Laugh, Klown

Klepto was going through the first stage of grief: whining.

He was sitting on the baby seal skin couch in front of the TV where Fox News was explaining that the failure of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the thing Klepto and the Republicans had railed at ceaselessly for seven years, was no big deal. But Klepto knew better. It was a loss for him. He was a loser.

“I’m a loser,” Klepto whined. He couldn’t stand to be called names or even mildly disliked, but “loser” was the name he hated most, because it was the description that best suited him. Three failed marriages, a series of failed businesses, indebtedness to his family, to foreign business interests, to the Vlizard. His only success was a TV show that got renewed every year because it was so cheap to produce.

And now a public humiliation. A sweeping condemnation of everything he had promised.

“Loser!” he wailed again. Tears ran in rivers down his cheeks smearing even the thick white greasepaint of his clown makeup. He wheezed when he inhaled; he gasped when he exhaled. His whole body spasmed, causing his diamond-patterned pink and gold pajamas to shiver like a Jello volcano experiencing an eruption. He threw his arms to the heavens imploringly and he peed his pants.

“Why me?” he whined.

Tinkerbelle said, “Because you insisted they vote, Daddy. You couldn’t stand the suspense.” She was distracted by moving in to the White Home, a move complicated by the interruption of a ski holiday in Colorado, and was exhausted from telling her flunkies where to put things in her new West Wing offices.

“I did no such thing,” Klepto screeched.

His daughter froze and turned a whiter shade of pale. “Oh, you’re right, Daddy,” Tinkerbelle said, pulling herself together and reminding herself that her real job was to be a yes-man/woman to her father while pretending to give him objective advice. She didn’t have any advice to give him now; this was a disaster pure and simple, but she had to distract him so she pretended to see something on the floor and bent over.

Klepto froze. Tinkerbelle’s tiny sheath dress barely covered her lady parts when she was standing upright. Klepto growled, “If you weren’t my daughter, I’d date you.”

Normally, she would reply, “If you weren’t my father, I’d spray you with mace,” but this was no time for bickering.

“It’s Pinocchio’s fault,” she said straightening up.

“Yeah, that slime ball Pinocchio!” Klepto said, moving into the next stage of grief: finger pointing. “That smarmy Mick cornball!” he added, working himself up. “He always had it in for me, right from the start!”

Klepto picked up what he had been told was a priceless Ming vase and smashed it on the floor. The shards scared his son, the Cowardly Lion Killer, and caused him to scurry out from where he was hiding under the coffee table to go hide behind the couch.

Smashing felt good. Klepto swept some stuff off a table. Only some of it was breakable, so he up-ended the table. He knocked over the chairs. He pulled books off the shelves then looked at them lying on the floor. Didn’t books smash when you drop them, he wondered. He always thought they were fragile which is why he left them alone. Framed pictures broke so he flung some family portraits across the room.

“Hey! Hey!” cried his other son, the Scarecrow. He was too hung up on his Scarecross to dodge.

There was nothing else to break, so Klepto grabbed a dining table chair and started beating the baby seal skin covered couch again and again. But the baby seals were stronger than they felt when he sat on them and the chair was sturdier than it looked.

Suddenly the world got dark and Klepto wobbled like a top losing its spin and fell to the floor.

“Oh, Daddy,” Tinkerbelle said as the medic sprang out of hiding and began attending him.

On the floor, Klepto slid into the next stage of grieving: lying. “I never promised to end Sambocare, in my first hundred days. I said I would do it on day one. Immediately. Never on day sixty-one. This is exactly what I wanted to happen. Now the Democrats own it. Even though it was their plan in the first place. Not one of them came to vote for me! Even after I told them I didn’t need them. And those Freedom Caucus guys. I told them I’d get them. They think they’re so smart just because they have sixty percent approval in their districts and I have thirty-seven. Smarmy bastards. I’ll put them on my list. With North Korea and the New York Times. This is exactly what I wanted to happen. I’m going to let Sambocare wither and die or maybe sabotage it. Then they’ll come crawling to me begging for a plan and I’ll give it to them.”

“What plan is that, Dad?” asked the Cowardly Lion Killer peeking timidly from behind the couch.

“My Great Plan to Provide Care for Everybody for Nearly Nothing,” Klepto said staggering to his feet. He was getting ready at the next stage of grief. “Everyone will have everything they want for free and they’ll all come to the Ivory Tower and thank me for it and I’ll let them for only ten dollars a pop. That’s it. That’s my plan. Doesn’t that sound good?”

And so Klepto triumphed over another setback, reaching the last stage, the stage from which he could go on with his life: pretending everything that happened hadn’t happened and telling everyone he was doing great.

He smiled smarmily to himself and let out a long thick fart. Then he settled on the couch and watch Fox News tell the world none of it was Klepto’s fault and blaming the Democrats. He knew it. In fact, he had predicted it. He was a great Precedent, the best ever. It was easy.

Only, why were his pants so wet around the crotch?

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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