“I just got a new kill-switch for my bus parts collection” JoAnn “JK” Kibble tells with heartfelt enthusiasm to her daughter Sybil, Lead Debt Collector at Credit Recovery Associates (CRASS) in Kankakee. It is Bring Your Parents to Work Day here at CRASS.
“I wonder if she’s single” bill collector Dale Davis thinks about his the mother of his boss Sybil, since Miss Kibble had rejected his many advances in the past. He runs in place and tests his heart repeatedly on his watch, hoping to impress The Kibbles.
“The squirrels are really nuts around here. They are nature’s comedians,” Sybil says to her mom as she crunches on a bunch of dog bones.
“Oh. I just wanted to tell you I have been doing these gigs to support the Manteno Optimal Club. I sing showtunes and play accordion. I am collecting donations if you want to chip in, since I know you love music, and it’s going to great cause because I love the community so much…” Bernadette rambles, not realizing Gothic Diana Ross and The Midnight Supremes are slow clapping to insult Bernadette’s lame attempt at asking for money.
“Oh I am so glad you want to help! How much are you going to give?”
Bernadette Cacca walks home and tests the crank on her window-mounted Turd Machine. “Pep, did you forget to oil the turd machine hanging in the living-room window?”
“No, Bern, it’s out of turds.”
“Oh. Where did they go?”
“Little lady, you burned them last night in the fireplace. Don’t you remember?”
“No, I had too much moonshine.”
Gothic Diana Ross looks out the arched windows of her home to see if the coast is clear, hoping to dodge any Caccas, and heads outside to board the bus.
Since her turd machine collections are out of turds, Bern devises another way to annoy Diana.
As Diana is just standing there waiting for a bus, Bern starts spamming her with unsolicited, incorrect information.
“Deeanna. This bus is not coming for an hour.”
Diana ignores Bern, enjoying her New Beat mix through her headset.
“Deeanna, it’s raining out. Where’s your umbrella?”
“Do you need to borrow one?” Diana sarcastically replies.
“See, Dee — I can drive you to where you’re going. I love to drive because I am a good person who helps the community.”
Diana continues to enjoy her music.
As Diana sees the bus approach, she takes off her headset so she can communicate with the driver, waving so they can see her.
“You know, Diana, you don’t have to flag the bus down. It will show up anyway,” Bern advertises her unsolicited advice.
Diana boards the bus, pays the fare and sits down in the back. Bern sits a few seats away, since the one next to Diana is already occupied by another passenger.
Diana exits the bus in front of a building near the garage where she dropped off her black 1988 Chrysler Conquest to get repaired, stopping to pause and gather her thoughts.
“That business is closed. Can’t you read the sign?” Bern nags Diana.
“Don’t you have a pool to crap in?” the 5’10” Diana says, turns away and makes big strides using her long, slender legs toward the repair shop.
The rotund, 5’4″ Bern gives up as she has run out of ideas, for now.
“What can I do ya fer?” asks the mechanic behind the counter.
“I am her to pick up my ’88 Chrysler Conquest.”
“She’s not done yet. Give ‘er a couple more hours.”
Diana falls asleep in the chair while listening to music on her phone, the playlist changed to heavy metal and experimental noise.
She restfully dreams, drifting off to outer space, not a soul around to ask nosey questions. The beautiful goth queen and the boss of herself snores every so slightly, lightly. As Gothic Diana enjoys her peaceful rest away from her batty neighbors, she is starkly awakened.
“Yeah…” a sleepy Miss Ross replies.
“Your car is good as new. She’s all fixed up. You owe us $1991.”
Diana reluctantly swipes her card, and drives onto the highway. It is getting dark on this cold Illinois night.
“Glad to have her back,” Gothic Diana thinks out loud.
Bernadette Cacca pulls up beside Diana in the lane to the left.
“But not her…” Diana also thinks out loud.
“Come on Diana, I’ll race you.”
“Get lost!” Diana exclaims, wishing the pest that is Bernadette Cacca would leave her be.
“Chicken! Bok-bok-bok-bok” the narcissistic Bern eggs on the unwavering Diana.
The angered motorist behind Diana driving the white 1980s Toyota is in a hurry. Diana moves ahead.
