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I have bags, yes, those bags are for travel. Like I said, just trying to leave Minnesota.
“Yea, you said that. Now you’re in Wisconsin where the speed limit is 65.”
I look out in front of me, the cars speed past, and the whole moment turns into water, it drains out of me. The sky is grey, the land is dead, and Wisconsin, the foreign soil with an incredibly slow speed limit, is my death, because it is at this moment I remember what I have in the back of my car. It all drops from me, held by some god who has my testicles, my lungs, and my tongue in his hand and has injected my stomach with feverish tickle juice. It is all over now. I see him before me, this invisible inventor, the mad scientist-love child of cosmos and afterbirth, “Yo bitch,” god rumbles in me, “You shoulda left that hash where you came from.”
Does he know I had no choice?
After we steal the groceries I ask him if he has any immediate intentions for his life, a question he always avoids but I ask anyway. He shakes his hand at my face, as if to detract a frenzy of paparazzi, and demands that I drive. I don’t mind driving, I just don’t know where I’m going. He jumps on top of the car and flashes his genitals to a passerby’s. “Hurry,” he screams. “They’re gonna turn around and kick our ass!” He jumps into the passenger’s seat, getting his way after all. I’m driving.
Klippinger had lived in and around Minneapolis most of his life. I had met him in Pittsburg years earlier at which point in his life he was an attorney and was well regarded amongst his colleagues as the craziest motherfucker to ever step foot into a suit. He was fresh out of school at the time and had landed himself what he referred to as an “idiot’s job,” fighting for the rights of small time criminals. His greatest accomplishment, equally bewildering to him, was his ability to make anyone believe he was telling the truth and for this he was the only honest lawyer I have known. I would meet him in the evenings at our favorite bar and he would arrive bowled over in hysteric laughter at himself, tears welling up in his eyes as he relayed his day in court. He could barely get through his monologue without choking, “And they believed me!” he would scream in finality.
Klippinger slammed into shots that he would share copiously and if you wouldn’t let him buy you a shot, he would pull a knife out and quietly, quickly, remind you, in a whisper, how close we all are to losing everything and that it’s a terrifying comedy so one must participate absolutely. You could not argue a man with a knife disclosing these profundities, especially when you knew it was meant for you only. His terror was inflicted intimately, his only means of bridging the gap between his wealth of knowledge and his inability to communicate.
His face remains the ugliest. It wasn’t that way when I first met him but alcohol will add surprising creases to the mask. His face bulges and pops, and when it rests it sits in constant disapproval, mocking your idiocy. His eyes sit on the edge of the lids, looking over effortlessly saying, “Fuck, this is too easy.” I have never seen anyone so consistently unimpressed. There are times when his side commentary and grins would reveal a man who might be interested in your opinion, but this does not exist.
His scheme is so perfect it only works for him. His rules are so illogical they resound like waves and you think to yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
I once asked him, What do you like to fuck? “As long as it isn’t another person, I’ll stick my dick in it.” And this epitomizes Klippinger, to some level, and at another much more complicated level, it is only the beginning.
He throws directions my way, “You’ll want to take a right eventually. Not now, of course, but in a ways. Jesus, listen to me fucking go on! Blah blah blah. Shoot me already. Shutup, Joe! Shut the fuck up, Joe! Why don't you shut the fuck up already, Joe! Jesus! Just keep driving and I'll shut the fuck up.” He puckers his mug and puts his finger to his head, "Bah!"
We don’t talk the rest of the drive to the unknown destination, which at this point I can only assume will end in our deaths – an overarching plan Klippinger is always pining for, dreaming of, “One of these days I’m gonna blow up,” he confesses at his drunkest. “Kablammo!”
Klippinger, Minnesota continues...