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9th Chapter

A Novel Idea - a Soap

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Chapter 9


Christmas day came around really fast.  Mary and Paolo had retired, the advert for their positions was going to be made public on the first week back after Christmas closing.  The entire University was closed for 2 weeks, as all staff worked almost all of the public holidays that there were.  Most people preferred having the extra time off at the end of the year anyway.  It allowed them to go away and really enjoy their seasonal holidays.  Mildred, Errol and Josh were spending the day with their birth mother Hattie and her husband Jack.  They had not been fortunate enough to have had their own children but considered that Mildred and Errol were theirs all along.  And Josh they treated like a son in-law.  All three called Hattie, Mother Hattie and Jack, Father Jack.  Which both Hattie and Jack got a huge thrill out of.


“Merry Christmas Mother Hattie”  Called Errol and Mildred as they Walked up the driveway.


Hattie and Jack were in the garden waiting for them to arrive.


“Merry Christmas Mildred, Merry Christmas Errol and to you too Josh.” Both called to them in reply.


“Thanks for having us over Mother Hattie” Josh said.  Josh had always wanted a family Christmas celebration, as he had been orphaned at the age of 3.  Both parents had died in a raid on a refugee camp they were working in in Ethiopia.  Since then he had been raised in an orphanage until the age of 16 when he was able to leave.  His father had been Nigerian and his mother was of Scottish decent.  Her parents had been missionaries and for the first 10 years of her life had been with them in their field work all over the world.  But after her 10th birthday they put her in a Scottish boarding school.


“Your more than welcome Josh, it is really lovely that you could all come so we could be together.” Jack reassured them.  “Come on inside.”


They all helped bring the presents that everyone had bought,  Hattie’s brother and sister were there as well with their children and grand children.  Cousins that Neither Errol or Mildred every envisioned having.  Everyone gathered together opened presents and shared their life stories with each other.  By the end of the day everyone was happy but exhausted.  Some invited Mildred, Errol and Josh to visit them in New York the following year. Others invited them to New Zealand where they were living.  All in all it was a really great day everyone was happy.




The holidays went fast, and soon it was time to return back to work.  The advertisement for Paolo and Mary’s jobs were advertised.  Over five hundred applications were received.  It would take weeks for them to go through them all and then decide who they wanted to interview.  Mildred and Manny had placed their applications in amongst the others.  So now all they had to do was wait to see if they were selected for an interview.  As Mary’s job was at such a hight level, they had to do international advertising as well.  At least 10 international applications were received for Mary’s position, so if they were to be interviewed then it would either be a satellite link up or they would fly them to the university and then interview them in person. 


In the mean time to fill in the positions Manny was filling in with Paolo’s job and Mildred was filling in for Mary.  Tiffany had said she did not want to do the Librarian job for the Special collections so Dickson filled in.  He was quite happy to for a short time but did not want to make it a permanent thing, as he preferred behind the scenes more to working in such a people oriented job.


It was the end of January, beginning of February that the successful applicants for interview were notified.  The interview were to take place mid February.  Three of the international applicants were suitable so they being interviewed via Satellite, As it was inconvenient to them to leave their current jobs.  Mildred was also on the short list of eight to be interviewed for The associate librarian position and Manny was on the list for interview for Paolo’s.




T.J. was happy in his little environment, he had been quite the celebrity over the last few months, after assisting the police with the rescue of Tiffany.  She and Mitchell had been most grateful.  Since Tiffany had returned to work she made a point of every second week having coffee with him.  She discovered he was not as bad as everyone thought he was.  Mostly all show and talk but very little action.  Most of what people heard about him was by hearsay and then that was way exaggerated.  On one of their fortnightly meetings for coffee at the staff café, T.J. talked to Tiffany about his concern for Joelle.


“You know I am very suspicious of that Denver guy.” T.J. stated.”  The other day I saw him hugging some woman, I thought he and Joelle were an item.”


“It may have been his sister or someone like that.”  Tiffany reassured him.


“You may be right, but I get an odd feeling about him.  I would hate to see Joelle hurt.  She is such a nice girl.”


