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.
Still not aware of the kind stranger returning his ciggybutt cartons, a second person calls out:
“Hey Greg, you forgot your cigarettes.”
Greg grabs the two red packs on which he had been sitting. No longer able to drive, the newly undead Greg had taken the bus to meet up with his lover, Bernadette Cacca at the Manteno Optimal Club where she is performing charity pop covers just for the photo opportunity.
Bern drives Greg home after the gig. Both get lost, not just because someone told them to scram. Fighting over directions, Bern wags her finger and tells her Poopy Groupie “I told you so.”
“What am I going to do with all these NFTs?” asks a puzzled Bernadette.
“What’s an NFT?” the newly undead Greg asks his partner-in-stench.
“Newly formed turds, my turd vault is full! I want to burn them, however they will go bad by the time I burn them all! The craptcoin market is in the toilet!”
Greg gives Bern his trademark devilish grin.
“What about formaldehyde? Don’t you load that into your turd machines?”
Bern folds her arms, turns away from her lover Greg, and walks upstairs to crap.
“You sing like a dying cow!” Bern Cacca yells out her washroom door at her next-door-neighbours The Midnight Supremes, as she pinches a loaf and then burns it in her fireplace. She has unleashed The Kraken.
Enraged, Gothic Diana Ross directs her bandmates so crank their amps up and engage the Marshall Stacks.
Bern peels out her driveway.
Patrick Oswald Splatt is busy in his Kankakee basement, developing his newest useless invention, when a certain Manteno entramanure rings his bell.
“It’s my new killer-app. Siri-al-Killer.”
“Yeah, what can it do for me?”
“It is a virus, designed to mimic Siri. Only it is seriously plotting to kill you.”
“Thanks. I know.”
“Yeah. So am I, that’s why I want to hire YOU!”
“Young lady, what can I do ya fer?”
“I need to unload my Turd Vault.”
Awkward silence fills the room.
“My inventory’s getting stale. I use newly-formed-turds (NFTs) to create Craptcoin. The market really stinks right now and I need to clean out my product.
Pat giggles. It has been a long time and he feels good to laugh at someone else’s expense again.
Pat and Bernadette make a food baby together:
Pat’s junk email go into circular files across the globe. Meanwhile, the craptocoin market falls further into the bowels of the abyss.
Desperate, Bernadette sends out this flyer. She made it herself:
Bernadette slides into her shack, waves to her husband Peppi high off stinky skunkweed, and runs down her basement stairs, nearly falling down and smacking her big mouth on the concrete. She disarms the gate and the two Turd Machines guarding her massive Turd Vault, only to find her precious turd collection missing.
“Oh no, where did they all go! I bet it was JB the Turd-Burglar, he stole my crap, I just know it.”
Bern’s smell-phone rings, playing her favorite GG Allin song.
“Hey. My turds are gone, Greg!”
“How is that great?“
“They were delicious,” the undead Greg tells his fartner Bernadette. “These things keep me going. Unlike other zombies, I don’t need to eat rotting flesh. Recycled food is goooood-forrrr-yooooou!”
“I’m With Stupid” reads the graphic tee Leona Krabalsky wears to the Kankakee job fair. She along with her younger sister, Doris, are busy manning their booth.
“I hope we sell truckloads of these here essential snake oils, you oily mama!” Leona slyly says as she slaps her sister on the arm.
“I hope we sell lots of these here business ops too. After all a sucker is born every minute! But don’t tell them that, Bossbabe! Shhhh.” Doris whispers in Leona’s ear.
The day is almost over and the ladies have yet to make a single sale. Tired, hangry and frustrated, Leona grabs her pack of unfiltered smokes and gets ready to head out to burn one. A 40-something gent with long, straggly, dark brown hair and round, blue, plastic glasses approaches the booth. Leona hides her cigarettes, dons her cheesiest grin and locks eyes with the only person who approached the booth all day.
“How may we improve your life today?” Leona says with a huge, fake smile.
“Hi. I am Pat Splatt. Nice to meet you” he says as he tightly shakes Doris’s hand, and clasps his left hand over both hands.
“Our essential oils can change your life.” Doris says to Pat.
