Archive for director

Clarity

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2012 by javedbabar

The final quality specified in the Jobs of the Future program was Clarity, without which the others – pattern recognition, common sense, creativity, imagination, people skills, and technical awareness – were useless. If you couldn’t focus on the job in hand, you wouldn’t get anywhere. It was as clear as that.

One of Shama’s many jobs in the city had been working in a jewelry shop. He mostly sold low-end stuff to poor people, but the shop’s owner also had private clients whose goods were of a higher order.

One day the boss had entered the sales floor as Shama was describing gems as “just bits of glass that look quite similar”. He told him to stop right there – not with anger, but with curtness – and to follow him into the back room. Shama wondered if he was about to get fired. He was in fact about to get educated.

Diamonds were removed from velvet bags and scattered on the table before him.

He was told about their 4 C’s.

The owner said, “Carat is a unit of mass used for gemstones, equal to 0.2 grams. The word comes from the Greek keration, meaning carob seed, which was a unit of weight used to measure gold.

Colour of a diamond is affected by chemical impurities or structural defects in the crystal lattice. A perfect diamond has no hue, but in reality no gem-sized natural diamonds are colorless. This can be a good or bad thing. If they are a little yellow this detracts from their value, but pink or blue enhances their worth. Red diamonds are the rarest and most valuable.

Cut does not refer to the shape of the diamond, which may be oval, round, or pear, but to its symmetry, proportion and polish. The cut impacts the brilliance, so a poorly cut diamond will be less luminous, and a well cut diamond will blaze with fire.

Clarity is the most important quality. It relates to the visual appearance of internal elements called inclusions, and surface defects called blemishes. Inclusions can be classified as clouds, feathers, knots, cavities, cleavage, bearding or graining. Blemishes can be polish lines, grain boundaries, naturals, scratches, nicks, pits, chips or breaks. Most flaws are tiny, but clarity grade is assigned based upon appearance under ten-times magnification.”

The owner gave him a lens to view the diamonds.

Shama witnessed hidden worlds of light that filled his mind and heart. It was no wonder that kings, pirates and princesses lusted after them. Each diamond’s interior seemed like outer space, or maybe he should call it inner space. It was a place of endless wonder. There were black holes and supernovae, shooting stars and solar flares. Universes being created, destroyed, and recreated.

He never forgot the lesson in the back room, which gave him new vision. Now there was a new problem. He couldn’t focus on shop front activity without being distracted by flecks of light.

Shama buzzed Sue and asked her to join him in his office. Her thoughts were always helpful, and he was starting to like her. He was shocked to see a new ring on her finger with a high quality 3 carat, Mazarin-cut diamond. Was it her old engagement ring, from her ex-husband? Or was it from a husband-to-be?

Shama couldn’t focus on the job in hand. His cognitive processes engaged in selective focus. His mental resources were allocated to the diamond ring. It took possession of his mind in clear and vivid form. Other simultaneously possible objects were excluded. There was a focalization, a concentration, a withdrawal from alternative thoughts.

There was also a withdrawal of Sue’s hand from view. He had made her self-conscious, and her focus right now was on someone else.

Technical Awareness

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2012 by javedbabar

Shama buzzed Sue again. Thank God for the Village Hall receptionist. His job as Training Director would be impossible without her.

Sue had got him through the first month of a role that he was totally unqualified for. It was only The Authority’s urgent need to fill the position that had landed him the job, and also that of Building Control Officer, which he was performing simultaneously.

He noticed that Sue had changed her hair color from blue-black to reddish-brown. How could you dye something lighter? There must be a trick.

Why did women like making dramatic changes to their appearance? Did it change anything beyond their façade? Sue was always cheerful, but today more than usual, so maybe the change had seeped within. A case of software affecting hardware.

She wore rough crystal jewelry. Pale stones caught the light.

“Shall I guess?” said Sue. “It’s about the Jobs of the Future program?”

Shama nodded. “Yes it is. I am looking at Technical Awareness. How would you define technology?”

“Well I guess it’s the stuff we use every day that makes our lives easier. Going right back there’s making fire, the wheel and printing press. Then radio and television. There’s recent things like the jet engine, the internet and nuclear power.”

Her list prompted a thought that these were all ways to adapt to, and control, our environment. Technology represented culture beating nature, and that was the cause of its downsides too – imbalance, pollution and depletion.