“Yes she is, she deserves a little happiness after having several really bad relationships.  Its been years since she has had a date.”  Tiffany finished her coffee and headed back to the office.


T.J. had a meeting with one of the Errol and his group of research students.  They were on the verge of making a breakthrough with their research in the agricultural area.  One of the Students thought he had discovered an enzyme in one of the plants he was researching that could help fight some diseases.  Genetic modification of foods was becoming more the norm these days and if they could find a way of enhancing grain products to fight disease or illness then they would be exceptionally happy.




Mr Bigell had been through all the applications personally.  One of his friends from Toronto had applied for the Associate Librarian position, so he was hoping she would get the job, then they could continue their relationship.  His wife of 30 years had never discovered his affair with Gerty Jones, and if he had anything to do with it she never would.  He was on the selection panel and was going to try to push in her favour.  ‘Mildred would be excellent in the position’ he thought to himself ‘but having Gerty here would be cheaper all round so he would not have to spend all that money flying to far off places pretending to have business when he was actually in with Gerty.




The day of the interviews had arrived and Mildred was the first one to be interviewed, she was rather nervous.  She already knew those on the panel so did not know why she felt this way.  It was only Mr Bigell, John Amerson, the other Associate librarian in charge of corporate services to the library, and Jenny Nanson from Personnel, who Mildred had known ever since primary school.  When Mildred had arrived she found that Mr Bigell was not there as he had come down with a bad dose of flue and was confined to bed.  Replacing him was one of the Academics who was the Academic liaison officer who had close ties with the library. 


“Whew” Thought Mildred as she walked in and found that Mr Bigell was not there.  “that’s a huge relief”


The interview went well.  Joelle and Tiffany had sat with her for a few days rehearsing her on her interview technique.  There were the usual questions like  “How do you see this position benefiting your.”  “What do you think you can bring to this position.”…. “What would your main objectives be in improving the services to clients”

Question after question fired at her, all answered efficiently and easily.  It took half an hour for the interview to be over.  The next 3 days would be all interviews for Mary’s position, one day was devoted to the overseas interviews. Then they would make the announcement as to the successful applicant.


At the same time a different selection panel was convened to interview for Paolo’s position.  Manny was as nervous a Mildred had been.


Several days later, Both Manny and Mildred had received the nod from the panels and were both appointed to the positions they applied for.  Their friends threw a party,  Mr Bigell threw a fit “Curse this blasted flu virus, If I had been there then Gerty would have the job.”




Mildred started her 1st official day as Associate librarian of Library Services.  Amy had been a great help to her over the last few weeks while she filled in.  They advertised her old position in the Special Collections.  Everyone tried to talk Tiffany into going for the job.  Dickson had refused to continue in the position saying he missed all the work he was doing on the manuscripts that were  coming in and the development of the University collections.


Several people applied from other Universities and there were four people from within the University of Wattle Grange Library who also applied.  They interviewed the top four contenders and ended up selecting One of the User Education Specialists Peter Bent, Mildred had known him for a number of years.  She had hoped that Joelle would also put in for the job.  But Joelle was content where she was.  Peter had specialised in Classic and ancient History as a major at University and had obtained a PhD in Graduate Diploma in Records Management and Archives from one of Oxford University.  He was a very quiet and likable person, who got on well with everyone,  Tiffany liked him and he and Dickson shared a number of interests outside of work.  So that worked out well for everyone.




Manny had started his new job, and was relishing the added responsibility.  All the staff liked him, he had a natural ability with.  He had wanted to shake things up by juggling a few people around to give them a little more variety in their daily work.  There was a little scepticism for a while, but after everyone had got use to the idea of learning now tasks they found that it was very refreshing for them.


He had cleared this with Mildred, who thought it was a fabulous idea, and thought that maybe they could do with  a little reorganising in the lower and upper ranks of library staff.  She would broach the subject in the next heads of department meeting.




