A La Knuckle Sandwiches

Gothic Diana Ross, leader of the Manteno-based cover group The Midnight Supremes, is getting tired of her next-door neighbor Bernadette Cacca peeling out of her driveway, blasting her accordion, and stinking up the air by burning poopies. Diana wants to have a word with Bernadette, who is polishing her wall-mounted Turd Machine, and walks over after she finishes making her poo-shooter shine.

“You have a very punchable face.” Gothic Diana Ross tells Bernadette.

“I have a beautiful face? Aww, thanks. I get that a lot.”

“A punchable face you dipstick. Come here, I’ll give you a knuckle sandwich.”

“Thanks! I love to eat!” a wide-eyed Bernadette exclaims with glee, mouth hanging open until she gets punched by Miss Ross. 

Behind the Moroniverse – Gothic Diana Ross

As a tribute to my late friend Caroll Spinney — the man behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch — I am telling the backstory of my Grouch-inspired character Gothic Diana Ross.

Oscar art courtesy of Caroll Spinney. Do not reproduce..

Oscar the Grouch is not a bad person, despite what millions of kids big and small may think. Oscar just wants to be left alone. Like Oscar, Gothic Diana Ross just wants her solitude. Just like Maria knocking on Oscar’s can just to ask him nosey questions, Diana’s neighbor Bernadette keeps knocking on the door of the slate Victorian house which she and The Midnight Supremes share. 

Can you blame them for getting mad? 

A lifelong Diana Ross fan, I appreciate the diva singers most. Back in 2017, a few months after I left a toxic marriage with a communal narcissist, I met another diva online. Because my post-traumatic stress disorder was so raw, I would lash out at people whom triggered me so easily. I had felt like everyone was a narcissist after leaving one. Sadly, I had gotten very upset at a certain gothic diva and I feel bad about it. 

Combining my love for music, all things gothic and my friend Caroll Spinney, I created Gothic Diana Ross and The Midnight Supremes as a nod to some of my favourite performers.

Eventually I got to apologize to the gothic singer and felt a lot better. 

Writing the conflict scenes between Gothic Diana Ross and her annoying neighbours Peppi and Bernadette “Bern” Moran Cacca feels very cathartic for me. Sonia Manzano (“Maria”) is quoted as having said Caroll playing Oscar “saved a lot on therapy” in the book “Jim Henson: The Works.”

Hopefully my stories will help bring the world a little joy, and I get to leave the world a little better someday far from now when I am gone. 

Rest in peace, dearest Caroll Spinney. I miss you.

PS: watch the film “I AM BIG BIRD” to learn more about my dearly departed friend.

Drama Llama, Causin’ Trauma.

“Is it stalking season yet? Where’s Sonya?”

“She hasn’t flown in yet,” Manteno, Illinois very own narcadoodle extraordinaire and port-a-dump proprietor Bernadette Moran Cacca informs her mom Carla, in from Manteno, Illinois to visit.

A thump is heard, likely from the bird deflecting against Mrs. Cacca’s Albion, Indiana home. The buzzard has landed.

“Are we going out stalking?” shapeshifting humanoid buzzard Sonya asks her family as she transfigures from vulture into subhuman.

“I need to cut down on my stalking bill,” Carla tells her sister-in-law and bird-of-a-feather, Sonya.

“I’m walking away from you now. This is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated,” Sonya berates Carla and flies off, doing donuts in the sky over a body of water and its surrounding structures.

Sonya eggs a guy on to throw a cat in the river, literally. She had been laying eggs by the water because she was bored and began chucking them, demanding the male stranger go murder the poor animal. Poor kitty was living at the bar on the river, surviving on the food in the trash there and the odd chicken tender or bit of burger the customers were giving him. Seriously, who the heck hates cats, let alone wants them dead?

Sonya’s distinct poopy smell, it lingers, wafting through air after she drops off some more friends at the pool.

A medium-skinned trio stroll along, new to Albion. “It smells like warm milk and trauma.” Gothic Flo deadpans. 

Gothic Diana Ross scoops up the fluffy munchkin after having witnessed Mrs. Moran’s histrionic menacing. 

“Sonya, the Indiana Attorney General is prosecuting animal abuse cases to the fullest extent of the law so I will be turning you in.”

