Brittany 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 Jezebel, her sister.
Jezebel 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 Jezebel was concerned, Louis Vuitton was propaganda.
Brittany did not understand Jezebel. Jezebel was beautiful, despite her black, thick-rimmed glasses, matted hair, refusal to wear deodorant or cosmetics and clothes that added bulk to her otherwise slim frame.
Perhaps Brittany wasn’t as smart as her sister, but it seemed to her Jezebel's righteous 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 Brittany, was this? She should have Jezebel's beauty. She should be the one with all that disposable income. She should possess Jezebel's ingenuity and shrewd business sense. It was all wasted on Jezebel. Oh the things Brittany would do if she was Jezebel!
"Of course you don't understand anything!" Jezebel snapped, startling Brittany out of her bitter ruminations.
"You're nothing but a slave 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."
Brittany felt insulted even though she had no idea what Jezebel was even talking about or if she should be insulted. Normally at times like this Brittany would tune her sister out, but she really, really wanted that bag. She would grovel, if necessary.
Jezebel picked up on Brittany'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," Brittany complained, "and I don't know how to make jam!"
"That’s fine," Jezebel replied as she thrust a recycled bucket towards Brittany. "I'll oversee everything you do. If you want the purse bad enough, you’ll do what I say — you’ll do the work."
Brittany hesitated — some part of her feeling like she was prostituting a piece of her soul, but that was silly.
She took the bucket.