“Where have you been?” Tara Bull barked at Linda Stay as she hovered over her desk.
“I had trouble driving in this weather and barely made it in. We got a foot of snow overnight and it took me over an hour to drive 25 miles,” Linda nervously explained as she set her purse and keys down on her cubicle desk.
“Well, I don’t have four-wheel drive and I made it just fine” Tara snipped as she berated the beleaguered Linda over her five minute tardiness. “I will mark this as a failure on your bi-weekly production report because attendance needs to be at 100%. You will not qualify for your hourly bonus this pay period. This is unacceptable.
Before Linda could react, Tara snapped “get on the phones!” and sat at her desk down to nom some breakfast burritos.
At 11:00, everyone could not wait to get off the phones. Yes, it was a dreaded production meeting which mandated the entire corporation’s presence, regardless of position, an award ceremony which invoked memories and emotions of high school assemblies. However, the collectors would do anything to get off the phones, even for an hour.
“I will get straight to the point. We need to increase production,” said Mr. Mack E. Avelli, Credit Recovery Associates (CRASS) Chief Executive Officer. The crowd erupted in laughter when Tara Bull ripped one and crapped her pants.
“Did I do that?” asked an embarrassed Ms. Bull.
“We need to get more bullish!” said Mikey as the crowd continued to giggle.
“Silence!” Mr. Avelli shouted and the room went dead, as if you could cut the tension with a knife.
“Since nobody made production, the employee of the month award is going to go to the person who ranked highest on the quality metric. Without further ado, I present this award to Mrs. Linda Stay.”
The crowd cheered and clapped, that is everyone except for Tara. She went back to the washroom and filled the toilet, clearing everyone from the stalls and all employees within a 25-foot radius. Don’t light a match!
Wally sighs, shakes his head and walks back to his office. Wally opens up his Tindling app and swipes right as much as possible. After a slew of rejections, this wacky inventor and wannabe ladies’ man deals himself a game of solitaire and falls asleep, dreaming up the next buy one, get one half off (but never free) sale.
Albion, Indiana Optimal President Club Carla Moran drools over her shipment of bogan moths from Australia. “These will make great spices for my business “Beaucoup Bogan Spices.”
“This dish is delicious. I have never tasted bean sprouts so yummy. Usually they taste like dirt! These spices are like no other, compliments to the chef! Where did she get that recipe?” CRASS chief cheese Mack E. Avelli asks.
“They’re just regular bean sprouts. Cut them up like regular bean sprouts,” Accounts Receivables Manager Tara Bull says to her superior with a crooked grin.
”I just made these intestine desserts for Halloween. They’re really good. I made them the Dale way,” Dale Davis asks his supervisor and crush, Sybil Kibble.
“I just destroyed a whole bag of dog biscuits, I’m not hungry now. Thanks!”
Mr. Avelli is dying to know who made the bean sprouts with the funky spices. He goes from office to office asking, hoping to find a way to make money off them. Someone owns up.
“Where did you buy these?”
“Wally Green’s,” Operations Chief Mike Philips tells his boss as he continues his FreeCell game.
“How about we do a big ol’ promo?”
“Do what you want. My wife made them.”
“Mike, contact Wally Green and ask that we co-host a talent competition. The winner gets a lifetime supply of this crack and a CRASS tee-shirt. It will make us a look good, and maybe Wally will pay back some of his debt. Get us on TV!”
“Call Dorian. I am too busy.”
Mike goes back to playing his virtual card game.
Mack develops a crossover campaign with Art Director Dorian James and plans to air it live on the local news. They are given the green light to air October 31st.
“It’s Halloween Night and we have a TREAT for you!” barks CRASS Chief cook of books and 1/3 of Vaudeville troupe, Moronic Half-Assets (MHA) Konrad Teirant.
Awkward silence passes.
“Get it, treat?” Konrad says with a falsetto giggle.
The crowd rolls their eyes and boos.
“Oh look a ghost!”
Not feeling the love of the crowd, Konrad moves right along.
