The hardest part about being Precedent was that it cut into Klepto’s TV time. Usually he got up at six and watched TV for a couple of hours, then read the papers until lunch. Usually in his pajamas. Like a retired guy. It was how he had lived his whole life. Of course, he wore pajamas anyway, with a diamond-edged pink and gold diamond pattern. But now that he was Precedent he felt he should look the part so he wore a long red tie that hung to his knees like the long thick dick he told everyone he had. But now they scheduled his meetings at nine o’clock so he would appear busy and they made him work all the way to lunch.
He could finally settle in for twelve to eighteen hours of watching and dozing, the two states blending in a dream of voices. He watched talk TV because sometimes he was on it. Here was a reporter doing a man on the street shtick about Klepto’s performance so far. Klepto loved it when the stories were about him.
“I liked it that he was a self-made man,” the man-on-the-street said. He was an older guy and bitter about it. Balding, out of touch except with his cronies, in love with his idealized youth. Just like Klepto
“Look at this guy. Classic Klepto voter,” Klepto said. Tinkerbelle, ever nearby despite the fact that she was a mother and ran her own business and Klepto’s—actually, she hired people to do those things; it was what she meant by “mother” and “run”—tip toed to his side.
“He sure likes you, Daddy. He seems unhappy.”
“Unhappy and clueless. Doesn’t he know I was born the richest clown in the world?”
“You weren’t the richest, I don’t think, Klepto,” Harlequin suggested mildly. Harlequin was also the son of a rich clown, in fact one who was richer than Klepto.
“Richest!” Klepto insisted. “And my dad gave me a million dollars to start a business, which he set up for me and got the politicians to underwrite. Then I worked as a front man for his business when he got in dutch with the feds. Then he left me a trust fund. Then he bailed me out of my six failed Big Top ventures. I’m about as self-made as you kids.”
Tinkerbelle and Harlequin exchanged glances behind Klepto’s back.
The reporter wrapped up the interview. “So that’s why you voted for Klepto?”
“Hell, I didn’t vote for him. Who’d vote for a clown?”
Klepto’s face turned red. Well, more orange. He was too mad even to tweet, though he had in phone in his hand. Tinkerbelle ran her fingers through his “hair” to calm him. “Here’s someone else, Daddy,” she cooed.
“I like it that he is a great businessman,” said a short heavy older woman who managed to smile even though it was clear the world was weighing on her. She wore discount store clothes and was lugging two shopping bags full of cat food. Something hurt; she was clearly uncomfortable. She shifted her weight as she talked.
“Oh, ho, what a loser!” Klepto exclaimed. “Didn’t she hear about the bankruptcies? Does she think I’m hiding my tax returns because I’m proud of them? Why would someone as rich as I say I am take a job on a TV show? Does Warren Buffet wait tables on the side? Does Souros drive an Uber? I couldn’t run a lemonade stand.”
“But we are rich, right Daddy?” Tinkerbelle asked with a worried look on her face.
“As long as we do whatever the Wizard of Oz says, we’ll be fine,” Klepto said.
The woman was smiling and excited despite her aching knees. “I just hope he runs this country the way he runs his businesses,” she said.
Tinkerbelle fainted at the thought. Klepto turned to see his daughter, usually so tall and elegant, now sprawled on the carpet. Harlequin tried to help, but he was incapable of bending at the waist. Klepto’s heart swelled. Tinkerbelle’s tiny skirt was askew and revealed more than it should and her long white legs went on forever.
“You know, if you weren’t my daughter, I’d date you,” he growled.
Tinkerbelle, recovering, propped herself on one elbow and put a hand to her head. “If you weren’t my father, I’d spray you with mace.”
On TV, the reporter asked, “Is that why you voted for Klepto?”
The merry, pained woman said, “Oh, I didn’t vote for Klepto. Who’d vote for a clown?”
“Gee, Klepto. Who did vote for you?” Harlequin asked, truly puzzled.
“Lots of people,” Klepto said. “I won in a landslide. I got more votes than all the other Precedents put together. I got the Electoral College and the State University.”
A young man, jeans, worn leather jacket, stubbly face. He was excitedly angry. “I liked him because he was just like me. He talked like me. He said what I was thinking.”
“What was that?” the reporter asked.
“Well, there are too many immigrants. People are too politically correct. I mean he said he grabs women by the pussy. Who else would say that? The liberals would say, ‘vagina’ or—what’s another word for ‘cunt’?”
“Ah, ‘pudendum’?” the reporter suggested, embarrassed.
“What? Well, yeah, but he said ‘pussy’ just like I would. And he hates everything. The government, foreigners, liberals, reporters, minorities, anybody who’s not Christian, anybody who’s not white, anybody who’s got a job, anybody who knows stuff, anybody who can read without sounding out the words. And he loves people like me.”
Klepto grumbled, “I hate people like him.”
Wary, the reporter asked, “Did you vote for him?”
“Sure,” the young man said. “I voted for him all over the place. I voted on the internet and on a telephone poll. I voted for him in a bar where everybody cheered when he was on TV.”
“But did you go to the polling place and fill out a ballot?”
“Ha! That’s just what they expect you to do. You know, the government runs those places. They tell you they’re going to count your vote, but really what they do is sign you up for jury duty. The next thing you know you’re drafted and in I-raq.”
“Sheesh,” Klepto said. “Somebody must have voted for me.”
A young Asian man was talking to the reporter. His English was rudimentary but he was very enthusiastic about Klepto. With patience on the reporter’s side and good will on the young man’s it became clear he had come to America specifically to vote for Klepto. It hadn’t been easy, but he had seen Klepto’s reality TV show, so he knew that if he worked through all the challenges he would get to vote. After registering under the name of a dead person and sending a local person to sign up at the polling place for him, the young Asian man was able to get a ballot, mark it and slip it into an optical scanner. Then he said something the interviewer did not understand. They went back and forth too quietly for the microphone to pick up then the reporter said, “He says he understands the elections are just like the game show. You pick the one you DON’T want to be Precedent and you vote.” The camera framed the young man’s shining face. He made a scowly face just like Klepto and said, “You’re expired! Now Klepto’s off the show, right?”
“Oh, so that’s what happened,” Harlequin said.
Klepto said, “I told you foreigners came here to vote. Why does everybody think I’m crazy?”
Like reading about Klepto? Wouldn’t it be great to see him too? Contribute cartoons or other artwork and I’ll put it on the site. Let’s see what this Klown looks like!
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