Why Does Your Love Hurt So Much, Sonya?

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!”

“Git-git-git”

“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.”

“What?”

“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?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“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.

Front: Bern M Cacca, Back: JB the Turd Burglar, Sonya Moran, “Undead” Greg Schneissder, Peppi Cacca

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.”

TO BE CONTINUED

Rich People Problems

[ Part five of a continuing story which inspired people to rise up and start this petition: https://www.change.org/p/albion-college-remove-dr-mathew-johnson-from-albion-college ]

—-

“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?”

“Don’t you remember? She and her husband drove all the way from Manteno, Illinois and just left! I mean, how rude! Everyone hates me!”

“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.

Pat Splatt multitasks, sending out heaps of junk emails on one monitor, while repeatedly right-swiping on the other monitor.

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.

Awww, sucks to be them.

Toxic College-y

[ Sign the petition inspired by this story and read about what inspired me to write it! ]

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. 

Gothic Diana Ross gives her TV the side-eye

“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.

Barry and Terry Reynolds respond to the media from the comfort of their own home.

“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.

Oopsie!

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 bathes in the bog

“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.

Moronic Crime Rings and Things

Multiplex clerk, fedora-sporting neckbeard and Communal narcadoodle Damien Hurlbutt desperately wants to impress his new girlfriend, Rachel Shelley, into coming back to visit him in Bourbonnais, Illinois from Detroit. However, he is as broke as a joke from his toy hoarding.

He comes up with a plan. Damien dials up his vulnerable narcissist brother Robbie and asks if he can steal some identities. He offers some of his duplicate record albums as payment.

“I can part with my poorer copies of ‘Broken’ by The Favorites, my extra Walter Egans and all my Jewel records. I can throw in some Katy Scarys if you want, too…” Damien explains to Robbie, a Kankakee Elvis impersonator and pharmacy clerk.

Robbie jumps at the opportunity to add to his own hoard.

Robbie gets busy calling local con man Pat Splatt and the two devise a way to break into local sweetheart, single lady Kitty Bee’s computer to steal her identity. Feeling dejected from having been rejected in 1993 after Pat had made a pass at her, Pat decides Kitty is a perfect target for moronic revenge.

Robbie successfully steals Kitty’s credit card information and buys 18 bottles of dehydrated water and six tubs full of fat-free oil from Wally Green’s online mall. Damien thought these new inventions would impress Rachel in her fruitless efforts to lose weight, and who else to mansplain but Bourbonnais neckbeard Damien Ulysses Hurlbutt? “Throw in some cubic zirconia rings. She’ll never know they’re fake,” a bulbous Damien commands his brother Robbie.

Robbie Hurlbutt: Kankakee’s Number One Elvis Impersonator

“You got it.” Robbie smirks, a crooked grin fills half his face, almost touching one of his blue-black mutton chops.

Damien tips his black fedora, the one with which he hatfished Rachel. After all, how would the public — whom he works so hard to impress — know his “medium” bald spot takes up his entire head? He enters the washroom and sits on the potty.

“Oh kids!”

“What kids?” A quizzical Robbie asks Damien.

“Oh kids. Ohhh kids!”

A loud splash is heard from the washroom.

Damien is so proud of his poopies

“Pheeeew!” Damien cries and waves his hand by his bum.

He emerges and sprinkles his newly washed hands all over Robbie and roommate Andy’s living-room carpet, using it as a bathmat, and at Robbie as well.

“I just left a huge stinker in your toity. Would you like to see it?” a proud Damien boasts.

“Just leave the door open and don’t close it if I am in there.” Robbie says.

“You’re not Elvis, just an impersonator.”

Two days later, the stolen goods arrive at Damien’s Bourbonnais apartment. “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!” Damien exclaims as his next-door neighbor gives him the stinkeye.

Damien wraps the stolen, useless crap into prank boxes, boxes inside larger, nested boxes, and oddly shaped packaging, taping each package with hard-to-open packing tape to extend his desired cliffhanging effect on Rachel Shelley.

“I can’t wait to videotape Rachel, the expression on her face when she opens all those gifts from ME!” Damien says to himself, wearing a huge grin.

Damien Hurlbutt basks in the glory of his own narc-capades

Damien finishes up his hours of taping, wrapping and more taping. He tests out his camcorder and memory card. He is all set for his catch.

Rachel walks in the next day, much later than Damien anticipates. Damien tips his fedora. “Hello, M’lady, Madame.”