We are holding our talent contest, sponsored by Wally Green’s and Beaucoup Bogan Spices! The winner will get a lifetime supply for these unique, and very tasty spices imported from Albion, Indiana. Sonya, what are these made from?”
Sonya attempts to force a big, cheesy smile, juxtaposed against her psychopathic stare.
“Out first act tonight is the Manteno Wonder herself, Bernadette Cacca! Get ready for her kazoo pop covers!”
Bernadette’s biggest fans, The Poopy Groupies, cheer, hoot and holler.
“I do a lot for the community! You guys are AWESOME! Get ready KaCo! Any requests?”
“Can you hum the Menard’s jingle?”
The crowd giggles and Bern carries on with her cover songs and finishes her act rapping about her port-o-dump business along with husband Peppi.
“We are King and Queen of the Throne. Come to Manteno and get your poopy on!”
Thank you Peppi’s Portapotties. Now for our next act, you will really like her, I know I do because she’s my wife! Give it up for Madwoman! I mean Madeline!”
After a slow clap, a large dumpster clearly marked “Peppi’s Portapotties” is rolled onto stage by an unseen pair of stagehands.
The seven-foot clown juggles broken records, scratched CDs and crushed cassettes.
“Hey, those are mine! Robbie Hurlbutt lies from offstage.”
Madeline chucks the busted music collection at the little fibber.
Thank you my love. And now our final act, Mr. Wally Green himself!
“I’m single by the way. Meet me here at the Gaslight Bar during Happy Hour. I will make you happy!”
Laughter fills the room and the airwaves. The bartender smiles.
Wally Green sings “Fart Your Birds”, a parody of Prove Your Love by Fun Factory. Bird tweets, squawks and fart sounds looped into the song can be heard on the playback. Wally sings and blows his air-horn nose:
Fart your birds,
Fart your parakeets
Give me all your budgies,
Point your butt and rip.
Don’t try to hide,
Don’t run from me.
Fart your birds,
Fart your parakeeeeeets!”
The crowd bursts into laughter, and tosses beer bottles at Mr. Green.
EmCee Kon Teirant takes over. “Thank you Wally. That sure was…interesting. The crowd has voted. I think we have a wiener, I mean, winner. The CRASS Winner of the WORST Act goes to, Mr. Wally Green himself! Mack E. Avelli, throw him a CRASS tee-shirt.”
Mack fires away a CRASS shirt out his tee-shirt shooter and directly into Wally’s massive gut.
“Any single ladies wanna meet me at the bar?” Sonya Moran and her favourite niece Bern Cacca run over, arms a-flailing, to give him a hug.
“I mean you made the top of our production metrics. Good job, keep doubling down on debtors and you will do just swell here at CRASS.”
Robbie flashes a thumbs-up to Sybil and dances back to his cubicle.
“Ding.” Everybody gets the same email.
From: “Mack. E. Avelli” [firstname.lastname@example.org] To: “CRASS Corporate Listserv” [email@example.com] Friday, October 25, 2022 Subject: Cubicle Decoration Contest
We here at CRASS care about employee stress. Therefore I, as your polite and tenderhearted Chief Executive Officer, am extending an entire thirty minutes (:30) to participate in the company cubicle contest (CCC). Be creative in decorating your cubicles and have fun! You are not required to use your lunch for this event, but we encourage you because time is money and money is time!
The winner will be selected by our very own art director, the lovely and talented Dorian James on Halloween Day. The prize will be a trophy to display in your office. Think of all the fun things you can do with that!
Mr. Mack E. Avelli CRASS Chief Executive Officer
The collectors get to work making calls and decorating their cubicles. Robbie Hurlbutt, a local Elvis impersonator best known for an Internet meme featuring a scowling lady unhappy with his nursing home performance, covers his cube with Elvis record covers. Dale Davis covers his walls with ghouls and goblins. Sybil Kibble covers her supervisor cubicle with dog bones because she likes to eat them during her breaks.
It is a cold, windy Halloween day in Kankakee and it is starting to rain. “If you don’t like the weather here in the Midwest, wait five minutes,” Dale jokes in between calls, jogging in place, beeping his watch to check his heart rate.
