Free Markets–A Klepto the Klown Komic

Klepto got out of the clown car last. First went his personal bodyguard, six burly former detectives from the local PD who rummaged through the crowd and ripped signed away from some protesters and shoved others into uniformed policemen who arrested them and stole their wallets. Next came an undisclosed number of Secret Service agents who were invisible in their black suits and sunglasses. All six of them. Then came Klepto’s staff: The Suit, who was sniveling because he should have come out next to Klepto, Little Hitler who was shoving The Suit to make sure he didn’t slip behind him in line and ahead of him in prestige, then the Chief of Staff who looked pale and frightened since the younger of Klepto’s sons had been gnawing on his leg in the clown car, then the family: The Cowardly Lion Hunter, the Scarecrow, and as if they were one person joined at the hip came Harlequin and Tinkerbelle and then Klepto and then a dozen extras he brought along to cheer and hold up Keeping America White signs, then a bunch of guys Klepto called José to do things Klepto didn’t have time to do like open doors, tie his shoes and wipe his ass. And then the Washington press corps.

Waiting at the door of the Ivory Tower was the Tin Woman, her face pulled into the surgically induced rictus she called a smile (it was the only way she could bring herself to do it). She was wearing the same dress the previous Precedent’s wife wore on that day of the previous Administration. The Wicked Witch of the West was beside her.

The crowd was lively and hostile but Klepto smirked glassily and brushed past them inside. The crowd could not follow because the lobby of the Ivory Tower was already full of smiling, cheering extras. Klepto went to the makeshift podium and launched into his usual patter.

“It’s great to be here in the Big Apple.” He waited for cheers. “I love the Big Apple. Great people. I’m from the Big Apple myself. I love it as if it were my own home. I’m here at the Ivory Tower where I live—used to live, live sometimes—because this is a big day for my favorite girl, the love of my life and as Howard Stern forced me to admit, a great piece of ass, my daughter Tinkerbelle.” He pulled Tinkerbelle to his side, knocking the Tin Woman back a few steps and the crowd cheered.

Tinkerbelle looked stunning and bare, as usual in her tiny sleeveless green sheath dress that barely covered her private parts. But something was wrong. Her preternaturally cheery sales model face was screwed up unattractively and tears were running down her cheeks. He puffy lips were quivering and Harlequin stood by looking sad and ineffectual, but still somehow entitled.

Klepto said, “You see how sad and hurt she is, my beautiful, beautiful daughter, the Big Apple of my eye, because recently a mean and cheap department store who I won’t name stopped carrying her line of clothing. Do you know why?” He paused to let the viewers at home surmise that the decision had been political. “Because it was losing money. Can you believe it? It was Northman’s by the way.”

“Now Tinkerbelle’s clothing is only sold in the best places. Like the Value Channel on TV. Discount stores. And consignment shops.” Klepto did not know what “consignment” meant but it sounded classy so he repeated it. “Consignment. Tinkerbelle has made a fortune with her clothing line and is a billionaire in her own right. Now, don’t tell me Northman’s is losing money on them. Everybody loses money on them; it’s a licensing deal. Makes the store look classy. Consignment!”

“But now I’m Precedent, they better put her clothes back on the shelves if they know what’s good for them. That’s good old-fashioned American capitalism. It’s what my party stands for. It’s what I stand for and I won’t stand for anything else.

“What’s more I here to announce that the lobby of the Ivory Tower is going to sell 100% Klepto merchandise. Over there, Klepto steaks. I’m raising the steaks on them. They’re aged. That means they’ve been there a long time. Even longer than the wine. You can buy that over there. And there’s water. It’s just Big Apple tap water with my name on it, so you know it’s safe to drink. Not like the wine. Or the steaks. Over there are Klepto ties, long and thick like big dongs, just like mine. And Klepto pajamas, just like mine but made out of nylon so you can afford them. All of it made in America by Indonesians working in Indonesia to keep the profit margins up. And now the Tinkerbelle shop!”

He waved his hand and an area that used to be a newsstand—actually was still a newsstand but with Tinkerbelle sheath dresses strewn on top of the magazines and a sign that lit up TINKERBELLE.

His daughter smiled and clapped her hands and bounced up and down so hard her bosom escaped and the TV cameras had to swing back to the sign. Klepto’s eyes didn’t. Best tits money could buy he thought and said, “You know if you weren’t my daughter, I’d date you.”

Restuffing her dress hastily, Tinkerbelle muttered, “If you weren’t my father I’d spray you with mace. You know you’re on a live mike, right?” she reminded him.

Klepto started talking again. “So there you have it. All Klepto all the time. No one will be allowed to sell anything in here that’s not a Klepto product and no one will be allowed to enter or leave without buying something. That’s good business and the way I run my business is the way I intend to run the country if I ever get around to running the country. Imagine there’s a wall around the Ivory Tower and no one can get in or out without paying me! Well, we don’t need a wall. We’ve got those glass doors and they are beautiful and they work great. Nobody ever sneaks in here without buying something. Except the Mexicans who work here. They sneak in the back.”

Klepto held out his hands imploringly. “Now I want you to remember that I keep all my promises. Remember when I promised I’d put a wall between myself and my business? That’s exactly what I’m doing here. I don’t know how much money I’ll make from the sale of ties and wine here and you know, I don’t care. My job as Precedent is bigger than that. It’s the biggest job anyone has ever had and nobody has ever done it better than I have. If foreign dignitaries on their way to the White Home or people with business before the government want to come in here and buy a bottle of Klepto wine to give me when they visit or a big red tie so they’ll look important like me, I’ll never know. Because it’s not about the money. Never forget that. It’s about me.”

At this point the Wicked Witch of the West stepped forward and said. “I think everybody should take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to get some great fashion and support our Precedent in a completely patriotic and non-conflict-of-interesty way.” She gave a big stage wink any clown would be proud of and said, “That’s what I’m going to do right now.” She flew the short distance to the TINKERBELLE newsstand boutique and bought a tiny sheath dress with her Pale House staff credit card. Then she turned and said, “Come one everybody!” The hoard of extras flocked to the newsstand boutique, men and women, and fought over the small stock that was draped over the magazines.

While that was going on, Klepto put on his serious face because he had been standing for quite a while and was getting pretty gassy.

“Now there’s one other thing I want to deal with today.” He pulled the Tin Woman forward. “You know my wife, my second favorite girl—definitely, that’s a fact—is embroiled in a horrible legal suit she’s filed against someone who wrote something and then took it back because he wasn’t sure it was true. What a coward. I’d never do that. I just want to announce that she’s pursuing damages of a hundred gazillion dollars.” He paused to let the weight of the number sink in. “That’s money she would rightfully have made in her unusual and unexpected role of first woman if she sold dresses or had her picture taken or had a book written for her, probably called The Fart of the Deal or the Enormity of Hope. Or maybe 1984. Not that she would ever use her publicly elected position as a way to make money. But because she was defamed, she’s suing for the money she would have made if she had ever tried to make any money but she never would but she could if she did. Isn’t that right dear?”

The Tin Woman nodded her head as much as she was able and said, “When they go high, we go low!” Klepto was so proud he kissed her on her cold, hard cheek.

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!

Also, if you enjoyed this post, check out my Amazon Author Page. Thanks!


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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