The Bread-Breaker

When Annabelle wrote a letter, it was always about something very serious.

It helped that she hadn’t finished elementary school. Her parents had both died when she was young, and rather than go to a state home, about which rumours had always swirled, she struck out on her own to survive. It had been difficult those first few years; laws made child workers illegal, at least when documented. But she managed, and it became much easier when she reached sixteen.

Now, in her old age, she had a small pension to live off of and a wealth of opinions to express, but only enough education to do so with great effort. When the news showed a story on poor conditions in orphanages, she was annoyed, but enough to express it. The various sexual appetites of the leading politicians were similarly banal to her mind.

The rising cost of bread, however, was worth a series of stern letters to local, regional, and national authorities, from the media to the government, about the need to keep things affordable for those who, like her, had been met only with difficult and had struggled to overcome it. She hand-wrote each letter, a computer being beyond her means, and sent them, by the dozen, to anyone who listen, and many who would not.

She began by fighting the rising prices set by the only bread-maker left, which had bought out all others. Failing this, she encouraged others to do the same. When that failed, and she heard nothing from those she thought should care for their constituents, she started writing out a simple bread recipe that anyone could follow, and mailing it to every address possible. Where she acquired the stamps, no one knew. But the still-diversified flour producers saw a spike in sales as people everywhere, strapped for cash, took up baking. The bread-maker’s profits slumped. The business was sectioned off, sold to various others, and it became a mere husk of what it once was.

It was thus that Annabelle, through sheer force of will, managed to stem the tide of the bread monopoly.

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