 “It’s just a rotten cat, ya stupid nincompoop!” Sonya screeches, mad because caught. Then she poops.

“Fee Fi Fo Fum. I smell the turds of a big moron!” Gothic Diana Ross and the Midnight Supremes chant, enjoying their mockery of the apathetic fool who tried connive a kid to murder that adorable little fluffball. Gothic Diana Ross takes the kitten to the vet clinic where she had just interviewed to get him some help. She names him Kevin.

Shapeshiftin’ Sonya flaps her wings in frustration and anger, squawking like a parakeet. Then she flies away.

“Another one of these? What is Sonya on, anyway? There is no cat pee smell outside my door!” the young lady thinks aloud as she grabs the lunacy letter her landlord left on her door. “Why always Friday? I had a long day at work and am too tired for this codswallop. She needs to get a hobby!”

Gothic Diana Ross sees a familiar face. 

“It’s Kitty Bee from Kankakee!” Diana cracks a smile and the two exchange some dap. 

“Whatcha doin’ in town?”

“We came in because I had an interview.”

“Ah nice. On TV?”

“No. A job interview.”

“Nice. Where?”

“Over at that vet clinic by the college. That…um…self-defense school? What’s a PSI Ball anyway? Those ads blew up our TV!”

“It closed.”

“Oh, nice! Those ads were driving us batty.”

“Yeah, did you hear what happened? College President Barry Reynolds got in trouble and they shut it down.”

“Nice. One less moron. Speaking of nitwits, you should see this lady down by the river. She tried to kill a cat!”

“What?”

“Yeah, she was like, laying eggs and pooping everywhere.”

“I need to get the scoop on that poop.”

“Umm. Yeah.”

“What did she look like?”

“Tall, lanky, goofy eyes.”

Kitty gets out her phone and shows her a photo of her landlord, who has been running for Albion mayor.

“Yup, that’s her.”

“I knew it! Hey I am going to do a story on her. Our city is done taking her crap.”

“Us too. That smell…”

“RRRRGGGGH! Thanks! Bye!”

“See ya.” The dark gothic beauties wave in unison.

TO BE CONTINUED

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.

Bernadette Cacca is Brown With Envy

Manteno communal narcadoodle, port-o-dump proprietor and charity-kazoo-cover-queen Bernadette Cacca wishes she could figure out why her biggest fan, Greg Schneissder, can blast blue flame from his bum when hers always come out yellow and orange. Bern plots revenge on Greg, because, you know she has nothing better to do with her time. Bernadette needs to get a life. Bern gets out her sparkly EyePhone 28 and dials him up. Nobody’s home.

“Why is he so good at farting?” Manteno pretend do-gooder and entramanure Bernadette Cacca asks her husband Peppi upon his return from the half-way house.

“Git!”

“Oh not now, I just showered…” Bog witch Bernadette answers Peppi’s mating call, that same one which had attracted her years ago, while Manteno’s queen of the porcelain throne was bathing in the swamp.

“I dunno…Why don’t you go over and ask him?”

“You’re awesome!”

“Just like the last time…” Peppi responds to Bern’s superlative, giving her the stinkeye as he takes his first puff of a skunky joint, one of many to follow, not the first by any means. The Caccas love anything that stinks.

“Oh no, that’s Bernadette. Don’t let her in, she’ll never leave!” The Midnight Supremes shout out the arched window of their dark stone Gothic Victorian home. All Gothic Diana Ross wants to do is cut the grass. Bern peels out the driveway, around the corner and back by the Midnight Supremes house again.

As Bernadette rolls by she, shouts all mockingly “take the pictures” at the Midnight Supremes who are minding their own business taking video of the weather.

“Grow up, you child!” Gothic Flo defends herself against the abuse spewed by spoiled-brat Bernadette.

“Methinks the trolls are crawling out from under their collective bridges and mothers’ basements again,” Gothic Diana Ross addresses her bandmates, The Midnight Supremes.

“Peppi and Bernadette gang up on me like a bunch of schoolyard children. I am 42. I am starting to think that Bern harassed us out of fear that maybe I was videotaping her, because it’s all about her you know? The funny thing is my video was of the rain; it was raining in one spot only. But those spoiled entitled brats it’s all about them you know? Because nobody else deals with the weather here on Earth right?”

