Droning it In

Doris and Keona Krabalsky need to try a new marketing tactic to sell their pyramid schemes.

They call up local yokel Robbie Hurlbutt, known for his mediocre-at-best Elvis impersonation act.

“Sorry babe, I am booked solid this month. I am making love to the audience every night this month.”

“Get lost, Robert.” Doris disconnects her phone.

“Maybe we can contact Smokey Ashe to teach us how to make smoke signals with her cigarette collection. I am certain she needs the dough now that she has been fired from CRASS for smoking at work.”

“Too stinky, Leona. I give a hoot and don’t wanna pollute. Oh, wait she’s dead!”

The pair share giggles.

Doris spies a small drone in the clearance aisle at a shop the strip mall on the main drag in Bourbannais. “Ah-ha! Perfect.”

Doris heads home to her apartment, where Leona is in the kitchen washing dishes.

“What dumb, new-fangled thing bring you now, sis?”

“Hey look, Leona! I bought this drone.”

“A who?”

“Have you seen one of these before?”

Leona gives Doris the side-eye, hands on her hips.

“I came up with a great marketing idea for our business opportunities. We can attack Kankakee County with flyers, drone style! All we have to do is take these flyers we got from our upline leaders, attach them to the drones, fly them over town and let them loose! These opportunities will sell themselves!”

“Meet me at the bridge, Doris and we will launch our new venture!” Leona jumps up and exclaims.

“Yeah, Bossbabe!”

Doris leaves her Kankakee apartment to meet her sister Leona at her home, the I-57 bridge underpass near Exit 315.

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“I think this idea will really fly!” Doris tells Leona, drone in hand. Leona attaches the PryMerica brochures to the bottom of the drone. Off it goes.

Doris flies the drone and drops PryMerica business opportunities all over Kankakee County. Leona and Doris share memories of letting balloons go as kids in school, wondering where they went.

“Think of all the mail, Leona, all the money. All the people we can serve I mean sell to.”

“Serve ourselves,” Leona quips. They share a laugh, and part ways.

Doris comes home to an answering machine full of messages. Could this be the moneymaker she has been hoping for?

“Oh dear, it is clouding up. I need to close the windows.”

Doris closes all her windows and checks her answering machine, landline first.

“Beep. Um hi. I need you to come pick up this mess you left on my lawn. I found a pile of brochures with your number on it. Please come right away. Thanks.”

“Not a chance.” Doris giggles and pushes “next.”

“Beeep. Yeah, thanks for the kindling. You dropped it straight on my lawn. I am calling to say thanks…your number is printed right on it! I have enough for the end of the year to put in my fireplace. Thanks again, Doris!”

Doris growls and hits “next”.

“Hi. This is Mack. What are you wearing?”

Doris smashes the “next” button.

After clearing all her messages, Doris’ phone will not stop ringing. Not a single person shows an interest in buying her business opportunities to sell to friends. Doris pulls the plug on her phone.

Thankfully, she did not give out her mobile number…or did she? Oops.

Hard Time

“Man, I had a hard life,” Kankakee drug addict and all-around loser Leon Peeonne says to fellow junkie Rachel Shelley, as they glare aimlessly into the flatscreen television setting ahead of them.

“Where did you get that rad TV?”

“Fell off a truck,” Leon chortles as they share a laugh and two partners in crime wrap their arms around each other.

Rachel’s ringer goes off.

“It’s Damien…” Rachel sighs.

“That moron? Send him to voicemail.”

Rachel sneaks off into the washroom.

“Where are you?” a grumpy Damien asks.

“I am out.”

“I heard some noise in the background. What are you doing, M’lady, Madame?”

“Business.”

“Okay honey puddin’, just checking up on you.” Damien slyly says.

“For the last time, don’t call me that!”

“I only say it because I love you!” Damien replies.

“I am leaving for Michigan next week, and I just got here. I gotta go.”

“Okay honey pudd—“ Beep.

Damien hears a dial tone and cannot figure out why. He goes back to cloning movie tickets using the company printers.

Rachel joins her secret lover on the couch.

“MANTENO CHILD ON THE SPECTRUM GETS HER WISH”

“Oh, look how sweet!” Rachel says sarcastically.

“I bet that DIDN’T fall off a truck.” Leon snarks.

“This brave little girl has been the victim of bullies all her life. So local charities stepped in and bought her a Playtendo and 10 games to go with it.

‘I am so happy now. I can’t wait to play all these! Thank you!’ says 10 year old Anna of Manteno.”

“Awwww, sucks to be her, she was bullied. Hey, they showed her address. Maybe we can steal her crap?”

“Maybe we can. And then we can get her mom to post about it on my mental health group on Fakebook, so I can harass her there, too!” Rachel shares with Leon and they both giggle a little too much…way too much. Then they shoot up.

Rachel drives Leon in her rental car over to Manteno searching for the home of the 10 year old they just saw on TV so they can steal her Playtendo to sell for drug money.

“I think this is it.” Rachel says to Leon as she spies the house she saw on the news. She parks the car around the corner, walks up to the ranch and rings the doorbell. A gentleman answers.