“Eeep!” The email all CRASS employees have been awaiting for has arrived.
“Who changed our notification sound to a wild eep?” Robbie asks.
“That was probably Dorian,” Sybil sighs.
From: “Dorian James” [firstname.lastname@example.org] To: “CRASS Corporate Listserv” [email@example.com] Thursday, October 31, 2022 Subject: Cubicle Decoration Contest Winners and Losers
Sybil: Your design lacks thought and maturity. It is not what we are looking for.
Dale: There is no art development and it basically reads like a rather puerile joke.
Tara: You are obviously a 13 year old drama queen…Grow up little girl.
Mack: Several of us discussed your design and did not like it. Not everyone likes what I make. It is not personal.
Mike: You need to get used to the fact that not everyone is going to like your work and move on.
Robbie: That is the best design I have ever seen. That’s so deep. I love Elvis. You are a real winner!
Dorian James Art Director Extraordinaire Credit Recovery Associates (CRASS)
The CRASS staff is upset…except for Robbie. He is smiling away, taking calls and collecting his Form 4s from all the bonuses he gets collecting on fake debt. Robbie is grinning ear to ear and cannot wait to rub his trophy in the faces of the collections team entire staff after he receives it.
Robbie continues to successfully make one call after another, when he gets a wide-eyed visitor.
“Hey there, fella!” an upright, confident Dorian James chants to Robbie as he is very happy to see him.
“Oh hey man! Thanks for picking me! Better than picking my nose ya know.”
Awkward silence ensues.
“That was a joke, ya know,” Robbie says nervously.
“Oh sweetheart, I am here to present you with your award.”
“Thanks, man!” Robbie says as he accepts his tiny, gold-tinted trophy.
“Oh, thank you honey. Not a problem at ALL! Hey Robbie, what ya doin’ after work? I think ya kinda cute and wanna take my number one man to dinner!”
“Wait, what?” a confused Robbie asks.
“Yeah cutie! I love your Elvis hair and your clothes! Let’s go out and do karaoke or something!”
“No way, man. You’re not my type. I quit!” An infuriated Robbie storms off the job and out the building.
Dorian feels crushed by the rejection.
“How does it feel to get rejected, huh? Yeah, ya little twerp! See what it’s like?” Sybil says to a beleaguered Dorian.
“We Are CRASS” is the corporate slogan for Kankakee debt-collection firm Credit Recovery Associates (CRASS), LLC.
CRASS CEO Mack E. Avelli loves to find new ways to make money for the company. Because he is running out of fresh ideas, he decides to hold a meeting with the entire staff.
“Anything to get some time off the phones, eh?” Dale Davis giggles to Linda Stay, as they walk into the room. Sybil is seated in front with a cheesy grin on her face. Art Director and Sybil Kibble’s number-one crush Dorian James is slumped in the very back row, hand running through his wavy, auburn hair. Sybil stares at her crush, who has made it clear to her many times he is not interested, and prefers the company of men. Accounts Receivable Chief Tara Bull is seated upright and uptight near Lead Debt Collector Sybil Kibble. Mikey Philips works his way into the room, along with Konrad Teirant, who is tired from having to resolve a conflict last night at his megaplex.
Mr. Avelli makes his presence in the room and the chatter subsides, eyes on the CEO.
“Good morning. It is 11:00. We have an hour to come up with the best ways to maximize revenue for our facility. The most creative ideas will be chosen. Give me your best and brightest ways to bring more income to our company. Who will go first?”
Sybil’s arm darts up.
“I’ve got an idea,” Sybil exclaims.
“We can advertise,” Dale suggests.
“Not a bad idea. Advertising takes out of our bottom line and can take away from our profits if it does not provide a return on investment. Who else has an idea?”
“Oohh, oooh!” Sybil gasps as she gets more excited about her idea.
“We can go on the news and talk about our services. Some companies use a public relations firm to pitch advertising stories as news. It might be a lot cheaper than advertising.” Tara Bull mentions.
“That is considered yellow journalism and thus unethical…not a bad idea. I will consider it.”