“Yes. The rain is there to annoy those morons.” Gothic Flo deadpans.

Bern Cacca peels into her driveway, runs into the bathroom with her smell-phone and replies to a Fakebook post looking for “10 models” to “type yes in the comments.”

“I’m a plus sized model is that okay?” Bern asks Leona Krabalsky.

“Oh yes, we have a special bonus for you,” sister Doris Krabalsky answers Mrs. Cacca’s query.

“Robert Roy Gary Hurlbutt. I never want to see him, again. However, here I am. Mamma and I unload the van containing the remaining items from our broken marriage he demanded back: pooped-on record albums, Elvis dolls, countless cardboard tubes formerly holding paper of the wrapping and toilet kind.” Robbie’s former girlfriend dictates into her phone.

Back at his unit again, Kay feels bad for Robbie’s new source of narcissistic supply. 

“I am sorry” Kay whispers into the young lady’s ear, her eyes’ micro-expression meeting in agreement.

“Just put that over there” Robbie says to her mother carrying a heavy box of ratty blankets.

“Where is Heidi?”

“I gave her away,” Robbie speaks of the cat Kay wanted to keep, the poor lil tortie Robbie speaks about as if she were part of the furniture, mere chattel. Robbie walks over to the washroom and leaves the door a-crack. “Don’t lock me in.”

“I’m Kay.”

“Ann. I go by Annie.”

“Annie?” 

“Yeah. I work over at the taco place. I am getting promoted.”

“Congratulations! I am happy for you.”

“It is not much. I got this new name badge which reads “King.”

“I catch your drift. I am thankful for you retail workers.”

Bernadette is running behind to meet The Krabalskys under the I57 underpass for her “modeling.” Extremely impatient, Bern throws a hissy-fit at the Krow-Grrr self-checkout whinging because it doesn’t take CraptoCoin.

“You guys are too woke! I am too good for this! I play all these songs for the Manteno Optimal Club and raise money for them and Ukraine. I wanna talk to the manager! My aunt Sonya knows the owner of this entire plaza!”

“Karen! Karen! Karen!” emerges from the crowd of customers wishing to shop just once sans harassment from the activity-impaired crowd and their ensuing ennui.

“What a dope!” Store clerk Annie King says as she yeets Bern out the door.

“Oh good, I got it! Ha!” Gothic Diana thinks to herself of the exposure captured of her narcissistic neighbor Bernadette Moran Cacca throwing a childish tantrum at the supermarket.

Bernadette meets Kankakee County trolls Doris and Leona Krabalsky under the bridge.

“You need to remove your twitter post about my friend Undead Greg. Especially when you were selfish enough to do what you did and then block him. Because he is the only person who ever farts and that’s all that 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 him about his farts looking prettier than yours. Yeah.”

Gobsmacked, B. M. Cacca’s jaw drops to the floor, realizing she has been duped by people almost as narcissistic as she.

“But if you would like to try our product, we can still get you our special deal.”

“Product? I thought this was a modeling gig.”

“Oh yes, I have these lovely magic beans just for you. They will clean your colon FAST!”

“Will they make me farts turn blue when I light them?”

“Oh yes, they will alright.”

“Sign me up!” Bernadette says to her sisters-in-narcissism as they sell her the overpriced coffee beans. The Krabalskys will do anything for a sale and Bernadette will do anything to brag about her precious farts.

Upside Down You Turn Me

Much to the dismay of their narcissistic neighbors – entramanures and poopyburners Peppi and Bernadette Cacca – the beautiful dark ladies Gothic Diana Ross & The Midnight Supremes debut their new tune, “Upside Down.” This Manteno, Illinois cover group is happy to drown out the brown notes emanating from Bern’s kazoo, mouth and accordion.

Voices Carry, Bernadette

Bog witch Bern bathes in the bog

Manteno port-a-potty proprietor, singer and communal narcadoodle Bernadette “Bern” Cacca spends her vacation swimming in the bog. She gets bored devouring the living and speeds home to her shack to visit her husband Peppi.

Bern opens her mailbox to find a letter sent from Peppi.

“DEAR BERN. I GOT OUTTA REHAB AND AM LIVING IN A HALFWAY HOUSE. BRING BEER.”