T.J. was on his way to collect a photo he had enlarged into poster size, from the photographic reproduction store.  He had taken the photo during a recent trip to the U.S..  He had come across a lonely little cabin in the hills of Virginia.  It was Autumn time and the leaves on the ground were gold and brown.  The trees only had a few green leaves left, most of them were in the lovely autumn colors of red, brown and gold.  The effect was rather stunning.  On seeing the cabin, he stopped to have a look around.  It was set just off the road.  On further investigation it was a hikers cabin that was unlocked and was available for those who were hiking the trails of the mountain to spend the night in.


He had taken several shots around the area, on getting them processed this one stood out.  The sun shone through the trees at the right angle and highlighted the veranda.


As he was leaving the photographic shop he noticed Denver Anvers and a women who was around 45 years old, they had a child with them who was he guessed 2 years old.  There was also a baby of 6 months in a sling around Denver’s shoulders.  Denver was looking rather lovingly at the woman and child.


“Daddy “  the 2 year old called.  “Ice cream Daddy.”


‘That’s strange’ T.J. thought to himself.  ‘No one had mentioned he had children.’  He was in two minds as to if he should tell Joelle.  This was not the first time he had seen this woman with Denver.


He walked away and in the distance saw Joelle heading in the direction of the happy family scene.  What should he do, let her walk into the scene and be shattered.  Or should he try to delay her in hope that he could prevent a nasty situation.


He put his picture down for a moment at the time Joelle was close to him, she noticed the picture and him and stopped to admire it. 


“Where did you get that from.”  She enquired.


“I took the photo while I was on the Blue Ridge mountain parkway in Virginia when I was there last year.”  He replied holding the picture up for her to have a good look at.


“It’s a fabulous  shot.  Did you take many photos of the area.”


“Yes over 30 rolls of film all 36 exposures.  My cousin works at the photo place just down there.”  He said pointing to the direction of the shop.  “He gives me a great deal.  They use some of my photos for display purposes.”


Joelle was quite impressed.  They chattered for a while,  T.J. noticed that Denver and his family had moved off.


“Well better dash “He said, “Enjoy the rest of your weekend.”


Joelle bid him farewell and then went on her way.




Several months later, Joelle was in the hairdressers getting her hair highlighted.  She had been blond long enough and decided to have some darker highlights put into it.  Her hair had grown quite long so she had several inches cut off as well.  While she was just finishing up Denver and his family walked in.  He hugged his wife and the little child called him ‘daddy’ and requested a drink.   He did not see Joelle, but Joelle saw him.


Joelle felt ill.  She thought she was going to pass out.  ‘How could he!’ she thought to herself.  She quickly left while his back was turned and ran out of the shopping centre to her car.  As she was leaving the centre, she bumped into Mildred, Errol and Josh.  They could tell she was distraught.


“What’s wrong Joelle.?”  Josh questioned her.  “You look like you saw a ghost”


Joelle fell into his arms sobbing her heart out, in between sobs she managed to tell them “I……  saw…..  Denver…….  With another……… woman.  …...He had kids with ……… him……. Who called him daddy….”


“You what!”  Mildred was furious. 


Joelle was too upset to repeat what she had seen, just then T.J. Walked past with a group of his friends, he saw the little scene developing with Joelle looking shattered.  He guessed correctly that she had just found out about Denver.  How she did he did not know.  It broke his heart to see her in such a state.


He said quietly to Errol.  “Did she find out about Denver?”


“Yes she did, we could not have warned her love makes you blind and even if we had she would have refused to believe us.”  Errol looked as though he was mad enough he could skin a cat.  The anger in his face was evident to those around him.


Ill take her home.”  Said Mildred, “Josh could you drive my car to Joelles place so I can get home later.”


“Sure thing Peaches”  Josh replied.


The drive back to Joelle’s place was long and drawn out for her.  It seemed like an eternity.  The pulled up at her house, and Mildred took her inside, tucked her up on the couch under some cosy blankets and then went to make her a strong cup of tea.


They sat for ages with Joelle sobbing and drinking her tea between sobs. Eventually she fell asleep, Mildred made sure she was comfortable and then sat with her until she woke up.  She decided to stay the night with her as she could tell Joelle was in no fit state to be left on her own.  She had seen this before when Joelle had broken off her engagement to Zebulon.




