New York Magazine (which was just purchased by Vox Media this week) published a great story a couple of weeks ago by Robert Moor titled “American Animals.” I almost skipped over it. I’m glad I didn’t.
The main character is Joe Shreibvogel, aka Joe Maldonado, aka Joe Passage, aka Cody Ryan, aka Joe Exotic, aka “the Tiger King.” Joe grew up in Kansas, then “talked his way into becoming the police chief” of Eastville, a tiny town of 503 that was later consolidated with The Colony in the late 1980s. At one point he worked at the Round-up Saloon in Dallas as a security guard. He met his first husband there and moved into a trailer park with him in Arlington. Shortly thereafter he started a career in big cats and roadside zoos.
Things go predictably pear-shaped and end with an attempted murder for hire that’s recorded by the FBI. It’s kind of like Duck Dynasty meets Fargo but with a caged tiger instead of a wood-chipper.
It’s a perfect Friday read.