AN: Takes place in the alternate universe depicted in "It's a Wonderful Job."

"Success"

Her lips turn red as the waxy tube glides over them.

Two gilded mirrors ensure that her hair is thoroughly captured. Stray tendrils are for secretaries whose main job is catching a husband.

Smoky ebony oozes up her legs.

Nature gave every other female in the kingdom a talon, claw, or stinger to help her get ahead; Ms. DiPesto slips into her stilettos.

"I am powerful," she tells the woman in the glass. "I am intelligent. I am rich. And I can rhyme."

Last night's supper is still twisted in the silk sheets. Wrapped and captured in the bedding, Mr. Viola appears innocent . . . unaware.

Like almost every morning, Ms. DiPesto is aware of a hunger deep within her. She takes inventory: She is satisfied with her job. Her home is filled with rare and expensive things. She has a . . . a someone. Many someones. She never has to feel lonely at night if she doesn't want to. She never dwells upon about the corollary of that statement.

As Ms. DiPesto slams out of her bedroom, she realizes she is stuck. Her bracelet has become spun around the door handle. With her free hand, she struggles to free her arm from the gossamer-thin chain, but it is stubborn. She yanks her arm firmly and the gold thread snaps.

She watches the broken bits fall slowly, silently to the hardwood. She stares at the ruptured gold hoop, glittering in the dawn that is creeping through the hall window.

Horrifying realization clenches her heart: Men -- Herbert -- have given her a dozen gold chains just like it. And where this one came from, she'll always be given more.

In the naked hall, strangled sobs echo on the tastefully decorated walls.

end

evil-agnes. sensuous. mirror.

~x~

This story was written using the Buffy challenge website Challenge in a Can. The website gives you three words: a character, an emotion or state of being, and a noun. And then you write. The character I got was "Glory", an insane hell-goddess. I suppose Annie may have been a closer fit . . . but Evil-Agnes was who came to mind. ;) Would you have read a story about Annie, anyway?

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