The following Monday morning Denver walked into Joelles office wanting to take her to lunch.  Bobby was there filling in for Joelle, as Mildred had insisted that she take the day off. 


“Hi Bobby where is my girl.?”  Denver said light heartedly


“She is probably at home with your children.”  Was the blunt and snide reply Bobby gave.  “You should be ashamed of yourself.”


“What are your talking about.”  He asked innocently


“You know very well what I am talking about.”


“No I don’t otherwise I would not have to ask.”  Denver did not have a clue he had been sprung.


“You were seen by Joelle on Saturday a the hairdressers.”


Denver went pale. “Oh!”   Was all he managed to say, then made a very hasty retreat.


As he went out side the building he thought to himself “Damn!, I’ll have to be more careful next time, otherwise the wife will find out too.”




Several months later, Louise Anvers did find out about Denver’s other women.  T. J. anonymously sent her a note to the effect


                   To Louise Anvers


                   Do you know what your husband gets up to! 


He also enclosed a photo that he had taken of Denver and a woman from one of the other departments in a compromising hug.  Also enclosed was the card of a Detective agency that Captain Yates had given him the previous year.  When he had spoken to him about his concern for Joelle.


Louise hired a private detective to find out the full story.  Around 2 months after the investigation was commenced she had enough evidence, including proof that he was also married to 3 other women at the same time.  This was enough to file for divorce and to ask for a very tidy little settlement.


A number of Denver’s other women found out about him too, pretty soon he was forced to leave town.  No doubt, everyone thought to start again somewhere else with the same shenanigans.  Interpol had a warrant out for his arrest, for committing Bigamy. 




Joelle had all but gotten over Denver, she had vowed and declared that she would never get involved with another man as long as she lived.  She felt they were the scum of the earth and not worth a brass razoo.


She was content with her life the way it was, she would never again look at another man.  The only good man in her mind was a dead one or a gay one.!!




Amy knocked on the door to Mildred’s office, “Excuse me Mildred Mr Bigell is here to see you.”


Mildred rolled her eyes.  “Show him in please Amy, but can you come in 10 minutes and say I have an urgent meeting.”  Mildred knew what he was wanting.  He was still trying to get his Canadian girlfriend over hear and was trying to sweet talk her into it.


“Mr Bigell, how can I help you.”  Mildred gave him her best smile.


“Please Mildred, call me Tony.”  He said with that smarmy smile of his.


“Ok, TONY!!   


He sat down and started on his little spiel about how it would be beneficial to have a swap between high level library employees and how he thought she would benefit from gaining experience in an overseas library for several months. 


Just then Amy knocked and walked in reminding Mildred of her ‘Meeting’


“Thanks Amy.  I forgot all about that.”  Mildred Lied.


Mr Bigell excused himself and both Mildred and Amy gave a sigh of relief. 


Several weeks later they had an email from Mr Bigells’ Secretary saying he had handed in his resignation effective immediately via the fax, and that his wife had phoned looking for him.  Everyone put two and two together and came up with the notion that he had moved to Canada to be with his bit on the side.  Numerous people were well and truly relieved by this situation.  That would mean a new Chief executive officer,  It would be interesting to see who was going to get the job.  For the mean time John Amerson was going to fill in the position and They were going to leave the other Associate librarian position vacant for the time being.  With Mildred and John making any decisions that were needed jointly on discussion.




“Well you believe that Bigell, the way he has treated his wife.  And she is such a nice person too.”  Commented Bobby.  He had known Sandie Bigell from their art classes they too together.  “I don’t know that she had a clue as to his goings on.”


“You can say that again.”  Joelle replied.  She was still smarting from the episode with Denver.  “What on earth makes anyone behave in such an abominable fashion.”


“Your guess is as good as mine.”


Both Joelle and Bobby were off for a luncheon date with Mildred, Josh, Errol and Tiffany, Mitchell and their soon to be expanding family.  Tiffany had just found out she was 7 week pregnant with twins.  Mitch could not have been happier, neither could the other children.


