Shop Till You Drop, Sybil!

It’s a sunny day in Kankakee and Sybil is out for a walk. Sybil is strolling to the beat of auto-tuned mumble-country in her earbuds, when she spots a green cloth bag with a dollar sign on it lying on the ground near the Last National Bank of Kankakee County.

“Hmmm, what should I do?” Sybil wonders for a moment. 

“Should I go on a shopping spree, or take it home and shove it away in a drawer. I know! Shopping spree! I will pretend I am on Shop Till You Drop and go crazy with it! It’s my lucky day!” Sybil tells herself. She grabs the bag off the ground and heads home to her McMansion, gets in her Chrysler LeBaron and heads out.

Sybil pulls into the Bradley strip mall, which had contained the only Buckstars that ever went out of business in the history of the world. She walks into Miser & Co. Collectibles. “SALE! Three for the price of two (must buy three)” reads the storefront signage.

Sybil gets the biggest cart she can find and starts loading it up. “Oooh, fat free oil. I cannot get enough bottles of this.” 

Sybil spies another item she supposedly cannot live without. “Dehydrated water. How keen. Must grow my collection.”

Sybil continues to add to her cart. “A seatbelt belt? I could rock one of those. Oh and what is this? A golden mustache earring? Hot dog!”

“Hey Sybil, m’lady, m’lady” says a nearby Damien Hurlbutt, looking over the store’s record collection with his younger brother Robbie.

“Oh, tell your mother I said hi.”

“Yup. Will do.” says Damien. A silent Robbie has his nose buried in the Elvis LPs.

“Almost time to check out, just need to get a few more ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ signs. They are buy one, get one half off, y’know?” Sybil thinks aloud.

“I know.” Damien says, because he thinks it is all about him.

Sybil heads to the checkout counter, her basket almost overflowing with useless crap. She waits in a long line to check out. As she approaches the clerk, reaches for her money bag.

“That will be $500.69.”

Sybil opens up her bag and pulls out the bills. However, they do not look right to her. They are smaller, thinner, and printed on different colored papers. Sybil’s frown stretches down, her face turns red from embarrassment.

“Ma’am, did you really think you could pay us with Monopoly money?” says the clerk.

Sybil faints. She had shopped until she dropped.

Wally Green, Give us Some Credit

“Why don’t you have enough staff in here? I come to your pharmacy here in Kankakee, they say ‘20 minutes.’ Two hours later, my meds are not ready?” the tall, curvy, light-skinned lady with the blue curls asks.

“It has only been 2 minutes” drugstore chain owner and wacky inventor Wally Green gaslights Kitty Bortolotti, one of many ladies who rejected his advances at the local bars and cafés.

“Three people on the sales floor asked me if I needed anything. Yeah, you need more pharmacy staff and fewer sales clerks!” a rightfully upset Kitty tells Wally.

“I’m not about to debate capitalism with you,“ Wally dismisses Kitty’s concerns, logs onto his dating app and begins to think up more useless inventions. Multi-tasking is one of Wally Green’s core values and part of the chain’s Mission Statement, whatever the heck that means.

Kitty goes home and writes up a review on Welp to warn other customers about her bad experience, and tags the Federal Trade Commission, the Illinois Attorney General and the Chicago Tribune.

The Attorney General’s office contacts Kitty, very concerned about Wally’s history of mismanaging his Deerfield-based drugstore chain. They have received multiple complaints from customers, staff and providers.

“I want to have a sit-down with you” the caller from the Illinois Attorney General office says to Wally. Terrified any legal troubles — and potential bad press — might hurt his profits, Wally racks his bird-brain for new ideas to make money. Sales of Toiliots and Mr. Plopsies are down anyway.

“Hey Robbie, design me a new flyer.”

“I can draw a bit but do not know how to design. My high-school classmate and I made a cartoon once.”

“Good. We need a letter to go out yesterday offering all of Illinois our new credit card. It has a 69 per cent UFO, but who cares?”

“Umm, you mean APR, right?”

“Whatever. Just get it done.”

Robbie gets to work. A few hours later, after taking a Number One, this part-time Elvis impersonator and store clerk shows his boss Wally Green his design:

“Perfect. Now get on that mail merge.” Wally walks away from Robbie and goes into his office to check his OKStupid account. “I clink on the lick and not one lovely lady swipes right. Why do nice guys like me finish last?”

“I can hear ya, boss. What the heck is a mail merge? Hello?”

Robbie sighs, goes back to sweeping the floor and then tries to sell folks Wally’s patent-pending Half-Ply Toilet Paper.

Wally Green’s profits sink due even further since the truth came out all over the media about his crappy stores. The “Buy One, Get One Half Off (But Never Free)” sales did not help, either.

