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.

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 is. I am blocking these fools.”

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

Ant opens the door.

“Oh, hi Sybil.”

“Hey Ant. Do you have any dog food? I am hungry.”

“No Sybil. I told you before. Our family does not have a dog. But thanks for stopping by.”

“Okay. I did not know if you guys got one now.”

“Have a good day Sybil.”

Ant closes the door and a disappointed Sybil Kibble heads back to her McMansion down the street.

Sybil’s phone rings as she strides home. After 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.

Gothic Diana Ross, a Kankakee singer and impersonator, 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.”

Di stares in the mirror for ten minutes, puts on her eyeliner, then starts listening to her own singing.

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. He remembers a tactic he had learned during his tenure at Credit Recovery Associates (CRASS) in Kankakee, and changes his mode of operation.

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, and deletes the voicemail from “Brandon” asking him to call back, who has not explained why he had called.

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.

Knowing that Kankakee slimeball Pat Splatt might be able to hustle on his behalf, he calls. Pat teams up with Robbie Hurlbutt to try and spam people all over Kankakee by stealing Fakebook Martplace accounts.

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 a can of cheap, wet dog food. Pat’s buddy and partner-in-crime Robbie Hurlbutt snuck it using his mobile phone, in the company break room, when he worked at CRASS for two weeks.

“Check this out, Robbie and Brandon!”

Pat shows off his newly minted virus, disguised as a video, designed to slide into Fakebook Martplace instant message boxes all over Kankakee.

“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 US the users’ login credentials. We will start by replying to Fakebook Martplace ads. That way we will find suckers really easily.”

The room fills with laughter.

“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 doggie dinner. The recursive windows end up crashing some computers, while most others fail to get infected at all, as 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, curled up in his chair listening to a Robbie Hurlbutt Elvis impersonation video on a loop to try and increase his watch count.

“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!” Pat exclaims at Brandon and falls out his squeaky metal chair.

Brandon begins to laugh.

“Oopsie.” Pat giggles as Brandon leaves his former partner-in-crime and dials up another goofy plan in his head.

Damien is Willing to Be Desperate

Bourbonnais neckbeard and movie theater clerk Damien Hurlbutt prints up a bunch of business cards and leaves them around Kankakee County businesses, hoping to spring a date:

DAMIEN ULYSSES HURLBUTT

SINGLE NICE GUY

SEEKS M’LADY FOR

FREE MOVIE TICKETS

815-555-FART

Scammers call. Damien answers, thinking they are legit:

“Hi M’Lady M’dame” Damien answers.

“Is this Damien….Ummm….Hurlbutt?”

“You got ‘em.”

Hi. I am calling to report your Social Security Number has been disabled.”

“Oh hi. I see you got my card. I am a really nice guy.”

“I beg your pardon?

“No don’t hang up. I can will myself out of heart attacks, I am so cool.”

A click and a dial tone are heard.

Prankers call:

“Hello. Is this Damien?”

“Speaking.”

“You just won a lifetime subsciption to Feetsniffers’ Monthly!”

“I did! Oh, wow!”

“You moron, it’s a prank…”

The caller hangs up and a disappointed Damien’s smile turns upside down.

Pyramid scheme peddlers call.

“Hey, Babe.”

“Oh heyyyy honey puddin’” Damien replies to the lady caller.

“Umm, hi.”

“Heyyyy. What is a little and dainty lady want with an oaf like me?” Damien drools all over his flip phone.

“I have a great weight loss product that can take you from chump to champ in no time.”

“Come now!”

“Go now!” The lady hangs up on Damien.

Then Doris Krabalsky, the notorious street pyramid schemer calls. Damien hangs up. Doris calls again but Damien blocks her call because he does not want anything she might be selling.

Doris hides her number from caller ID and tries to call Mr. Hurlbutt again.

“Hello?”

“Hi, is this Damien?”

“Who is this?” Damien asks.

“I really think you are cute. Let’s go out sometime.”

“Wait, who is this?” a nervous Damien queries.

“Doris.”