Shama looked around his office, and said, “Do you think we could survive without heat and light, power, computers, phones?”

“Of course we could. What I mean is that we could survive without modern methods. My family lived off-grid when I was a child. We had a woodstove for heat, candles for light, and coal for fuel. A few hundred years behind the times maybe, but it worked pretty well. And mankind survived for a hundred thousand years without computers and cell phones. I’m sure we could do it again if needed.”

Sue said that modern technology was helpful but not vital. The tools, knowledge, machinery, modifications, arrangements, procedures, techniques, crafts, systems and methods of organization used to solve problems, improve pre-existing solutions to problems, and perform specific functions, were useful, but humanity could also do without them. We have done. We do. We may again, come the Apocalypse.

“You’re so smart,” said Shama. “You always know what you’re talking about. What would I do without you? How do you do it?”

Sue wondered whether to tell him about her crystal jewelry. Her bracelet, ring and necklace attracted microwave vibrations, which her earrings channeled towards the SSTM chip implanted in her neck. Why not use technology to get ahead?

People Skills

Posted in Unknown with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2012 by javedbabar

Every job requires a range of skills, thought Shama. Even in this age of specialization, you can’t just be a one trick pony. The world is always changing. Jobs of the Future was the program he had created to develop vital skills in the local community. His task was to support lifelong learning.

Shama had not done much learning himself, or at least not in the traditional sense. He’d had only casual jobs in the city, construction, telesales and retail, and had recently come to Lucerne, where due to a shortage of professional people, he’d been given two jobs despite being qualified for neither. He was now Building Control Officer and Training Director.

Some hasty research indicated a shift in the way that people worked these days. Even twenty years ago, it was all about the Big Boss, the guy at the top who made all the decisions and passed them down, however half-baked. The job of an underling was to obey his whims without back-chat, even if the idea was totally the wrong thing to do.

Advances in Human Relations taught people to understand themselves better; to talk effectively and empathize accurately; to build relationships of trust, respect and productive interactions. The result could be powerful teamwork. However it could also become decision-making by committee, causing regression to the lowest common denominator.

The tide had turned back towards the Authoritarian camp. Tech companies especially were run by monsters who whipped their staff to keep inventing new needs and new products. They didn’t have the vision to create products that lasted, and to build lasting relationships, so every year they must make new things. Maybe that was just the nature of capitalism, a system driven by eternal dissatisfaction.

Jobs of the Future would require people skills for sure. But should they be used to create products, or build relationships, or maybe both?

Shama utilized his people skills to buzz Sue. The Village Hall receptionist was always his first port of call. He asked her, “How can we improve people skills?”

She said, “The trick is listening. It’s always that. My grandma used to say ‘Be the first to listen and the last to speak’. That way you speak appropriately.”

“But someone has to speak first. Otherwise it becomes a comedy of manners.” He put on an English accent. “You first. No, no, you first. I insist, Sir, you first. You are no gentleman, you insult me, you first. What do you take me for, a barbarian? You first, or I shall be forced to engage in violence towards your person!” Shama became self-conscious and stopped. His grandpa used to repeat that routine; he had memorized it without realizing.

“Yes, someone needs to speak,” said Sue. “But someone also needs to listen.”

People skills had a dark side. Those lacking them were unable to manage their stress levels, or to create supportive social connections. This led to their isolation and frustration, maybe violent and self-destructive behavior, and even death.

“I have a plan,” said Shama, and discussed it with her.

They set up a network of listening posts around the village. They were wirelessly connected, and held enough charge to run for a month. Each was connected to a third-world response centre.

Pushing a button alerted an Indian, Kenyan, Filipino or Peruvian worker, who would then try hard to sell you something. Your job was to hear them out, and then using all the information you had gathered, to sell them something instead.

“How’s it going?” Sue asked at the end of the second week.

“It could be better,” said Shama, “but we have sold four vacations, three horses, two tractors, and many tons of potatoes so far. We have some very good listeners in this village.”

Imagination

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2012 by javedbabar

Shama had identified the skills required for his Jobs of the Future program, which were pattern recognition, common sense, creativity, imagination, people skills, technical awareness, and clarity. As Lucerne’s Training Director, his job was to boost these skills in the local community.