Bern fears the loss of narcissistic supply since her husband is away. 

Bourbonnais cinema clerk, communal narcissist, and proud neckbeard Damien Ulysses Hurlbutt is visiting his brother; Wally Green’s clerk, Elvis impersonator and covert narcissist Robert Roy Gary Hurlbutt at his apartment, with whom he used to share with drifter Andy Skandees.

The Narcissist Brothers: Robbie and Damien Hurlbutt

“What are ya gonna do on ya day off?”

“After lunch, smunch, gonna zogg on over home and write me an article!”

“Don’t you wanna spend it with your only brother? I am in a dark mood.”

“Naw, you see, I am going to write a paper.”

Awkward silence passes the two, like a fart in the wind.

“Since people think we are narcissists, I am gonna prove them wrong! Bwahahahaha.”

A sinister grin fills Damien’s face, morphing his orange, straggly beard into something even creepier.

“After I write an article all about narcissism, I am going to send it to my former therapist down in Champaign for a once-over, and prove forever we are not narcissistic at all. Then I people will know I am the victim and all her friends will say goodbye! Bwa ha ha ha ha!”

“She’s the counselor also who saw the convicted murderer who lived in your old apartment complex, right?”

“I know, I know, I know…”

“Did you help him move the body?”

“Anyways…I need to go back to Bourbonnais and write this important article.”

Damien taps away at his 10-year-old desktop machine atop his TV tray, sitting on a folding metal chair, the only furniture he has since the rest of his apartment is cluttered with boxes containing useless crap; shredded tissues strewn across the carpet, empty pop cans littering the apartment he uses as a dumpster.

Bern runs all over Manteno looking for gullible men, to no avail.

Remembering that fellow communal narcadoodle Damien Hurlbutt hit on her at Cinema-13, she heads over to pay him a visit. Damien is not there, so the clerk hands Damien’s card to Bern.

“Damien Hurlbutt, old soul and tender-heart looking for M’ladies.

Call me now. I am the last of my species. 1-815-555-FART”

Happy she does not have to look anymore for someone she can idealize, devalue and then discard like used burger wrappers, Bernadette calls Damien and heads over his neckbeard nest in Bourbonnais. 

Damien opens the door and immediately hugs Bern, handing her a bouquet of long stem roses.

“Hello, M’Lady. I tip my hat to you, so little and dainty. I have another surprise inside.”

“Oooh, let’s go!”

Damien holds the door for Bern, and brags about it as if he needs a medal.

Atop one of his many boxes of crap is a bunch of balloons attached to a massive teddy bear. 

“I gotta go for real.”

“So soon?”

“No, I mean I need to use the washroom.”

“Ahh.”

Bern wades through the lake on his washroom floor, farts a bunch of times, and takes a massive crap.

Bern opens the door to a wide-eyed Damien.

“Are these for me?” Bern asks Damien, mouth wide open, almost inhaling one of the flies buzzing around Damien’s dumpy excuse of an apartment.

“Yes, honey puddin’.”

“Oh you are the best, Damien!”

“Anything for you, M’lady, Madame.” Damien tips his black fedora.

“By the way, I’m impressed!”

“You think so? Oh, you are nicest guy on earth. I love to sing for charity, I am the best giver you know! And the best listener.”

“No, I’m the best giver. And I mean your farting. Man, those are some hot toots!”

“Yeah, I light them to burn poopies in my fireplace.”

“Dang, wanna stay the night?”

“Yeah, baby!”

“Hoooo!”

“I don’t know. Who? I hope me, handsome dahhhhling.”

The two spend the night together on Damien’s bare floor, cuddled together under Damien’s ratty blanket, sharing his lone pillow.

Bern awakes many times in the night by a loud, dissonant noise.

Damien wakes up, farts three times, and heads to the washroom, peeing loudly. Then he rips a few more air biscuits, bragging, “Pheeeew!”

Bern checks her phone for donations to the Manteno Optimal Club, for which she plays accordion, covering pop tunes to raise money. Secretly, she does not really care about the charity nor the community as a whole. She just wants to look good on the outside.

Damien walks back into his room.

“Dude, why do you snore so loudly?”

“Oh, I have sleep apnea.”

“Why don’t you wear your mask?”

“It fills up with water in the night.”