“Yup. Hey.”

“Good to see you, do I get a hug?”

“Sure.”

The two embrace.

“Turn around and close your eyes. I am going to take your hand, honey puddin”.

“I told you to stop calling me that.”

“But I say it because I love you. You’re so little and dainty.”

“Grrrr.” Rachel emits.

“Now take my hand. I have a little surprise for my honey puddin.”

Damien begins secretly rolling tape and then takes Rachel’s hand, leading her into his cluttered kitchen.

“Now open your eyes, M’lady.”

Rcahel opens her eyes, displaying her typical blank expression.

“I bought all these gifts for YOU!”

Rachel cracks half a grin.

“Now I want you to open this one first.”

Rachel opens the huge, nested box.

“Dehydrated water? Ohhh-kayyyy…”

“Yeah. I thought you might like it. I bought it at Wally Green’s. It was buy one get one half off. Now open this one.”

Damien shoves another large box over to Rachel. She opens box after box, finally revealing its contents.

“Fat free oil?”

“Yeah. You could use it to cook. After all, you need to lose weight and I want to help!”

Rachel begins to scowl.

“Oh, now you will really love this. Women love small boxes.”

Damien hands Rachel another box, which she also struggles to open.

“Why do you use so much tape? Packing tape too? Did you run out of regular tape?”

“Oh this is regular tape.” Damien snickers. Rachel finally gets the package open. “I got you a sparkly!” Damien exclaims. “Not only one but 17 of them!”

Rachel tips the box on its side and reads the label. “Cubic…zirconia.”

Damien’s face turns cherry red.

Music is heard from the other room.

“That’s my phone.”

Rachel gathers the boxes and walks away. Damien checks the tape. Rachel walks back in and Damien jumps, startled, and hides what he was doing.

“Hi honey.”

“Oh hey, I gotta go. Thanks for the stuff.”

“Yeah honey puddin. Where you going?”

“Out.” Rachel declares and heads out with the stuff Damien gave her.

Damien is all alone. Sirens are now wailing from the distance, getting louder as the seconds pass. Damien is shaking but trying not to show it. A knock is heard at his door. It is just what he fears.

Rachel arrives at her lover Leon Peeone’s apartment.

“Hey Leon, I got some crap to sell so we can get some more hard stuff.” The two laugh but not for long. Neither one of them are too bright.

Bern Cacca Gets Yeeted

“Here I sit all broken-hearted, tried to crap but only farted,” a forlorn Bernadette “Bern” Cacca sings on her porcelain throne, practicing kazoo and accordion. She lights a fart, burns her doodoo in the fireplace, then makes a call to a Northwestern Illinois bar on her smell phone.

“Poopy’s.”

“Hi, my name is Bernadette Cacca. I’m a famous singer near Chicago.”

The bartender giggles.

“I have a wonderful offer to make your bar.”

“May…I take your order?”

“I would like to open a Poopy’s here in Manteno.”

“I thought you were from Chicago!”

The bartender continues to giggle as he hangs up on Bern.

To increase her bottom line of attention, money and bootlickers, communal narcissist Bernadette offers to sing and play her accordion cover songs at a charity event to raise money for the victims of the Russian war against Ukraine. She dreams about all the photo opportunities she can gain from her virtue signaling. She does not care about the efforts of living beings trying to stay alive, fighting or fleeing a psychopath trying to take over their beautiful country. She just loves to pretend.

Bern heads home from a long day working her and her husbands’ business Peppi’s Portapotties, excited to burn the porta-poopies in her fireplace, only to be interrupted by a phone call.

“Hi, Bernadette…ummm…Cake-Uh?”

“Cacca.”

“Yeah, I am calling about your gig at the Gaslight Bar tomorrow night.”

“Oh hiiii! I am THRILLED about playing this extraordinary gig at 7:00 tomorrow night.”

“Good. We are calling to tell you about a slight time change. Due to staffing shortages, we need to move your gig back an hour.”

“I am a pillar of the community and a national treasure! Your tone is not appropriate for someone doing business. I would get used to people like me.”

“So are you coming or not? We have other guests who want to play and help—“

“Okay, okay, see you tomorrow. Don’t forget it!”

Bern teams up with local cybercrook Pat Splatt to develop her pretend money Craptocoin. The bum-waste-bin overlord thinks it is cute to sell Craptocoin at the charity event and decides she will solicit tips using her funny money.

