|Lauren Sweet, Author||
Name: Amber Polaski
Age (in Aladdin’s Samovar): 27
Height: 5’ 1”
Hair: Reddish brown
Eyes: Light brown—the color of caramels
Attitude: Lots if it
Birthday: April 30
Astrological sign: Taurus
Amber was born in a commune in Vermont, where her mother, Indigo Nightshade (aka Muriel Polaski), was raising goats, smoking pot, and pretending she was Heidi of the Swiss Alps. Amber’s father, known only as Moonwolf, spent the summer at the commune and then vanished, returning years later as a financial consultant and con man. He never knew Indigo was pregnant.
(Her father now goes by the name Dirk Holcombe, but Amber isn’t sure if that’s actually his real name. Indigo has no idea. Nor, apparently, does she care.)
Amber was ushered into the world to the sound of Irish pipes and bodhrans (despite the fact that Amber’s family is Polish). The head of the commune’s Women’s Birthing Circle overdosed a teensy bit on the mushrooms that day, and believed that Amber (with her red hair) was the deformed spawn of Satan. (“Of course you aren’t, dear,” Indigo said. “I said so at the time.”) Jasper the genie agrees that Amber is not, in fact, deformed, but claims the jury is still out on whether she’s the spawn of Satan.
Amber’s childhood was spent wandering from cult to commune to marijuana co-op, Indigo being an (extremely) free spirit. They spent several years in a commune in New Mexico, where they raised their own chickens. By the time she was ten, Amber could cut off a chicken’s head, hold it upside down until it bled out, pluck it and cook it. This experience has come in handy during hostage negotiations with the Mafia, lending a certain verisimilitude to her threats to cut off the hostage’s trigger finger and send it back to his boss in a box.
When Amber was fourteen, she ran away to live a normal, boring, middle-class life with her Polaski grandparents in Manville, NJ. She attended the local high school and was state champion in gymnastics, but didn’t get an athletic scholarship to college, so she went to junior college for two years and got an associates’ degree in business.
Amber’s grandfather died when she was twenty-two. Three years later, Amber’s grandmother left the Manville duplex to Amber and embarked on a continuous around-the-world cruise. (She claims it’s cheaper than a nursing home, and more fun). Amber is concerned that, rather than Indigo following the old adage of “women turn into their mothers,” her grandmother is turning into Indigo. If that’s the case, Amber devoutly hopes that her grandmother will remain on the cruise ship. One of them is enough.
Ever since Amber took over the duplex, Indigo has developed the disturbing habit of giving out spare keys to various friends who she believes to be in need of a place to stay—a habit Amber has tried to discourage. One trio of teenage girls thought they were pixies and tried to fly off the roof, ending in one of them breaking her wrist and having to be ferried to the emergency room. Amber suspects that illegal substances were involved.
Romantic history: Amber’s first serious boyfriend was her high school sweetheart Michael Czech, to whom she lost her virginity on the fold-out couch in her grandmother’s basement. This may explain her sentimental attachment to the couch, since it was extremely lumpy and uncomfortable until Jasper “fixed” it. As an adult Amber has had a number of short-lived relationships, but tends to keep men at arm’s length. (Indigo says it’s the Primal Wound, brought on by Amber’s abandonment issues and lack of a strong father figure. Amber says she keeps meeting jerks.) Amber has secret feelings for Jasper, but is hesitant to get involved with him because he will eventually have to leave her. She also knows that his Evil Supervisory Committee keeps watch on him from another plane of existence, and she is freaked out in case they can watch her and Jasper doing you-know-what.
Profession: Amber works in a plastic bottle manufacturing plant in Hillsborough, NJ, where she’s the office manager. It’s chock-full of crazy people, but she loves her job because it makes her feel competent and needed. She also sometimes works part-time as a gymnastics coach.
Religion: Amber was raised with Indigo’s peculiar brand of spirituality, which is best described as eccentric and eclectic. When Amber went to live with her grandparents, she went to Catholic church with them and was baptized. (Her grandfather said it was probably too late to do any good, but it couldn’t hurt.) She embraced Catholicism more because it was “normal” than through any true religious beliefs. More than anything, Amber wanted to be normal. She’s pretty much given up on that since acquiring a genie, however.
Likes: Gymnastics, coffee, working out, white wine, Bloody Marys, making decorative t-shirts.
Hates: Housework, puppets, Brussels sprouts, bailing her mother out of jail.
Something not many people know about her: She’s an excellent shot with a handgun. Her mother’s friend Tim, the ecoterrorist, taught her to shoot. He also offered to teach her to make explosives out of household items, but she declined.
Amber has occasional anger management issues. Due to self-defense classes and stringent upper-body workouts, she is capable of beating up guys much larger than herself, as demonstrated when her mother’s ex-boyfriend tried to steal the silver and she tackled him and handcuffed him to the toilet. Don’t ask.