Tears of a Clown

Klepto was sprawled on his baby seal skin couch wearing his bathrobe. He red shoes were splayed before him on Louis XIV’s coffee table just as Harlequin had taught him so he could look between them to see the TV, which was on of course. But Klepto wasn’t happy; in fact, he was crying.

“Why won’t anyone work for me?” he bawled through his shiny red nose. The tears came so thick and fast his pancake makeup was running and despite the best efforts of two maids Klepto referred to as José, there was no saving his silk pink-and-gold diamond patterned pajamas.

“First the Flying Monkey leaves me. Just like that. Just because I fired him for getting caught in a lie. Where’s the loyalty. Then there was that admiral, what’s his name? Harebrain. He wouldn’t take it. He said he wanted to spend more time with his family. Why doesn’t he bring his family with him to work like I do?”

“It’s true, Daddy. I see you a lot more now than when I was a kid and living with Mommy,” Tinkerbelle said. She was standing behind him stroking his hair. Her brothers nodded in agreement, the Cowardly Lion Hunter from his position prone beneath the coffee table and the Scarecrow hanging from his scarecross on the wall.

“You’d think General Petrified would take it,” Klepto continued, sniffing. “I mean, he’s a convicted criminal, where else can he go? And there was General Orinoco. He didn’t even turn it down, he just kept pretending his phone wasn’t getting a signal. I sent a guy around to ask him and he took out of the back door of his house and hasn’t been seen since. What’s wrong with these people? Don’t they know working with me is the treat of a lifetime?”

“It is for us, Dad,” said the Scarecrow but his scarecross was hung on a hook on the back wall so no one could hear him over the TV.

“You know, Klepto,” said Harlequin, moving forward without moving his feet in that magical way of his. “Whatever you do, the government is going to run itself. All those committees and experts. Don’t let it distract you or get you down. Maybe you should focus on the real reason you ran in the first place. To exploit your position for all it’s worth.”

“It’s true. God knows I need the money,” Klepto agreed. He knew there was a reason he kept his son-in-law around.

“That’s right, Daddy. How did you do this weekend?” Tinkerbelle said. She leaned forward and put her hands on his shoulders. She came so close he could smell her fairy dust.

“You know, if you weren’t my daughter, I’d date you,” Klepto growled.

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

“It was a great weekend. I soaked the Secret Service, of course. Three weekends in a row. When are they going to catch on? Then I pitched the new members. I told them they could watch history being made.”

“Ooh, Daddy!”

“Good one, Klepto,” said Harlequin.

“Lots of new memberships. Mostly people with Russian names, I noticed.”

“The Rooskies love you, Dad,” said the Cowardly Lion Hunter from under the coffee table.

“Maybe I should raise the fee again?”

“There’s a topic I want your advice on,” said Harlequin. He had put on a gold lamé conical hat from the campaign with a little flag flying that said, “Make America White Again.” Klepto was nostalgic for the campaign where he could tell hundreds of cheering supporters any kind of bullshit and they would eat it up, then he could go home to the Ivory Tower and sleep in his own bed with the Tin Woman standing comfortingly in the corner while she recharged.

“My father wants me to buy the Florida Swordfish for him?”

“I love your father, he’s almost as rich as I am, but he got caught and went to jail,” Klepto said. “What’s the Florida Swordfish?”

“It’s a sports team,” said Harlequin. “I made an offer—”

“I owned a football team once,” Klepto reminisced. “I got it cheap because it wasn’t a real team then it went broke. I made a lot of money off the investors, though. I had an airline, too. It went broke. And the Plaza Hotel. It went broke too. I owned a lot of fancy properties and went broke on them.” Klepto trailed off, his mind glazed over with happy thoughts.

“Anyway, I made an offer of money plus I promised him he could be Ambassador to France.”

“Oh, that’s a nice job,” Klepto said. “I wish I could be Ambassador to France. No work at all and no one understands you so you can say anything. I’d make you Ambassador to France, but I need you here,” he said poking the Cowardly Lion Hunter.

“Really, Dad? Ambassador?”

“Just kidding. Anyway, isn’t making people Ambassador my job?”

“You said he could, Daddy,” Tinkerbelle said petulantly. She held her hands before her and twisted her arms so her breasts swelled in her sleeveless, strapless tiny sheath dress.

“Oh, well,” Klepto said but all he was thinking was, Best tits money could buy. “So what’s the problem?”

“The press got wind of it. They said it sounded like you were using your office to promote personal gain,” Harlequin explained.

“They’re just getting that? Besides that’s what the Ambassador to France job is for. Remember Bush appointed the Secretary of State of Florida who gave him the election. And Obama appointed his Kenyan father.”

“What should I do?”

“Do it anyway and fuck ’em,” cursed the Cowardly Lion Hunter from under the table. He really wanted to be Ambassador—whatever that was—to France—where ever that was.

“Do it anyway and tell everyone you didn’t do it,” called the Scarecrow from the wall. “That’s what we always do.” But nobody heard him.

Tinkerbelle said, “Maybe we can separate the two things. So it doesn’t look like a this-for-that.”

“I have an idea,” Klepto said. “Let’s make him the Ambassador first, then when he goes away, he can sell you the team because he won’t be around to watch it anymore.”
“That’s a great idea, Klepto,” said Harlequin.

“That’s why you’re head of the family, Daddy. You always have the best ideas,” said Tinkerbelle.

“I know. I’m very smart. I got the best grades in school. I understand things better than most people. Better than anybody, actually.”

“So true,” said Harlequin.

“So true,” said Tinkerbelle.

“So you said you were going to solve the problem with the Jews and the Palestineans,” Klepto said. “How’s that going?”

“I’ve got it down,” Harlequin said. “Peace is easy. I just haven’t found a way to make any money out of it, yet.”

“Well, keep working on it,” Klepto said. He felt better now. “We have to focus less attention on government and more on swindling people.”

“It’s what we do best,” said the Scarecrow from the back of the room.

But nobody heard him.

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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