“Can they get me la-…dies?” Pat giggles.
“They sure can!” Doris says with a smile.
“All right!” Pat pumps his fists.
“We have patchouli, try this out, I bet you will love it.” Doris tries to persuade Pat.
“And we can make you rich! Let me tell you about our business opportunity!” Leona chines in.
“And I can make you richer!” Pat exclaims.
“How so?” Leona asks quizzically, finger to her lip.
“I can make sure your oils and opportunities are known by every person with an email address!” Pat says with a smile.
“I tell you what, I will give you that a set of oils in exchange for you marketing our stuff.”
“Deal.” Pat says and the three exchange handshakes.
The next day, Pat goes down to his basement and fires up his email harvester, stealing massive numbers of addresses across the Internet. After loading the addresses, he imports them to his Spam-o-Matic 2000 program.
“I do not like spam. But I do not care. It makes me money and gets me free stuff” Pat says to himself as he clicks the “Send Spam” button.
Over a billion emails spew out Pat’s basement server to unsuspecting people all over the world, advertising Leona and Doris’s unsolicited snake oils and pyramid schemes. Pat kicks back in his dark basement and falls asleep after eating a box of cheese doodles and drinking an entire bottle of pop straight from its two liter bottle.
Meanwhile, Doris and Leona are getting flooded with angry emails and calls.
“Take me off your rotten list!” states one message.
“Stop spamming me! I hate this crap!” writes another.
“Who is this? You’re a moron! There is a special place in Hell for people who send out junk emails!” shouts a third.
Leona and Doris decide they have enough of the thousands of messages and change their contact info.
“That’s a bust. I guess we will have to try telemarketing next,” Leona says to Doris.
“Naaaw, I will go back to selling this stuff on the street like I did before…” Doris snickers and grins.
Sirens are heard in the background and flashing lights are seen. What was that about selling on the street? The world may never know.
A voice sweet as honey, her striking personality leaves you with that bitter aftertaste and you don’t quite know why.
“I’m Bernadette Cacca! It’s my pleasure to play for your The Manteno Optimal Club musical theater sing-along! I will livestream here on my personal page every Tuesday from 7:30-10 and Saturday from 5-7:30 during the 3 week The Manteno Optimal Club hiatus! The Manteno Optimal Club will be back for Season 2 on Oct 12! Follow me for details! And always on Instaspam @BernCacca (except tonight – TOILET ISSUES) Comment with requests!”
Bernadette Moran Cacca wants to open up an arcade in Manteno. No, not a slot-machine room like “Winnie’s;” rather, a video-game arcade. Hoping to sell more Craptocoin, she will only accept her funny money from the gamers.
“Just think, my WONDERFUL customers will HAVE to pay in Craptocoin, mined the old-fashioned way by ME!”
“Oh not now, honey. I have business plans to make.”
Butthurt by his wife’s disinterest in his mating call, Peppi Cacca claps back:
“You know, hon, if we can convince the developers at your favorite strip mall to put in that much-needed crossing signal, we can profit by providing the port-o-johns for the job. Let’s say we write a proposal and submit a bid if they accept.”
“My aunt Sonya will tell YOU about all the things I do for this community! I volunteer my time playing multiple accordion covers of popular show tunes for the Manteno Optimal Club!”
“She is also Optimus Prime.”
“Yeah, and Sonya is running for mayor. She knows the owner of that consumer shopping center. Back in 1991, he saw someone going down the road who owned one.”
“What about that Poopy’s you always wanted to open?”
“Stop causing so much drama, Peppi,” Bernadette gaslights her husband.
Bern goes down and applies for credit at the local loan-shark office and gets approved. According to her ex-lover Damien Hurlbutt, sharks eat poop, so Bernadette is not surprised they approve her credit.
“Scary” Barry Reynolds’ former “President of the Office of Belonging” at the Mathew B Johnson School of Intrepid Arts, Sonya Marie Smith Moran, is running for mayor to complete his failed agenda for the college takeover of Albion, Indiana.
Some of the things Sonya is wanting to do are abolish cats and pitbulls from being allowed in the town limits, open a charter school to be run by the college with city funding and close the nature trails and centers to anyone without a “membership” paid in full with Craptocoin. Bog Witch Bernadette Cacca will collect tolls and eat anyone who refuses to comply. Yum, cannibalism.
