times that night.”
Shego coughed again, politely. “You turned me down the fourth time!” Kim snapped.
“Counselor Brass,” the Judge warned, “will you kindly tell your client to suck on a cough drop? And tell her to leave the questioning of witnesses to the lawyers.”
“Yes, your honor.” Sam Brass was finding it difficult to develop a coherent line of questions under the circumstances. “Now, where was I…” he asked himself more than Kim.
“I was saying I was responsible for my own actions,” Kim said.
“Wait,” Shego interrupted, “you admit you're responsible for your actions?”
“I'm responsible,” Kim snapped back, “are you?”
The judge rapped his gavel. “That's two strikes, young lady,” he warned Shego. “Three and you're out of here.”
Still looking for directions the lawyer tried again, “This happened in China, right?”
“Why were you in China.”
“Well, I, uh, went there to fight her.”
“To fight her?”
“And you ended up in bed with her?”
“Well, it was cold! And I was wet, and I didn't have a place to stay
“So the woman you went half way around the world to fight took pity on you and let you stay with her?
Kim hesitated before answering, and in that moment of silence Shego's voice could be heard, “I let her do a hell of a lot more than that.”
Kim turned her attention to Shego, “Well, you started it.”
“You came half-way around the world to see me!”
The crack of the judge's gavel brought silence to the courtroom. “This is the most insane trial I've had in all my years on the bench. My prima-facie inclination was to simply dismiss this case as a hoax. The medical evidence compels me to keep it open. The defendant is offering no coherent defense. Both plaintiff and the defendant refuse to offer any version of how this is even possible. And the plaintiff seems more interested in trying to humiliate the defendant than dealing with issues of child support. I am adjourning this case for the day. I'm probably going to adjourn it for longer than that.”
He turned to the opposing counsels. “I will not continue the case until the two of you have determined on a clear direction -- whether it is about custody or support. I will not have your clients here airing dirty laundry about the other's sexual practices.”
“Your honor!” Kim and Shego objected together.
“You two will sit down and shut up,” the judge instructed them. “You've both hired reasonably good lawyers to keep you from committing errors in the court room. You will listen to them. You should have hired someone to keep you from committing errors earlier--”
“Mr Kenge, what is your interest in the case?”
“I represent the Drs. Possible, Kim's parents. We have a filed a lawsuit seeking custody of their grandchild.”
“They recognize the baby as their grandchild?”
“Yes, your honor. They don't dispute the medical evidence.”
The judge rolled his eyes and muttered a quiet, “Oh, hell,” then addressed Shego and Kim's lawyers. “You will include any lawyers from Kenge and Carboy in your discussion. Let's get this all taken care of at once.”
“Your honor?” Seven men and women in the front row of the spectators arose.
“Who the hell are you?”
“We represent various publishers, radio networks, press syndicates, and a movie studio that have options with one or more of the parties involved in the case.”
The judge turned to lawyers Brass and Vholes, “As the legal representatives of Miss Possible and the woman called Shego, do you want to meet with them too?”
Counselor Vholes looked over to Sampson Brass, who shrugged his shoulders, “I guess so, your honor.”
“Your honor?” a man in the back row asked.
“Yes, who are you?”
“Well I just heard everyone else saying it so I thought I'd try.”
The judge sighed and turned to the bailiff, “Throw that man in irons. Heat the oil to boiling after lunch.”
A hush fell over the courtroom as the bailiff went back, and brought the amateur comedian up before the court clerk for identification. “Uh, your honor,” the bailiff began. “The gas jet is broken under the big pot. We can't currently boil him in oil.”
“How much will it cost to get it repaired?”
“About a hundred dollars.”
“You, hundred dollar fine for contempt of court,” Judge Pepper ordered. “If anyone else wants to show disrespect we should have the gas jet working soon.”
Those who had tried cases in Judge Pepper's court before smiled at the running joke. Those who didn't know the judge adopted a nervous silence.