Wally goes down to his favorite bar, The Gaslight, and parks his bum at his usual spot. It’s going to be a long night for the dysfunctional Wally.

Wally tips a few at The Gaslight

I need bill money. WOULD YOU LIKE A WALLY GREEN’S SHIRT, MUG OR NOTEBOOK? Now on sale here (not a buy one/get one half off but never free sale):

Thanks!

Jen

Toxic College-y

[ Sign the petition inspired by this story and read about what inspired me to write it! ]

Scary Barry Reynolds gets fired from his job as a road-test proctor for the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and starts his own college called “Dr. Mathew B. Johnson School of Intrepid Arts” in Albion, Indiana, teaching martial arts and telekinesis, a school he named after his favorite academic leader and best friend. 

Gothic Diana Ross gives her TV the side-eye

“Become as powerful as the Dragonball Y characters you see on TV! Develop your real life martial-arts skills, and when you get to your senior year, you’ll become a PSI-ball master!” 

“Not this ad again…” Gothic Diana Ross says across the Indiana border in Manteno, Illinois at the slate Victorian home where she and her bandmates reside. “Who wants to go to Indiana anyway?”

“Indiana wants us, but we can’t go back there.” Gothic Flo retorts and The Midnight Supremes all giggle.

Classes begin at the School of Intrepid Arts in Albion. Students practice basic self-defense, mixed martial arts and fencing.

“A new life awaits you at the School of Intrepid Arts” a flashing, talking blimp advertises as it flies over Northern Indiana and Illinois, spending a rather long time over Chicago, until someone begins to fire at it.

“Pop! Pop!” is heard as the floating advertisement-machine is gunned down somewhere on the Southside. 

A scholar gets harassed in his dorm, racial remarks litter his marker board. One moron, Pat Splatt, writes “KKK” on an empty pizza box and drops it outside his dorm room.

Protests are held by multiple school groups which make the local news.

Barry and Terry Reynolds respond to the media from the comfort of their own home.

“I will answer that later. Come back.” President Reynolds tells the news, and does not return their calls.

The scholar tries to learn to make “PSI Balls” on the internet and learns that it is fake. Meanwhile President Reynolds uses school money to pay for pet construction projects so he can hire his wife Terry’s company to do all the work.

Barry and Terry make the classes so hard, it is impossible to pass. Barry and Terry love seeing the disappointed faces of aspiring martial-arts students receive their report cards littered with Fs. 

President Barry Reynolds sends out a memo to his wife Terry using negative humor, snarking she should bulldoze “trash and idiots who live on minimum wage.” Barry accidentally copies the entire college on the email.

Oopsie!

Students start creating memes and Fakebook groups. President Barry reports them to Fakebook owner Emperor Zucc who shuts them all down. 

Students take to the news to expose the corruption.

The scholar is interviewed, and talks about his brother — also a student — who died when trying to defend a bully using “PSI Balls.”

“If President Reynolds wants to create chaos and censor those who rise up against his regime, then maybe he should move to North Korea. I bet he would feel right at home.”

Barry and Terry visit Bern Cacca bathing in the bog near Manteno, Illinois, for public-relations advice hoping to clean up their image, since Bern is so good at maintaining her squeaky clean image while doing dirty those closest to her. Oh, and she burns poopies.

Bern Cacca bathes in the bog

“Bern Cacca? We have an important message. We need your help.”

Bog Witch Bern keeps on swimming.

“Bern? We have something to tell you.”

Bern continues to ignore the looming Terry and Barry.

“Bern? We want to know how you keep your image so clean while you do others dirty.”

“Can’t you see I am taking a bath?” an angered Bern yells back, hoping to be left alone.

“Oh you are so…RUDE!” Terry snarks at Bern. 

“I am busy. Go away.”

“God hates ugly people! I am calling the manager!” Terry says out of desperation and fear.

“I am the manager.” Bern replies as she shoos away Terry and Barry. 

“I wish my hearing aids were broken.” Peppi Cacca says to his wife Bern and the Reynolds couple leaves.

The Indiana Attorney General investigates and shuts the school down, and the story makes television headlines.

“Oh good, we no longer have to see those annoying ads.” Gothic Flo says to Gothic Diana and then turns off her TV.

Moronic Racing is a Drag

“Would you like to hear the good news about our religion?” asks the elderly gentleman, sporting a “JC is the Man” tee shirt.

“No, would you like to hear the good news about the Flying Spaghetti Monster?” quips Diana.

“If you don’t join our religion, you will not go to paradise when you die.”

“I’ve died and come back three times and I am in the Rush University Journal of Medicine. When people talk about tunnels and light, I know they’re lying.”

