Roxanne needed another $100 for the Louis Vuitton handbag she had to have. Every credit card was over its limit and she had exhausted her other usual avenues for borrowed money, except Lilith, her sister.
Lilith had a fat savings account, but despised what she referred to as "the beautiful people". She wouldn't allow anyone to use a dime of her money, not even a dime that earned interest, towards beauty propaganda. And as far as Lilith was concerned, Louis Vuitton was propaganda.
|The worms will live in every host. It's hard to pick which one they eat the most|
The Beautiful People (source).
Roxanne did not understand Lilith. Lilith was beautiful, despite the thick-rimmed glasses that overwhelmed and hid her otherwise lovely features, or the matted hair she never brushed, or the refusal to wear deodorant or cosmetics, or the clothes that added deceiving, undisciplined bulk to her lithe frame.
Perhaps Roxane wasn’t as smart as her sister, but it seemed to her Lilith's contempt for beautiful people was like a wealthy person's contempt for wealth. Don't lecture the poor money can't buy you happiness if you've never been starving, and don't tell the ugly beauty can't bring you popularity if you've never been marginalized by ugliness.
What cruel twist of fate, thought Roxanne, was this? She should have Lilith's beauty. She should be the one with all the buckets and barrels of disposable income. She should possess Lilith's ingenuity and shrewd business sense. It was all wasted on Lilith! Oh the things Roxanne would do if she was Lilith!
"Of course you don't understand anything and you could never be me," Lilith's vaguely condescending way of addressing people broke through Roxanne's bitter ruminations. It was as if Lilith could read minds.
"You're nothing but a slave," she continued, "who doesn't know the strength of her weakness. You support a master and don't realize you're doing it...with your expensive fashion you can’t afford."
Roxanne felt mildly insulted even though she had no idea what Lilith was talking about or if she should be insulted. Lilith's insinuations and subtleties were always so confusing and exhausting to Roxanne. Normally at times like this she would simply tune her sister out or walk away, but she really, really wanted that bag this time. Roxanne would grovel, if necessary.
Lilith picked up on Roxanne's desperation and in a rare, spontaneous act of compromise offered, "I'll tell you what, if you pick all the blackberries in my yard and do the canning I'll give you the money for your meaningless...trinket."
“That sounds like a lot of work," Roxanne complained, "and I don't know how to make jam!"
"That’s fine," Lilith replied, sly as a serpent, as she thrust a recycled ice-cream bucket towards Roxanne. "I'll oversee everything you do. If you want the purse bad enough, you’ll do what I say — you’ll do the work."
Roxanne hesitated — some part of her feeling like she was making a pact with the devil, but that was silly.
Roxanne took the bucket.