This week he decided to focus on Imagination, an area very dear to him. As a child he had been deemed “over-imaginative”. His flights of fancy caused his parents to think that he may be mentally unstable. Doctors said that he was sane, but “borderline”. Heavy drug use in his twenties had made things worse. Finding God in his thirties had helped his mind to settle, but he later realized that this was only another form of over-imagination – seeing divine purpose in every occurrence regardless of proof.

He buzzed reception. “Sue, are you free for a few minutes? Can you please come to my office? I need your help.”

Sue seemed contented in life. Maybe she had fulfilled her desires. He asked her, “What do you like about your job?”

“What do you mean? Is this an appraisal?”

“No, no, I really want to know. It’s to help with the program.”

Sue smiled and said, “I like talking to people, I like helping them, I like having a quiet working environment; it keeps me calm. I like dealing with local issues where I can make a difference and see the results, and I like…”

He interrupted. “And what would you like from your life?” He’d meant to say job rather than life, but now he’d said it.

“From my life? Well, I guess maybe another husband, a cabin by the river, a career in healing, seeing my children happy, and their children happy too. I would like to travel more, go to Peru and Tibet. Do you want more?”

“That’s good for now. How will you get those things? Do you have a plan?”

“Yes, I do. Have you been to Guru Baba’s talks in the community centre? He says that the Law of Attraction is very simple – you get what you want. You must imagine it first, and then desire it with all your heart. It always works.”

“Always?” asked Shama.

“Yes, always, eventually, though maybe not how you imagined.”

“Then what’s the point of imagining it, if you get something else?” Here was his issue again – over-imagination.

Sue said, “I am not explaining it very well. He says that you desire on a personal level but you receive things on the archetypal level. So you get what you want in essence, though it may differ in detail. But the seed is always your imagination.”

They hatched a plan together. The next day there were posters all over town saying, “Night of Desire – Free – This Saturday at the Transparent Temple.” Transparent Temple was the popular name for their huge, glassy community centre.

People talked about it all week. There were rumors it was a sex show, a swingers’ night, or a workshop about the Kama Sutra. Excited singles and nervous couples turned up on Saturday. Teens lined the glass panels, peering in.

Sue told the gathering to close their eyes and imagine their deepest desires. If they wished to share something, they should raise their hands. She would tap that person’s shoulder, who should speak aloud, telling people what he or she truly desired, in as much detail as possible. After ten minutes people lost their shyness and spoke aloud.

The man wishing to see the Pyramids of Giza heard about the woman who wanted to ride a camel. The woman wanting to make cupcakes heard about the man who wanted to open a sweetshop. The man who dreamed of building a fairytale castle heard about the builder who had registered the URL, Camelot.com

As soon as people related their dreams, they found others who shared them. They began to manifest them together.

Creativity

Posted in Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2012 by javedbabar

The Jobs of the Future program was in trouble. How could Shama achieve his goal of doubling training numbers when budgets seemed to halve each year? He knew that the MD was stealing funds, but Shama had only just started as Training Director, and afraid that if he said anything he would lose his job.

He would have to be smart with his use of funds. Who was best to focus attention on? Which group would be most receptive?

He could target seniors, the most out of touch with technology. His efforts there could make their generation economically active. He could target middle-aged people needing to brush up their skills. He could boost productivity of younger workers, and empower the engine of the local economy. Or maybe it was best to focus on children. Yes, that would be the best long-term investment.

The Headmistress welcomed him to the Elementary school. She said, “The children are excited. Their whole life is the future. Some have troubled pasts, it’s true, and we do the best we can for them. We believe there’s hope for every little person here.”

Shama stopped to admire some drawings pinned to the wall. Talking puddings and ants made of jelly – how did they conceive of such things?

That’s it! he thought. He said, “Mrs Johnson, I won’t be needing that projector after all. I’ve had a better idea. Do you have colored pens and paper?”

“For you, or for the class?”

“For everyone. I think that today is a good day for drawing.”

The class was well behaved but restless. The boys especially were itching to speak to him. Once Shama was introduced, a ginger boy put up his hand and shouted, “Do you really have a job in the future?”

Rather than speaking about the future, he thought that Shama was from the future. Before he could correct him, another boy shouted, “What is it? Do you make robots?”

A girl said, “Do you fly spaceships?”

The questions became more general.

