A Very Mad Clown

Kankakee slumlord and Vaudeville clown Madeline Topolla-Teirant struts into a busy Buckstars hoping to score some free java. “Welcome to Buckstars, what can I get started?” the friendly coffee clerk in the green apron asks a towering 5’10”, 300 pound Madeline. “I don’t have time to wait. You guys are horrible people, childish little girls and boys. Get my drink right and make it fast or I am going to go to the cafe down the street.” 

“Okay, what would you like?” the barista replies with a smile.

“Get me a pink drink and make it fast. Not the orange drink like you screwed up last time.”

The barista cashes out Madeline; the bulbous clown and slum manager walks off to the side, away from the long line of thirsty customers.

Regular customer Kitty Bortolotti, the tall, curly haired, mixed-race beauty with the star earrings is next in line. 

“Can I speak to the manager?” a confident Kitty asks with her hands on her hips.

“Sure.”

Kitty winks at the team leader. “I don’t need anything, I just want to help you. Don’t let your staff be afraid of certain customers who try and intimidate your staff, if you know what I mean. I have experience; she’s all talk.”

“Customers like you are the best,” the supervisor says to Kitty.

“Glad to help.”

The two exchange smiles and a nod, then Kitty orders a drink alongside her best friend.

Kitty waits patiently for her drinks, meanwhile an obviously agitated Madeline storms over to the counter and screams at the barista, who has better things to do than listen to a screaming Madeline.

Kitty’s drinks come back. “We made you an extra one because we love great customers like you.”

“Awww thanks! You guys are the best.” Kitty takes a bill from her lime-green wallet and places it in the tip jar.

Kitty lifts the cup carrier, walks off to the side and chats with her best friend forever, Lana “LTL” Tolstoy Levitsky.

A bunch of names are called out: “LaWanda! Marigold! Damien!” but not Madeline’s. The happy customers grab their cups of joy and walk out the door.

“Abby!” 

Madeline turns to Abby and asks “What drink is that?”

A confused Abby looks over to Madeline.

“A pink one.”

“Oh I thought you had mine, we got the same thing.”

“Yeah sure.” Abby gives Madeline a dirty look and walks out the door.

“Madeline!”

“I hope they’re not clownin’ around with my drink!” Madeline thinks aloud.

“We made it just how you wanted it,” The barista says with a smile.

Madeline takes a sip and then reads the cup: “MADWOMAN”.

The entire cafe full of customers starts giggling and the room roars with laughter.

Madwoman storms out the cafe and walks behind the strip mall, where she is again greeted by the site of her best friends, the cafe dumpsters.

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Behind the Moroniverse – Early concept art plus new characters!

Damien Hurlbutt’s birthday is coming up on August 10th. To celebrate his birthday, I would like to share some early concept drawings of him and other morons.

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Below is an early character design for an unnamed Dale Davis.

The next few drawings I created early on for a previous series which I merged into MoronicArts. Look for them in my forthcoming novel.

Behind the Moroniverse – Character Theme Songs

Not only am I a writer and cartoonist, I am also a musician. When I write about these silly characters, I listen to a certain playlist dedicated to just them.

Each character has a theme song. Not only does it remind me of said character, it gives the reader insight behind the character’s personality, behavior, and interests. Please stay tuned as this list will grow over time.

Sybil Kibble

Robbie Hurlbutt

Damien Hurlbutt

Wally Green

Konrad Teirant

Pat Splatt

Damien Dumped

Damien harasses his ex wife Lori on the 10 year anniversary of his lame showoff proposal to her, even though she is long gone, having left him because of his love fraud and narcissistic abuse. He downvotes all her Utube videos even though she blocked him all social media, as a glitch still allows blocked users to downvote. Damien clearly needs a hobby.

Detroit’s Rachel Shelley gets into a huge fight with her lover and fellow narcissistic sociopath Damien Hurlbutt. She is tired of hearing him complain about his ex-wife.

Rachel chucks a bunch of Damien’s hoard into the dumpster while he is out at work.

She leaves him for her side piece, Kankakee heroin addict and loser Leon Peeonne. She has had enough.

Damien downvotes Rachel’s and Leon’s videos on Utube while he is sitting behind the counter at work, thinking nobody is looking. In walks his supervisor, Konrad Teirant, theater owner, who suspends Damien for a week.

