Pat Splatt Poops the Question

Bourbonnais neckbeard, 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 a fragile narcissist, scared she might confront him about his covert history of verbal abuse toward her. 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 poor imitator of Elvis, 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 contacting them and sending them presents. 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 worst 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 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 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. 

Robbie’s Singing the Bathroom Blues

Kankakee, Illinois’ worst Elvis impersonator, Wally Green’s drugstore clerk and evil narcissistic abuser Robbie Hurlbutt has a huge crush on Midnight Supremes lead singer Gothic Diana Ross. After all, she is an impersonator also, and he wants to make a huge impression on her. She has a gig coming up soon and he is scheming to find a way to connive his boss, store owner Wally Green into letting him hang up her show poster at work to promote her music as he thinks it will somehow make her like him. 

”Hey Robbie, have a look at these paper towels I invented just for my store: Half the size, twice the cost. All the frustration when you go to rip off a sheet, thanks to me!” boasts a balding, squat, rotund Wally Green as he tips his fishing cap.

“I know, boss, let’s put them on a groovy display table near the front of the store so the suckers — I mean customers — will think they are getting them on sale.”

“Great idea! I am glad I thought of it!” Wally exclaims with glee, throwing his stubby arms into the air.

“Well…now that I, boss, thought of such a splendid idea, I have a favor to ask. This band is really a gas and I want to hang up their poster for their upcoming show at the store,” Robbie says to his superior with bedroom eyes, dreaming of Miss Gothic Diana Ross, the only Boss he could ever want.

“Naw. Get back to work. I need you to make production metrics this time. Start selling people some pills they really do not need.”

Credit Recovery Associates (CRASS) Lead Debt Collector Sybil Kibble comes into Wally Green’s Drugstore to buy an iced coffee and a bag of dog biscuits for lunch as she forgot hers at home.

“Ehh. Out of order again. Must be that half ply toilet paper,” Sybil thinks out loud.

“Your washroom is on the blink?” Robbie asks, aghast.

“Yeah and I am in a hurry!” Sybil shouts as she makes her way over toward the men’s room.

“Do not go in there!” Robbie commands Sybil.

Sybil walks by Gothic Diana Ross in the men’s room, who is looking in the mirror, applying her jet-black eyeliner. She pinches a huge loaf in the stall next to Wally Green, who is busy whizzing away in the urinal. Sybil flushes but does not clean up the mess on the seat, flinging the door wide open with her arm. She makes a beeline for the sink and spots Diana sarcastically chortling away at the Gothic Diana Ross and the Midnight Supremes poster on washroom wall.

A befuddled Robbie struts into the men’s room. 

“I TOLD YOU NOT TO COME IN HERE!” Robbie shouts at the women. “THIS IS THE MEN’S ROOM.”

“Get back to work, Robbie, the ladies’ room is closed. Take down this poster while you are at it and apologize to our customers.” Wally Green tells his employee Robbie.

“I am sorry IF I offended you.” Robbie smirks.

“Get lost!” Diana and Sybil chant in unison as they leave the bathroom.

Sybil buys her lunch and heads back to work. Wally sells lots of paper towels and Robbie is put on temporary janitorial duty until he improves his customer service skills. But don’t lock him in the bathroom. He thinks he is Elvis.

Droning it In

Doris and Keona Krabalsky need to try a new marketing tactic to sell their pyramid schemes.

They call up local yokel Robbie Hurlbutt, known for his mediocre-at-best Elvis impersonation act.

“Sorry babe, I am booked solid this month. I am making love to the audience every night this month.”

“Get lost, Robert.” Doris disconnects her phone.

“Maybe we can contact Smokey Ashe to teach us how to make smoke signals with her cigarette collection. I am certain she needs the dough now that she has been fired from CRASS for smoking at work.”

“Too stinky, Leona. I give a hoot and don’t wanna pollute. Oh, wait she’s dead!”

The pair share giggles.

Doris spies a small drone in the clearance aisle at a shop the strip mall on the main drag in Bourbannais. “Ah-ha! Perfect.”

Doris heads home to her apartment, where Leona is in the kitchen washing dishes.

“What dumb, new-fangled thing bring you now, sis?”

“Hey look, Leona! I bought this drone.”

“A who?”

“Have you seen one of these before?”

Leona gives Doris the side-eye, hands on her hips.

“I came up with a great marketing idea for our business opportunities. We can attack Kankakee County with flyers, drone style! All we have to do is take these flyers we got from our upline leaders, attach them to the drones, fly them over town and let them loose! These opportunities will sell themselves!”

“Meet me at the bridge, Doris and we will launch our new venture!” Leona jumps up and exclaims.

“Yeah, Bossbabe!”

Doris leaves her Kankakee apartment to meet her sister Leona at her home, the I-57 bridge underpass near Exit 315.

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“I think this idea will really fly!” Doris tells Leona, drone in hand. Leona attaches the PryMerica brochures to the bottom of the drone. Off it goes.

Doris flies the drone and drops PryMerica business opportunities all over Kankakee County. Leona and Doris share memories of letting balloons go as kids in school, wondering where they went.

“Think of all the mail, Leona, all the money. All the people we can serve I mean sell to.”

“Serve ourselves,” Leona quips. They share a laugh, and part ways.

Doris comes home to an answering machine full of messages. Could this be the moneymaker she has been hoping for?

“Oh dear, it is clouding up. I need to close the windows.”

Doris closes all her windows and checks her answering machine, landline first.

“Beep. Um hi. I need you to come pick up this mess you left on my lawn. I found a pile of brochures with your number on it. Please come right away. Thanks.”

“Not a chance.” Doris giggles and pushes “next.”

“Beeep. Yeah, thanks for the kindling. You dropped it straight on my lawn. I am calling to say thanks…your number is printed right on it! I have enough for the end of the year to put in my fireplace. Thanks again, Doris!”

Doris growls and hits “next”.

“Hi. This is Mack. What are you wearing?”

Doris smashes the “next” button.

After clearing all her messages, Doris’ phone will not stop ringing. Not a single person shows an interest in buying her business opportunities to sell to friends. Doris pulls the plug on her phone.

Thankfully, she did not give out her mobile number…or did she? Oops.