When Klepto was a young clown living from hand to mouth on nothing but his trust fund and the money he scammed from investors in the sweetheart deals he brokered as a front man for his father, he trusted no one with his self promotion but himself. Klepto was always his best publicity agent or at least he thought so and no one could tell him different. So, disguising his identity behind the impenetrable alter ego of “Joe Schmoe” he would call up the tabloids and drop tasty tit bits about Klepto’s sexual and financial conquests, mostly imagined, to the city’s tabloids. “Joe Schmoe” was so obviously believeable as a real person—a recent hire at the Klepto Organization who nevertheless knew the innermost thoughts and feelings of its principal—that Klepto didn’t even bother to disguise his own distinctive voice.
Now, with his lieutenants embattled and caught in their own lies and misdeeds Precedent Klepto decided to bring Joe Schmoe out of retirement and put him to work in the government ethics office.
“The Wicked Witch of the West spoke inadvertently when she declared that she would give a free advertisement to Tinkerbelle’s clothing line and she was kidding anyway and didn’t even say it and probably won’t say it again, so it’s not an ethics violation,” he dictated.
It was family time for the Klepto Klan. They were alone in their private apartment in the White Home which, even though it looked exactly like its twin room in the Ivory Tower, had to be in DC because the Tin Woman ruled in New York now and Klepto did not go there anymore. The boys were relaxing, the Scarecrow hanging on his Scarecross on the far wall, the Cowardly Lion Killer sprawled face down under the coffee table and Harlequin standing lightly at attention near the door.
As Klepto paced like a caged dog, Tinkerbelle lay on the baby seal skin couch. She was flipping through Parade magazine to see how advertisements for her clothing line looked with the WWotW’s endorsement on them. Her long white legs were stretched out like icicles taking up most of the room and the tiny skirt of her sheath dress had ridden up much farther than modesty recommended. The TV was on and some pundit was saying something that no one listened to, though everyone listened for Klepto’s name, the only thing on the news that mattered to them.
“They Flying Monkey did not know what he was saying when he admitted to speaking with representatives of the Vlizard of Oz, who is a great guy by the way, and is a dumb animal anyway no matter what he says and therefore is cleared of all wrongdoing,” Klepto dictated.
“The Attorney General What’s his name—”
“Suckup,” said the Scarecrow from his distant wall.
“—is guilty of everything he says he said or didn’t say or did or didn’t do and is therefore cleared by me, Joe Schmoe, not Precedent Klepto, but Me, the Ethics Person. In Chief,” Klepto finished.
“Guiltless,” Tinkerbelle amended. “You mean to say he’s ‘guiltless.’”
Klepto’s eyes flicked between the mesmeric TV screen and his daughter’s bottom. “If you weren’t my daughter, I’d date you,” he murmured almost silently in his throat.”
“And if you weren’t my father, I’d spray you with mace. Really, Daddy, who are you talking to? No one’s here,” Tinkerbelle said.
“Damn, I’ll have to say it all again. If I can remember it. Anybody know what I was talking about?” Klepto asked his children.
They shook their heads and from under the table, the Cowardly Lion Hunter added, “We weren’t listening.”
“Neither was I,” Klepto admitted.
“I’ve got it,” said Vice Precedent Suit. The family was shocked. They did not know he was there in the room with them. “Oh, I’m here. I’m always here. And I’ve got it all on tape.”
“Good,” Klepto said. “Then you type it up.”
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