Damien comes home in the middle of the night after working the late night shift at the theater to discover all the things he loved more than Rachel, Star Wars toys, Muppet coloring books, $35 ornaments, $75 toys, $600 figures — gone. He jiggles every single door repeatedly to check for home invaders, nothing. He calls out for Rachel. No reply. Damien walks past the remaining boxes in his neckbeard nest, mostly empty — save for a few towels, ratty graphic tees and unused pots and pans — and discovers that Rachel has left with all her belongings. Then it hits him.

Damien heads out to the dumpster outside his apartment and dives in, digging for his lost treasures. He throws a few boxes overboard. Damien continues to dig. Meanwhile a sound is heard in the background:

“Beep…beep…beep…beep…”

Dumpster Dive Damien

Shady Bourbonnais neckbeard and narcissistic sociopath Damien Hurlbutt went dumpster diving the morning after he and his part time lover from Detroit, Rachel Shelley, got into a bitter fight and she threw some of his hoarded items into the dumpster. As Damien dug for the treasures he loved more than his woman, little did he notice the danger lurking behind him.

Pat Splatt Poops the Question

Bourbonnais neckbeard, Damien Hurlbutt, has caught word that his estranged former wife Lori is coming into Kankakee County for a doctor’s appointment. He is deathly afraid of running into her because he is a fragile narcissist, scared she might confront him about his covert history of verbal abuse toward her. He heads over to his brother Robbie’s apartment to ask him and fellow con man Pat Splatt to come up with a sneaky way into avoiding her.

“I’m back!” Damien tells his younger brother and poor imitator of Elvis, Robbie.

“I’m front!” Robbie snickers back.

“I am leaving town for a week or longer. I am telling my boss at the cinema and then hitting the gas. My ex-wife is coming back into town and I am scared.”

“Scared?” Robbie replies in his typical faux-Elvis voice.

“Yeah. Sssh, don’t tell anyone. I really look good online after I smear campaigned her to all my friends, even to that famous couple until they had told me to stop contacting them and sending them presents. I had sent them a drawing I made all by myself after our friend passed away since I had talked them into letting me send them art instead. I swear, they are really impressed! Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!” Damien exclaims with glee as he rubs his palms together.

“Just man up and deal with it!” Robbie Hurlbutt tells his older brother Damien.

“Come now. That is not how you talk to a fellow Men’s Rights Activist! You know that!” Damien says on the defense to Robbie.

“I hope you get the time off approved.”

“Okay, okay, okay, okay…” Damien repeats ad nauseum, not knowing his little brother Robbie is already out of earshot.

“Ding-dong.” 

“You’re wrong!” Damien snickers beneath his breath to the person at Robbie’s door.

A half-grinning Pat Splatt opens the door and struts inside.

“I popped the question!”

“What question?” Damien asks.

“Heyyyy…where did you meet her?” Robbie replies and looks away.

“Hey Pat, my ex is coming into town and I am feeling lukecold about this. I was wondering if you could help come up with a scheme—“

“Damien, I just got engaged!”

“I know, I know. My ex is due in sometime this week. I would like to gingerly bow out of town but I have to work. What do you suggest I do?”

“Hey, can I sing at your wedding, Pat?” Kankakee’s worst Elvis impersonator, the one and only Robbie Hurlbutt asks.

“Do you know anything besides Elvis?”

“I can sing lots of oldies.” Robbie replies.

“Do you play any metal?”

“No, but you can book me really cheap. I will throw in my groovy dance moves for free.”

“I’ll consider it.” Pat says to Robbie.

“So where did you meet her?” Robbie asks.

“The dating app OKStupid. Hey, I’ll show you guys a picture.” Pat gets out his phone and opens up said dating app.

“Who’s Daniel Sprague?” Damien asks.

“Oh, that’s my profile,” a half-embarrassed Pat replies as his gawky, straggly self shows the Hurlbutt brothers the obviously-stolen photos of the handsome, athletic man in the photos with the gorgeous hair and eyes. 

The Hurlbutts smile and ask to see his new girl.

“Her name is Alix. She’s from South Africa.”

“When did you meet her?” Damien asks.

“Oh, a month ago.”

“She came to Kankakee?” Robbie asks?

“No.”

“Hey Damien, let’s work on avoiding your ex,” Pat says to change the topic and the three work on scheming.

The next day arrives and so does Damien. Unlike Pat, Damien rings the bell and waits. While he waits, he taps his foot and jiggles the doorknob a dozen times. Make it a baker’s dozen.

“Well doesn’t that put poop in your soup?” Damien asks Robbie.