She’s planning to do drug raids on houses she’s thinks are drug houses, just for fun. What better to do when you’re bored?
Sonya also wants to abolish the local low income clinic because she’s pro-life. However, she’s running as a Democrat. Since when did common sense matter to a narc-a-doodle, anyway?
Sonya Moran knocks on the doors of all the Albion residents, including the people she’s ticked off most every Saturday at between 1 and 2PM hoping to harass them, since they have blocked her on all social medias and don’t return her letters. She even sends them birthday gifts hoping to con them via guilt into sending her a thank-you card. She really wants hard to win over people who want zero contact.
“You’re prejudiced against the poor, humans, flora and fauna. You don’t even like cats. Who hates cats?” Kitty Bee says as they laugh at the silly moron running for office.
“I have black friends. I’m not racist.”
Kitty rolls her ebony eyes and lets the door hit the wannabe politician on the way out.
“Narcs be startin’ somethin’…and it ain’t no picnic,” the broadcast journalist says to their girlfriend.
“I’m walking away from you now!” Sonya snarks as she walks away from another uninterested voter. “Oh hello. Get out there and vote!” Sonya tells another stranger on the street with her usual forced-smile.
“I was sitting there when the log emerged” Bernadette Cacca details her newly-formed-turds (NFTs) on the phone to her lover JB, the neighborhood turd-burglar, then she hears a knock at the door.
“Hi Manager. My daughter wants to play Running in Manteno, where do we put the quarters?”
“You can get some Craptocurrency from me.”
“Our games only take Craptocoin. I will gladly exchange! I just mined some now!” Bern says as she wipes her buttocks.
The father waves his hand in disgust as his daughter giggles, the family walking out the joint.
Kankakee junk-emailer, sociopath and petty criminal Pat Splatt will do anything to make a buck. He is hoping to get rich enough to someday implant a diamond in his forehead.
While leaning against the wall in his chair, scraping the internet for contacts to spam about his payola scheme for content creators, Pat gets a call.
“Hell, Satan speaking.”
“Is this Patrick Oswald Splatt?’
“You’ve got the POS.”
“This is Sonya Moran. I got your email today and want some bots.”
“Hey babe, I can hear the smile in your voice today. I am your moneymaker!”
“Yeah. I want to become the biggest PooTuber on Earth. My name is Sonya Moran. You have heard of my niece Bernadette Cacca right?”
“She was on the front of the Kankakee Sentinel. You DO live in Kankakee County, right?”
“What can I do ya fer?”
“I am running for office here in Indiana. I want to make a channel where I make videos where I pay my BIGGEST fans just for subscribing and watching. But I don’t people to think I am bribing them. Just like my EXTRAORDINARY niece Bernadette, I want people to SEE the acts of charity I am spending my busy day doing. Why be nice to people if nobody can see it? I do a LOT for this community.”
Pat begins to nod off.
“With your assistance, we can build a botnet to pad my followers, and argue with ANYBODY who disagrees. Hello?”
Snoring is heard.
“Hey babe, I think you’re hot.”
“Oh hey babe. What’s that about getting together?”
“Just seeing if you’re paying attention. I want to hire you to make a network of pretend followers so that real people will also look at me give all that money away, and do good deeds for the community. I am running for mayor here in Albion, Indiana and I intend to win!”
“You sounds like my kind of person!”
Sonya Moran is really on a mission to bully her residents out of her complex at Prairieland Country Club Apartments For the Disabled down by the Albion mills into leaving, because she is a complete and utter troll who has zero empathy. Compassion, what’s that?
Complaints have been pouring into the Department of Housing and Urban Development that she has been issuing lunacy letters falsely accusing her low-income, disabled tenants of violating their leases. How would she feel if she were in their place? I feel confident some of the people would gladly trade their chronic pain and bladder problems with her so they can have better lives. Oh, and she hates cats.
Sonya knocks on her residents’ doors at 9:30 AM to remind them that she is running for office, saying it would be unacceptable to vote for someone else, because she plans to own the housing committee. Must be a thing to live in fear. After all, she is a wussy little narcissist.
