Back when I had just graduated high school and was looking forward to attending college, I applied for — and got — a job at a local drive-in movie theater. Despite the pressure put on young folks to get a job, employment was not easy to come by in a small city about to lose a couple tens of thousands of its people due to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).
Despite the odds, I managed to get a part-time job working at one of the few remaining drive-in movie theaters in my state. The first day went well. My supervisor was impressed with my work ethic and ability to work with customers. He warned me about the theater owner; saying he will either love me or hate me.
The next day I met the person who would later become the main inspiration behind my character Konrad “Kon” Teirant, the CRASS Accounting Chief, Cinema-13 owner and Vaudeville troop Moronic Half Assets emcee. The theater owner put the skinny blonde girl up front to collect tickets, while placing heavyset and awkward goth chick me to work behind the scenes. He could not wait to complain.
“Fill that popcorn bag. No fill it up more. Does that look full to you? It does not take a genius to figure it out. Look, I don’t think it is going to work out.” Puzzled and stunned, I asked him what he meant. He told me to leave and not come back. I never got paid for the work I had done for him.
I remember calling up my cousin, crying because I had lost my job that summer I graduated. She called the theater owner “a tyrant”. I did not know that he was a grandiose narcissist, because narcissism was never talked about in our area. I wish they would teach about it in schools, the signs of these personality traits and how to avoid them. I also wish the boards in charge of school curricula would create reforms which mandate schools teach empathy skills.
I found out later that he owns a chain of theaters in the region. I saw him in a restaurant a few years later, bragging out loud about having been flown to Atlanta, and getting loaned an Armani suit to wear for whatever business deal he was trying to get, or “big bag” as he called it.
A few years later, I was sick as a dog on Christmas Day, and called into work at my then call-center job. I wrote a song about a character I called “King Tyrant.” I made a crude sketch of him holding a “big bag”. I played the song live a few times but it was not well received, and it was not very fun to play anyway.
In 2017, after having left an emotionally abusive relationship with a communal narcissist, I started writing and creating characters. I wrote a lot. I drew a lot. To cope with having been emotionally abused and being all on my own on the verge of suicide, I wrote short stories and launched MoronicArts. I drew my very first sketch of the now-renamed Konrad Teirant while receiving treatment for suicidal ideation in a psychiatric unit.
I can certainly say writing, drawing, and having zero contact with my emotionally abusive former husband has helped me heal a lot. I write to help people laugh and make myself giggle at the same time. Laughter is one of the best medicines, for me anyway and I hope to continue to pay it forward, as I would never wish what happened to me on my worst enemy.
“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:
it to you
But I can’t
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.”
“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 to play with his pool toys 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.
“Get back in the kitchen, this pot is about to boil over!” Madeline Topolla-Teirant calls out to her husband, Konrad who is reading the CRASS company ledger in the bathoom.
Kon washes his hands, flicks the water on the floor (a trick he learned from Teirant Cinema-13 clerk Damien Hurlbutt) and struts into the kitchen. He sets the ledger atop a shelf in the cupboard.
“Madeline, I can do this myself. No need to tell me how do cook. Go on and watch the kiddos.” Konrad beckons Madeline to leave the room.
Konrad stirs the pot of his turkey soup. He made sure to put in loads of veggies because they cost less than turkey. Konrad hears a loud banshee-esque squeal come from the living room and dashes out.
“Bratley? What are you doing?” Konrad walks over to him.
“Waaaaaaaaaah! I want my toys!”
Konrad yells at Bratley because he has little patience for children. He usually leaves the parenting to his wife Madeline because he would rather make money. Meanwhile chaos unfolds in the kitchen.
Chanel # 5 and * climb up the kitchen counters, tear up the CRASS ledger into confetti and put it into the soup like it is special spices. They hear their daddy coming so the close the book back up and place it back on the cupboard shelf so they do not get in trouble.
“I told you kids not to play on the kitchen counters! Now go do your homework or you are going to bed without any dinner!”
Kon begins stirring the pot.
The next morning, all of CRASS is sent a company email to announce the new CRASS initiave:
From: Teirant, Konrad (firstname.lastname@example.org)
To: CRASS, LLC (email@example.com)
Subject: Food for everyone!
Dear CRASS employees:
It is with great pleasure I announce the newest CRASS publicity initiave: Triple down on each call to raise money for the new CRASS Stage! If we raise enough money to name the Kankakee Senior Center stage after us, we can help promote CRASS, LLC as a community leader.
To help celebrate our new publicity effort, I brought in turkey soup, enough for everybody this time! Enjoy! Be sure to only log off using your designated 15 minute and 30 minute breaks to enjoy my cooking.
Most importantly, remember to ask each debtor for three times what they can afford to pay! Submit a Form 5 for each triple down. Each bonus will go toward the stage naming instead of your paycheck these next two weeks.
“Want some soup?” Dale asks Sybil. “I’ll spoon feed it to you,” a hopeful Dale says with a grin.
“Go away, Dale. I have work to do,” Sybil snarks as she downs a dog biscuit.
Dale slurps his soup at his desk before he logs onto the autodialer.
Mikey Philps helps himself to two bowls while he watches the collectors stress out over asking for three times what the debtors can afford.
“Why aren’t these folks making production?” a stern Tara Bull asks Sybil Kibble as Tara sips some greasy turkey soup.
“I will keep on pushing for those Triple Downs and Form 5s.” Sybil tells a beleagueured Tara.
Kon sits in his office surfing Fakebook Flat-Earth pages as well as the Dark Web. He feels his belly begin to rumble. “Must be a quake of this flat planet,” Kon says to himself.
A line forms outside the CRASS washrooms. Tara Bull joins the queue. “Why are people taking so long?” Tara mumbles under her breath.
A stench wafts from the mens’ room. Konrad emerges.
“Did I do that?” Kon slyly asks. The lined-up employees giggle.
Mikey Philips is called over to fix the toilet Kon clogged.
Since Kon’s idea failed miserably, he took the rest of his greasy, tained turkey soup to Teirant Cinema-13 to “treat” his emplyees there.
“Ooooh, thank ya boss! Well actually, I just constipated myself by eating six antacids in a row so I do not have to use the toitie all night!” an excited Damien Hurlbutt tells Kon.
“Thanks for the information. Enjoy and get to work.”
Damien drinks the soup right down.
“Puttt” goes Damien’s butt.
“Pardon me. Pheeeeeww!”
Damien’s stomach begins to grumble, really grumble.
Konrad looks for Damien and he is not at the ticket counter.
“Where are you Damien? People are lining up and they need to buy their tickets. Imma gon fire you if you do not come back!”