Shop Till You Drop, Sybil!

It’s a sunny day in Kankakee and Sybil is out for a walk. Sybil is strolling to the beat of auto-tuned mumble-country in her earbuds, when she spots a green cloth sack with a dollar sign on it lying on the ground near the Last National Bank of Kankakee County.

“Hmmm, what should I do?” Sybil wonders for a moment. 

“Should I go on a shopping spree, or take it home and shove it away in a drawer. I know! Shopping spree! I will pretend I am on Shop Till You Drop and go crazy with it! It’s my lucky day!” Sybil tells herself. She grabs the sack off the ground and heads home to her McMansion, gets in her Chrysler LeBaron and heads out.

Sybil pulls into the Bradley strip mall, which had contained the only Buckstars that ever went out of business in the history of the world. She walks into Miser & Co. Collectibles. “SALE! Three for the price of two (must buy three)” reads the storefront signage.

Sybil gets the biggest cart she can find and starts loading it up. “Oooh, fat free oil. I cannot get enough bottles of this.” 

Sybil spies another item she supposedly cannot live without. “Dehydrated water. How keen. Must grow my collection.”

Sybil continues to add to her cart. “A seatbelt belt? I could rock one of those. Oh and what is this? A golden mustache earring? Hot dog!”

“Hey Sybil, m’lady, m’lady” says a nearby Damien Hurlbutt, looking over the store’s record collection with his younger brother Robbie.

“Oh, tell your mother I said hi.”

“Yup. Will do.” says Damien. A silent Robbie has his nose buried in the Elvis LPs.

“Almost time to check out, just need to get a few more ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ signs. They are buy one, get one half off, y’know?” Sybil thinks aloud.

“I know.” Damien says, because he thinks it is all about him.

Sybil heads to the checkout counter, her basket almost overflowing with useless crap. She waits in a long line to check out. As she approaches the clerk, reaches for her money sack.

“That will be $601.90.”

Sybil opens up her sack and pulls out the bills. However, they do not look right to her. They are smaller, thinner, and printed on different colored papers. Sybil’s frown stretches down, her face turns red from embarrassment.

“Ma’am, did you really think you could pay us with Monopoly money?” says the clerk.

Sybil faints. She had shopped until she dropped.

Pat Splatt’s Viral Video

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

“Hang up.” Dorian James says to Ant.

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

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

Ant greets the visitor: “Oh, hi Sybil.”

“Hey Ant. Do you have any dog food? I am hungry,” the Credit Recovery Associates (CRASS) bill collector inquires.

“No Sybil. I told you before. We do not have a dog. But thanks for stopping by.”

“Okay. I did not know if you guys change your mind.”

“Have a good day Sybil.”

Ant closes the door, a disappointed Sybil Kibble heads back to her McMansion down the street. Her pleas for free dog food have all been met with disappointment. As she walks into one of her three garages, she checks her caller ID:

“BRANDON’S IMBECILE MACHINES

KANKAKEE, IL”

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

Manteno singer Gothic Diana Ross, leader of The Midnight Supremes, is busy pulling up her black fishnet stockings when her phone lights up.

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

“Brandon’s Imbecile Machines? Block.”

The Midnight Supremes all cackle in unison.

Brandon Dixon, owner of Brandon’s Imbecile Machines, is getting frustrated by the lack of response to the new phone campaign for his lifted truck lot.

Ant Yu gets a call from an unknown number. He is in the habit of screening his calls and lets it go to voicemail. The next day, he checks his messages. Since “Brandon” had asked him to return his call without having given him a reason, Ant deletes the crapage and blocks the time-waster’s number.

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

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

After seeing this commercial many times on PooTube, he calls up Kankakee huckster Pat Splatt.

The two team up with Elvis impersonator and covert narcissist Robbie Hurlbutt, to try and spam people all over Kankakee.

Pat Oswald Splatt, or POS for short, develops a Fakebook virus to steal accounts for Brandon. It is disguised as a video featuring a picture of Sybil Kibble eating dog bones. Robbie Hurlbutt had covertly taken it using his mobile phone when he had briefly worked at CRASS.

“Check this out, Robbie and Brandon!”

With a cheesy grin, Pat shows off his newly minted virus, disguised as a video, which he plans on sliding into Fakebook Martplace instant message boxes all over Kankakee County.

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

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

Pat, Robbie and Brandon share evil grins.

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

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

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

Days go by…nothing.

Pat tests the virus and it is operational.

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

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

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

“Good idea.”