Jade Utica is not having any of Sonya’s crap. After getting unwanted knocks on her door, waking her up after a rough night battling her brain disease, she is not about to sit down let the so-called “Do-gooder” bully her into homelessness. After chatting with her neighbors about the junk her landlord left on her door, she finds out she is not alone.
Meanwhile, Sonya’s PooTube channel has been getting thousands of followers and commenters every day, thanks to Pat Splatt.
“I just know I am going to win this election,” Sonya says to her campaign donors at her rally. “If they don’t cry for me, I will give them something to cry about!”
Bernadette Cacca and her Poopy Groupies cheer in conformance.
Undead Greg Schneissder gives a speech:
“This is the best thing. I have constantly and continuously been moved and inspired by the inventive, communal ways citizens found during the darkest days of the lockdown to seek out the light, keep connecting.
The thought of two people, across time and place, creating one thing: so beautiful to me, on its own. But to see it come together, in one room, the beautiful moment, both optimistic overture and grand, grand finale. What a lovely symbol of perseverance, of hope fulfilled. What a metaphor. What a tonic. What a reminder. I was unprepared for how moved I would be by this story.
The only thing *not* at all surprising about it? That Sonya Moran was involved. So let me also love on her for a second: in that weird way that all of Albion is all just a small town after all, I walked into a bar this past Friday, where Bern was celebrating a friend’s birthday, surrounded by the beautiful, lovely, joyous people that she seems to attract (birds of a feather and all that), and she gave me THE. BEST. HUG. And a greeting that made me feel like the only person in the world.
A friend of hers asked if I were an actor or singer, and I think I mumbled something like “I wish.” What I should have said, “No, but when I am in the company of Sonya, I am a STAR.”
As people watch Greg’s gushing, comments pour into Sonya’s PooTube channel:
“You need to remove your twitter post about my friend. Especially when you were selfish enough to do what you did and then block her. Because she is the only person who matters! Look at me, I’m a troll who crawled out from under my bridge because I need to get a hobby and I hate myself.. I don’t appreciate the way you treated her.”
The cheers of support from Sonya’s bootlickers are interrupted by some breaking news:
“Kitty Bee reporting live from Albion breaking news. Indiana officials and a spokesperson from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development have accused Albion landlord Sonya Moran of discrimination and harassment. Residents have complained that Mrs. Moran has been accusing them falsely of violating their leases, failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and even threatening to evict them. We will bring you more news as it develops. Back to you.”
Scary Barry Reynolds gets fired from his job as a road-test proctor for the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and starts his own college called “Dr. Mathew B. Johnson School of Intrepid Arts” in Albion, Indiana, teaching martial arts and telekinesis, a school he named after his favorite academic leader and best friend.
“Become as powerful as the Dragonball Y characters you see on TV! Develop your real life martial-arts skills, and when you get to your senior year, you’ll become a PSI-ball master!”
“Not this ad again…” Gothic Diana Ross says across the Indiana border in Manteno, Illinois at the slate Victorian home where she and her bandmates reside. “Who wants to go to Indiana anyway?”
“Indiana wants us, but we can’t go back there.” Gothic Flo retorts and The Midnight Supremes all giggle.
Classes begin at the School of Intrepid Arts in Albion. Students practice basic self-defense, mixed martial arts and fencing.
“A new life awaits you at the School of Intrepid Arts” a flashing, talking blimp advertises as it flies over Northern Indiana and Illinois, spending a rather long time over Chicago, until someone begins to fire at it.
“Pop! Pop!” is heard as the floating advertisement-machine is gunned down somewhere on the Southside.
A scholar gets harassed in his dorm, racial remarks litter his marker board. One moron, Pat Splatt, writes “KKK” on an empty pizza box and drops it outside his dorm room.
Protests are held by multiple school groups which make the local news.
“I will answer that later. Come back.” President Reynolds tells the news, and does not return their calls.
The scholar tries to learn to make “PSI Balls” on the internet and learns that it is fake. Meanwhile President Reynolds uses school money to pay for pet construction projects so he can hire his wife Terry’s company to do all the work.
