Clio Bersola spots the temper-tantrums of Bourbonnais cinema clerk, neckbeard and communal narc-a-doodle Damien Hurlbutt in the “Nice Guys Looking For The Finish Line” Men’s Rights Activist (MRA) themed group on Fakebook, under her alias JG Wayne.
Best friend of Damien’s verbally abused and rightfully estranged ex-wife Lori, Clio messages him and fake-agrees with him over IM on so many points, stringing him along. They become instant friends, soulmates, solely in Damien’s “old-soul” nitwit brain.
Damien swiftly asks Clio out on a date because he is so impressed. Wow, someone like him, the last of his species! Umm…yeah.
They agree to meet up at Ma Barker’s restaurant in Chicago. Little does Damien know what is in store for him.
Damien complains about the entire drive up Route 57, and nearly gets rear-ended getting off 90/94. Clio parks at a friend’s house and takes the train.
The two meet up at Ma Barker’s. Damien is wearing a red feather in the brim of his brand new, black fedora as Clio had instructed.
The place is rather large, decked out in gangster memorabilia, reproduction crime scene evidence, Ma Barker photos and those of her famous outlaw sons.
Clio instantly recognizes Damien — a spitting-image of Squirrely Dan minus the ball-cap — whistling loudly to himself, orange neckbeard aglow.
“There’s my lovely Men’s Rights Activist!”
“M’lady, m’dame!” Damien says to Clio as the two embrace, Damien hugging more tightly than Clio.
The two sit down and chat. Conversations flow rather quickly and Damien rambles on about how he was about to give up on love in a month or two had he not met Clio.
“I was about to tuck my heart away forever, had I not met you. So many women treated me badly, especially my ex-wife Grimace. She is so fat and ugly, eeew. She ate so much fast food and begged me for $50 a day. Fifty dollars! My life is complete now I met you!” Damien gushes to Clio, not even respectful enough to call his former bride by her name.
Clio shudders a bit inside and then gets excited. “The Time is Now” by Moloko plays over the restaurant loudspeakers.
“I have something I would like to ask you, Damien.”
Clio takes Damien’s hand. It is the first time he has been touched since he and his wife divorced. Damien’s grin widens.
“What is it with you so-called ‘Men’s Rights Activists anyway? Don’t you have anything better to do than complain about your privileges?’”
Damien snaps his hand away from Clio.
“Huh-whom-who-why-hwat?” Damien snips, pauses, adds extra “whoooos” and “huhhhs” for melodrama.
An awkward silence passes by as Damien coldly glares into Clio’s eyes. Meanwhile, Clio fills with anticipation, and smiles inside.
“You women are awful. Misandry is the real problem, WOMAN. Men get kicked in the nuts on TV. You people give us a hard time for this fake thing called mansplaining. Men are always the butt of women’s jokes. We are oppressed all the time and your feminism is the cause! You women are horrible! You are a horrible person who will be alone forever! You’re psycho!”
Damien gets up from his seat and goes to the couple next to him.
The couple roll their collective eyes and go back to eating.
Damien stomps over to a family across the room.
“See that skinny woman sitting by herself at that table? With the dark brown hair? She is crazy. Stay away from her. I am trying to help and she won’t listen.”
The mother gives Damien the stinkeye and motions to protect her kids should Damien harass them again.
Mr. Hurlbutt huffs, puffs, and sits down by himself with his head planted squarely on the table, hand stroking his neon orange neckbeard. He adjusts his fedora, and tries to slam the red feather down, only for it to fly away.
Clio heads for the kitchen, to speak with her former coworkers.
“I am getting harassed. Can you please call the police?”
“That neckbeard dude throwin’ a fit? We already had some complaints. Hang tight. I got ya back.”
Damien storms toward the kitchen.
“Pardon me, sorry to interrupt your important work. See that woman there? She–”
“Find your own way home, Damien,” the server commands.
Damien refuses to leave and sits in the men’s washroom farting away, wishing he could brag about his poop size to an unsuspecting young lady.
The Chicago Police Department hauls away the unwanted person, Mr. Damien Ulysses Hurlbutt and puts him in the holding tank with a bunch of other smelly, sweaty men.
Clio meets up with her buddy — the former Mrs. Hurlbutt — and they have dinner together, laughing and giggling all night long.
Damien taps away at the cold cell floor, much to the annoyance of his cellmates.
“Socks with sandals?” a fellow inmate complains as he stares at Damien’s feet. “Grrrrr.”
“Oh man, I want to see the new movie Aim High but the tickets are all sold out. It opens this Friday, you know, the one based on the newest Nora Roberts book?” Dorian James rambles.
“Never heard of it.” Sybil tells Dorian in the CRASS cafeteria as she crunches her dog biscuits.
“I want to see it when it comes out, but the tickets are sold out because it is a Valentine’s Day movie.”
Sybil has a few extra minutes before she logs onto the phones, so she searches OKStupid for potential dates, reacting to herself as she reads through the personal ads.
“41 year old man in Chicago seeks female. Must be 18-25 and love sports.”
“Do you like big trucks? 21 year old guy, loves beer, weed, works hard and plays hard, no games.”
Naw, I like the occasional backgammon.
“Rare frog, last of his species, seeks woman of any age to give him a kiss. Very polite tender-heart. Age 45. Bourbonnais.”
Just a photo of his feet? A bit odd, but I can try I guess.
Before Sybil has a chance to message the stinky feet from Bourbonnais, he emails her.