Damien faints, falling to the floor, not waking up until hours later.

He did not “will his way out” of it, did he? In fact, he does not “will” his way out of much of anything.

Tears of a Clown

Madeline walks behind the strip mall, past the dumpsters, to hide from a client who turned her in for illegal activity at her low-income housing complex.

“Madwoman!” a male voice calls out.

“Who called me?” a terrified Madeline asks.

A slender, young, dirty-blonde male wearing shades, a hoodie, and ripped blue jeans walks up to Madeline.

“I am Brandon Dixon. I own Brandon’s Imbecile Machines in Kankakee. I hear you are a clown.”

“Ummm, yeah…”

Madeline shakes even more.

“I am one too. I would like to try out for your touring Vaudeville act.”

“Maybe I can use an understudy.”

“You bet. Call me.”

The two shake hands and part ways. Madeline heads back to work, Brandon home.

“Hi, is this Wally Green?”

“Speaking.”

“This is Madeline Topolla-Teirant. I need to order a case of some half-ply toilet paper. That’s the kind that breaks off one square at a time right? I need some really cheap supplies for our community centers here at our low income complexes and I am not going to pay a lot. Ohh, hold on I have a beep.”

Madeline switches calls.

“Robbie?”

“Hey babe. Moronic Half-Assets has a gig coming up tomorrow in Gary, Indiana. I was totally thinkin’ I would rock the joint as Roy Orbinson.”

“You’re just an Elvis impersonator and not a very good one,” Madeline insults Robbie.

“Well honey, I can also pull off a crazy cool Mike Mesmith.”

“Get outta here with that.”

“Peter Tork? “Johnny Cash?”

“NO!”

Madeline slams down the phone.

“Riiiiiing!”

“Yes.”

“This is Wally. You wanted to order toilet paper?”

Madeline sighs…

The next afternoon, a Wally Green’s truck shows up to the low income housing complex where Madeline works.

“Beep beep beep beep.” The truck backs in.

“A whole case of half-ply toilet paper, just like you ordered. Just sign here on the sticker.”

Madeline scrawls her name.

“Here you go!”

“Ouch!”

“Whoopsie!” says the driver.

“You dropped the box on my foot. I think you broke it!”

Madeline drives over to the nearest 30 Second Clinic.

“It’s a bit bruised but you will be fine. Just ice it for two days while you are at home. You can go back to work now.”

“But doctor?”

“Your thirty seconds are up. We have other patients out there in the waiting room. Our medical office assistant will walk you out and take your copay.”

An angry Madeline begrudgingly pays her bill and heads home. There is no way she can make the gig tonight.

Madeline gets on her mobile phone.

“Hey Brandon, this is Madeline. I know this is short notice. I have a clown gig tonight I cannot make. You see I broke—“

“I’ll do it!” Brandon says with a smirk only he can see on his face, as he is looking at himself in the mirror.

“Gary, Indiana. Lapolla Theater.”

“Oh, I will be there, makeup and all.”

“I knew I could count on you.”

“Thanks.”

Madeline hangs up her phone and takes a nap.

Hours pass and Madeline thinks about how happy she is that she has another clown. Deep down inside she really does not want to do that gig in Gary. She falls asleep while thinking up a scheme to get out of paying Brandon.

A series of dings wakes a sound asleep Madeline.

From: Konrad

“I did not know you were sending us a juggalo. The crowds booed us! What were you thinking, Mad?”

From: Robbie

“Man this clown is weird and he looks funny. He reminds me of people my father hung out with. He keeps asking me to buy him Faygo. Our gig sucked because of him, not because of me. Just saying.”

A series of photos came in of Brandon, Konrad and Robbie on stage.

Needless to say, Madeline was up all night, and it was not because of her foot hurting.

Solitaire

Kankakee pharmacy owner and barfly Wally Green is playing solitaire after the nice lady in the dress and heels rejected his moves. Apparently his tall tales about his wrongly having lost the deed to Manhattan Island after pirates stole it from his ancestors was too much for her (and his air-horn noseblowing).

Do you think Wally will ever get a date?