“Is it true that you can live inside video games?”

“Can you grow and then eat your own clothes?”

“Can you make sweat into water, for people who live in deserts?”

Shama smiled and said, “Sorry to disappoint you all. I am from today, like you are. I hope that I will have a job in the future, and I hope that you will too, a job that you love, and at which you are brilliant. But I am here today to tell you about the skills you will need to do those jobs.”

He ran through the key areas – pattern recognition, common sense, creativity, imagination, people skills, technical awareness, and clarity. He asked them to draw how they would use those skills.

The children produced the craziest drawings he had ever seen. Some also made models. He was thrilled by their enthusiasm and creativity. Kids are amazing!

At the end of the class he said, “Don’t forget to take these home to show to your brothers and sisters, and parents and grandparents.” Their drawings stuck to fridges, and their models on coffee tables, would be daily reminders to all generations of skills required for jobs of the future.

Common Sense

Posted in Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2012 by javedbabar

Shama’s new job as Training Director came with some goals, which he discovered in a file marked Targets. There was something strange about them though.

They were originally dated 2012, but that year had been crossed out and replaced by 2013, and then 2014, 2015, 2016, all the way to the current year, 2020. Within the file was a sheet of paper stating a single goal: To double training numbers.

Shama knew that business goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely). This goal was not SMART. What was the starting figure? Was this a goal that had not been achieved, hence the sequence of years on the cover, or was it more like a Mission Statement, a perennial goal?

He checked a file called Budgets, whose years were marked in a similar manner to the Targets file, counting from 2012 to 2020. This file was more informative though. It showed the Training funding reducing every year. If The Authority wanted to double training numbers, why were they halving funding? It didn’t make sense.

He knocked on the Managing Director’s office door. A voice called out, “Come!”

“Good morning. I am a bit confused about something. Do you have a few minutes to help me?”

“A few minutes, sure.” The MD was a very attractive woman. Shama thought, she must keep herself really fit. She had unblemished, golden skin and perfect breasts and thighs. He stomach was as flat as an ironing board. He had heard she was in her fifties, but she could pass for forties, or even late thirties. What a knockout!

She said, “How are you getting on here? Are you enjoying your new job?”

He almost corrected her: jobs. He was doing two jobs but only being paid for one. She however was never busy, seeming to do a half-job. But what would correcting her achieve?

“I am learning a lot,” he said.

She interrupted. “As you should be! You are Training Director. If you don’t train yourself, how will you train others?”

He didn’t know how to respond, so moved on. “I am developing the Jobs of the Future program. This is a vital pillar of our work force’s development, covering skills required for the new flexible, collaborative economy. We are focusing on pattern recognition, common sense, creativity, imagination, and other skills.”

“That sounds wonderful. So what’s the problem?”

Sue, the receptionist, had helped him with some financial analysis.  “Well, we don’t have enough funds to achieve our goals. The amount of money available for training is reducing each year. I will write a letter to The Authority requesting more funds…”

“That won’t be necessary,” the MD said sharply.

“But we need more…”

“No we don’t. We have enough money.”

When she said the word money, things clicked. Her tailored blue suit, jeweled watch and perfect manicure; her unnaturally full lips, taut face and high breasts; her Mercedes parked outside. These adornments were all bought with money. She had enough money. That was where it was going, somehow slipping into her wallet. If he wanted to keep his job he’d better stop pushing. That was common sense.

A part of him also wondered, was there enough to share?

Pattern Recognition

Posted in Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2012 by javedbabar

Shama’s success as Building Control Officer had led to a promotion. He became Training Director, responsible for skills improvement of Lucerne’s current and future workforce. Well, it seemed like a promotion at first, before he realized that it was actually another job as well. He was now doing two jobs for not much more money than before.

The lack of professional people in the valley meant that no one else was available. Inadequate facilities for their children caused any that moved here to leave soon after.

Shama had heard that at one time local jobs were coveted, and Village Hall only employed the best and brightest. Kids went to the New City, studied, graduated and returned to work here. Over time the attraction of the village faded, and kids now went anywhere but here to build their lives. Small towns were dying everywhere.

Shama buzzed the receptionist. “Good morning, Sue. Have you had your teatime? Do you have a moment? Good. Please join me in my office?”

“Which one?”

