Penny Pinching Tips for the Morally Bankrupt is a fantastically funny, wonderfully weird, and surprisingly sincere collection of short stories, humor pieces, and miscellaneous bits. In this explosively original debut, Libby Marshall plumbs the depths of suburban despair, female desire, and the ever-present feeling that death could claim us at any moment.
Debra, an unhappy billionaire’s wife, decides to resurrect the 18th-century trend of hiring a man to live on their property as an ornamental garden hermit. An elderly serial killer, bored by her dull nursing home existence, finds a deadly new purpose when her high school nemesis ends up living down the hall. In 1953 a young couple drives to Makeout Point where instead of an evening of heavy petting, they find mountain lions, a man with no gaps in his teeth, and the opportunity to kill Henry Kissinger. Within these pages, a man tries to date after losing his wife to The Salem Witch Trials, a Wi-Fi router gains sentience, a series of cardboard boxes oozing with smoky-sweet baked beans mysteriously appear at a woman’s front door, and a Chuck E. Cheese is haunted by the spirit of Princess Diana.
Boldly strange, deliciously satirical, and laugh-out-loud hilarious, Penny Pinching Tips for the Morally Bankrupt swings from the grim and ghastly to the exquisite and lovely. This one-of-a-kind book takes the reader on a surreal journey through the compulsory despair of daily life and concludes that the only sensible reaction to that much pain is laughter.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was inspired to write this book at the beginning of the pandemic. I was an actor/improviser and with no possibility to perform on stage, I wanted a creative outlet I could still pursue. I studied creative writing in college and after five years of writing sketches, I was ready to dust off my fiction writing skills and write this book.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My characters were inspired in many different ways. Some were based on sketch characters I had used in performances. Others were based on people I know from my work as a private tutor for wealthy Chicago families. And others were inspired by pieces of art I looked at online while unable to visit museums in person.
Penny Pinching Tips For The Morally Bankrupt
Caught in the rain? There’s always a bucket of free umbrellas by the entrances of office buildings, restaurants, and homeless shelters.
Bring your own shopping bags to the grocery store to avoid a seven-cent plastic bag tax. That gives the government fewer funds to investigate your tax evasion.
Get a library card to check out books for free. Read how to smuggle elephant ivory on the black market.
Staples, paper, and pens aren’t the only supplies you can get from the office. Kidnap a secretary. Lock her in your basement to run your home business wooing lonely housewives online to send money to your alias, Buff McCracken.
Ask for a friend’s Netflix password. People usually use one password for everything so you can drain their bank accounts while binging the latest season of Great British Bake Off.
Knowledge is power when negotiating for a new home. Stakeout the house to learn the family’s daily schedule. Send threatening letters, mentioning their children by name. They’ll soon accept any offer. (For advanced penny pinchers, tell them if they remove their KitchenAid appliances, you’ll kill their kitten.)
Volunteering is a free way to feel good about yourself. Start training seeing-eye dogs. Befriend members of the blind community. When they invite you over to their homes, steal their family heirlooms.
Having a child might seem like a large expense, but it is the only way to acquire a clean social security number. Name him Buff McCracken Jr.
Don’t spend money on expensive gifts when you can make a personalized card for free. Force the secretary you kidnapped to make the cards based on the conversations with your family and friends she overheard through your vents.
Instead of turning on the air conditioner in the summer, open a bedroom window. Share this tip with your neighbors and you can cancel your porn subscription.
At your local ice cream parlor, get a free sweet treat by demanding to sample every flavor. The customers in line behind you will be so irate they won’t notice they’re being pickpocketed by Buff McCracken Jr.
Invest in organizations that are also morally bankrupt, such as Monsanto, Nestlé, and ISIS.
Always be willing to ask for a discount when making a purchase. If the cashier says no, bite your tongue so hard you spray blood everywhere. Scream that you need the discount because of the high cost of your syphilis medication. They won’t be able to get the merchandise out of their store fast enough.
Skip your morning Starbucks and instead get free coffee at AA meetings. This is also a great place to meet people desperate for a charismatic leader to tell them how to live.
Need a new suit? Check obituaries for recently deceased men in your size. Bribe the funeral director with elephant ivory. While wearing your new suit, break into the homes of the dead man’s loved ones. Wail and moan that the only way your soul can rest is if they leave hundred-dollar bills on your grave.
Instead of an expensive gym membership, get a free workout by promising a man one hundred dollars if he chases you through the forest. Once you’re far enough out there, turn around, beat him senseless with an antique candlestick you stole from a blind person, and take his wallet.
Use the money you’ve made to take Buff McCracken Jr. and the secretary who has succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome and is now your wife, on a tropical getaway to the Maldives. With beautiful beaches, high levels of corruption, and no extradition treaty to the US, it’s the perfect place to spend the rest of your days on the beach sipping Kuramathi cocktails served by lovely local women.
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