It wasn’t until the upper-class neighborhood of Kellogg Street where color returned to life and Judy settled into the bucket seat of Jake’s sports car. The dinginess of the uninspired cogs made her uncomfortable. Only those deemed worthy of corporate sponsorship had any chance of a decent life—access to brand-name products and credit. The thought of going through life using generic products and services ran a shudder through Judy’s perfectly postured spine.
Despite her discomfort in the company of cogs, Judy volunteered helping unsponsored women with makeup and hygiene tips. Her slogan: “It doesn’t cost a lot to make a profitable impression.” For one event she made T-shirts and coffee mugs to promote her humanitarian side, which was now a big part of her résumé, and her interview pitch: “Working with the needy looks good.”
“I think we should buy one of these cute little houses. It would be a starter home, of course. We’d have to start small. It wouldn’t be tasteful for us to buy a mansion as our first house.” She turned toward Jake with a competitive gleam in her cornflower blue eye. “You know, Kathy and Marc’s first baby is going to be sponsored by Gerber. How exciting. I'd like Johnson & Johnson to sponsor our first. I love their lotions.”
She admired her hands. “My hands are as soft as a baby’s bottom.” She placed the back of her hand against Jake’s cheek. “See?”
“Soft, but I’ve never felt a baby’s bottom against my cheek.”
“That’s why I love you—not only upwardly mobile, but funny, too.”
Looking ahead at the clean streets of the corporate-sponsored neighborhood, Jake knew marriage and a family would be a part of his future, but it was never a dream. To him, marriage was a job: find a woman that suited his skills and abilities, negotiate the terms, and then sign the contract. He studied Judy thoughtfully. With her looks and poise, and his ingenuity, surely they would find someone to sponsor their adult lives. He grinned; his future was only a block away.