“Say what?” 

“My time off did not get approved. I have to work. That means if my ex-wife comes into town, and visits the theater, she could say something bad about me if I am mean to her! What do I do?”

“Weren’t you saying you had heel spurs, just like the president?”

“You know, the Moon landing may not be real but darn it, my bone spurs are!” Damien sternly replies.

“You deserve a long, hard week off.”

“You know, that’s right. I’ll just call in.” 

“What do you do at that theater anyway?”

“Oh, make copies of tickets and give them away. And make color copies of things I print out…all on the company’s dime. Why not? They’re paying for it.”

The brothers share a giggle and Damien drives home to his neckbeard nest to sleep on the floor.

Damien dials his supervisor, Cinema-13 owner Konrad Teirant, on his ten year old flip phone to call in “sick.” 

“You will need to be examined by a doctor and have a written excuse for each day you are out. Company policy.” Konrad says to Damien.

Upset and surprised by this rule, Damien makes an appointment to be seen. The office cannot tells him he cannot in until next week.

“Phew!” Damien says aloud after he hangs up his ancient flip phone and writes down his doctor appointment.

Damien drives over to Robbie’s apartment, where Robbie, his roommate Andy Skandees and Pat Splatt are all watching TV.

A bulbous Damien sits down on the basket chair and nearly falls out, while Pat stares angrily at his phone on the couch next to Andy, who is relaxing in his white tank top and cargo pants.

“She says she wants to come meet me. In person. I keep telling her I am busy. She says she is on her way to Kankakee in a week-and-a-half for a business meeting via way of Chicago!” an unhappy Pat exclaims.

“Why don’t you want to meet your girl? Andy asks.

“Reasons,” Pat replies.

“Did I tell you my story about the poop elves?” Damien asks with a large grin on his face.

“Way too many times…” the rest of the room answers in unison.

“Oh, I forgot.” Damien lies.

The Kankakee storm rages on, and then changes to sun five minutes later.

Damien spends the next week off work, feeling glad he does not run into his former wife out and about, especially at work. It is review week coming up and he is deathly afraid of this time of year, as he is every year. Damien lives to impress, and will not even let his peers throw him a birthday party because he is not the one doing the impressing. If anyone would care enough to surprise him —  not that they would — he would take over the check, (in a not-so-polite-way) and insist on paying on it himself thinking that would somehow impress them. 

Damien goes to the doctor’s office the following Monday before returning to work at the movie theater that night. After all, he had just spent a week off for his heel spurs!

While waiting for about an hour for his fifteen minute exam, in walks a familiar-looking woman, along with a much older lady. Damien looks up.

“Oh gawd.” Lori says to her friend after briefly looking over at Damien and then back at her friend.

Damien is now shaking with fear. He immediately dials up Robbie. It goes straight to voicemail. He calls Andy. Same thing. He calls Pat.

“Hey, man. It’s an emergency.”

“Be right over. I am charging you double-time.”

“Fine.”

Damien flips over his bronze-age phone and waits, tapping his fingers, whistling audibly.

Thirty minutes pass and Damien has not been called back to see the doctor, neither has Lori.

Pat Splatt walks in, cowboy boots a-clomping.

“Hi Damien. What’s going—“

“Look, Pat.”

Damien points across from him, to his former wife and her friend.

“What do you want from me?” Pat asks.

“That’s my ex wife! I thought her appointment was last week! You gave me the info.”

“So what. Things change. It happens.”

“Hey, you sound familiar!” says one of the ladies across from him.

“Hey-hhmm-hhuhhh—hmmm—what?” a melodramatic Damien replies.

“No not you, that guy next to you.” the elderly lady replies in her Cape Town accent, appearing to be about 72.

“You mean Pat?” Damien snarkily replies.

“Pat? I thought your name was Daniel!”

“Alllll-iiiiixxxx?” a stunned Pat Splatt replies.

“Yes, sonny. It’s me. I had told you I was coming into town. But you hadn’t wanted to meet me. I wonder why not? You do not look anything like your picture. The engagement is off.”

“Well neither do you!” Pat exclaims.

“Calm down everyone!” a staff member shouts from behind a window.

The group of people waiting wonder how any of them would get any calmer by a comment like that.

Damien is eventually thrown out of the office and Lori is called in next.

Needless to say, Damien does not pass his yearly review at Teirant Cinema-13. Poor Damien. If only he had just tried to be nice. But then again, he would not be Damien.