Meet Gina Perry, a feisty young police detective hot on the trail of a serial rapist. As described by her creator southern Missouri's own Vicki Lucky in her new novel, The Tormented One Gina is foxy, with long brown hair, blue eyes and an understanding smile. If that's not enough to get your literary juices flowing, Lucky promises this will: "As she follows the leads and diligently pursues all suspects, [Perry] becomes not just the hunter, but the hunted."
But before we endorse Ms. Perry's thrill ride, you, dear reader, must pick out Lucky's lines from Unreal's utterances. So without further ado, let the mystery begin!
1) Gina Perry is waylaid in her apartment by a man wearing a ski mask. At that moment, her estranged boyfriend Derick arrives at the front door. What does Derick do?
A) After repeatedly knocking on the door, he declares, "Gina, I love you. I need you in my life. I now realize no man could love you more than I do."
B) Realizing that his partner has already hog-tied Gina, he enters the apartment and helps himself to a pack of Ritz crackers, which, knowing it's a pet peeve of Gina's, he eats directly from the wax-paper tube.
2) What does Gina Perry discover when she turns over the corpse of probation officer Denise Steidman?
A) "Gina then observed that with surgical precision, the murderer had removed the victim's stomach, leaving in its place a clear bowling ball that held a single red rose."
B) "The attacker had etched a message into the skin, apparently by the knife blade. Blood lay in the crevices of the letterings which read 'G I N A!'"
3) As Gina is pouring herself a soda, she hears a noise coming from her friend Christine's bedroom. What does Gina do?
A) Nothing. "Ever since Christine underwent a frontal lobotomy at age eighteen, she'd had the Freudian habit of hoarding her feces in plastic boxes beneath her bed. Gina didn't like it, but at least Christine had stopped adding soda water."
B) Bursting into the room, Gina discovers Christine's ex-boyfriend pinning her to the bed: "He yelled, 'Forget you, bitch! This is between us! I don't want to hurt her. I just want to apologize.'"
4) Thinking she's about to make sweet love to her new boyfriend, Gina is surprised to find that the man straddling her is in fact her ski-mask-clad stalker. When she asks him what he wants, how does he respond?
A) "Everything you represent."
B) "I want to know what love is."
ANSWERS: A, B, B, A
Good Hair Day
Evan Susser, a 2007 Wash. U. grad, wrote Unreal from his new digs in Los Angeles with news about Hair Cut, his break-out YouTube flick. Posted in February, the nine-minute film has already logged more than 11,300 views. It's no blockbuster, to be sure, but it is a respectable piece of work, especially considering the film chronicles, well, a trim from Rich at A Cut Above the Rest in University City.
Susser seems to have impressed himself: "Combining the hypnotic realism of an Andy Warhol film with the awkward comedy of a Christopher Guest movie," he writes, "the film has managed to find a surprisingly large audience...."
It is funny, which is why Unreal decided to reveal our inner critic during a chat with Susser:
Unreal: So you consider yourself a cross between Warhol and Guest?
Evan Susser: [Laughing] Yeah, sure.
What do you bring to YouTube that's new?
I don't know if a movie exactly like this has ever been made: a haircut in seemingly real time, but cut together and edited with a certain level of technical proficiency.
Who are your influences?
I grew up with the Larry David school of comedy, with Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. But I do like realist films, like A Hard Day's Night and documentary filmmaking.
You've made films spoofing criticism, the robot dance and the video résumé, but why do you think Hair Cut is your most successful movie?
I guess it comes down to it might be the best movie of just a haircut made, ever. Because who makes a movie of just a haircut?
Which director in Hollywood would you most like to watch Hair Cut?
My fellow Wash. U. alum, Harold Ramis.
Has anyone in Hollywood seen it?
Not to my knowledge.
By the way, how's that pimple doing?
It's fine. It all went away no problem. It just grew back, he was right.
(You'll have to see the movie to understand that one.)
Crooner on the Hill
Gary Burt, the self-described "prairie crooner," says he's been "busier than a hound dog chasing a coon." He sings weekends at, among other places, Mama Campisi's on the Hill, where he serenades young couples with hits immortalized by the holy trinity of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Tony Bennett.
Unreal: How did you become the prairie crooner?
Gary Burt: I started going to karaoke places and doing Sinatra and Martin stuff. A friend of mine who does Elvis said we should do a show, so we did a fundraiser in Robinson [Illinois] for multiple sclerosis, and I got three bookings. I started putting more stuff together and spent $20,000 of my own money recording an album. I don't believe in sitting on your fandangus. I'm a hustler.
Who would you rather be: Frank, Dean or Tony?
The truth of the matter is, I wouldn't want to be any of them, but the timbre of my voice is more suited to Dean.
Did you ever consider doing Elvis instead?
No. There are tons of Elvises out there. I have a market niche. I'm a crooner. At a wedding, during the father-daughter dance, do you think they want to dance to Three Dog Night or [begins to croon], "Someday, when I'm awfully low, when the world is cold, I will feel a glow just thinking of you..." [Speaking] Once, I had a dad crying.
What's your favorite number?
I like to begin with "The Way You Look Tonight." I have to admit, it's an ego thing. I get to flirt with women and not get in trouble for it. From young couples, I usually get one of two responses: They either start blushing and want me to go away, or they get totally into each other. Can you imagine doing something like that?
Ego's a funny thing. You have to have it. What I do, I do very well. I'm not shy about getting into two people's faces.
Have you ever had to deal with an irate husband or boyfriend?
Doing this, you learn to read people. You learn where to go and what not to do. I'm not there to hit on other people's girlfriends. My wife's always there. She works the board.