Boilerplate Disclaimer: The various characters from the Kim Possible series are all owned by Disney. Any and all registered trade names property of their respective owners. Cheap shots at celebrities constitute fair usage.
Inspired by a challenge at Slashhaven, but departing considerably from the idea.
It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time
"What's for breakfast?" Kim yawned as she came into the kitchen. "Or will my nose answer the question?"
"You slept late," her mother gently scolded, "you'd better not be late for school. What does your nose say?"
"Eggs, sausage, and toast. I went to bed late – I had to finish a paper for English Lit."
James Possible looked up from the Middleton Examiner, "There was a big fire in Lowerton last night."
"Was anyone hurt?"
"No, no one hurt. Damaged several buildings in old Lowerton – including the old opera house."
Jim stopped the shoving match with his twin brother long enough to offer the opinion, "Like anyone cares about opera."
"Hush," his mother told him as she set a plate of food down in front of Kim. "That opera house is on the national register of historic places."
"It was designed by Daniel Burnham," James Possible read from the paper. "Opera singers like Nellie Melba, Lillie Langtry, and Enrico Caruso performed there."
"Caruso sang in Lowerton?" Anne asked her husband.
"Touring concerts I imagine, doesn't mention actually doing opera." He looked at his sons. "It was later used for vaudeville. Do the names Eddie Cantor, Burns and Allen, Bob Hope, or the Marx brothers mean anything to you?"
Jim stared blankly at his father.
"What's vaudeville?" Tim asked.
"Life before television," his mother sighed as Kim ate breakfast. "I believe they put in a screen and used it as a movie theater even later."
"You're right about the movies," Jame Possible confirmed after glancing back at the newspaper, "Then, when it was badly run down, struggling rock band would perform there – some of them went on to become famous. There probably aren't many stages outside of New York that have seen the range of talent that have performed there."
Anne smiled and told her sons, "I went there on a date before we were married. I don't remember who was singing, I was too busy telling your father to keep his hands to himself."
"I did no such thing!" James Possible sputtered.
"Oh, dear," Anne smiled innocently. "It wasn't you? Well someone took me there for a concert and got very fresh."
James changed the subject, "They started a restoration a couple years ago."
"Did they get that finished?" Anne asked. "Do they know what started the fire?"
James consulted the paper as the students gathered their books and lunches to leave for school. "Wasn't finished, and was probably under-insured – if it was insured at all. If you were wondering if the restoration was what started the fire, the fire marshal hasn't determined the cause yet."
Kim and twins headed for school without another thought about the Lowerton Opera House.
They would not be allowed to forget it, however. Two members of the board working on the restoration taught at Upperton High. In a frantic phone call that morning when they heard of the damage they decided to initiate some kind of fund-raiser at their high school.
"Better run it by the principal first," Elizabeth Goring warned.
"Of course. Just not sure how much enthusiasm we'll get for an opera house. Lot of these kids have no sense of history. It's not like sports where you can whip up a crowd."
"You're a genius."
"Competition. We'll challenge Middleton High for who can raise the most. Who's that assistant principal down there… Barker? Parking? Give him a call, say we can whip Middleton in fund-raising the way we whipped them at football and basketball. I don't know if he'll rise to the bait or not – but tell our kids we want to beat Middleton and they'll do whatever it takes."
Elizabeth Goring found the idea so appealing that once the Upperton principal gave his approval to the plan for a high school fund raiser she used a break period to call the Upperton mayor and suggest he make a friendly wager with the Middleton mayor on the outcome of the fundraising, as well as calling the local newspapers, television, and radio stations to tell them about the challenge.
"Listen up, people," Steve Barkin ordered as he paced back and forth on the auditorium platform during the hastily called student assembly the next day. "Fund-raising ideas. We need to beat Upperton. I want to beat them bad. I want to literally grind their bones into dust."
"Dear God," Mrs. Edwards, an English teacher, whispered to Mr. Washburn. "I hope he means metaphorically."
"Probably," he agreed. "But with Steve you can never tell."
The assistant principal had continued his harangue while the two exchanged whispered conversation. "… have heard, the Upperton Museum will loan their second century statue of Isis Caelestis to Middleton for one year if we win, and the Middleton museum loans them El Greco's painting of Saint Joasaph to them them if we lose. I have no idea what either of those two things are – but I don't want Middleton to lose. Pride, people, pride! Now, who has ideas?"