Diana slams the door and gets ready to rehearse with Gothic Mary and Gothic Flo.

A knock is heard at the door.

“Go jump into Manteno Lake” yells Diana.

The knocking persists until the person holds down the doorbell.

Furious, Miss Ross heads out to chase her unwanted visitor.

Miss Ross opens the door.

“Oh hi Deeanna.”

“Di.”

“Is that a threat? Because I can call police–“

“No, you dimwit, that’s my name. Bernadette, you have been calling me by the wrong name since we were in third grade together.” Diana tells her next-door neighbor, communal narcissist and portapotty proprietor Bernadette Moran Cacca.

“Oh. I just wanted to tell you I have been doing these gigs to support the Manteno Optimal Club. I sing showtunes and play accordion. I am collecting donations if you want to chip in, since I know you love music, and it’s going to great cause because I love the community so much…” Bernadette rambles, not realizing Gothic Diana Ross and The Midnight Supremes are slow clapping to insult Bernadette’s lame attempt at asking for money.

“Oh I am so glad you want to help! How much are you going to give?”

“A blow to the head if you don’t exit.”

Diana closes the door.

Bernadette Cacca walks home and tests the crank on her window-mounted Turd Machine. “Pep, did you forget to oil the turd machine hanging in the living-room window?”

“No, Bern, it’s out of turds.”

“Oh. Where did they go?”

“Little lady, you burned them last night in the fireplace. Don’t you remember?”

“No, I had too much moonshine.”

Diana outside the Cacca homestead

Gothic Diana Ross looks out the arched windows of her home to see if the coast is clear, hoping to dodge any Caccas, and heads outside to board the bus.

Since her turd machine collections are out of turds, Bern devises another way to annoy Diana.

As Diana is just standing there waiting for a bus, Bern starts spamming her with unsolicited, incorrect information.

“Deeanna. This bus is not coming for an hour.”

Diana ignores Bern, enjoying her New Beat mix through her headset.

“Deeanna, it’s raining out. Where’s your umbrella?”

“Do you need to borrow one?” Diana sarcastically replies.

“See, Dee — I can drive you to where you’re going. I love to drive because I am a good person who helps the community.”

Diana continues to enjoy her music.

As Diana sees the bus approach, she takes off her headset so she can communicate with the driver, waving so they can see her.

“You know, Diana, you don’t have to flag the bus down. It will show up anyway,” Bern advertises her unsolicited advice.

Diana boards the bus, pays the fare and sits down in the back. Bern sits a few seats away, since the one next to Diana is already occupied by another passenger.

Diana exits the bus in front of a building near the garage where she dropped off her black 1988 Chrysler Conquest to get repaired, stopping to pause and gather her thoughts.

“That business is closed. Can’t you read the sign?” Bern nags Diana.

Bern Cacca’s turd-eating grin

“Don’t you have a pool to crap in?” the 5’10” Diana says, turns away and makes big strides using her long, slender legs toward the repair shop.

The rotund, 5’4″ Bern gives up as she has run out of ideas, for now.

“What can I do ya fer?” asks the mechanic behind the counter.

“I am her to pick up my ’88 Chrysler Conquest.”

“She’s not done yet. Give ‘er a couple more hours.”

Diana falls asleep in the chair while listening to music on her phone, the playlist changed to heavy metal and experimental noise.

She restfully dreams, drifting off to outer space, not a soul around to ask nosey questions. The beautiful goth queen and the boss of herself snores every so slightly, lightly. As Gothic Diana enjoys her peaceful rest away from her batty neighbors, she is starkly awakened.

“Diana? Diana?”

“Yeah…” a sleepy Miss Ross replies.

“Your car is good as new. She’s all fixed up. You owe us $1991.”

Diana reluctantly swipes her card, and drives onto the highway. It is getting dark on this cold Illinois night.

“Glad to have her back,” Gothic Diana thinks out loud.

Bernadette Cacca pulls up beside Diana in the lane to the left.

“But not her…” Diana also thinks out loud.

“Come on Diana, I’ll race you.”

“Get lost!” Diana exclaims, wishing the pest that is Bernadette Cacca would leave her be.

“Chicken! Bok-bok-bok-bok” the narcissistic Bern eggs on the unwavering Diana.

“Beep! Beep!”

The angered motorist behind Diana driving the white 1980s Toyota is in a hurry. Diana moves ahead.

“Yeahhhh!” an excited Bernadette exclaims as she burns rubber.

Diana and Bern race up and down the highway. Diana drifts as she tries to make her way very far from the trailing Bernadette. All she wants to do is go home.

The two arrive at their Manteno block, Diana first, Bern second.

Parked in Bern Cacca’s driveway is the white 1980s Toyota AE86.