“Hello Manteno! Thank you all for coming! Let’s raise some money! Gimme your requests! CraptoCoin only, my handle is @BMCacca! Maybe you already doing it, and that’s awesome!

ALSO, a shout-out to my extraordinary hairdresser @lilacroule from Croule, Young and Lovely who keep me lookin’ good! AND, my makeup by fabulous @marigoldyoung! So much love to their salon. Practices are things done more than one time regularly, and I have been practicing hard for tonight’s fundraiser! That’s why I call them practices!”

“And…without further ado, give it up for the Manteno Wonder herself, Mrs. Bernadette Cacca!”

A slow clap is heard, mixed in with hoots and hollers from Bern’s obsessed fanboys.

After finishing her last accordion cover tune for the first half of her set, “My Fart Goes Boom”, Bern runs to the washroom, humming “Let’s all go to the restroom” as she poops and farts.

Mrs. Cacca emerges, approached by a Chicago television reporter. 

“Hi Bern. I would like to interview you. We got a press release—“

“Not now, after.”

“I have other stories to cover. Let’s do this now.” 

“The show must go on.”

“I am from Ukraine and have family there.”

“Fair enough, let’s do this interview up on stage. We will both look awesome up there!” Bernadette gushes.

The Chicago TV reporter enters stage right, Bernadette stage left. Reporter Elena Emm stops to remember her questions so she can begin her interview. 

An impatient Bernadette sighs loudly, whistles and hums.

“Why are you staring off into space? Are you in a fantasy world?” Bern snarks, snickers, thinking only Elena can hear her.

“I am blind,” the reporter advises the oblivious Bernadette, unaware a camera operator is filming the entire interview.

“Here let me touch your face,” the ableist and ignorant Bern belittles the Chicago TV news reporter, reaching for her face.

Elena knocks Bernadette unconscious with a single blow to her piehole, then proceeds to yeet her into the crowd of bootlickers.

“This show is getting entertaining” Gothic Diana Ross says to her bandmates, The Midnight Supremes, who are waiting in the wings.

“I may be visually impaired, but I’m not stupid” Elena Emm says to the crowd who had poured in to find out where their entertainer Bernadette had gone, only to have that communal narcadoodle chucked right into a pile of them, knocking the fanboys over like a set of bowling pins. Strike!

Happy she got a scoop on the poop-mistress extraordinaire, Elena and the news team head back to Chicago to produce their segment for the next morning’s newscast.

“Next up, give a hand for these lovely ladies, Gothic Diana Ross and the Midnight Supremes!” announces the emcee, who had called the Manteno girl group last minute to replace their annoying neighbor Bern Cacca on the bill.

“You look so good on the outside”

— Cold Cave

Damien Hurlbutt’s Pool Toys

“Why does your brother Damien keep buying pool toys in the middle of Winter?” Wally Green asks his Illinois pharmacy-chain clerk, Kankakee Elvis impersonator and covert narcissist, Robbie Hurlbutt.

Robbie says nothing, chooses to ignore his boss and keeps on stocking shelves as he hopes to leave early so he can skip out on closing.

“Has he moved a body or something?” Wally says of Robbie’s equally creepy and narcissistic brother Damien.

Robbie ignores Wally, finishes stocking and sneaks out the door while the store owner is not looking so he can head down to the bar. First, he has to meet his speedball dealer.

Robbie, high on uppers, spends 20 minutes chatting up the bartender, while other customers grow impatient and angry as he is holding up the mixing of their cocktails and the pouring of their beers.

Robbie downs his downers and chases them with prescription painkillers he stole from his elderly mother PJ.

The inebriated Elvis impersonator texts his brother Damien, hoping he will join him and take him home, however after multiple selfies and text messages saying how much he loves his brother, Damien does not reply.

Cinema-13 clerk, bulbous neckbeard and communal narcadoodle Damien Hurlbutt strokes his dayglow-orange facial coiffe, and sets out a clipboard containing a sign-up sheet requesting email addresses for a newsletter. A theater customer walks up to the movie theater counter and asks what the newsletter is about. “It’s just a newsletter,” the sneaky narcissist Damien replies in his typical smug tone.

After the picture finishes its run and the ushers escort all the guests, Damien collects the newsletter sign-up sheet and heads to his Bourbonnais neckbeard-nest to sleep on the floor. Before he can retire for the night, he get annoyed over the mess of texts and photos from his brother Robbie. Damien would rather sleep in his mess of plastic tubs, and boxes of the things he loves more than people, than head back to Kankakee to pick up a drunk. Thinking he can gain something from helping his brother, he drives down to the Kankakee bar at which Robbie is performing slurred Elvis Presley Karaoke. The two bumbling idiots get into Damien’s beat-up van and head home. 