He had forgotten that he now had two offices – one as Building Control Officer, and the other as Training Director. “The Training Director’s office. I will be there in a minute.” He walked out of one door and into another, followed by Sue. He opened a file called Jobs of the Future.

“The issue is this,” he said, staring at Mt Alba, framed nicely by his office window. “We have many construction projects taking place in Lucerne. There are tax dollars coming into the local economy. But as soon as these projects are over, there will be no more income for the village. So now is the time to reverse the outflow of professional people.”

She said, “The previous Training Director planned to do that too, but instead he joined them.” Shama’s face fell.

She continued, “I am not saying we shouldn’t do something. We should, absolutely. We can’t even service the projects under way, never mind any future ones. That’s why you’re doing two jobs and I’m doing three. But the key is to ask what kind of people are needed.”

What does she mean by that? thought Shama. He said, “Go on.”

“Well, if there are no professional people available, why don’t we look for unprofessional people like you?… Oh dear! I didn’t mean that in a bad way. I meant practical people who get things done. We should look for key qualities in individuals, not people with labels, and we should think and plan ahead to avoid any more staff turnover.”

She’s pretty smart, thought Shama. People on the front line always are. They deal with unexpected situations, whoever comes in or calls right now. Those in offices deal with controlled situations; they have work plans, meetings and schedules.

“What do you suggest?” he asked.

“The first step is pattern recognition. I don’t mean pattern matching, where you look for exactly what you want, as we know that’s not available right now. We should use some fuzzy logic, and look for clusters of skills and reasonable answers. I know the lingo as I’m studying for a Human Relations diploma. From what I’ve read, it seems that future jobs will be more flexible, freelance and collaborative. That’s the approach we should take.”

Shama had an idea and said, “I need a Training Manager immediately. I could ask you to do it, but I know you’re too busy. But we need someone like you with common sense, creativity, imagination, people skills, technical awareness, and focus. Do you have a sister?”

“No, I don’t, but I do have a cousin looking for work. See, you’re learning already.”

Mid-Life Crisis

Posted in Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , on April 20, 2012 by javedbabar

The handsome man walked into the lounge. Everybody looked up and even those looking up already looked higher. He wore a shiny blue shirt and khaki trousers, seeming both casual and smart. His golden hair didn’t seem real at first, so bright was its shine. “He should be sheriff here,” said ex-cowboy Albert.

This filmic scene was ruined by the presence of a film crew. Their big cameras and furry microphones were ugly, and cracks showing above their low-slung jeans were unseemly. Mr. Amin, the manager of Open Hearts seniors daycare centre felt like buying them belts. “Is everything ok?” he asked the director.

“Yes thank you,” she said. “Everybody did well in the rehearsal. We’ll be ready for the shoot soon.”

Mr. Amin was proud of everyone at the centre today – his “clients”. All were washed and brushed and dressed smartly. He said to the director, “Who is this guy, really?” Everybody knew of course, but they wanted confirmation.

“As we told you, Mr. Amin, Daniel is having a mid-life crisis and seeking direction for his life. He is looking at a range of charitable organizations with whom to engage in voluntary work.”

“But what will he do for a real job?” said Mr. Amin. “I mean to earn money? Or doesn’t he need to do that?”

The director cocked an eyebrow. “Mr. Amin, you know that we’re not going there. I’ve told you the official story. Whether or not you believe it is up to you.”

Well at least he’d tried. A few minutes later the cameras were ready to roll. “And action!” called the director.

Albert ran across the frame pretending to ride a horse. “How’s that?” he said.

“Cut!” shouted the director, and gave him the look.

“Sorry,” he said, and sat down again.

They tried again. “And action!”

Daniel approached Mr. Amin and extended a hand. He said, “Thank you so much for letting me visit your centre. I hope to gain a better understanding of your work.”

“You are most welcome,” said Mr.Amin. Why were they shooting from behind, he wondered? There must be a cinematic reason for it. “We are delighted to have you here. Please think of yourself as a family member every day that you visit. This is a place of Open Hearts.”

“Okay, cut!” Called the director. “Very good, Mr. Amin. Perfect. You’re a pro. Who’s next?” She checked her call sheet. “Gemma?”

Gemma was unrecognizable today, her usual sack dress replaced by a blue skirt-suit. She wore a pearl necklace and earrings, and more amazingly – she also wore a smile. She usually sat in her corner, knitting miserably and casting mean remarks. Today she was the model of decorum, and said to Daniel on film, “This is a really lovely place.”