“You do know they make automatic cleaners for those things. My mom has one.”

“I know, I know, I know…”

“And no bed? My back is killing me from sleeping on your hard floor.”

“How about we go to your place, M’lady?”

“I don’t want my husband to find out.”

“Husband?”

“Yeah, Peppi is in rehab for his drinking again.”

“Oh, I won’t tell him. I was married once before I married Grimace and I never told her.”

“Grimace? Who?”

“Oh my ex-wife. She got more hostile every day when I was getting ready to leave her down in Champaign. It was all about her, her her,” Damien smears the woman he emotionally abused.

“Why do you call her Grimace?”

“She is so fat and so dumb. One year I bought her a vacuum and she could not even put the thing together.”

“Sounds like me.”

“Naw, honey puddin’. You are a lot prettier than her.”

Damien takes his usual hour-long shower, runs out the bathroom to grab a towel and spills water all over the floor. After drying off his manhood with a hair-dryer, he gets dressed, and meets Bernadette in her car.

The two walk into Bern’s Manteno shack, which she shares with husband Peppi.

“Can I use your computer?

“Go ahead!”

Damien checks his email.

“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!” Damien exclaims with glee.

From: “Florence” [ProgressiveTherapyLLC@dmail.calm]

To:  “Damien U. Hurlbutt” [connivingpimp@hautemail.con]

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Subject: Re: I have a great idea which I think you will like

Damien, you have sent me four emails now. You are not my client any more, and I will not sign off on your idea. Here is a list of therapists in Kankakee County.

Attached file: “TherapistsInKankakee.pdf”

Damien fires back an angry email:

From: “Damien U. Hurlbutt” [connivingpimp@hautemail.con]

To: “Florence” [ProgressiveTherapyLLC@dmail.calm]

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Subject: Re: re: I have a great idea which I think you will like

No, I do not need help. There is nothing wrong with me. You are psycho like my ex-wife!

Bern walks in and Damien quickly locks the computer screen so she cannot see what shenanigans he has been barfing up.

“I gotta head upstairs. I will be awhile.”

Damien grabs Bern’s hands and looks her dead in the eye.

“I was about to close off my heart and never love again, M’lady. When I was born, my mother saw my head full of red hair and named me after the kid from The Omen. We redheaded males get discriminated against—“

“Damien, you are really handsome and your farts smell amazing. I really need to go poop for awhile.”

“Okay, honey puddin’. I will be here.”

As Damien hits send on his email to his former therapist, someone rings Mrs. Cacca’s doorbell.

“Oh, horse-hockey,” Damien complains.

“Come innnnn!” Bern’s voice emanates from the upstairs restroom.

“Bernadette, somebody is here.”

“Let them in.”

Damien opens the door. A 5’10” average looking male asks for Bernadette.

“Who are you?”

“I am JB, her boyfriend. Who are you?”

“Uhhh-I’ll go get her.”

JB sits down on the Caccas’ couch while Bernadette continues to pinch loaves.

“Bern, I am gonna go on home. I have a stitch in my side, and my heel spurs are hurting.”

“PPPHHHPPPTTTTTT” says Bern’s butt. Damien’s derriere returns the sentiment and he heads home.

Bern comes down the stairs to greet her other boyfriend.

“Hey sugar, you the most handsome man alive. How are ya?”

“Do you have any turds? My turd-machine is out of ammo again and I have no luck stealing poopies.”

Little does Bern know, she has an audience.

“Is this the dawning of the age of morons?” the next-door neighbors Gothic Diana Ross and The Midnight Supremes ask each other, giggling. They have been standing on their porch, listening in on Bern’s conversations with her boyfriends. 

“Bern Cacca has her nose so far up her enablers’ butts she can see out their mouths,” Gothic Flo quips and the gothic girl group busts out laughing, happy to have a laugh at the Caccas’ expense.

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

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.

Peppi’s Poopy Problems

Manteno morons and portable toilet entrepreneurs Peppi and Bernadette Cacca cook the chicken burritos from Hell, so stinky they can be smelled all the way down in Kankakee. “What is this stench? It smells like chicken and dead bodies!” Kankakee denizen Sybil Kibble cries as she takes out the trash at her Kankakee McMansion. 