Pat modifies the virus code to replicate multiple windows featuring Sybil Kibble enjoying her canine cookies, Sybil stretching at her desk and a close-up of Sybil from behind. The recursive windows end up crashing some computers, however most machines fail to get infected at all; the ancient technology powering the virus gets caught by even the most basic pop-up killer.

Brandon storms in on a sleeping Pat Oswald Splatt, dreaming of opening up his very own click-farm, curled up in his computer chair listening to a Robbie Hurlbutt video on a loop.

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

“Who-what-um-who is this? Hello?”

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

“Oh, hi Brandon.”

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

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

Brandon laughs at Pat, pointing and mocking.

“Oopsie.” Pat giggles, gets up and chases out Brandon, who is now left to his own devices.

Poor Brandon and all those unsold compensation-mobiles.

Pat Splatt Poops the Question

Bourbonnais multiplex clerk, neckbeard and communal narcissist, Damien Hurlbutt, has caught word that his estranged former wife Lori is coming into Kankakee County for a doctor’s appointment. He is deathly afraid of running into her because he is scared she might confront him about his history of verbal abuse toward her, tarnishing his squeaky-clean image. He heads over to his brother Robbie’s apartment to ask him and fellow con man Pat Splatt to come up with a sneaky way into avoiding her.

“I’m back!” Damien tells his younger brother and fellow narcissist, Robbie.

“I’m front!” Robbie snickers back.

“I am leaving town for a week or longer. I am telling my boss at the cinema and then hitting the gas. My ex-wife is coming back into town and I am scared.”

“Scared?” Robbie replies in his typical faux-Elvis voice.

“Yeah. Sssh, don’t tell anyone. I really look good online after I smear campaigned her to all my friends, even to that famous couple until they had told me to stop messaging them, sending them presents and mailing them weekly postcards. I had sent them a drawing I made all by myself after our friend passed away since I had talked them into letting me send them art instead. I swear, they are really impressed! Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!” Damien exclaims with glee as he rubs his palms together.

“Just man up and deal with it!” Robbie Hurlbutt tells his older brother Damien.

“Come now. That is not how you talk to a fellow Men’s Rights Activist! You know that!” Damien says on the defense to Robbie.

“I hope you get the time off approved.”

“Okay, okay, okay, okay…” Damien repeats ad nauseum, not knowing his little brother Robbie is already out of earshot.

“Ding-dong.” 

“You’re wrong!” Damien snickers beneath his breath to the person at Robbie’s door.

A half-grinning Pat Splatt opens the door and struts inside.

“I popped the question!”

“What question?” Damien asks.

“Heyyyy…where did you meet her?” Robbie replies and looks away.

“Hey Pat, my ex is coming into town and I am feeling lukecold about this. I was wondering if you could help come up with a scheme—“

“Damien, I just got engaged!”

“I know, I know. My ex is due in sometime this week. I would like to gingerly bow out of town but I have to work. What do you suggest I do?”

“Hey, can I sing at your wedding, Pat?” Kankakee’s number one Elvis impersonator, the one and only Robbie Hurlbutt asks.

“Do you know anything besides Elvis?”

“I can sing lots of oldies.” Robbie replies.

“Do you play any metal?”

“No, but you can book me really cheap. I will throw in my groovy dance moves for free.”

“I’ll consider it.” Pat says to Robbie.

“So where did you meet her?” Robbie asks.

“The dating app OKStupid. Hey, I’ll show you guys a picture.” Pat gets out his phone and opens up said dating app.

“Who’s Daniel Sprague?” Damien asks.

“Oh, that’s my profile,” a half-embarrassed Pat replies as his gawky, straggly self shows the Hurlbutt brothers the obviously-stolen photos of the handsome, athletic man in the photos with the gorgeous hair and eyes. 

The Hurlbutts smile and ask to see his new girl.

“Her name is Alix. She’s from South Africa.”

“When did you meet her?” Damien asks.

“Oh, a month ago.”

“She came to Kankakee?” Robbie asks?

“No.”

“Hey Damien, let’s work on avoiding your ex,” Pat says to change the topic and the three work on scheming.

The next day arrives and so does Damien. Unlike Pat, Damien rings the bell and waits. While he waits, he taps his foot and jiggles the doorknob a dozen times. Make it a baker’s dozen.

“Well doesn’t that put poop in your soup?” Damien asks Robbie.

“Say what?” 

“My time off did not get approved. I have to work. That means if my ex-wife comes into town, and visits the theater, she could say something bad about me if I am mean to her! What do I do?”

