Manteno port-a-potty proprietor, singer and communal narcadoodle Bernadette “Bern” Cacca spends her vacation swimming in the bog. She gets bored devouring the living and speeds home to her shack to visit her husband Peppi.
Bern opens her mailbox to find a letter sent from Peppi.
“DEAR BERN. I GOT OUTTA REHAB AND AM LIVING IN A HALFWAY HOUSE. BRING BEER.”
Bern fears the loss of narcissistic supply since her husband is away.
Bourbonnais cinema clerk, communal narcissist, and proud neckbeard Damien Ulysses Hurlbutt is visiting his brother; Wally Green’s clerk, Elvis impersonator and covert narcissist Robert Roy Gary Hurlbutt at his apartment, with whom he used to share with drifter Andy Skandees.
“What are ya gonna do on ya day off?”
“After lunch, smunch, gonna zogg on over home and write me an article!”
“Don’t you wanna spend it with your only brother? I am in a dark mood.”
“Naw, you see, I am going to write a paper.”
Awkward silence passes the two, like a fart in the wind.
“Since people think we are narcissists, I am gonna prove them wrong! Bwahahahaha.”
A sinister grin fills Damien’s face, morphing his orange, straggly beard into something even creepier.
“After I write an article all about narcissism, I am going to send it to my former therapist down in Champaign for a once-over, and prove forever we are not narcissistic at all. Then I people will know I am the victim and all her friends will say goodbye! Bwa ha ha ha ha!”
“She’s the counselor also who saw the convicted murderer who lived in your old apartment complex, right?”
“I know, I know, I know…”
“Did you help him move the body?”
“Anyways…I need to go back to Bourbonnais and write this important article.”
Damien taps away at his 10-year-old desktop machine atop his TV tray, sitting on a folding metal chair, the only furniture he has since the rest of his apartment is cluttered with boxes containing useless crap; shredded tissues strewn across the carpet, empty pop cans littering the apartment he uses as a dumpster.
Bern runs all over Manteno looking for gullible men, to no avail.
Remembering that fellow communal narcadoodle Damien Hurlbutt hit on her at Cinema-13, she heads over to pay him a visit. Damien is not there, so the clerk hands Damien’s card to Bern.
“Damien Hurlbutt, old soul and tender-heart looking for M’ladies.
Call me now. I am the last of my species. 1-815-555-FART”
Happy she does not have to look anymore for someone she can idealize, devalue and then discard like used burger wrappers, Bernadette calls Damien and heads over his neckbeard nest in Bourbonnais.
Damien opens the door and immediately hugs Bern, handing her a bouquet of long stem roses.
“Hello, M’Lady. I tip my hat to you, so little and dainty. I have another surprise inside.”
“Oooh, let’s go!”
Damien holds the door for Bern, and brags about it as if he needs a medal.
Atop one of his many boxes of crap is a bunch of balloons attached to a massive teddy bear.
“I gotta go for real.”
“No, I mean I need to use the washroom.”
Bern wades through the lake on his washroom floor, farts a bunch of times, and takes a massive crap.
Bern opens the door to a wide-eyed Damien.
“Are these for me?” Bern asks Damien, mouth wide open, almost inhaling one of the flies buzzing around Damien’s dumpy excuse of an apartment.
“Yes, honey puddin’.”
“Oh you are the best, Damien!”
“Anything for you, M’lady, Madame.” Damien tips his black fedora.
“By the way, I’m impressed!”
“You think so? Oh, you are nicest guy on earth. I love to sing for charity, I am the best giver you know! And the best listener.”
“No, I’m the best giver. And I mean your farting. Man, those are some hot toots!”
“Yeah, I light them to burn poopies in my fireplace.”
“Dang, wanna stay the night?”
“I don’t know. Who? I hope me, handsome dahhhhling.”
The two spend the night together on Damien’s bare floor, cuddled together under Damien’s ratty blanket, sharing his lone pillow.
Bern awakes many times in the night by a loud, dissonant noise.
Damien wakes up, farts three times, and heads to the washroom, peeing loudly. Then he rips a few more air biscuits, bragging, “Pheeeew!”