A young man exits the Toyota and asks the approaching drivers.

“Did someone order tofu?”

Bernadette grabs her food and runs upstairs to eat because she cannot wait to poop again. She loves to poop.

An exhausted Diana enters her Gothic Victorian home and hits the silky black pillow atop her wrought-iron bed, falling asleep as soon as she lays down.

Peppi, Bern & The Act of Mating

A wild Peppi Cacca in his natural Manteno habitat utters his mating call.

“Git, git, git” he cries, hoping to mount an approaching Bernadette. Displaying the power of his fragile male ego, the Peppi channels his inner Pepe LePew and tries to kiss the bog witch Bernadette, who runs like a cheetah, hiding; plotting her revenge.

Behind the Moroniverse – Scary Barry and Terry Reynolds

Oh man. the main inspirations for Scary Barry and Terry Reynolds are people I hope you never encounter.

One hundred per cent miserable, and equally evil as her counterpart Barry, there is no pleasing Ms. Terry. She gets joy out of seeing others suffer. She’ll bite the hand that feeds her and once you’re sore from the fresh wound, she’ll bite it again to make it hurt that much more…

Imagine going on a trip overseas to study, experience different perspectives and have fun. That was my hope in the summer of 1999. when I took classes through my university for a study-abroad program in Italy.

What comes to your mind when you think about traveling?

Being forced to share a room with strangers who hated me was the last thing I expected.

Scary Terry was one of the haters. Much older than me, Terry made it a point to harass and belittle me. One time she woke me up and called me “whiny” because I was, you know, groggy like most people who just got up?

And then there was the time Terry told me to cover my legs. I have an autoimmune condition which affects my skin. get over it. Terry, if you don’t like it, then don’t look at it. Find something else to do in Italy than harass a fellow student.

I did smile when Terry had the audacity to talk trash about me at dinner, in front of all the other students from the United States. They told her to shut up and said they did not want to hear it. Neither did I.

Sadly, this Terry person (yes, the real name is Terry, different surname of course) majored in education. I feel bad for any student of Terry’s. No wonder we have some awful teachers in the school system.

When I got home from Italy, I told my family about the abuse I endured from her and her cousin, with whom I was forced to room. Since I did not grow up in a supportive family, they invalidated me by acting like it was no big deal. My feelings are valid.

To help process the trauma from repeated verbal abuse by Terry and the cousin, and the gaslighting I faed when i went home, I created my character Terry Reynolds. I will discuss the cousin in a separate entry.

Taking your road test is nerve-wracking enough. Imagine living in a small city where the sole proctor is a malignant narcissist, taking joy in seeing people fail. Meet the inspiration for Scary Barry Reynolds.

Barry (again, real first name) loved telling students “YOU FAILED” in a stoic tone, with a hint of an evil grin.

Imagine greeting your proctor as you enter the car “Hi Barry” only to be screamed at, likely out of fear “How do you know my name?” And then told “I. Don’t. Like. That.”

Barry may look like Leon Kowalski from Blade Runner, and act like him. It goes without saying he would fail any empathy test. Maybe I should run the V-K Test on him and watch him fail. I just won’t ask him about his mother.

After failing my road test five times with Barry, I passed my test when I took it in another city and of course a different proctor. I had called his supervisor, per advice of my driving instructor, who failed to address the problem, saying “he makes his quota.” Yes, some doctors graduate at the bottom of their class. What do you call them? Yeah, a doctor. .

And now we get to learn about the psychic attack crap. Back in 2001 (No not 1991, sorry Greg Snyder), I received this junk mail:

When I first got the spam, I thought it was for EarthBound cheat codes. Think again.

These morons tried to sell a psychic attack self-defense e-book. The spammer only accepted a check mailed to them, and then they promised to email you the electronic book after they got your check. Yeah, sounds legit.

The email was so funny, I had to save it, and use it for something.

Around the time I got the Defense Against Psychic Attack spamvertisement, I spent a lot of time on message boards chatting about metaphysics. Fans of Dragonball Z asked how to make “PSI Balls” and some even made videos pretending to “psychic attack” people using them. I thought the whole darned thing was so funny, it needed to prompt a story idea. Most of my ideas sat dormant in a different series, which I merged into MoronicArts.

What Are Barry and Terry Conjuring Up?

The ever-miserable “Scary” Barry Reynolds and his equally grumpy wife “Terrible” Terry Reynolds will do just about anything for money here in Kankakee. Just what are they doing with that Weggy…umm…Ouija Board anyway? Are they necromancing Luigi after he fell into the garbage too many times?

Find out how these two partners in crime try to one-up the denizens of the Moroniverse upcoming novel “This Tale Stinks!”