Barry and Terry make the classes so hard, it is impossible to pass. Barry and Terry love seeing the disappointed faces of aspiring martial-arts students receive their report cards littered with Fs.
President Barry Reynolds sends out a memo to his wife Terry using negative humor, snarking she should bulldoze “trash and idiots who live on minimum wage.” Barry accidentally copies the entire college on the email.
Students start creating memes and Fakebook groups. President Barry reports them to Fakebook owner Emperor Zucc who shuts them all down.
Students take to the news to expose the corruption.
The scholar is interviewed, and talks about his brother — also a student — who died when trying to defend a bully using “PSI Balls.”
“If President Reynolds wants to create chaos and censor those who rise up against his regime, then maybe he should move to North Korea. I bet he would feel right at home.”
Barry and Terry visit Bern Cacca bathing in the bog near Manteno, Illinois, for public-relations advice hoping to clean up their image, since Bern is so good at maintaining her squeaky clean image while doing dirty those closest to her. Oh, and she burns poopies.
“Bern Cacca? We have an important message. We need your help.”
Bog Witch Bern keeps on swimming.
“Bern? We have something to tell you.”
Bern continues to ignore the looming Terry and Barry.
“Bern? We want to know how you keep your image so clean while you do others dirty.”
“Can’t you see I am taking a bath?” an angered Bern yells back, hoping to be left alone.
“Oh you are so…RUDE!” Terry snarks at Bern.
“I am busy. Go away.”
“God hates ugly people! I am calling the manager!” Terry says out of desperation and fear.
“I am the manager.” Bern replies as she shoos away Terry and Barry.
“I wish my hearing aids were broken.” Peppi Cacca says to his wife Bern and the Reynolds couple leaves.
The Indiana Attorney General investigates and shuts the school down, and the story makes television headlines.
“Oh good, we no longer have to see those annoying ads.” Gothic Flo says to Gothic Diana and then turns off her TV.
“Why are people up here in Albion so anti-Reynolds? I have done nothing but help this community. The other day, I told an obese lady about the new gym I wanted to build. I wanted to help her. But, noooo, people are so rude and mean. They do not appreciate my help! After all, they shut down The Mathew B. Johnson School of Intrepid Arts — The Best Martial Arts School around I could have taught them kiddos how to make PSI Balls!!”
“Those are fake.”
“I know. But but makes us money, and I want to teach ’em! This whole state needs a good schoolin’! This whole world!”
“Hey Barry, why don’t you call that Bernadette moron, the bog witch who sings opera for charity?”
“How about we drive down to Manteno. Maybe we can try their porto potty business since their number always goes to voicemail. I can only listen to that recording of them polka-rapping about porto potties so many times.”
“We have nothing better to do. I am bored. Let’s go!”
“Take that ugly desk with you. Maybe you can give it to her to pay for our public-relations clean-up act.”
Barry and Terry Reynolds run to Manteno.
“Turn left. Then turn left. Then turn left. Recalculating.”
“That dang GPS, why does it screw up so much? It has one job!” Terry exclaims.
Terry and Barry arrive at Peppi’s Portapotties.
“Dang! Just missed ‘em. They closed ten minutes ago. Let’s do a drive-by past their house.”
The bumbling idiots drive past the Caccas’ run-down shack. Nobody’s home. Spotting the beautiful slate, Victorian Gothic home next door, their curiosity draws them in.
The Westminster Chimes are played as they ring the doorbell. A 5’10”, slender, medium-skinned Gothic beauty answers the door, wearing an all-black dress and fishnet stockings.
“Yeah?” Gothic Diana Ross answers.
Barry’s stoic face turns a slight smile.
“Umm, hi Miss. We will not take up much of your time.”
“You’ve already taken up too much.” Diana quips.
“What’s the deal with your neighbors? The Caccas?”
‘Oh man. Just don’t.”
Diana inches away and begins to close the door.
“Wait? Miss! We have this $1000 desk we can give you, if you just talk to us!”
“I’ll tell you where to put that desk.”
Diana slams the door and goes back to singing rehearsal with the Midnight Supremes.
“Barry, I gotta whizz.”