“Pick me, pick me!”
“Yes, Sybil…” Mack sighs to Ms. Kibble.
“I have an idea that will certainly make us money! Since we are debt collectors and we mail people collections letters that people just throw out, why don’t we disguise the Dunning letters as checks and people will open them instead!”
“That’s brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that before?” Mack E. Avelli boasts as he thanks Sybil for her idea.
The letters, which were designed by the CRASS Art Department have been mailed out to the debtors.
Calls come in, but not the ones Sybil was expecting.
“Hi Sybil? Yes, I’d like to order a pizza.”
“Is this Credit Recovery? I heard you were offering me some money! I am sure broke and can use it!”
“I like blondes. Are you single?”
Unbeknownst to Sybil, her name and photo were used on the letters! Leave it to her rival and crush, Dorian James, to pull a fancy trick like that.
Maybe disguising collections letters as checks is not such a great idea, after all.
Sybil goes home and drowns her troubles in a big bowl of Alpo.
The CRASS Maintenance Chief and Building Manager Mikey Philips is a real do-it-yourselfer. In charge of security, maintenance, and all building operations at the Kankakee bill collection factory, Mike wears many hats (just not fedoras). However, Mike has no problem ordering other people to do his work and often does the bare minimum to satisfy his job description, or less.
“Knock-knock. Hi Mike. It’s Clio from HR.”
“The ladies’ room garbage has been overflowing all day. This is an ongoing, systematic problem. Can you please look into it?”
“Do it yourself,” Mike tells Clio.
“You are in charge of building operations. Can you please look into it?”
“I am busy, do it yourself.”
Clio walks away and Mike picks up a newspaper.
A loud pound is heard on Mike’s door. Mike grumbles and crumples his paper.
“Who goes there?”
“Tara Bull from Accounts Receivable. I need to speak with you.”
Tara opens the door.
“The vending machines in the breakroom have been busted for two weeks. Get on it.”
“Do it yourself,” Mike tells Ms. Bull.
“What is the status of my request I put in two weeks ago? I sent you three emails.”
“Can you do it? I am busy, got running around to do.”
Tara storms out.
Mike logs onto the DullerImage web site to order some Craptocoins, Pet Petters and some nonfunctioning trinkets (NFTs), however his credit card is declined.
“NSF, why is that? How can I buy my NFTs if I have NSF?” Mike logs onto his Last Bank of Kankakee account and discovers he was not paid today.
Mike calls up Mr. Mack E. Avelli, CRASS CEO, to complain.
“Yes, hello. I just found out I did not get paid today. It is Friday. Why not?”
“I can pay you but you have to work to get money first. Want to earn money? Do it yourself, Mike.”
Mack E. Avelli Chief Executive Officer CRASS, LLC 7800 Beverly Blvd Kankakee, IL 60901 (815) 555-MACK
Re: Money Giveaway!
Kankakee, Illinois’ Credit Recovery Associates, (CRASS), LLC is pleased to announce its first annual money giveaway. Its associates will randomly call debtors and give away money instead of asking for them to pay it.
“We here at CRASS would like to give back instead of taking. It makes us feel good to do that.” says CRASS Chief Executive Officer Mack E. Avelli in a statement.
He would also like to wish everyone a Happy April Fool’s Day. Gotcha!
Clio Bersola, Human Resources Director of the Kankakee debt collection firm Credit Recovery Associates, LLC (CRASS), decides to make work a little more fun, in response to having received many complaints regarding a stressful work environment. She got permission from CRASS’ big cheese Mack E.. Avelli to open up a classifieds’ section to all employees, since their therapy goat idea did not work.
Leaked from the CRASS intranet, here are some of the ads posted by CRASS staff and their buddies.
CRASS Classifieds: No matter how long you work, an ad in the classifieds never stops working.
001 LOST AND FOUND:
Lost: My mind. Please help! Call Mack at 555-3700.
Wanted: The beast in my dreams…the one that makes them loony! Call Judithann Avelli at 555-FIND if you find him. Don’t tell my husband.