“Oh hi. We are volunteers from Kankakee County and wanted to pay a mental health visit. Can we come in?” Rachel asks the gentleman.

“I will ask my wife.”

A few minutes elapse, and the two tresspassers are still standing in the doorway. An older lady can be seen walking on the sidewalk.

Some commotion is heard coming from inside the house; typical kids.

Rachel’s phone rings. She ignores it. It contines to ring.

“What do you want?” Rachel asks Damien.

“I’m home!”

“Yeah? So?”

“Aren’t you gonna come see me, Honey Puddin’? I have presents!”

“Damien, I am busy right now”. Rachel hangs up her phone.

“Okay you guys need to leave.”

“Can we come in for a minute? I promise we won’t be long.” Leon says to the mother.

“Leave now, or I am calling police.”

The older lady off in the distance, looking vaguely familar to Leon, is on her phone.

“Okay. We will leave. Here is a brochure for our great mental health group on Fakebook.”

“Take your group and shove it. We have a great neuropsychologist and are doing fine.”

Sirens are heard and flashing lights are seen.

Leon and Rachel use some colorful language at the family from whom they were trying to steal.

“Would you use those words in front of your mother?” The mother asks Leon and Rachel.

“Let me tell you about my motha!” Leon deadpans as he reaches for some object in his jean pocket known only to him. A cop on scene grabs Leon’s hands, pins them to his back and reads him his Miranda rights.

“That’s mah boy!” a nearby Leona Krabalsky snarks. “Lock him up!”

“Ma?” Leon screams as he is hauled away.

Leon is charged and later convicted of attempted burglary, heroin possession with intent to distribute, disorderly conduct and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Damien continues to call Rachel back at her home in Detroit and she continues not to care.

Pat Splatt’s Viral Video

“Fifth time today. Who is this moron?” Kankakee student and barista Ant D. Yu asks his partner.

“Hang up.” Dorian James says to Ant.

“Brandon’s Imbecile Machines. That’s is. I am blocking these fools.”

A knock is heard and Ant checks the peephole. The uninvited guest pounds the doorknocker.

Ant opens the door.

“Oh, hi Sybil.”

“Hey Ant. Do you have any dog food? I am hungry.”

“No Sybil. I told you before. Our family does not have a dog. But thanks for stopping by.”

“Okay. I did not know if you guys got one now.”

“Have a good day Sybil.”

Ant closes the door and a disappointed Sybil Kibble heads back to her McMansion down the street.

Sybil’s phone rings as she strides home. After she walks into one of her three garages, she checks her caller ID:

“BRANDON’S IMBECILE MACHINES

KANKAKEE, IL”

Sybil sees that this entity has called twelve times in the past three days and because of this, she blocks their number from calling again. She then heads inside and munches down on some dry doggie chow.

Gothic Diana Ross, a Kankakee singer and impersonator, is busy pulling up her black fishnet stockings when her phone lights up.

“Who is this?” Di thinks to herself and checks her screen.

“Brandon’s Imbecile Machines? Block.”

Di stares in the mirror for ten minutes, puts on her eyeliner, then starts listening to her own singing.

Brandon Dixon, owner of Brandon’s Imbecile Machines, is getting frustrated by the lack of response to the new phone campaign for his lifted truck lot. He remembers a tactic he had learned during his tenure at Credit Recovery Associates (CRASS) in Kankakee, and changes his mode of operation.

Ant Yu gets a call from an unknown number. He is in the habit of screening his calls and lets it go to voicemail. The next day, he checks his messages, and deletes the voicemail from “Brandon” asking him to call back, who has not explained why he had called.

Sybil gets a voicemail from Brandon and deletes it. Gothic Diana Ross does as well.

Brandon is again frustrated by the nonexistent return on his low-budget marketing investment for his overcompensated vehicle lot.

Knowing that Kankakee slimeball Pat Splatt might be able to hustle on his behalf, he calls. Pat teams up with Robbie Hurlbutt to try and spam people all over Kankakee by stealing Fakebook Martplace accounts.

Pat Oswald Splatt, or POS for short, develops a Fakebook virus to steal accounts for Brandon. It is disguised as a video featuring a picture of Sybil Kibble eating a can of cheap, wet dog food. Pat’s buddy and partner-in-crime Robbie Hurlbutt snuck it using his mobile phone, in the company break room, when he worked at CRASS for two weeks.

“Check this out, Robbie and Brandon!”

Pat shows off his newly minted virus, disguised as a video, designed to slide into Fakebook Martplace instant message boxes all over Kankakee.

“Kankakee bill collector eats dog food for lunch” reads the caption below the fake video that is really a virus.

“Once people click on this pretend video, the virus will send US the users’ login credentials. We will start by replying to Fakebook Martplace ads. That way we will find suckers really easily.”

The room fills with laughter.

“I based the virus off code I used to program a broken 1989 Atari emulator, accidentally broken on purpose. Those were my script kiddie days, back when I used to try and own noobs.”

