April 7, 2015
SVT #29, Jessica and the Brat Attack: Let’s Be Honest, Jessica Deserves All of This
Summary: It wouldn’t be a Sweet Valley book without some big activity, and this time around it’s a fair the sixth grade is holding as a fundraiser. There are a bunch of booths to run, and for some reason, the students will be chosen by lottery to run them. I guess it’s so they don’t fight over who gets the better booths, but if there’s a booth no one wants to run, why have it? Anyway, the best booth is the Wheel of Fortune one, and the worst is the water-balloon toss. Jessica wants to run a booth, but Elizabeth is just going make posters.
Amy tells Elizabeth that she’ll have to miss the fair because she took an all-day babysitting job at the Sampsons’ the same day. Elizabeth volunteers to babysit for her, since she wasn’t going to run a booth anyway. Also because Elizabeth loves being a martyr. Amy warns that the kids are pretty wild, but since only two will be there, Elizabeth should be fine. Hey, Amy, if the kids are that bad, you don’t have to sit for them. This isn’t like the BSC, where Kristy throws a fit if you turn down a job.
The booth lottery is held, and Jessica has to man the water-balloon toss. This means she has to let people throw water balloons at her all day. Of course, she’s not going to stand for that, so she starts thinking of ways to get out of it. The best opportunity quickly presents itself when Mrs. Sampson calls to talk to Elizabeth about the sitting job. Jessica says Liz can’t make it but she’ll be there instead. She’ll get $10 an hour for seven hours, and ain’t no way Jessica’s going to say no to $70. She figures the kids can just watch TV all day and she’ll ride out the seven hours.
Elizabeth is a little mad that Jessica snaked the job – and the money – from her, but it means she can go to the fair after all, so it’s kind of okay. Then Julie calls on Elizabeth to take Jessica’s place at the water-balloon booth, and Liz realizes why Jessica took the sitting job. She hopes the kids are as bad as Amy said, and that Jessica gets what she deserves for being devious. If only, Elizabeth. If only.
On the day of the fair, Jessica goes to her job, which she thinks will be a piece of cake. Two cute little kids, spaghetti for lunch, and a magazine to read – what could be easier? Of course, three- and five-year-olds won’t just sit around all day, not pestering people, so Jessica can’t sit and read her magazine in peace. But the kids don’t want to do anything she suggests, so Jessica’s at a loss for ideas. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is actually having fun at the fair, since no one’s hit her with a water balloon yet. When she finally does get hit, it’s not so bad because it’s a hot day and now she gets to cool down.
Things at the Sampsons’ get messy. One of the kids feels sick but won’t take medicine. The other kid rips up Jessica’s magazine to make a collage. Jessica panics and calls Elizabeth (via Lila’s new cordless phone), but Liz already warned that she wouldn’t be able to help. Jessica can’t believe her sister finally grew a spine. As the younger kid gets sick and the older kid makes a mess in the pristine living room – which no one’s supposed to go in – one of the other Sampson kids calls home to report that her Brownie leader got hurt, so they can’t go on their hike. Jessica figures that she’ll just go play at someone else’s house.
Then the oldest kid comes home. He was supposed to be at a friend’s house all day, but they got in a fight and he stormed out. Not long after, the last kid comes home from the hike. Jess is stuck with four wild kids to look after, and Elizabeth still won’t come help. Jessica manages to occupy the kids for a little while, but things go south again when she burns their lunch. Apparently Jessica doesn’t know how to use a microwave properly. Why am I not surprised?
Jessica calls Elizabeth again, and this time Liz feels bad for her sister. She tells Jess to make the kids afraid of her. Jess has no idea how to do that. Elizabeth sees a pair of twins dressed alike and gets an idea. She asks Jessica what she’s wearing, goes home to change, and shows up at the Sampsons’ house dressed like her twin. As soon as the kids start fighting again, Jessica pretends she’s fed up and storms inside. The kids run in to beat her to where she’s going…and find Elizabeth there. They think Jessica has magical powers that allow her to move really fast.
The kids run around for a while, testing Jessica’s powers, while Jess and Liz beat them everywhere they try to go. The kids are worried that Jessica will use her magic powers for evil and do something bad to them. For the rest of the day, they’re on their best behavior. The Sampsons pay Jessica an extra $10 for watching all four kids all day, which only works out to $11.43 an hour to watch four brats, so Jess was definitely stiffed. Plus, when she gets home, Elizabeth asks for $30, which means Jessica only wound up making $7.15 an hour, while Elizabeth got $30 for, like, half an hour of running around. Totally stiffed.
Jessica’s real problem, though, is that Lila was stuck running the water-balloon booth while Liz was off rescuing her sister. Lila’s wearing a brand-new jumpsuit, and it gets ruined by the water, which makes me wonder what the jumpsuit was made out of, and why someone would make a jumpsuit out of that kind of material, though really, who makes jumpsuits at all? Someone with a lot of anger inside, I think. On Monday, some of the sixth-graders tell Jess that they set up a mini-fair to make up for the one she missed, but it’s really just a chance for Lila and Elizabeth to get revenge on her by pelting her with water balloons. If this were SVH, they’d push her in a pool.
Thoughts: I can get behind hiring a 12-year-old to babysit your kids (depending on the 12-year-old, of course), but from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.? NO. Especially not a 12-year-old you’ve never met before.
It’s 1989 and Lila just got a cordless phone. Ah, memories.
Jessica complains about how her clothes will get wet if she works at the water-balloon booth. So…wear a bathing suit. I’m surprised Jessica doesn’t want to take advantage of the opportunity to wear a bikini and be the center of attention.