Aftermath - Cover


Copyright© 2010 by Pedant

Chapter 17

I got to the Dean's Office a few minutes early and got shown in right away.

"Sorry, I need to get away for a meeting in Adelaide," he began, "so I've no time for pleasantries."

"No problem," I responded. "I've got two questions and then I'll go away."

"So, I can say 'no' and 'no' and that'll be it?"

"You could — but I hope not." We both laughed.

"Okay. Here's the big one. I'm being given charge of the Northern Territory as well as this state. It will mean more staff. And that means more space. Can the University help?"

"You've got two offices on the top of your building, right?"


"What else is on that floor?"

"Nothing, as far as I can tell."


"No." I corrected myself, "There's a classroom filled with unused or broken furniture and several other totally unlabelled locked doors."

"Strange." He buzzed.


"Do you have the room assignments for the — uh — evolution building?"

"Of course." I could hear a file drawer open and close. She returned and handed a sheet of paper to the Dean.

"Thanks. Hmm. That large room is marked 'Lab.' There's your office and one beside it marked 'Storage' and 'CSIRO' in pencil. Two offices are Mackie and Goldstone. I've never heard of them."

"Nor I."

He typed on his keyboard. "Goldstone retired in '94. Mackie seems to have been a visitor from Adelaide in '01-'02. It looks as though the outgoing chair was hoarding space." He thought for a minute or two. "What if I say no?"

"Two options: I look for space elsewhere, near SciTech, perhaps. Or I look for land for the CSIRO to build on. Personally, I'd prefer to stay at the University."

"Let me think. What's the other question?"

"How do I go about getting funds given to the University?"

"Explain. Something underlies that."

I told him about my meeting and that half the funds would be coming for the Darwin event.

"Aha! Blackmail! No space, no money!"

"No. I'm not evil. The money will come here. It's a good cause."

"You're generous, too. I can assign that top floor to you. But I've nothing to pay for cleaning or buildout."

"I think I can get that from Canberra. Is there a University architect?"

"Yes. I'll put the firm in touch with you."


"Now, here's the procedure: You write me asking for the space. I will respond, whining about the cost. You then write offering to 'absorb' the renovation costs. I then agree, giving you the architect's information. Okay?"

"Better than just okay."

"Insofar as the funds from Channel Seven go, have them issue a cheque to Darwin Project and send it to this office. Or Darwin Project, UWA, perhaps."

"No problem." I got up. "Have a good conference."


I walked back across campus. The whole floor! We'd have to think through the number of staff, professional and secretarial. Maybe a meeting room with a real table and a dozen chairs. I'd have to find out just how much money is available. Best not let my fantasy life run away.

Back in the office, I realized that it was far too late to call Canberra and, as it was Wednesday, I'd have to do it first thing on Friday — tomorrow I'd be at SciTech. So I asked Mona to bring two mugs of coffee and sit down. I narrated my meeting with Sue Carr at Seven and then my meeting with the Dean.

"You've had a busy day," Mona said.

"Yes. And yours will be busy tomorrow. Got your pad? First, call Janice and tell her what's up. Ask her what sort of approval I'll need where Seven is concerned. Then, find out what I need to do to hire more staff: I want you to be Office Manager, or whatever title they use. I want a secretary/steno. I want an accountant. Then we need to know what sort of money is available to redo the rest of this floor. Estimate by quadrupling whatever we spent for these two offices. Okay, so far?"

"Yes, Gordy."

"Fine. And, before you leave today, bang out a letter to the Dean requesting the remainder of this floor, which is currently unoccupied, for the CSIRO offices for the Northern Territory and the state of Western Australia. I'll sign it and he'll have it on Monday, when he's back from Adelaide."

"That's the easy part." She got up, took the mugs, and left. I phoned Chaz and told him about my day.

"Not wasting time, are you?"

"Try not to."

"Are you serious about my being on TV?"

"Absolutely. We owe it to the northwest of Australia."

"You're as bad as Michiko says I am."

The source of this story is Finestories

To read the complete story you need to be logged in:
Log In or
Register for a Free account (Why register?)

Get No-Registration Temporary Access*

* Allows you 3 stories to read in 24 hours.