"Sell candy!" someone shouted.
"People are tired of candy," someone yelled back.
"Easter hams," another voice added.
"Not everyone eats Easter ham," Shlomo Shapiro pointed out.
"Those have relatively high overhead," Monique added.
"Overhead?" someone asked.
"You have to buy the product," she pointed out, "and that takes out of the profits. Something service oriented rather than product oriented will have a better margin."
Someone who understood what she was saying shouted, "Car wash!"
"Diversify," Monique suggested. "Some students could do a car wash, but there are other things people want – yard work or spring cleaning, for example."
"What do you charge?"
"Ask for a donation," another voice answered.
"Some people always stiff you. We need to give 'em a price."
"How do you set a price for that?"
"I'll babysit," Kim offered.
Several other students offered babysitting services, or spring cleaning. "We still need to set some kind of hourly price," Mr. Barkin insisted.
Monique had an idea, "Make it an auction."
"Sure. When it's for a good cause some people will pay a premium."
Brick Flagg, who had been paying little attention to any of the proceedings, snorted, "Maybe the cheerleaders could auction themselves off as dates. I mean, it's not like they have any skills or anything."
"Hope and I both said we'd babysit," Kim point out. "And Crystal said she'd help with a car wash."
Bonnie was even more angry at the remark, "You jocks could offer yourselves as dates… Oh, that's right – no one would pay two cents to go out with you."
"Oh yeah?" Brick shot back, showing more wit than usual.
"Auction the cheerleaders off as dates and we'd raise more money than the basketball and football teams put together."
Brick, having found what he considered a powerful line of argumentation shot back, "Oh yeah?"
"I don't think auctioning people for dates is a good idea," Kim objected.
"Come on, Kim," Bonnie retorted. "You heard what he said, are you going to put up with that—" She was about to offer a term for what she considered Brick's offer, but decided against it with teachers present.
"I said I'd babysit."
"Get real, Possible. Even you could raise more money if you auctioned yourself as a date than you could by babysitting."
"What do you mean, even me?"
"Well obviously, someone would pay more for a date with me – but there might be someone who'd put in a bid on you."
"Someone would pay twice as much for a date with Kim than they would for a date with you," Ron argued loyally.
"Ron," Kim whispered, "don't encourage her."
"Girls would pay more for dates with football players," Brick insisted.
"I… I agree with Kim," Tara said nervously. "I don't know if that would be a good idea."
"I'm not sure—" Mr. Barkin began.
Monique cut in, "If it could be done you would need to keep everything safe and in the open. Someone could contact Middleton merchants. Restaurants might give some dinners for two, or maybe some tickets to the theater or sporting events or something. Make it clear to anyone making a bid this is strictly a fundraiser – absolutely nothing more. And that would only be part of the auction. There'd still be people offering babysitting or housecleaning or other services."
"I could set up computers for someone," Felix offered.
"That's the spirit," Monique said.
"I could cook for someone," Ron added.
"No one – cheerleader or jock – has to offer a date," Monique said firmly. "If Kim wants to babysit—"
"You mean if she's chicken," one of Brick's friends on the team called.
Kim's eyes narrowed.
"Please, Kim," Bonnie pleaded. "You're captain of the squad. We've all been insulted."
It wasn't clear if it was the 'please' from Bonnie or the insult from the football player, but Kim nodded her head towards Bonnie, "I'm in."
"Can I, uh, nominate Monique to be in charge of making sure everything is safe and everything?" Tara asked.
"I nominate Monique to be in charge of everything," Josh Mankey echoed.
Before they left the auditorium to return to classes students wrote their names on slips of paper with what they were willing to do.
Monique drafted a business class to help her. Peterson's Perfect Printing agreed to put together an auction catalog at no cost. It would feature a Peterson ad on the back cover and small Peterson ads scattered throughout the catalog. Monique sent her assistants through Middleton. Merchants donated meals, movie and theater passes, nights of bowling, and other things for dates – and in return received free ads in the auction catalog. It took the promise of a full page ad each, but limo services were found who promised to pick up the student at his/her house first, then take student and 'date' where they were going and home afterwards – leaving the date off first so s/he would not even know where the student lived.
Brick stood annoying Bonnie by her locker, "Yeah," he said smugly, "some woman will pay big bucks for a chance to go out with the captain of the football team."