Sybil and the mystery man email back and forth. They hit it off right away. The divorced man complains a lot about his ex-wife, which Sybil tunes out. Sybil talks about her love of lawnmowers and dog food, which the guy ignores only to interrupt her about his “poop elves” story.
It’s a Valentines Day in Kankakee. The birds are chirping and Sybil is tweeting online about how excited she is about her new man and the mystery gifts he keeps teasing her about.
It is 11:30 and Sybil is on the phone trying to double down on debt. Operations Manager Mike Philips comes by with a delivery.
“Flowers for Sybil!”
Sybil hangs upon the debtor and immediately logs off the telephones. The long, green and cream box, sealed with packing tape, came from New Jersey. Sybil gets out her scissors. She struggles for 20 minutes and finally opens the box. Inside are 12 longstemmed roses individually attached to the box by hard plastic fasteners.
Sybil’s frustration grows as her scissors are not enough to loosen the delicate roses from their restraints, so she grabs a set of pliers from her drawer after five minutes of searching.
Finally, the flowers are out. Thankfully, the potential suitor included a vase. Sybil goes to the ladies’ washroom, fills the vase with water from the sink, and puts the haphazard bouquet on her desk.
Sybil calls her mystery man to thank him.
“You just won Valentine’ Day!” he says to her.
“I did?” Sybil sighs.
“Well, did anyone else get as much as you today?” He asks.
“I do not know. I did not look…and I am not that impressed by gifts. I am more of an acts of service person. I like when people do stuff for me,” Sybil tells the gentleman.
“Look in the box, Sybil.”
She looks in the box. She uncovers a movie ticket.
“You and I can go to the opening of Aim High tonight! I cannot wait to meet you!” he says.
“You sound familiar. What is your name, mine is Sybil.”
Bourbonnais cinema clerk, neckbeard and communal narcissist Damien Hurlbutt is happy to finally have a new girlfriend to impress with his lovebombing of gifts, Miss Rachel Shelley of Detroit. Too bad for him, he cannot see the thought bubble next to him, as she dreams about her other lover, Kankakee druggie Leon Peeonne.
“Aw, man. I have these diet coffee beans for sale and nobody wants to buy them. All I get are panhandlers asking for money and free coffee. Got any ideas, Pat?” Kankakee street schemer Doris Krabalsky asks local spammer, Pat Splatt.
“Let me introduce your idea on social media! I have a proven strategy that will certainly win for both of us!”
“This bossbabe is in to win it!”
“I will get cookin”. Pat logs on Instaphoto and begins to look for accounts with thousands of followers or more.
“Look at this account. Lots of videos, but the most liked ones are so weird. The hot videos not so much. Oh, look at this account! Sterling Heights with no culture. I will keep looking” Pat says at a local cafe, as he combs the accounts to target with messages like this:
“Diet coffee colon cleanse – new product to promote gut health! No calories! Ask me how!”
Pat can be heard on the phone with Doris. As Pat puts his phone on speakerphone, a cafe customer catches on to what he is doing and plays the Monty Python Spam song out loud from her tablet. “Where are you?” Doris asks Pat.
“I plan on making big money here. We can make lots together. I can hire people, get them credit and then fire them, not planning on keeping them anyway.” Doris and Pat share a chortle.
Pat looks for Instaccounts to spam inbetween his looking at girls on the dating site Tindling. “She’s not too hot. Swipe left. Ooh look at this Insta account. It has 100k followers.” Pat calls people who did not reply back to his oodles of spams ableist slurs and homophobic slurs as insults. Doris thinks it is funny. The cafe patrons share dirty looks aimed in his direction.
Pat’s Sixerr and Paybuddy accounts keep getting declined. Pat cannot seem to figure out why. He thinks the internet is for spam and that he should be able to help his customers make money under his influence over people.
“It is all good. Don’t worry. It will all work, Doris. Gotta run.”
Pat checks his Instaphoto account. A message pops up: “your account has been terminated for illegal activity.”
“Oh crap! I will just create another account.”
Pat logs onto Instaphoto. “Please enter a credit card.”
Pat tries all his cards. Declined.
The wheel starts spinning. He cannot log on. A young lady approaches him.
“Can I get you something to eat?”
“We have detected via our IP that you have been perfoming illegal activity. The police are on their way.” The barista informs Pat.
“You, you WOMAN!”
“No use trying to leave, our nice tall ladies guarding the door will stop you. Oh good, police came fast! Yayyyyyy!” The barista claps her hands and the entire cafe erupts in laughter and applause, except for Pat Splatt.
Credit Recovery Associates, LLC (CRASS) Bill Collector Dale Davis sits in the company break-room corner, all by his lonesome, wishing his boss / crush Sybil Kibble would come join him. He never asked her, just assumed.
He cut his hair and shaved his moustache just for her. Oh darn.
It’s not really hard to impress me. Ask me questions about what music I like, and my favorite hobbies. Ask about MoronicArts, I don’t care.
Sadly, about 95 per cent of interested suitors get this part wrong. How had is to to…you know…try?
Take this rando who slid into my inbox:
For acting like most of the other guys, and then probably complaining to your male friends why you cannot get a partner, I award this dime-a-dozen douche and all others like him Moron of the Week. Try and compensate for your deflated ego. You just got an award, dude!
Happy Hour is anything but happy for the date sitting with Kankakee barfly, wacky inventor and wannabe-ladies-man, Wally Green. Wally tells the pretty lady boring tall tales about his family almost getting the deed to Manhattan until pirates stole it, the time one of the Men In Black pulled up to his car at an Illinois fast-food store, and how he almost made the cut for American Inventor.