They had decided to meet by the lake, where there was a play ground that the kids loved to play in.  Tiffany was still feeling a little queasy so they made their place near the toilets in case Tiffany had to make a bit of a sprint for the bowl.


Edward and Barry raced off to play with their boats, Polly and Elisa had their dolls with them and were taking them for a ride on the slide, swings and round-a-bout.  Mitch had gone off with the boys to give them a hand with their boats and Joelle was keeping an eye on the girls.  It had turned out to be a really nice day.


“It is so good to get away from the library.  I was getting a migraine from all this hassle with Bigell leaving at such short notice.”  Mildred sighed, and laid back on the blanket they had bought with them.


“Yes that was rather nasty of him, He apparently was hoping his Canadian girlfriend would get your job.” Tiffany commented.


They sat back and watched the kids at play.  Suddenly Tiffany dashed off toward the toilet block and disappeared into the ladies side.  Several moments later she came back. 


Ill be so glad when this morning sickness is over.  I was never sick with the other kids.”  She said as she flopped down on the blanket next to Mildred.


The two boys and Mitchell waved to them from the shore of the lake.  They were having such a great time.  Mitchell had taken so well to fatherhood and was looking forward to the birth of his own two children.  The kids had already started planning the names for the babies.  The girls wanted sisters, the boys wanted brothers.  Tiffany and Mitchell did not care as long as the kids were all healthy and happy like the others.




T.J. was working the Weekend shift in the Post Grad Research area.  It was something he hated doing, working weekends.  He had so many things he wanted to do.  But the money was good, and he loved working with the staff there.  Over his time at this library he had mellowed, he held this change in him to meeting Joelle.  Before he had been a man about town, a real ladies man.  But Joelle changed things, he felt that she was the one true soul mate for him.


The day went fast with numerous Academics and Post Graduate students coming in and wanting his assistance with searches, obtaining articles from other libraries that their University did not have.  Before he knew it, it was 4pm and time to go home.  There was talk of the Library being opened for 24 hours a day on the weekends, as a trial to see how well it was patronised.  A lot of staff were not keen on the idea, as the costs would be out of proportion, and it could mean an increase in the fees for the students.  Which was not fair to a lot on low incomes.  But nothing ventured nothing gained.  The demand was there, it was just the implementation of the procedures and policies that was stopping it, and also waiting to see who was going to get Mr Bigells now vacant position.  Everone was hoping that John would get it, since he had been filling in for Bigell things had been a lot happier in the upper ranks and there was a more relaxed atmosphere on the floors of each of the libraries sections.




Manny had been enjoying his time in the since taking over Paolo’s position, everyone was happy and content, they had even dubbed him General.  He had several years of army training, was highly organised and made sure that things were run in the same efficient way the Paolo had run things.  If something was needed doing then Manny made sure it was don’t to the letter.


There were several new staff that needed training and Manny either trained them himself or handed the specialised training onto those who worked in the specific areas.  Several of the new staff had previously had carpentry experience, so he was planning on using their skills for repairs or making of special orders for some of the branch libraries.  There had been a concern that Manny would not be able to fill in the big shoes of Paolo, but they were two different people.  Even though Paolo had trained Manny, and trained him well in his way of working, Manny had a special way of doing things of his own. 


They started having monthly meetings to discuss concerns and problems that were developing, or any issues that needed to be cleared up.  Several of the staff had found a better way of organising the maintenance side, and had requested that the I.T. section create a computer tracking system of their maintenance requests that came in.  Before it was all done by paper requests, which seemed to take a lot of time.  Paolo was old fashioned and he saw no reason for computers to take over an already efficient service.


Manny had a more of a more forward thinking aspect on his job, and things that made it easier the better it was.

He had sent an Email to the I.T. manager Jacqueline and asked her to look at creating a system to assist with their

Tasks.  He knew that it would be at least 6 or more months before it could be implemented, but the sooner he got the request in the sooner things would happen.






©Colleen Hunter 2004

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