Clients looked at each other in shock – was she really saying that? “I look forward to coming here each morning. I was a math teacher for thirty years so am used to institutions. But this place feels like home.” Her smile was sickening.

“Okay, cut!” called the director. “Thank you Gemma. Now it’s… Irene.”

Irene was her usual sweet, kind self. She told Daniel how much she loved the centre. The food was fresh, staff were friendly, and there was stimulating company, all things she’d said on the official questionnaire. “Okay, cut!” called the director. “Nice work, Irene. Let’s take thirty minutes for lunch. Is this a good time for that, Mr. Amin?”

“Yes yes, lunch will be served in a moment. Please be seated at this table.” The director took a seat. She was pleased with the way the shoot was going. It was formulaic – nice people saying nice things – but that was the nature of these programmes.

Mr. Amin went into the kitchen and asked the cook Zoe to dish up. The film crew heard her clattering plates, and then a big slap and clang indicated that she’d dropped a substantial part of the meal. There was cursing and shouting. Mr. Amin realized that she had not really gotten over the food complaints on the recent questionnaire. She was even grumpier now that she’d spilled the lamb stew. Mr. Amin called for assistance. Daniel ran right over to the kitchen and helped clean up, as the camera crew did hand-held filming. Mr. Amin was embarrassed and said to the director, “I’m very sorry, but lunch will be delayed. Shall we continue filming now, and eat later?”

“Not to worry. Let’s skip lunch today. Who’s next… Zoe?”

“I don’t think that Zoe is ready. How about someone else?”

The director indicated ex-cowboy Albert. Oh no, thought Mr. Amin.

The director called, “And action!”

“Very pleased to meet you,” said Daniel, extending a hand.

“You’re saying that now,” said Albert. “I bet you won’t be saying that later!” Albert made fun of Daniel’s “girl’s hands and sissy blonde hair”. He asked him if he’d ever done a real day’s work in his life, and reminded him that “nobody ever drowned in his own sweat.” He asked him for investment advice, and then said it was bullshit, because “the quickest way to double your money is to fold it over, and put it back in your pocket.” He asked about motivation during his mid-life crisis. Daniel told him about affirmations and meditation. Albert said that was also bullshit, and if he was “feeling down”, then he should “saddle up.” He gave him some good advice for life, “Don’t squat with your spurs on.” He also said that he felt sorry for Daniel because “Life is hard, but it’s harder when you’re stupid.”

Mr. Amin saw that Daniel was crying. Damn that Albert! This guy was having a mid-life crisis, and he’d upset him on film.  Damn that Zoe too, ruining lunch! But then he remembered that Daniel wasn’t having a crisis. He was a millionaire entrepreneur wanting to give something back to the community, seeking worthy causes to fund. Mr. Amin saw that Daniel’s tears were accompanied by laughter. He was having a blast here.

The next week Open Hearts seniors daycare centre received a $25,000 donation.

Space Spuds

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Organic Farming, Unknown with tags , , , , , on March 19, 2012 by javedbabar

“What’s in the safe?” said Dimpy (Dimples) to Mrs. Roseman. “I’ve meant to ask you for ages but never got around to it.”

“Oh, nothing much,” said Mrs. Roseman, her white curls bobbing as she shook her head. “You’ve got enough on your plate with the little baby. Don’t you worry about it.”

It annoyed Dimpy when people told her not to worry about stuff that she wasn’t worried about. It was the same when people said “You’ll be ok” or “You’ll think of something.” Yes she would! She was a single mother fending for herself. Dimpy would always think of something and be ok, and had no time to worry, and even less time to listen to people who told her not to!

This Director’s job was the worst-paid job she’d ever had, but beggars can’t be choosers. She’d needed a job, and this was the only provincial museum recruiting. The local potato industry was booming, driven by their patented Space Spuds: blue Saturn Spuds and golden Solar Spuds. Great product differentiation had saved this otherwise struggling industry, this town, and importantly, this museum. She said, “I’m not worried Mrs. Roseman, just curious.”

“Oh, it’s just some old potatoes,” said Mrs. Roseman. She became rigid, but her white curls continued to bounce. “I mean some old machinery from Peru, where potatoes come from.”

