Nap and the Mammoth Undertaking (part 2)
Meanwhile at that very moment the man who occupied the unnecessarily shadowy office in Washington D.C., which true Nap Lapkin fans have come to expect to make an appearance in every story, was on vacation. Thousands of miles away from the aforementioned office and in no way involved in what was about to unfold.
Why mention his office at all then?
Because I know what the people want (‘the people’ being the fictitious fans of Nap Lapkin I’ve created in my head). I know they would feel empty without a reference to the unnecessarily shadowy office in Washington D.C.
What they could never expect is that only a few moments later a cleaning woman who had only recently been hired walked into that very same office and did what had not been done in well over fifteen years; she opened the curtains and let daylight stream into the office.
Somewhere in Belize a pale tourist suddenly sat up with a worried look on his face. He sensed that something was terribly wrong.
Seconds after the curtains were opened the man’s assistant ran into the office and closed them. He scolded the new cleaning woman and made clear what would happen to her family should she ever touch the curtains again.
The man in Belize sighed and returned to a prone position on the massage table.
If this last chunk of the story didn’t have your pulse racing, try rereading it with the theme from Mission Impossible running through your head.
A quick search of Interpol revealed that absolutely no thefts involving woolly mammoths had occurred at any museum or archeological site across the globe. Just feeding that request into the database made Madonna feel stupid but it was the only lead they had. Across the hall Nap was finishing up a conversation with Matt Vogel that was also a dead end.
“Who the hell is Matt Vogel?” asked Madonna as they compared notes.
“He’s the guy inside the Big Bird costume on Sesame Street” Nap explained.
It took a few moments for Madonna to absorb the information, until finally her head tilted ever so slightly and she said “Of course he is.” She debated drawing her service revolver and putting two into the empty head of her co-worker but instead decided to pretend that she didn’t hear his response.
“I know, I know, pretty stupid huh?” chuckled Nap. “Like Big Bird was going to tell me anything relevant.”
Madonna laughed and nodded in agreement.
“Obviously I needed to be speaking with Martin P. Robinson, but I couldn’t track him down.” As soon as the words left his mouth his gaze returned to some distant horizon where the answers must lay.
Madonna sat slowly clenching and unclenching her fists. He couldn’t be serious could he? Martin P. Robinson couldn’t be the man she feared he would be. She couldn’t bring herself to ask Nap. If in fact the Martin P. Robinson he was referring to was the guy who was in the Snuffleupagus costume she would have no alternative but pull out her service revolver, place it in her mouth, and pull the trigger. She closed her eyes and began to take long slow breaths to calm herself.
When she opened her eyes she saw that Nap was staring at her. As he was about to speak she leapt forward and pinched his lips together.
“Don’t say it. Please for the love of all that is holy don’t say it.”
He didn’t say it. Instead he comforted himself by believing that Madonna would have no idea if answers would lay on a distant horizon or lie on a distant horizon, the question he was about to pose to her. “I think it’s lay” he concluded to himself before starting to wonder when Madonna was going to let go of his lips. He noted that given her finger strength she must have a drawer filled with worn out stress balls.
It’s at this point that you’re probably waiting to see who is responsible for all the high-profile political assassinations (and relieved to see I didn’t make “ass” “assignations” a running joke).
Without further ado, let me introduce you to Hans von Oofnik. Despite a modest start in the pharmaceutical industry, everyone who ever heard his name knew he was destined for bigger and more terrible things. He was on a number of 30 Under 30 Villains To Watch lists before he’d even graduated college. By the time he got the first of many PhDs he was already recognized as a leader in the field of DNA and was a familiar face at industry trade shows, until he suddenly quit his high-paying job in Big Pharma and disappeared to parts unknown.
That is until a bad guy with deep pockets approached him with a request that was just crazy enough to be the premise of a marginally entertaining spy thriller.
Slipping by security at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens, NY was child’s play for a seasoned spy like Nap Lapkin. Dressed in black from head to toe he moved in and out of the shadows and hummed a melody without realizing it. When he realized that there was nobody to hear him he began to sing quietly to himself; “Come and play. Everything’s A-OK. Friendly neighbors there. That’s where we meet.”
A short time later he found himself strolling down the middle of the lot where they filmed Sesame Street.
He kept waiting for some machete-wielding puppet to come lunging out of a trash can or some dark figure to pass in front of one of the many windows but none materialized. He wasn’t sure what it was he was hoping to find but he couldn’t help but feel that there was a connection between the recent murders and his childhood recollections. He had trusted his gut on a number of occasions and it had never led him astray.
Except when it did. And even those times it usually, against all odds, seemed to work out fine.
“Sunny Day. Sweepin’ the clouds away. On my way to where the air is sweet. Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street…”
He wandered off the main drag, through the prop department and into the dressing rooms. The smell of makeup and Ben Gay hung in the air. There were large closets on wheels and a few rows of lockers. Above one of the lockers the name Martin P. Robinson was written in black marker on masking tape.
Nap saw there was no lock on it. All he had to do was lift the handle and he would see if his hunch was right or Madonna had been right all along.
“It’s a magic carpet ride. Every door will open wide.”
He lifted the handle and the door opened wide.
He looked inside and smiled. “I knew it.”
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