Vol. 3, Issue 19, August 2, 2005
Think Difference (Engine).

Veruca Salt, Dr Pepper to Divorce

After months of denying any friction in her marriage, famed British socialite Veruca Salt has formally filed for divorce from her third husband, American soft drink magnate Dr. Phineas Pepper, citing irreconcilable differences.

"Veruca asks that the press respect her privacy during this difficult period," said an unimportant spokesman for the thrice-married heiress. "And she would like to make it perfectly clear that she is not interested in any further American tycoons, so please stop calling, Mister Trump."

Veruca Salt and Phineas Pepper made headlines in 2003 when their whirlwind romance made scandalous headlines across tabloids throughout Europe. The couple was widely seen as a puzzling mismatch; few could understand what the opulently glamorous Veruca saw in the portly, eccentric Texan, whose slovenly attire and anachronistic monocle and top hat were reminiscent of an old country doctor.

"The only possible reason is money," said Richard Johnson in the infamous Page Six gossip column. "Veruca reportedly runs through it like water and has bankrupted her first two husbands, both respectable members of the British aristocracy. She probably thought Pepper's pockets were deeper. She was right, but there are limits to even the mightiest of American bank accounts."

Indeed, the aggressively glamorous Salt is a notoriously prodigious consumer, allegedly dropping close to $450 million in one shopping trip in Manhattan during the mid-eighties. She was so notorious that author Roald Dahl wrote her into his well-known book, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," as a character without even the faintest attempt to disguise her name or personality.

"I do think that being written into "Charlie" had a lasting effect on her," speculated Emerson Twill, professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. "She was a bit of a pill before the book, but her greed really only took on prodigious proportions after the book; she in effect grew into the caricature that Dahl had created." Salt sued Dahl, but lost in a surprising decision which established that authors may not be held responsible for libel if the targets "thoroughly deserve what they got."

It is speculated that the breaking point for Salt and Pepper's marriage was the recently released movie version of Dahl's book. Dr. Pepper was reportedly quite upset when it was revealed that his wife had not only condoned the new movie, but had played a substantial role in coaching and even dressing the actress portraying Veruca Salt onscreen.

"Well, this was a big-budget picture, but frankly the costume designers simply didn't have the budget to outfit young Veruca appropriately," said the real Veruca in an interview last month. "And the actress was a dear, but she really didn't know what it was like to have only one pony and demand another. I felt that giving her a pony would truly enhance the quality of her performance. Not to mention the jewels."

Reportedly, what really irked Dr. Pepper so much was the fact that the Wonka candy trademark promoted by the film is, in the real world, owned by the giant Nestle corporation, a direct competitor with Dr. Pepper in the soft drink market in Europe and elsewhere in the world.

"Nuts to him," said Veruca airily. "There are plenty of fish in the sea."

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