“Weren’t you saying you had heel spurs, just like the former president?”

“You know, the Moon landing may not be real but darn it, my bone spurs are!” Damien sternly replies.

“You deserve a long, hard week off.”

“You know, that’s right. I’ll just call in.” 

“What do you do at that theater anyway?”

“Oh, make copies of tickets and give them away. And make color copies of things I print out…all on the company’s dime. Why not? They’re paying for it.”

The brothers share a giggle and Damien drives home to his neckbeard nest to sleep on the floor.

Damien dials his supervisor, Cinema-13 owner Konrad Teirant, on his ten year old flip phone to call in “sick.” 

“You will need to be examined by a doctor and have a written excuse for each day you are out. Company policy.” Konrad says to Damien.

Upset and surprised by this rule, Damien makes an appointment to be seen. The office cannot tells him he cannot in until next week.

“Phew!” Damien says aloud after he hangs up his ancient flip phone and writes down his doctor appointment.

Damien drives over to Robbie’s apartment, where Robbie, his roommate Andy Skandees and Pat Splatt are all watching TV.

A bulbous Damien sits down on the basket chair and nearly falls out, while Pat stares angrily at his phone on the couch next to Andy, who is relaxing in his white tank top and cargo pants.

“She says she wants to come meet me. In person. I keep telling her I am busy. She says she is on her way to Kankakee in a week-and-a-half for a business meeting via way of Chicago!” an unhappy Pat exclaims.

“Why don’t you want to meet your girl? Andy asks.

“Reasons,” Pat replies.

“Did I tell you my story about the poop elves?” Damien asks with a large grin on his face.

“Way too many times…” the rest of the room answers in unison.

“Oh, I forgot.” Damien lies.

The Kankakee storm rages on, and then changes to sun five minutes later.

Damien spends the next week off work, feeling glad he does not run into his former wife out and about, especially at work. It is review week coming up and he is deathly afraid of this time of year, as he is every year. Damien lives to impress, and will not even let his peers throw him a birthday party because he is not the one doing the impressing. If anyone would care enough to surprise him —  not that they would — he would take over the check, (in a not-so-polite-way) and insist on paying on it himself thinking that would somehow impress them. Damien only does this for image, as he only cares about himself. He just wants to look good to cover up his lack of empathy.

Damien goes to the doctor’s office the following Monday before returning to work at the movie theater that night. After all, he had just spent a week off for his heel spurs!

While waiting for about an hour for his fifteen minute exam, in walks a familiar-looking woman, along with a much older lady. Damien looks up.

“Oh gawd.” Lori says to her friend after briefly looking over at Damien and then back at her friend.

Damien is now shaking with fear. He immediately dials up Robbie. It goes straight to voicemail. He calls Andy. Same thing. He calls Pat.

“Hey, man. It’s an emergency.”

“Be right over. I am charging you double-time.”

“Fine.”

Damien flips over his bronze-age phone and waits, tapping his fingers, whistling audibly.

Thirty minutes pass and Damien has not been called back to see the doctor, neither has Lori.

Pat Splatt walks in, cowboy boots a-clomping.

“Hi Damien. What’s going—“

“Look, Pat.”

Damien points across from him, to his former wife and her friend.

“What do you want from me?” Pat asks.

“That’s my ex wife! I thought her appointment was last week! You gave me the info.”

“So what. Things change. It happens.”

“Hey, you sound familiar!” says one of the ladies across from him.

“Hey-hhmm-hhuhhh—hmmm—what?” a melodramatic Damien replies.

“No not you, that guy next to you.” the elderly lady replies in her Cape Town accent, appearing to be about 72.

“You mean Pat?” Damien snarkily replies.

“Pat? I thought your name was Daniel!”

“Alllll-iiiiixxxx?” a stunned Pat Splatt replies.

“Yes, sonny. It’s me. I had told you I was coming into town. But you hadn’t wanted to meet me. I wonder why not? You do not look anything like your picture. The engagement is off.”

“Well neither do you!” Pat exclaims.

“Calm down everyone!” a staff member shouts from behind a window.

The group of people waiting wonder how any of them would get any calmer by a comment like that.

Damien is eventually thrown out of the office and Lori is called in next.

Needless to say, Damien does not pass his yearly review at Teirant Cinema-13. Poor Damien. If only he had just tried to be nice. But then again, he would not be Damien. 

Moronic Crime Rings and Things

Narcissistic 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 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 wieght 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.