“Yeahhhh!” an excited Bernadette exclaims as she burns rubber.
Diana and Bern race up and down the highway. Diana drifts as she tries to make her way very far from the trailing Bernadette. All she wants to do is go home.
The two arrive at their Manteno block, Diana first, Bern second.
Parked in Bern Cacca’s driveway is the white 1980s Toyota AE86.
A young man exits the Toyota and asks the approaching drivers.
“Did someone order tofu?”
Bernadette grabs her food and runs upstairs to eat because she cannot wait to poop again. She loves to poop.
An exhausted Diana enters her Gothic Victorian home and hits the silky black pillow atop her wrought-iron bed, falling asleep as soon as she lays down.
Damien Hurlbutt decides that it is getting too hard to pick up women in Kankakee County. Despite his most sincere offers of free movie tickets to the multiplex at which he works, all but one offer has been rejected; the lone acceptor has gone with her boyfriend instead of Damien. Damien takes his efforts to the World Wide Web.
“I know what women want” says this self-proclaimed nice guy on his dating profile, under his handle “NiceGuyGoodCatch4UChivalryisDead”.
Quoth his profile, “Women need men like me to hold doors open for them, pull out their chairs, and buy all kinds of gifts for them. I am that man. Men like me are endangered species. Where R U?”
Damien strokes his straggly, scratchy neckbeard, tips his fedora, and says “you know, I have an idea”. Meanwhile his coworkers are all staring at him wondering to whom he is talking.
Damien goes home and opens up his newest copy of Hoard Magazine. It took him almost an hour to unbury it from his pile of action figures, coloring books and dirty briefs. Damien turns to the back section, and reads over an advertisement he was thinking about while on the job:
“TIRED OF LOOKING? OUR WOMEN ARE LOOKING FOR MEN LIKE YOU!
MAIL COMPLETED APPLICATION PLUS $50 FEE TO:
Fedora-Neckbeard M’Ladies By Mail
666 Lord Byron Way
Hades, NY 11666
Attn: D. Gray
Damien jumped at the offer and mailed in his application with his payment.
Two weeks later, Damien gets a long, handwritten letter from a 20 year old lady from Vietnam named Ha. “You sound like such a gentleman. I cannot wait to meet you.” She includes a photo. Damien is smitten. Ha is the first lady to show interest in Damien!
The two write back and forth. Ha tells Damien she would spend 27 hours traveling just to meet him. He wants to call her but she has not given him her number. He asks her for it, not afraid to spend money to call someone he can shower with gifts, and hopefully meet and control someday. After all, Damien only cares about himself, and Damien thinks he is the only one deserving of love. He only cares about he, himself and Damien.
A month goes by and no word from Ha.
Damien checks the mail, hoping for a postcard. He has sent her one every day except for Sunday. He gets a letter. Damien growls.
The letter is addressed to Mr. Damien Hurlbutt.
“Dear Mr. Hurlbutt:
This letter is an attempt to collect a debt. Your payment to Fedora-Neckbeard M’Ladies By Mail has been rejected due to insufficient funds. Please pay the below amount immediately. Please keep in mind that movie tickets are not acceptable forms of payment.
Communal narcissist Bernadette Cacca loves all the attention she is getting at the Manteno High School awards ceremony all students were forced to attend, complaining she might have to move closer to the aisle because she keeps getting up to receive buttloads of awards. Pat Splatt, meanwhile is bored out of his skull and Gothic Diana Ross is pleading to her homeroom teacher to take her out of her misery.
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Manager of Kankakee’s Best Low-Budget Apartments, Vaudeville clown and sociopath Madeline Topolla-Teirant sat down to study for her clown-school SATs at the Bourbonnais Buckstars after screaming demands at the friendly cafe staff, hoping to score herself a free drink. Madeline, known as “Madwoman” to her peers and tenants, thinks she can get her way by barking at people and calling them names like a schoolyard bully.
“I need you to leave and never come back” part-time barista Fernando T. Perez asserted. Of course, Madwoman threw a Karen fit, calling it “illegal” to throw her out, hurling racial slurs and colorful language. That’s IT!” Fernando called police and pointed at Madwoman.
Needless to say, the mad clown was hurled out, and banned for life.