Damien Hurlbutt’s Pool Toys

“Why does your brother Damien keep buying pool toys in the middle of Winter?” Wally Green asks his Illinois pharmacy-chain clerk, Kankakee Elvis impersonator and covert narcissist, Robbie Hurlbutt.

Robbie says nothing, chooses to ignore his boss and keeps on stocking shelves as he hopes to leave early so he can skip out on closing.

“Has he moved a body or something?” Wally says of Robbie’s equally creepy and narcissistic brother Damien.

Robbie ignores Wally, finishes stocking and sneaks out the door while the store owner is not looking so he can head down to the bar. First, he has to meet his speedball dealer.

Robbie, high on uppers, spends 20 minutes chatting up the bartender, while other customers grow impatient and angry as he is holding up the mixing of their cocktails and the pouring of their beers.

Robbie downs his downers and chases them with prescription painkillers he stole from his elderly mother PJ.

The inebriated Elvis impersonator texts his brother Damien, hoping he will join him and take him home, however after multiple selfies and text messages saying how much he loves his brother, Damien does not reply.

Cinema-13 clerk and bulbous neckbeard Damien Hurlbutt strokes his dayglow-orange facial coiffe, and sets out a clipboard containing a sign-up sheet requesting email addresses for a newsletter. A theater customer walks up to the movie theater counter and asks what the newsletter is about. “It’s just a newsletter,” the sneaky narcissist Damien replies in his typical smug tone.

After the picture finishes its run and the ushers escort all the guests, Damien collects the newsletter sign-up sheet and heads to his Bourbonnais neckbeard-nest to sleep on the floor. Before he can retire for the night, he get annoyed over the mess of texts and photos from his brother Robbie. Damien would rather sleep in his mess of plastic tubs, and boxes of the things he loves more than people, than head back to Kankakee to pick up a drunk. Thinking he can gain something from helping his brother, he drives down to the Kankakee bar at which Robbie is performing slurred Elvis Presley Karaoke. The two bumbling idiots get into Damien’s beat-up van and head home. 

“What about my purple clown car?” Robbie asks Damien.

“Get it tomorrow.”

Damien gets a text from a coworker whose birthday is coming up soon. Knowing well it is illegal to text and drive, Damien messages his coworker, lovebombing her about the $50 gift card he is going to buy her, bragging about the surprise she clearly expressed she did not feel comfortable accepting.

After nearly crashing, Damien flips off the other driver and heads to Robbie’s Kankakee apartment, crashing on his floor instead.

Damien and Robbie wake up to snow on the ground. Damien retells the same story about his father N. Ron’s obsession with the weather channels he has already bored Robbie with at least 80 times now. Robbie leaves the room, stumbling on record albums he dumped all over the floor to get to the bathroom. Even though he is terrified of getting locked in the washroom while pooping, Robbie wants to get away from Damien.

Robbie emerges, and Damien pulls out the newsletter sign-up sheet, filled with names and email addresses. “Hey Robbie, my number-one brother? I would love to ask a favor from you. Can you contact Pat Splatt and try to sell him these email addresses? I collected them to send out messages getting out the good things us tender-hearts at the Bourbonnais Men’s Rights Activist (MRA) Club can do to help us men fight misandry. I would like to sell him a copy because I need the money to buy my coworkers gifts. I spent my paycheck already on action figures.

“What’s in it for me?” Robbie asks his equally self-centered brother Damien.

“Well, our theater has an extra Gothic Diana Ross poster from when we sponsored her show a couple years back.”

“Sold.” Robbie grins ear-to-ear and dials up Kankakee criminal and email spammer Pat Splatt.

The Hurlbutt brothers drive over to Pat Splatt’s flat, where the straggly long-haired Pat is busy harvesting emails from the Internet using his Spam-O-Matic computer program. The three group together to organize their petty crime. 

“Damien, I can pay you per email reply, that’s it.”

“Oh come now!”

“Oh go now, Damien. That is my final offer. Take it or leave it. I don’t have to offer you anything.”

“I know, I know, I know…” Damien says like a broken record, mimicking a certain furniture commercial emanating from Champaign. 

Damien reluctantly hands Pat the photocopied sign-up list containing contact information he collected from unsuspecting moviegoers.

Damien then heads to Wally Green’s to buy more pool toys and chucks them in his bathroom. After whizzing, he washes his hands with far more water than he needs and sprinkles the water all over the bathroom floor, leaving on the bathroom light and fan because he does not care.

Damien begins typing up his MRA “newsletter” in a word-processor program on his 10 year old desktop computer, resting atop a wooden folding table, the only piece of furniture in the entire room. The rotund neckbeard emails his diatribe while wearing his graphic tee displaying the text:

“I can 

EXPLAIN 

it to you

But I can’t

UNDERSTAND

it for you.”

A few days go by, however nobody takes Damien up on his offer to join the Bourbonnais MRA Club. Nobody clicks on the ads for the 21 Conference either. 

Damien realizes he needs to get ready for work now so he can make it on time after taking his two-hour shower.

Mr. Hurlbutt walks into the theater barely on-time. His boss, theater owner Konrad Teirant, calls him into his office.

Damien’s heart sinks and he utters a melodramatic “gulp” as he walks over to Konrad’s office.

“Damien, you really dropped the ball this time. I have been receiving numerous complaints from customers who have been getting emails about some misogyny club.”

“What?“

“This is unacceptable. They told me they signed up for a newsletter here? I never ordered you to or anyone else to put out a call for contact information. Do you want me to get sued?”

“Well…no” an embarrassed-because-caught Damien tells his boss.

“Damien, you have been working here a long time. You know that if we want to gather contact information so we can sell it, that would come from me. And only so I can profit, not you Damien. You’re not that important. Not at all. In fact, I can fire you at any time. I am telling you that because I am your friend. Oh by the way, why do you wear that dumb fedora? It looks stupid. And wash your beard. It smells. Don’t tell anyone we had this meeting. Go home and stay home the rest of this week. I will call you about next week’s hours.”

An excited Damien rushes home because he is happy he has the week off, not wondering at all if his boss will even call him back to work the next week.

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