They told him he had to make a speech, so he guessed this was it, Klepto thought. He liked giving speeches. He liked standing up when everyone was sitting down and he liked standing on a stage with lights on him. Most of all, he liked holding a microphone. It was like holding a big penis. At least he thought so. He had never actually held a big penis. Anyway he liked giving speeches.
He did not like to be outside. He never went outside except when he had to walk from the limo to his jet. Why was he outside?
Anyway, they dressed him for it. He was wearing his purple camel hair overcoat and one of his signature pointy red hats that had a pennant sticking out the top that said, “Make America White Again.” Although Klepto was pretty sure America was already white. Everyone he knew was white. Everyone that mattered, at least. What other colors were there?
Tinkerbelle hissed from her seat. Klepto was aware that everything had gone quiet and some people were looking at him. They must be waiting for him to speak. He looked out over the crowd. Crowd was not the right word. Gathering, maybe. Or gaggle. He snickered to himself. Gaggle.
There were words on the teleprompter, but he didn’t like to use the teleprompter. He did not like to read. It was hard for him and anyway he paid people to do his reading for him. So he just started.
“Hello and welcome to the grand opening of the new Klepto…” What exactly was he opening? It was usually a golf course or a hotel, but there weren’t any little flags or holes in that big grassy area in front of him and there wasn’t any building behind him. “The new Klepto enterprise,” he fudged. “Thank you all for being here. What a great turnout. This has got to be the greatest turnout for this kind of event in the history of the planet. You guys don’t have to sit all the way in the back. There are plenty of seats up front.”
A man went by walking a dog.
“I want to thank the people behind me. My family. My staff. The guy who helps me get my big red shoes in the car. Jose, his name is. Hispanics love me. My wife. Let’s have a round of applause for my wife, the Tin Woman. Isn’t she beautiful? Definitely a nine, nine and a half.” A smattering of applause. “I get to bang that every night,” he wise-cracked. Actually, he had never banged that; he had been impotent since he was fifty. It was one of the reasons she married him. The other was the money.
“But most of all, I want that thank the past and former presidents both alive and dead who are with us today. President…ah…” He wanted to say enterprise. “…who has been so gracious, showing me where the bathroom is in the Orville Office and giving me the key to the big old desk so I can lock up my porn.” He probably shouldn’t be telling people where keeps his porn.
The dog took a crap.
“I want to thank them all of them, each and every one for doing such a terrible job they made this moment possible. I mean terrible. Really terrible.” Klepto believed if he repeated a word it became more powerful no matter how pedestrian it was. One more time, “Terrible. Let’s give them a round of applause. Where are they out there?” He shielded his eyes with his hand to search the horizon even though they were sitting behind him.
The man picked up the dog poop with a plastic bag and dropped it in a receptacle. Then walked until he was out of sight.
Klepto intoned, “When I started this…” What had he started? “Enterprise! I thought it was just a publicity stunt. I’d hire some extras to applaud. How many of you who are here today are extras? Let’s give the extras a hand.” He paused for a spattering of applause. “But then it picked up steam. It became a thing. And then the thing became a movement. And now it’s the biggest movement ever in the history of the planet. Nothing bigger folks. Nothing bigger.” He was on a roll now. The juices were flowing.
“When I came down the golden escalator at the Ivory Tower where all those extras were smiling and applauding like hell to earn their fee.” He dropped his voice. “I never paid ’em. They’re suing me but I never settle.” He got serious again. “I told anybody who would listen that the country was going to hell in a hand truck. Or maybe a shopping bag from Bloomingdale’s. You know I’ve never seen a hand truck. You’d think I would, being around construction sites and all. But it was going to hell with all the Mexicans and Poles and Indians and Italians and Portuguese and Chinamen and Grecians and Eskimoes and Canadians and the deformed and the retarded.”
A man in a red Klepto hat yelled, “Don’t forget the niggers!”
Klepto responded, “And the blacks. Of course the blacks. But you can’t call them niggers. Not any more. Even though I’m not politically correct, I know you can’t call them that. Not anymore. You have to use the right name. Like when you’re talking about the Jews, you have to call them the Jews. Even the Muslims who all want to come over here and kill us. You can’t call them towel heads or carpet sellers anymore. You have to call them by their right name, A-rabs. Like the blacks. You have to call them the blacks. And the blacks love me. Anybody who’s black in the crowd? Stand up. Give ‘em a hand.” Silence.
But Klepto was a showman. He knew what to do when he was losing a crowd. He made his signature scowly face, pointed his finger and growled “Radical Islamic Terrorists.” The crowd went wild.
Klepto folded his arms and nodded.
“Anyway. Hell in a shopping cart,” he continued. “The inner cities are falling apart. There’s crime. There’s drugs. There’s murders. And crime. In the inner city, a mother can’t walk down the street without her little girl getting shot. I know. I shot her. I told you I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not lose a vote. The inner cities are dirty. There are no jobs. Young men lounge around the corners begging for dimes and singing a capella songs. Teenage girls sell their bodies—and cheap, too, let me tell you. Cheap.
“And in the country, our beautiful, beautiful country, factories are rusting where farms once stood. Gravestones are empty and abandoned that used to produce so many jobs. Union jobs. I hate unions. I never deal with unions. They make you pay. I don’t pay. I settle. People are hopeless. Good people. White people. They take drugs they have so little hope. They pawn their children—and cheap,too—for methamphetamine which is a drug and the longest word I know. Drugs. Bad. Very bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. So bad.
“Our highways are crumbling, turning into…crumbling highways. Bridges are falling into whatever bridges fall into. That’s why I always take the helicopter. The Klepto-bird, I call it. Whoosh! Goes way over all that. And the jet. Flyover country. Vroom!
“And taxes. So many taxes. And health care. Isn’t it terrible? Terrible. So much health care. So much. You know twenty million more people have to have health care now than before the other guy, the guy who was just here, you know before. Anyway before he was here. Now there’s health care. Can you believe it?
“A new day has dawned. One where nobody has to have health care. Not even people who want it. There will be no more crime in the streets. There will be no more streets. Everybody will have helicopters. And everyone will have a job washing the helicopters and they won’t even have to get paid minimum wage.” He made his scowly face again and pointed. “Because there won’t be. A. Minimum. Wage.”
He waited for the cheer, but all he could hear was a car passing. He glanced at his teleprompter to pick up his line of thought.
“For the last eight years we’ve had consistent job growth. Consistent. The stock market went up and gas prices went down. You call that hope? You call that progress? ISIS…is almost defeated. Not quite. Maybe take another month or so. But can we wait another month?” Heads were nodding.
“Today all that stops. This is your moment. I bought it and I’m giving to you. In exchange all I want is to use the most powerful office in the world for my own personal profit.
“The blight is over. The chaos is over. The American carnival is over. The carnival is everywhere, all over America. American Carnival. I’m here now and nobody knows chaos, blight and carnival better than I do. I alone can save you from all that…stuff. I alone. Because I …”
Klepto put on his signature scowl and stared at the audience. Or group. Gathering.
The crowd went wild. Or maybe it just went away. Now there was going to be a lunch or something wasn’t there? And it had better be free.