“That’s it, I had enough!” the Caccas’ next door neighbor Trisha Cobb screams as she blasts her Gothic Diana Ross impersonation music. The Gothic Boss Miss Ross starts belting her impressions of “Where Did Our Love Go” and “You Keep Me Hangin On.”

Peppi and Bernadette Cacca’s orange tabby cat Danielle runs out the door as she has dealt enough with Bernadette’s accordion playing and Peppi’s yelling “git” every time she walks into the bathroom, interrupting his daily puking up last night’s booze. As Danielle makes her way over toward Gothic Diana Ross’ house and into her arms, Peppi decides he needs to plot revenge on his neighbor.

The inebriated Peppi turns on the television and falls asleep in his white tank top and black shorts, only to be awoken by Bernadette’s falsetto singing emanating from her bedroom. Peppi starts watching the infomercial featuring Kankakee pharmacy chain owner and inventor Wally Green featuring some type of Rube Goldberg machine.

“With separate compartments for high fructose corn syrup, formaldehyde and turds, the Turd Machine Deluxe will change your life!” the short, bald, heavyset, older gentleman exclaims.

“Now with a crosshairs and scope, you can aim as you please!” Wally continues to babble on.

Wally and Bernadette are sold. They call to order a gross but only 20 were left since they did not call in time, so the Caccas buy them out.

The 20 packages arrive at the Caccas’ Manteno residence. Suspicious, Gothic Diana Ross hatches a plan. The 5’10”, slender, black-haired, medium-skinned beauty in a black dress huddles with her fellow girl-group singers and their new cat Danielle. 

One of the Midnight Supremes takes out her body jewelry, dons a brown wig to cover her blood-red extensions and puts on a pantsuit. She drives over to Peppi’s Port-o-Potties to make an inquiry.

“What do you do with the poop after people are done using your port-o-dumps?” the pretend customer asks.

“We burn it”, Peppi replies nonchalantly. “My wife Bernadette lights her farts to start the process.” Bernadette opens up a huge grin, and lets in a fly, loving the attention suddenly drawn to her. Gulp. 

The disguised Midnight Supreme exits the business and gags, nearly tossing her cookies.

The next day, it is cloudy and overcast. Bernadette goes into the storage shed to mount one of the modified salad-shooters-which-now-fires-excrement onto the side of her and Peppi’s house.

“Twelve turd machines left. Someone stole eight of them!”  Bernadette growls angrily and proceeds to mount not one but four turd machines, including one she aims out her kitchen window directly at Gothic Diana Ross’ slate Victorian house.

The next day, Gothic Diana Ross briefly steps outdoors to check her mail.

“Bang bang, you’re dead, fifty bullets in the head” Bernadette sings as she cranks the turd machine, firing at Diana and missing every shot. Diana makes it inside, unscathed but angry.

Bernadette turns her back and begins cheering, and then heads into her bedroom to record her next corona-concert for charity on her computer. 

When Bernadette finishes her voice, piano and accordion recital for attention — as she does not care about the charity —- she cranks up the volume to make sure she hears the cheering reverberate through her bedroom, loud enough to annoy Miss Ross. “Thank you for another performance from the extraordinary Miss Cacca!” the Manteno Optimal Club spokesperson exclaims. “Bernadette is a national treasure. How can you say anything bad about her!” Bernadette’s already swollen head gets even bigger and she switches off her computer.

“Bernadette B-Flat!” an angered Gothic Diana Ross screams out her window.

“You are needed at a job!” Peppi yells into the room and the pair head over to the worksite, drop off their port-o-dumps and leave.

Peppy and Bernadette head back to the construction site to gather their property.

They haul the portable toilets to their house to clean and disinfect. Peppy empties all the crap into a bonfire in their backyard.

Bernadette goes to light a fart to kindle the port-o-potty-poopy-burners. “Wait, hon, I need to inspect first. All these regulations from Springfield you know!”

Bernadette lights her fart and oh my gosh, it was a big one! Her butt aflame, she lights not only the poopies, but Peppi too!

“Stop, drop and roll.”

“What? Peppi exclaims as he tries to put his clothes out.

Before long, the billowing smoke can be seen as far away as Schaumburg.

“I guess you should not have eaten those burritos, Bern,” Peppi mansplains to his wife.