"You're awfully sure of yourself, aren't you?"
"Just jealous 'cause I'll raise more money than you? Did you hear there's going to be a dance? The two biggest money makers are going to be crowned king and queen?"
"I heard," she snapped. "What makes you so sure a woman will be paying for a date with you?"
"Huh, what do you mean."
"I mean, a guy could pay more and get the date with you."
"No, that's not possible."
Bonnie sighed, "Have you paid any attention to the rules? Whoever offers the most goes on a date with you. Male or female."
A look of shock and fear crossed Brick's face as the realization slowly filtered in. "No way! I'm not going to do this!"
"Oh, too chicken? Or you finally realize you won't get the kind of bid you're dreaming about?"
Bonnie certainly had heard about the dance and the two biggest money earners being crowned king and queen. She had already launched her own plan to insure she was crowned civic queen at the dance. The opportunity to humiliate Kim slightly was just frosting on the cake. She had to promise a movie date to one of the business students on Monique's team, but he palmed two venues when it was time to draw date settings. Bonnie and her father (who had already promised to put in the highest bid) would be eating at the finest restaurant in Middleton. Whoever put in the winning bid for a date with Kim would join the redhead at Bueno Nacho.
Brick lived his days until the auction in a sense of panic. He wondered if there was some way to catch the plague - at least a mild case of it - in order to remove himself from the bidding.
The promise of Bueno Nacho had nothing to do with Ron working hard to try and earn money for a winning bid on a date with Kim. He had heard her say she wasn't thrilled about the plan and hoped he could spare her from going on a date with some stranger. He wished he had some idea just how high the bidding would go. Certain that Kim would receive the highest bid of any girl in the school he upped his offer of cooking to three offers to cook meals in hopes of becoming the charity king of the dance.
Ron's hope of being able to put in a winning bid for a date with Kim received a setback when news of the Middleton fund-raiser went national. Kim had done favors for a lot of people - some of whom had enough money to put in high bids as a way of thanking her for her help. There were also media outlets willing to bid for both a story on the auction and a chance to interview Kim.
The national attention brought chuckles from a green-skinned woman reading Yahoo news in a rocky lair. "Hey, want a date with the cheerleader?"
Drakken looked up from his workbench, "What?"
"The cheerleader is part of some Middleton auction. You could put in the winning bid and go on a date with Kim Possible."
"Don't be absurd, Shego," he muttered. He paused for a minute, before returning to his labors. "Let me see that, there must be some way to use it to my advantage." He left his work and came over to read the article she had up on the screen.
"It's some kind of charity thing," Shego explained as he read. "I thought they got rid of people on the auction block with the Civil War or something."
"Hmm... You should put in a winning bid."
"What are you talking about?"
"Put in the winning bid. While she's on your date I can steal something I need for my newest project."
"You couldn't steal candy from a baby without me."
"Well I'm not getting any help from you in any other way. She's always stopping my plans and you can't seem to stop her."
Green fire burned around Shego's hands, "I beat her all the time."
"Then why are we here in this lair? It's the ninth in a year. You can't stop her - put in the winning bid and you'll know where she is, so I can get my parts."
"I already told you - you're useless without me. But the big hole in your wonderful plan, if you haven't noticed: Kim Possible is a girl and I'm a woman. You need a guy to put in a bid."
"It doesn't say that in the rules. It is quite clear, you could put in a bid. It's not a real date, it's some charity auction where you get dinner or something with her."
"Okay, problem number three-"
"You're helpless, and I'm a woman, remember? Problem number three - I'm wanted. I show up and put in the winning bid and get arrested for my effort."
"No you won't. Think of who we're dealing with here. If you put in the winning bid Miss Goody-Two Shoes will feel obligated to fulfill the conditions of the auction. She can't call the police until after she's been on the date with you."
Shego thought for a minute, then laughed. "Maybe you're right. She probably would feel like she had to go out for dinner or whatever. I'll bet there'll be some way to humiliate her while we're out... And the surprise when she finds out I'm the highest bidder? This'll be good."
El Greco did not make a painting of Saint Joasaph. Joasaph appeared on the calendar of Catholic saints for centuries until it was discovered he was actually the Buddha. The Vatican quietly removed him while a few die-hards attacked the Buddhists for stealing the life of their saint and claiming it for themselves.