Neat Trick — A Klepto the Klown Komic

“Look what I can do!” Klepto exclaimed. Tinkerbelle minced over quickly on tippytoes, a Pavlovian reaction to her masters, uh, her father’s voice.

He held up his phone to show what he had written. “Boing is a terrible company. Overcharging for new Air Farce One. Sad.” Klepto looked up at Tinkerbelle, his face an orange mask of happiness.

“Now, Daddy, you’ve sent tweets before.” Tinkerbelle bent at the knees and waist; she rested her hands on her thighs and cocked her head to the side as she smiled simperingly. She was never sure if her father was just forgetting things because he was never paying attention or because he was finally losing his mind. Either way she intended to stay on his good side. That was the side the money was on.

“That’s not the trick!” Klepto groused. He snapped his fingers and pointed to his son-in-law who was standing by, straight as an arrow in his pink and gold diamond patterned Armani jacket. His hands were behind his back and he was smiling. “You! Howdy-Doody…Harry Houdini…”

“That’s Harlequin, my husband, Daddy,” Tinkerbelle crooned.

“Yeah, you. Do that thing with the thing. The stock thing.”

Harlequin took out his phone and checked Boing’s stock. Then his father-in-law hit SEND on his tweet. Harlequin stared at the screen then shrieked, “It’s gone down! Boing’s stock has gone down just because you—”

“BUY! BUY! BUY!” Klepto screamed. He went even redder in the face.

Harlequin tapped the screen. “I just bought a gazillion shares,” he said. “But if the stock is going down…?”

Klepto was tapping again. “Boing best in business. Can’t wait to see what they have to offer the military. GREAT!” he wrote, then hit SEND.

“Oh, my God!” Harlequin exclaimed. “The stock is going UP!” A wet spot appeared on his abdomen, more noticeable on the white side of his tights than on the black side.

“SELL! SELL! SELL!” Klepto shouted. His eyes bugged out and he strained against his own massive belly to sit up on the baby seal skin couch on which he was ensconced. He held his arm out plaintively like a drowning man who is calling for help and is pissed off about it.

“Done!” said Harlequin. He staggered a little. He was dizzy and felt like he needed a cigarette.

Tinkerbelle clapped her hands and bounced so excitedly with happiness that her bosom burst free of its inadequate dress. Harlequin was too spent to notice but Klepto got a good look. The phrase “Best tits money could buy,” crossed his mind but the trick with the stock market drove out even that.

“Magic,” Klepto said. He did not know how his son-in-law used magic to make him money and he did not care. Except about the money.

“Can we do it again?” Tinkerbelle asked, stuffing herself back into her dress.

Her exhausted husband stared daggers at her. Never enough for you, he seemed to be thinking.

But Klepto stared at Tinkerbelle. He said, “You know if you weren’t my daughter, I’d date you.”

Tinkerbelle said, “If you weren’t my father, I’d spray you with mace.”

There was an awkward pause as Klepto tried to remember what they had all been talking about. “So, Hal Holbrook. Answer my daughter.”

“We can do it again,” Harlequin said glumly.

“How often?” asked Klepto.

Harlequin answered, “Until we get caught.”

Exactly, Klepto thought. That was how he always did business.

Oh, look. O’Reilly was coming on TV and everything else faded away.

Author: leonardrysdyk

Leonard Rysdyk is the author of more than a dozen novels, stories, articles and poems. His work has appeared in many publications including Snow White, Blood Red, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Aboriginal Magazine and the New York Review of Science Fiction. A professor at Nassau Community College, he teaches literature (including science fiction), cultural history (including the history of science) and is an acknowledged innovator in the field of Computer Aided Instruction (CAI), a subject on which he has lectured and consulted.

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