“Yup. You’re the boss.”
“No Diana is. Let’s go.”
Barry and Terry pull into the nearest corner Wally Green’s. While Terry is emptying her bladder in the washroom, Barry finally answers the sales clerk who asked him six times if he needed help finding something.
“Yeah, do you sell those SpamMaster 2000 CD-ROMs?”
“No, sorry. Are you looking to send unsolicited emails? I got a guy.” Drugstore clerk, covert narcissist and Elvis impersonator Robbie Hurlbutt slips Barry the number for Pat Splatt, petty criminal and junk emailer.
Barry and Terry meet Pat Splatt at midnight on the street, not far from the interchange bridge under which Kankakee troll Leona Krabalsky is sawing wood. The three shadowy figures shake hands and part ways. The Reynolds drive onto Interstate Route 57 North, toward Chicago-O’Hare Airport, and board a plane for their monthly vacation.
“We’re headed to Australia and we’re so stoked!” reads the craption below Terry’s Fakebook post, loaded with the hashtag #RichPeopleProblems. Terry cannot wait to take photos of her legs and feet.
Pat Splatt hopes to buy an overly lifted truck to compensate for his lousy personality with all the money he makes spamming on behalf of the dysfunctional former leaders of the Mathew B Johnson School of Intrepid Arts. Brandon Dixon’s imbecile machine lot is booming with their end of year sales and Pat hopes to wheel-and-deal himself one.
While Scary Barry and Terry Reynolds spend loads of money they got from who-knows-where, seeing the sites of Australia, email junker Pat Splatt is busy sliding unwanted emails into the inboxes of college students all over the USA. Pat spams on behalf of disbarred college president Reynolds about the wonders of PSI Balls and how Barry Reynolds can teach them to defend themselves from psychic attacks. A second wave of spam stinks up the computer mailboxes of students at UCLA, Yale, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Colgate, Boston University, Loyola, Olivet Nazarene, Baylor, Kent State, Oregon State, Nebraska and Iowa City, spewing propaganda to try and connive random students into taking Barry’s online martial arts courses “because he is a nice guy who does a lot for the community.”
A sleeping Barry is awakened by an unexpected phone call.
“This is the Albion Health Department. We have received multiple complaints about a cockroach infestation at your compound.”
“It’s 3AM. Who the heck is this?”
“Huh? I don’t know where you are or what you’re talking about. We need you to rectify the infestation or we are going to have to condemn your property.”
“I’m in Australia on vacation with my wife.”
“Must be nice. I have not had a vacation in 21 years.”
Barry hangs up the phone and goes back to sleep. The Reynolds spend the day at their exclusive resort on Australia’s Gold Coast taking pictures of themselves and braggity-boasting on their Fakebook pages.
A month later, the relaxed, but tired couple heads home to their Albion McMansion. Several “Condemned” signs are seen posted all over their estate.
“What the heck now? After all we do for this county? This state? The entire Universe?”
Beep-Beep-Beep goes the Avelli Truck, lowering a shipping container on the grass outside the massive, now-condemned Reynolds residence.
“What’s this?” a stern Barry asks.
“Your new home. There’s even room for your desk.”
A truck from Peppi’s Portapotties pulls up, “King and Queen of the Throne” its lettering reads below a smiling cartoon depicting owners Bern and Peppi Cacca.
“His and Hers,” Peppi says to the Department of Health worker overseeing the Reynolds property seized by the City of Albion, Indiana as he sets up the two portable toilets.
“We are NOT going to sleep in there.” Barry says with his nose to the air, walking away from the metal shipping container.
“You can live in a dumpster. We won’t judge.”
Barry checks his bank account, hoping to stay in a swanky hotel. The robobank announces “Negative Forty-Nine Thousand, two-hundred twenty-four dollars.”
“Paaaaaaaaat!” Barry and Terry exclaim as they fall to their knees in unison, mad because their goose is cooked.
This guy is Pat Splatt’s biggest fan! Thank you Internet stranger for role-playing as Kankakee’s biggest huckster and junk-emailer! Pat thanks you for all the love and for taking time outta your busy day to slide into the inbox of the We Are CRASS business page on Facebook.
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