“You are a noob, Pat.” Robbie snickers.

Pat launches the virus and Robbie gets ready to collect the login credentials so he can pool them into a spreadsheet.

Days go by…nothing.

Pat tests the virus and it is operational.

“Are you sending the virus out, Pat? I am paying you to do this.” Brandon asks.

“I am sending but nobody is a-clickin.”

“How about we step it up and generate a whole bunch a windows?” Brandon asks Pat.

“Good idea.”

Pat modifies the virus code to replicate multiple windows featuring Sybil Kibble enjoying her doggie dinner. The recursive windows end up crashing some computers, while most others fail to get infected at all, as the ancient technology powering the virus gets caught by even the most basic pop-up killer.

Brandon storms in on a sleeping Pat Oswald Splatt, curled up in his chair listening to a Robbie Hurlbutt Elvis impersonation video on a loop to try and increase his watch count.

“That’s it, I want my money back! I made nothing off your crappy viral marketing campaign!”

“Who-what-um-who is this? Hello?”

“Quit the drama! I want my money back!”

“Oh, hi Brandon.”

“Don’t hi Brandon me. I need my money back and I need it right now!”

“You will get your money back alright. Your bank charge failed because you had no money. You cheap fool!” Pat exclaims at Brandon and falls out his squeaky metal chair.

Brandon begins to laugh.

“Oopsie.” Pat giggles as Brandon leaves his former partner-in-crime and dials up another goofy plan in his head.

Tears of a Clown

Madeline walks behind the strip mall, past the dumpsters, to hide from a client who turned her in for illegal activity at her low-income housing complex.

“Madwoman!” a male voice calls out.

“Who called me?” a terrified Madeline asks.

A slender, young, dirty-blonde male wearing shades, a hoodie, and ripped blue jeans walks up to Madeline.

“I am Brandon Dixon. I own Brandon’s Imbecile Machines in Kankakee. I hear you are a clown.”

“Ummm, yeah…”

Madeline shakes even more.

“I am one too. I would like to try out for your touring Vaudeville act.”

“Maybe I can use an understudy.”

“You bet. Call me.”

The two shake hands and part ways. Madeline heads back to work, Brandon home.

“Hi, is this Wally Green?”

“Speaking.”

“This is Madeline Topolla-Teirant. I need to order a case of some half-ply toilet paper. That’s the kind that breaks off one square at a time right? I need some really cheap supplies for our community centers here at our low income complexes and I am not going to pay a lot. Ohh, hold on I have a beep.”

Madeline switches calls.

“Robbie?”

“Hey babe. Moronic Half-Assets has a gig coming up tomorrow in Gary, Indiana. I was totally thinkin’ I would rock the joint as Roy Orbinson.”

“You’re just an Elvis impersonator and not a very good one,” Madeline insults Robbie.

“Well honey, I can also pull off a crazy cool Mike Mesmith.”

“Get outta here with that.”

“Peter Tork? “Johnny Cash?”

“NO!”

Madeline slams down the phone.

“Riiiiiing!”

“Yes.”

“This is Wally. You wanted to order toilet paper?”

Madeline sighs…

The next afternoon, a Wally Green’s truck shows up to the low income housing complex where Madeline works.

“Beep beep beep beep.” The truck backs in.

“A whole case of half-ply toilet paper, just like you ordered. Just sign here on the sticker.”

Madeline scrawls her name.

“Here you go!”

“Ouch!”

“Whoopsie!” says the driver.

“You dropped the box on my foot. I think you broke it!”

Madeline drives over to the nearest 30 Second Clinic.

“It’s a bit bruised but you will be fine. Just ice it for two days while you are at home. You can go back to work now.”

“But doctor?”

“Your thirty seconds are up. We have other patients out there in the waiting room. Our medical office assistant will walk you out and take your copay.”

An angry Madeline begrudgingly pays her bill and heads home. There is no way she can make the gig tonight.

Madeline gets on her mobile phone.

“Hey Brandon, this is Madeline. I know this is short notice. I have a clown gig tonight I cannot make. You see I broke—“

“I’ll do it!” Brandon says with a smirk only he can see on his face, as he is looking at himself in the mirror.

“Gary, Indiana. Lapolla Theater.”

“Oh, I will be there, makeup and all.”

“I knew I could count on you.”

“Thanks.”

Madeline hangs up her phone and takes a nap.

Hours pass and Madeline thinks about how happy she is that she has another clown. Deep down inside she really does not want to do that gig in Gary. She falls asleep while thinking up a scheme to get out of paying Brandon.

A series of dings wakes a sound asleep Madeline.

From: Konrad

“I did not know you were sending us a juggalo. The crowds booed us! What were you thinking, Mad?”

From: Robbie

“Man this clown is weird and he looks funny. He reminds me of people my father hung out with. He keeps asking me to buy him Faygo. Our gig sucked because of him, not because of me. Just saying.”

A series of photos came in of Brandon, Konrad and Robbie on stage.

Needless to say, Madeline was up all night, and it was not because of her foot hurting.