Bern checks her phone for donations to the Manteno Optimal Club, for which she plays accordion, covering pop tunes to raise money. Secretly, she does not really care about the charity nor the community as a whole. She just wants to look good on the outside.
Damien walks back into his room.
“Dude, why do you snore so loudly?”
“Oh, I have sleep apnea.”
“Why don’t you wear your mask?”
“It fills up with water in the night.”
“You do know they make automatic cleaners for those things. My mom has one.”
“I know, I know, I know…”
“And no bed? My back is killing me from sleeping on your hard floor.”
“How about we go to your place, M’lady?”
“I don’t want my husband to find out.”
“Yeah, Peppi is in rehab for his drinking again.”
“Oh, I won’t tell him. I was married once before I married Grimace and I never told her.”
“Oh my ex-wife. She got more hostile every day when I was getting ready to leave her down in Champaign. It was all about her, her her,” Damien smears the woman he emotionally abused.
“Why do you call her Grimace?”
“She is so fat and so dumb. One year I bought her a vacuum and she could not even put the thing together.”
“Sounds like me.”
“Naw, honey puddin’. You are a lot prettier than her.”
Damien takes his usual hour-long shower, runs out the bathroom to grab a towel and spills water all over the floor. After drying off his manhood with a hair-dryer, he gets dressed, and meets Bernadette in her car.
The two walk into Bern’s Manteno shack, which she shares with husband Peppi.
“Can I use your computer?
Damien checks his email.
“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!” Damien exclaims with glee.
From: “Florence” [ProgressiveTherapyLLC@dmail.calm]
To: “Damien U. Hurlbutt” [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sunday, January 30, 2022
Subject: Re: I have a great idea which I think you will like
Damien, you have sent me four emails now. You are not my client any more, and I will not sign off on your idea. Here is a list of therapists in Kankakee County.
Attached file: “TherapistsInKankakee.pdf”
Damien fires back an angry email:
From: “Damien U. Hurlbutt” [email@example.com]
To: “Florence” [ProgressiveTherapyLLC@dmail.calm]
Sunday, January 30, 2022
Subject: Re: re: I have a great idea which I think you will like
No, I do not need help. There is nothing wrong with me. You are psycho like my ex-wife!
Bern walks in and Damien quickly locks the computer screen so she cannot see what shenanigans he has been barfing up.
“I gotta head upstairs. I will be awhile.”
Damien grabs Bern’s hands and looks her dead in the eye.
“I was about to close off my heart and never love again, M’lady. When I was born, my mother saw my head full of red hair and named me after the kid from The Omen. We redheaded males get discriminated against—“
“Damien, you are really handsome and your farts smell amazing. I really need to go poop for awhile.”
“Okay, honey puddin’. I will be here.”
As Damien hits send on his email to his former therapist, someone rings Mrs. Cacca’s doorbell.
“Oh, horse-hockey,” Damien complains.
“Come innnnn!” Bern’s voice emanates from the upstairs restroom.
“Bernadette, somebody is here.”
“Let them in.”
Damien opens the door. A 5’10” average looking male asks for Bernadette.
“Who are you?”
“I am JB, her boyfriend. Who are you?”
“Uhhh-I’ll go get her.”
JB sits down on the Caccas’ couch while Bernadette continues to pinch loaves.
“Bern, I am gonna go on home. I have a stitch in my side, and my heel spurs are hurting.”
“PPPHHHPPPTTTTTT” says Bern’s butt. Damien’s derriere returns the sentiment and he heads home.
Bern comes down the stairs to greet her other boyfriend.
“Hey sugar, you the most handsome man alive. How are ya?”
“Do you have any turds? My turd-machine is out of ammo again and I have no luck stealing poopies.”
Little does Bern know, she has an audience.
“Is this the dawning of the age of morons?” the next-door neighbors Gothic Diana Ross and The Midnight Supremes ask each other, giggling. They have been standing on their porch, listening in on Bern’s conversations with her boyfriends.
“Bern Cacca has her nose so far up her enablers’ butts she can see out their mouths,” Gothic Flo quips and the gothic girl group busts out laughing, happy to have a laugh at the Caccas’ expense.