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I don’t want to.
“Ruffy, get up.”
He’s too convincing. “This is Rico. Rico this is Ruffy.” I put my hand out to shake his. Rico is a big man and the sunglasses at night throw me. I search for his eyes behind them.
“I don’t give a flying fuck who this cracker is.” His jaw trembles with violence, he cracks his neck, his barreled chest heaves, – and then he busts into a heavy bass laugh. “I just fucking with you Ruffy, I’m Rico,” he pulls me in and bumps me in the chest. “Now fuck this shit, let’s take care of business, bitch.”
So thoroughly authentic this maniac is!
We huddle out to the parking lot. I see it looking down at us, the city of Minneapolis, oh please, why must we do this outside? This is the first time I have felt physically protective of a city.
Joe, I say, why aren’t we doing this inside the bar? You know, discreetly?
“Because, Ruffy, it’s a beautiful night out.” And it is, the snow is just beginning to fall fat dry flakes, powdering the cityscape. The city arches its stomach, concaving its bare back to hold the flurries. It looks so right doing it too.
Klippinger instructs me, “Go get the shit in the backseat?”
In the backseat? The shit in the backseat? What shit? Oh, is it drugs I’m looking for?
“No,” Rico says. “You’re looking for fucking tootsie pops.”
Klippinger cackles, “I love this guy!”
I go to the backseat and look around. What stuff? I turn around, Rico’s handing him a gym back. A deal is happening! a deal is happening! Joe, what shit?
And it is this moment that everything changes. Klippinger turns to me with wild eyes and he pulls his gun out. “Hey Rico, fuck off.” He shoots Rico in the foot and runs towards the car. It all happens so quickly I cannot even piece it together.
“Front seat, Ruffy! Front seat! Drive!” Rico obviously came unprepared, as his only defense is throwing rocks after us as we peel away.
“Rico never carries a gun. He’s a walking target. Maybe this’ll learn him to carry one of these,” he flashes the gun and his large teeth at the moon, magnificent.
Joe Klippinger discovered at a young age that he was smarter than his parents, his teachers and his pastor. It happened in that order for, as he puts it, “I realized that there were these incapable idiots making decisions for me.” He was astonished at this discovery and used this knowledge to charge after the world in which he would live. He pursued academics and sports and art and was the best at everything because, as he puts it, he knew “how to dupe every asshole who had grown up with idiots.” He was student body president, the only president to serve two terms because he was so well liked by the students who voted for him, and the faculty, who fudged the results and supported his liberal movements, like supplying condoms in the bathrooms. “I wanted to see all the young people fucking each other! Idiots!” This followed him into his university career where he scampered back and forth between every possible department during his six years as an undergraduate, where he never once initiated relationships that would get too personal. This was when he began to discover the Terror, as I would later come to understand it, which he would inflict upon his world and those inhabiting it. Pulling the cloak over imbeciles in power became easy for him and he could see his future clearly, he was too smart not to see what would become if he stayed on this trajectory: he would become a great power who would control others and the world would be no better for it.
So he pulled the cloak over his own eyes to save humanity from his will and now here he was, in the place he hated the most, dealing drugs in the Twin Cities.
The years had changed Klippinger from when he first opened his practice in St. Paul, to his successes in the courtroom, to his nightly drunken brawls, to the constant excess through a variety of drugs and women and men who he would bring to his bed and kick out after he was finished with, screaming insults in their face.
He always made sure they would never return or reach out to him again.
Klippinger’s truest moments of delight come from man-made disasters, a nuclear meltdown or an oil spill prompting him to chant, “More oil in the sea! More oil in the sea!” watching the nightly news, as if it were a Roman gladiator fight. “Oh!” he belches in orgasmic disgust, punctuating it with a cackle, “These people! They’re all so fucking stupid! I love it!” His ability to recognize the collective death we’re all heading toward is terrifyingly prophetic and he wants nothing more to than to be here for the last breath.
Klippinger, Minnesota continues...