“Really, that’s fascinating. From Peru? May I see it?”

Mrs. Roseman was still rigid, but her eyes were moving rapidly, and her white curls ending their motions. “Or maybe it’s from Pakistan, where you come from. So you already know what it looks like.”

“Really, from Pakistan?” said Dimpy. “I had no idea.” Mrs. Roseman seemed very nervous. Dimpy wondered why. “Look I’m Museum Director, and should know the resources we have available. This could make a great exhibit, even anchor a show. We could get a feature in the City Sun.” Mrs. Roseman had moved between Dimpy and the safe. “Do you have the keys?”

“I’m not sure where they are right now,” said Mrs. Roseman.

“Well who would know where they are – another trustee?”

“Yes, yes, another trustee. I will ask them at the monthly meeting.”

The monthly meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, but nobody was there when Dimpy arrived. She called Mrs. Roseman. “Where is everybody? The meeting was planned for 7pm.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry. We moved the meeting to Monday. Didn’t Mr. Roseman call you?”

“No, your husband did not call me. Why did you move the meeting?”

“Oh, it was unavoidable. The trustees had clashes.” Dimpy wondered what clashes these dinosaurs had. Their average age must be a hundred. Maybe their hip-replacements were double-booked with prize bingo, or polishing their walking frames impacted a retelling of the Great Flood of ‘45. “But I asked about the safe for you. I was mistaken. It’s not machinery from Peru or Pakistan. Its private items held for the Old Families. It’s not things to show or feature.”

“Private items like what?” said Dimpy. “Do you mean valuable items?”

“Yes, very valuable things. That’s why we keep them locked up.”

“Well, I need to see those things, Mrs. Roseman.” The line went quiet. “Mrs. Roseman, are you there?”

“Yes, I’m here. Sorry, my hearing’s not what it was. They are private things. Why do you need to see them?”

“I’m legally responsible for their safety,” said Dimpy. “I must ensure that insurance documents are in order. If anything were to happen to those items, we would not be covered for their loss.” So irresponsible, thought Dimpy. This wasn’t the Guggenheim, she knew, but come on! Keeping personal stuff in the museum safe!

“Nothing will happen to them here,” said Mrs. Roseman. “Don’t you worry about it.”

“Mrs. Roseman, I am worried about it! We need to discuss this matter further. Will you be in tomorrow as usual? Ok, good. Please come and see me at 10 am.”

Mrs. Roseman did not appear the next morning. She also didn’t answer her phone. She appeared the day after, looking unsettled. She couldn’t look Dimpy in the eye when speaking with her. “I spoke with the Old Families about the situation,” she said. “It seems the private items were returned by the previous trustees, for the reasons you mentioned.”

“But haven’t you been a trustee for twenty years?”

Mrs. Roseman looked down. “Oh, I was in hospital last summer. It must have been then.”

“But I was here,” said Dimpy. “Nobody told me.”

“I think you were on holiday. Anyway, there’s only museum cash in there now. The Treasurer accounts for it. So don’t worry about it!”

Mrs. Roseman!” shouted Dimpy. “Please stop telling me what not to worry about! You have made me very worried indeed! I am the Museum Director – top of the food chain – and the buck stops with me. Please ensure that keys to this safe are on my desk tomorrow morning at ten.”

Dimpy had a rare date that night. Single mothers with young children had their work cut out. He was pretty hot, and said he’d like to see her again. She smiled as she drove home… Hang on! There were lights on at the museum. Who was in there at this time?

She quietly entered the back office. Mr and Mrs Roseman had the safe door open. Mr Roseman walked towards her with a hammer but Mrs Roseman called him back. She said, “No love, it’s time she knew.” Then she said to Dimpy, “A hundred years ago we had some very special visitors. Only the Old Families know. They sought permission to extract pumice – vital for their wellbeing – from Mt. Negra. In return they gave us their seed potatoes. The old timers were not trained marketers like you. They simply named the Space Spuds by their provenance – Saturn Spuds and Solar Spuds. The original seeds are kept in this safe. The Old Families take cuttings from them yearly, using each scraping to create a new culture. This is Lucerne Museum’s secret, and now it is also yours. Assuming of course that you love your daughter. Who’s her babysitter tonight? Joanne Millman? That sounds like an Old Family name to me.”