Sybil and the Lawnmower

While on her break from a particularly demanding — but successful — day at Kankakee craporation Credit Recovery Associates, LLC (CRASS), Lead Collections Representative Sybil Kibble takes a break from her usual dog food lunch to check out the online news.

Sybil logs off the autodialer, sets down her headset, and logs into the daily Kankakee newspaper’s web site. A yellow article, thinly disguised as news, catches Sybil’s eye immediately:

“Step up your lawn mowing game with a new, AutonaMower by SteppinUp Technologies! Make your neighbors jealous by being the first person on the block to own the new AutonaMower! Feel the power of its remote control technology while you set it to mow your lawn, walk away, and forget it! Never has been mowing your lawn been so easy! Now, the Joneses can keep up with you!”

Sybil was hooked.

“Break time is over. Get back to work!” Tara Bull growled. I should not have to babysit you.

Sybil slid back into her seat and logged into the autodialer.

As soon as Sybil makes her last collection that day – making certain to double down on that fake debt – Sybil slams down the headset and peels out the CRASS parking lot driving her Chrysler LeBaron. Off to the Buckethead’s Hardware in Bradley she went!

Sybil walks into Buckethead’s and looks around. “Welcome to Buckethead’s, where we save you money!” said Samantha, a bright eyed, bushy blonde wearing a green shirt.

“I like the sound of that!” squeals Sybil as they skip back to the lawn and garden department.

“Tony will be able to assist you” Samantha says and walks away.

“Hey Tony, I need a lawnmower that mows the lawn for you.”

“Ha, well we just got those in. They are pretty cool. We have this one operated by remote control. It hooks into your smartphone and even tells time. And then, for just 40.00 more, we have the deluxe model that has a built in radio! It even has a cupholder!”

“Hey Tony, they’re great.” Tony rolls his eyes slightly.

“However, I am not looking to spend a lot. Just gimme the cheapest model.”

“Oh-kay. We have in our economy section the AutonaMower. It mows the lawn for you. It’s our only gas model on the floor and it is on sale. $299.99”

“I’ll take it.” Sybil can barely contain her excitement. She checks out and heads home to Kankakee.

Sybil finishes up her bowl of dog food for dinner and cannot wait to unbox her new toy. She is so excited, she skips her dog bone dessert.

Out to her oh-so-slightly overgrown, manicured lawn she heads. Sybil opens the box. “Instructions? Who needs these?” Sybil chucks the manual in the trash.

Now, how do I turn this thing on? Sybil starts pressing buttons. “Crap.”

“Hey Tony?” Sybil says on her cell phone, on speaker so all the neighbours can hear.

“My lawnmower is not working.”

“Did you try putting batteries in the remote?” Tony asks.

“Oh. Nevermind.” Sybil presses the end key on her phone.

Sybil puts the included two AA batteries into the remote and presses the start key. The remote is programmed and ready to go. However the lawnmower does not even turn on.

Sybil screams a string of expletives.

Clouds roll in. As people say in the Midwest, if you do not like the weather, wait five minutes.

It begins to pour. Sybil gets so infurated that she packs up the AutonaMower, grabs the instruction manual out of the garbage, stuffs it in the box and heads back to Bucketheads in Bradley.

Sybil struts in and straight to Lawn ‘N Garden. “Tony, you sold me a broken model. This thing is crap, your store is crap.” She slams it on the floor.

“Did you put gas in it?” Tony asks.

“Ohhhh, grrrrreat.” Sybil says.

Tony laughs and rolls his eyes. It is all he can do after a long day working retail, having put up with customers like Sybil.

Do It Yourself Mike

CRASS Employee of the Year, Mike Philips

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.”

“Come.”

“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.

“Yes.”

“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.”

Major CRASS Announcement!

Image: a monotone cartoon of a man with dark hair, glasses, wearing a suit. A dollar sign can be seen on his tie.
CRASS Chief Cheese, Mack E. Avelli

1 April 2022

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!

Wally Green’s Wholesale Hacks

Kankakee’s very own pharmacy owner, wacky inventor and wannabe ladies’ man Wally Green loves to make green. Run your business into the black with his new wholesale buys!

FussPot

Do your customers poop too much? Make your customers think twice. Meet FussPot – the toilet that fusses over everything put in it! Wally’s FussPot only accepts up to four pieces of Wally’s special half-ply toilet paper. Failure to comply with the FussPot’s demands results in overflow errors.

Noise Machine

Do you want your customers to roar? Why spend money paying your minimum-wage staff to put something useful like paper towels in your washrooms, when you can install Wally’s Noise Machine instead? A V8 engine blows out way too much air, making all the noises while it sort-of dries customers’ hands if the stars align just right.

Meanwhile, the Noise Machine spreads their germs all over the place. Upgrade to Wally’s Deluxe Model powered by none other than a jet engine!

Lidiots

Do you own a coffee shop? Why go the extra mile stocking cup lids which actually stay on, when you can buy a cheap alternative? Try Wally’s patented Lidiots — the sippy-cup lid for adults! 

Never buy a straw again. The hole on the side of the lid makes it harder for customers to put their straws in, and stay in, so you can hopefully go cheap by making your cafe patrons drink out the sippy-hole instead! 

Watch as your coffeehouse customers rage when their favorite drink spills — since these cheap alternatives not only slop their five dollar lattes out the sippy-hole — but also slide off way more easily than our durable, slightly more expensive alternatives with holes in the middle of the lid. Buy one box, get one half off! (But never free)

Download Wally Green’s CrApp and submit your purchase orders now!

CRASS Company Classifieds

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.

002 ANNOUNCEMENTS:

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 connivingpimp@hautemail.con

006 AUCTIONS:

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.

120 AUTOMOBILES

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!

Damien Has the Scoop on Poop


“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.

“Ding!” Damien Ulysses Hurlbutt’s computer sounds.

“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!” an excited Damien replies as he logs off his favorite Men’s Rights Activist subreaditt, The Brown Pill, to check his email:

From: “Lori T. Brown” [OhLorT16@fmail.cannes]

To:  “Damien U. Hurlbutt” [connivingpimp@hautemail.con]

Friday, September 4, 2020

Subject: Re: broke up with Rachel

Hi Dam,

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.

-Lori

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” [connivingpimp@hautemail.con]

To: 

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.

Sybil Auctions Herself Off

“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.

“Aaaaand—“

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.

“SOLD!”

“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.

Checkmate

“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.

Mack E. Avelli

“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.

“Anyone?”

“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.