“What about my purple clown car?” Robbie asks Damien.

“Get it tomorrow.”

Damien gets a text from a coworker whose birthday is coming up soon. Knowing well it is illegal to text and drive, Damien messages his coworker, lovebombing her about the $50 gift card he is going to buy her, bragging about the surprise she clearly expressed she did not feel comfortable accepting.

After nearly crashing, Damien flips off the other driver and heads to Robbie’s Kankakee apartment, crashing on his floor instead.

Damien and Robbie wake up to snow on the ground. Damien retells the same story about his father N. Ron’s obsession with the weather channels he has already bored Robbie with at least 80 times now. Robbie leaves the room, stumbling on record albums he dumped all over the floor to get to the bathroom. Even though he is terrified of getting locked in the washroom while pooping, Robbie wants to get away from Damien.

Robbie emerges, and Damien pulls out the newsletter sign-up sheet, filled with names and email addresses. “Hey Robbie, my number-one brother? I would love to ask a favor from you. Can you contact Pat Splatt and try to sell him these email addresses? I collected them to send out messages getting out the good things us tender-hearts at the Bourbonnais Men’s Rights Activist (MRA) Club can do to help us men fight misandry. I would like to sell him a copy because I need the money to buy my coworkers gifts. I spent my paycheck already on action figures.

“What’s in it for me?” Robbie asks his equally self-centered brother Damien.

“Well, our theater has an extra Gothic Diana Ross poster from when we sponsored her show a couple years back.”

“Sold.” Robbie grins ear-to-ear and dials up Kankakee criminal and email spammer Pat Splatt.

The Hurlbutt brothers drive over to Pat Splatt’s flat, where the straggly long-haired Pat is busy harvesting emails from the Internet using his Spam-O-Matic computer program. The three group together to organize their petty crime. 

“Damien, I can pay you per email reply, that’s it.”

“Oh come now!”

“Oh go now, Damien. That is my final offer. Take it or leave it. I don’t have to offer you anything.”

“I know, I know, I know…” Damien says like a broken record, mimicking a certain furniture commercial emanating from Champaign. 

Damien reluctantly hands Pat the photocopied sign-up list containing contact information he collected from unsuspecting moviegoers.

Damien then heads to Wally Green’s to buy more pool toys and chucks them in his bathroom. After whizzing, he washes his hands with far more water than he needs and sprinkles the water all over the bathroom floor, leaving on the bathroom light and fan because he does not care.

Damien begins typing up his MRA “newsletter” in a word-processor program on his 10 year old desktop computer, resting atop a wooden folding table, the only piece of furniture in the entire room. The rotund neckbeard emails his diatribe while wearing his graphic tee displaying the text:

“I can 

EXPLAIN 

it to you

But I can’t

UNDERSTAND

it for you.”

A few days go by, however nobody takes Damien up on his offer to join the Bourbonnais MRA Club. Nobody clicks on the ads for the 21 Conference either. 

Damien realizes he needs to get ready for work now so he can make it on time after taking his two-hour shower.

Mr. Hurlbutt walks into the theater barely on-time. His boss, theater owner Konrad Teirant, calls him into his office.

Damien’s heart sinks and he utters a melodramatic “gulp” as he walks over to Konrad’s office.

“Damien, you really dropped the ball this time. I have been receiving numerous complaints from customers who have been getting emails about some misogyny club.”

“What?“

“This is unacceptable. They told me they signed up for a newsletter here? I never ordered you to or anyone else to put out a call for contact information. Do you want me to get sued?”

“Well…no” an embarrassed-because-caught Damien tells his boss.

“Damien, you have been working here a long time. You know that if we want to gather contact information so we can sell it, that would come from me. And only so I can profit, not you Damien. You’re not that important. Not at all. In fact, I can fire you at any time. I am telling you that because I am your friend. Oh by the way, why do you wear that dumb fedora? It looks stupid. And wash your beard. It smells. Don’t tell anyone we had this meeting. Go home and stay home the rest of this week. I will call you about next week’s hours.”

An excited Damien rushes home to play with his pool toys because he is happy he has the week off, not wondering at all if his boss will even call him back to work the next week.