004 FREE CRAP
Free movie tickets for any of m’ladies who would love to adorn this tenderheart on a date to the theater. I tip my fedora to you. Email Damien Hurlbutt at firstname.lastname@example.org
Auction at the corner of Wally and Green Streets. Half-ply toilet paper, finger ale, a date with Wally Green and more.
010 WHOLESALE, RETAIL AND WHATEVER:
Lifetime supply of Sitagin, Just like the energizer bunny commercial from 1991! $40. 555-0000.
Money for sale! $20 bills only $26. Call 1-900-IM-CHEAP. Only $10 a minute.
011 APARTMENTS, UNFURNISHED:
One room apartment with water, 1 3/5 baths, 2 windows, no pets allowed. Call 555-RENT and ask for ext. 3SHACK.
020 FARM ANIMALS:
The perfect animal for all your farm work! Many colors from which to choose and low maintenance too! Call the Parakeet Center for more information at 000-BIRD.
030 INFORMATION FOR SALE:
Underground alien bases! Call Konrad at 000-UFO-RIDE to buy some information.
032 SERVICE FOR SALE
We scratch CDs, records and crush cassettes. Reasonable rates. Call 555-KRUSH
100 VACATION SPACE FOR RENT
Swampland! Free port-a-potty with every stay. Call OUT-HAUS and ask for Bernadette.
BRRRRPPPPPPHPTTMOBILES! All makes and models of these teeny-weeny motorbikes. As low as $500, seats and tires extra. We also have plenty of lifted trucks to lift your ego. Call Brandon’s Imbecile Machines at 815-555-STINK. Free roses for the ladies!
“Dorian, are you some kind of demon?” Sybil asks the CRASS Art Director, Mr. Dorian Daniel James.
“Um, sure,” Dorian replies out the side of his mouth, as he cares a metric tonne more about his project than the Lead Debt Collector, Sybil Kibble.
“I keep trying to email you, sweetie, about the Annual CRASS ReTreat. However this Mailer-Daemon guy replies instead.”
“Is this to be an empathy test?” a booming, dark haired Chief Executive Officer Mack E. Avelli asks the two bickering.
“I have no empathy and neither does she,” an mildly annoyed Dorian states plainly.
“Good. That is the kind of CRASS people we need. Be sure to attend that retreat in Chicago you guys. No blocking each other, per company policy. We need to increase production and team building.”
The two sigh and part ways, not looking forward to working on their day off.
Bourbonnais cinema clerk, neckbeard, and communal narcissist Damien Hurlbutt is busy tapping away at his rattly keyboard atop a plastic box to make it extra rattly, inside his Bourbonnais neckbeard-nest. His lone wall decoration, a framed photograph of his brother Robbie singing “Burnin’ Love” in the shower as he washes his black mutton chops, sways on its crooked angle.
Yes I remember you. We were married, maybe you forgot? I am having a problem with my butt. No matter what I do to clean it, my derriere still stinks.
I live in Natick, Mass now.
Damien immediately replies to the woman he once called “Grimace” out of pure, narcissistic rage, now changing his tune:
To: “Lori T. Brown” [OhLorT16@fmail.cannes]
From: “Damien U. Hurlbutt” [email@example.com]
Friday, September 4, 2020
Subject: Re: Re: broke up with Rachel
Hey honey puddin! I sure miss seeing your beautiful body and brown puppy-dog eyes.
I know Chicago has the best proctologist around, Dr. Keyhoe Keyster. I used to get my high colonics there! Meet me Monday on the train in Chicago and I will drive up to Bourbonnais, with a present for you. It will be a huge surprise!
Lori agrees, to Damien’s selfish delight. He hops aboard his PeeATon bike which his mother PJ regifted him for his August 10th birthday, hoping to lose some weight in his rushed attempt to impress his former wife.
“Today is Monday, September 7th. Are you CRASS people ready to have fun?” a grinning Mack. E. Avelli asks the crowd full of relucant employees.
“I cant’t hear you!” the wannabe MC projects into the microphone atop the podium.
A slow clap emerges.
