"Um," we say. Is "Unreal" not good enough? It does have echoes of "Undead," after all.
We squint at her name tag, which reads Selene Blanchard. "Is there a formula for figuring out that sort of thing?" we ask. "Like for porn-star names?"
Selene looks confused. "Uh, no. This kind of came to me. I guess you could, like, get one with a name generator over the Internet."
Breaking Dawn is the final book in the Twilight saga, a series of books about a young girl and the vampire and werewolf who both love her. Edward the vampire and Jacob the werewolf each have their merits, but Unreal thinks life with either would be tricky, what with the fangs and full moons and all, and that our heroine, Bella, shouldn't be tying herself down at the tender age of seventeen. But hey, undying teenage love is but a distant memory to us, so what do we know?
Anyway, the publishers promise that in this installment the romantic conundrum will be resolved and that the matter is of utmost interest to the teenage girls of America and thus worthy of a Harry Potter-style release party.
The Potter parties we endured in past years were claustrophobia-inducing affairs. Left Bank tonight is a much more peaceful place: only a few dozen people have shown up. Two boys sit in the Belles Lettres section playing guitar while two young couples dance. Behind them is a board where partygoers can vote, via lipstick kiss, for which suitor Bella should choose. Edward has the edge, but only slightly — puzzling, as this appears to be a vampire-centric group. Maybe it's easier to wear white makeup than glue-on hair.
Over in the Art corner, girls in vampire makeup write their predictions for the book in silver ink on black paper. An androgynous, gothy young person approaches one and asks her to take a picture. "With you?" the girl gasps. "But I'm not pale enough! Do you have some face makeup?" she implores the bookseller behind the counter, who's also gothed out for the occasion. Alas, the answer is no.
The kids stand in clumps, idly discussing intelligent design and tarot cards, pointedly ignoring the plate of bloody cupcakes circulated by Selene, patiently enduring the remaining minutes till midnight. Now this, this hews more closely to our memories of what it is to be a teenager: not vampires and werewolves and true love, but the endless waiting around for something to happen.
Drop Before You Drop
Unreal doesn't always leave the bathroom smelling like roses. We prefer the scent of a heartier plant species: eucalyptus. The oil from the Australian tree kills even the nastiest smells down under and is an essential ingredient in a new bathroom odor eliminator called Just A Drop.
After all we'd gone through last year to test the Spaloo bidet, we felt, uh, doody-bound to contact Randy Hecht, the company's U.S. distributor.
Unreal: We've been using Just A Drop in the office for a few days now. Wow! No more embarrassing odors!
Randy Hecht: Isn't it great? They've been using a similar product in Asia for decades. The first time I heard about it, I said: "I got to bring this to the States!"
How does it work?
You place a drop in the toilet before you go to the bathroom and it forms a seal on the water line that doesn't allow odor to escape.
Hmm. But what if you, um, beach it? You know — the turd breaks the water line?
Good question. Most people don't beach it. But if that happens, you might want to add another drop or two.
Koala bears eat a lot of eucalyptus. Does their shit stink?
Another great question! I don't know.
What are some of the other ingredients in Just A Drop?
It's all natural, so it won't harm your pipes or toilet. There is one secret ingredient that the Chinese manufacturer won't tell us about. We're trying to crack the code so we can make it here in the United States.
It's about time we steal some trade secrets from the Chinese!
Yes. The Asians — for whatever reason — are very fastidious about their bathroom use. I also had a guy from Japan try to get me to import a pill that eliminates odor when you pass gas or go number-two. I figured it would be too difficult to get FDA approval.
Couldn't you put Just A Drop on your tongue and eliminate odors before they hit the toilet?
I wouldn't suggest it. It isn't designed for ingestion.
Where can we get Just A Drop, and why is it better than lighting a match?
It's available online, at www.justadrop.net. And matches? They just mask the odor. They don't cut it off at the source!
Ask a Cougar and an Evangelical Pastor
My 50-year-old daughter still gets carded. I just wonder how prevalent this is.
— Please, For Your Survey
Dear Please, For Your Survey:
Is your 50-year-old daughter trying to get the senior citizens' discount at Denny's? They card everybody.
Assuming your daughter is having trouble buying alcohol under normal lighting conditions, I have a couple of suggestions: Perhaps she is buying the kind of booze favored among the younger set and thereby confusing the server. Maybe she should lay off the Jägerbombs and nurse a hot toddy instead. Gin and prune juice may keep those aging bowels active. Next time you and your daughter go clubbing, you should consider attending a church that serves real wine for communion. Most churches are wheelchair accessible and almost never ask for ID. While there she should definitely thank God for her good genetics and/or plastic surgeon.
— Pastor Chris
Unreal's quest for a cougar advice columnist continues! To see the responses of eight wannabes and vote for your fave, head to the STLOG, the news blog of the Riverfront Times, and look for our Cougar Poll. In the meantime, have you got a question for a pastor? A question for a cougar? A question for a cougar and a pastor? Address one and all to firstname.lastname@example.org.