“Now, that’s the spirit. Today’s retreat is designed to help increase team-building while lowering empathy. We do not care about our debtors, right? The more money you collect, the more you make. Double down on debt for more money for you, and more money for us. Now let’s all gather into teams to form a human pyramid. Sybil, pair up with Dorian Dale with Nando, Tara with Michael…” Mr. Avelli says as he pairs up his bored subordinates.
After a long tired day, Sybil is dying for a dish of dog food and a coffee. She heads over to the Buckstars on LaSalle Street in her white Chrysler LeBaron. As she sits at a table toward the front of the cafe, in walks Damien Hurlbutt, sporting his usual goofy stride.
“Oh boy, I really have to peepee.”
Damien heads toward the all-genders washroom, but is stopped short by a barista.
“You need to wear a mask to come in the cafe.”
“I know, I know, I am just stopping for a minute.” Damien says as he tries to head to the washroom.
“No mask, no service.”
“I know, I know, I know,” Damien replies, refusing to wear a mask.
Three baristas haul out the petulant Damien, kicking and screaming obscenities and narcississtic nonsense:
“9/11 was an inside job! The moon landing was a hoax!”. Sybil and Lori just stand there giggling, sipping on their iced doublehsot espressos.
“La di da di daaaaa…” Sybil sings poorly as she logs off the autodialer. She has racked up yet another commission and is in a great mood. “Are you going to help out in the Guys N Gals auction, Sybil?” Clio asks as she hands Ms. Kibble a flyer.
“What’s that about, Clio?” Sybil asks.
“Oh, our Glee Committee came up with it to benefit the Kankakee School District Square Dancing Club. We auction off some of our employees to each other. It is for a great cause. Read the flyer.”
“Hot dog! I’ll be there! Sign me up! Can I go first?” Sybil squeaks.
“We will see. It starts today at 3:30. Employees who volunteer get an hour off,” Clio tells Sybil.
Sybil tosses aside the flyer and pours herself a bowl of dog food for lunch.
A little before 3:30 PM, the CRASS conference room begins to fill. CRASS CEO Mack E. Avelli walks over to the podium and adjusts the microphone.
“Today marks the first annual Guys N Gals auction here at CRASS. Each one of you has an 8.5 by 11 inch piece of card stock with a number printed on one side. When our Accounting Manager, Konrad Teirant calls out a bid, you interested bidders hold up your card. Our first person up for bid is the ever enthusiastic Ms. Sybil Kibble!”
Sybil silently hopes to herself that the ever so suave Dorian wins her.
“Who would like to bid first? Can I get $25?”
The ever so slovenly Dale Davis holds up his card.
Sybil dies a bit inside.
“Can we get $50?”
Mikey Philips from Maintenance holds up his card.
Sybil frowns a bit more.
“Good, we have a couple bids. Let’s get a bidding war going. This is for a great cause. Kankakee Schools, guys. Let’s get $100.00.”
Dale holds up his bid card.
“Great. Can we get “$200?”
Mikey holds up his number.
“How about $400?”
Awkward silence passes for a few seconds.
“$400 going once.”
Sybil gets really nervous, thinking she will have to go home with Mikey. Sybil bites her nails.
“$400 going twice.”
Sybil’s anxiety turns to anger. This totally did not turn out the way she expected. Sybil starts visibly shaking.
Dorian’s card goes up.
“Great! We have $800.00 now.”
Sybil’s heart beats with excitement. Maybe she will get her date with Dorian at last! Now he has to keep the highest bid!
“$800 going once.”
A smirk begins to form across Dorian’s face.
“$800 going twice.”
Dorian’s smirk widens.
“One service worker won by Dorian James! Now Sybil, I am certain you will enjoy doing everything Dorian tells you. Have fun!”
“What? SER-vice? I thought this was a date auction!” Sybil screams.
“This is a service auction, and it is for a great cause, run by the Guys N Gals Glee Club. Now you guys go have fun!” Mr. Avelli tells Sybil.
“I need you to clean my monitor, rearrange my filing system and scrub my fish tank. I am going to keep you busy!” Dorian tells a disappointed Sybil as the two work their way out the door.
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