Nap and the Mammoth Undertaking (part 3)
“Mr. Oofnik” said the large man in a white lab coat, “There was somebody nosing around the Sesame Street lot.”
“I see” said Hans von Oofnik. Typically Hans would have cursed and expressed his anger at the security team he’d installed at Kaufman Astoria Studios to avoid just such a scenario, but since the shooting he was very aware that his henchmen were a bit on edge. In his defense, it was common knowledge that he hated puns, but when one of the newcomers to the lab had been told what it was they were doing in the secret facility and replied that it seemed a ‘mammoth undertaking’ Hans had pulled the Ruger Mk II he always kept hidden in his jacket and shot him right in the face.
Since then the mood within the complex had been a bit tense.
“What did they want?” he finally asked.
“We don’t know for sure. He walked up and down the street for awhile and then went into the dressing rooms.”
“Did he go into Martin’s locker?” inquired Hans through clenched teeth.
“Affirmative.” The large man in the white lab coat thought briefly about mentioning the fact that the intruder sang “Every door will open wide” before opening the locker but reconsidered. While not technically a pun, it definitely seemed a bit too quipy to risk a repeat of the ‘mammoth undertaking’ incident.
Hans von Oofnik did not take the news well.
“Why didn’t someone detain him?” he asked.
At this point the man pulled out a notepad in order to make sure he relayed the information accurately. “Apparently the two guards got a ‘bad feeling’ from the guy. They said he had a ‘bright red frog sitting out in the open in the jungle’ vibe. They couldn’t explain it any better than that.”
“I see. Well, fire them both immediately. I want to know who this mystery man is by this time tomorrow. If not…” and then he glanced down at the inside of his jacket. If there was a word that means equal parts casually and menacingly I would have used it right there when describing how he glanced down. I appreciate that having a word for every possible combination of two other words is a lot to ask from a language. “Reach out to Martin and tell him I have another job for him.”
“Yes sir” and with that the man pivoted crisply and walked out of the room.
After looking around to confirm he was now alone in the room Hans von Oofnik said “A mammoth undertaking” and allowed himself a small chuckle. “That’s pretty good.”
“I know my worth. I embrace my power. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story. I will. I’ll speak and share and fuck and love, and I will never apologize for it. I am amazing for you, not because of you. I am not who I sleep with. I am not my weight. I am not my mother. I am myself. And I am all of you.”
Nap didn’t know how to reply. Even for Madonna it was quite an opening salvo.
She finished opening the door and then held up a copy of Amy Schumer’s book The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo as if it would shed light on her greeting. Much to her disappointment Nap seemed unfazed and hurried past her and into the depths of her apartment. Something was clearly on his mind.
“I was right” he said when she caught up to him in the kitchen. She knew from experience that these were his favorite three words in the English language.
“You’re not the only one who found a good book” and with that he produced an owner’s manual for a CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system.
Clearly unamused by his callous entrance, Madonna replied with a terse “That’s the one from Oprah’s book club right?”
“Aren’t you going to ask me where I found it?” asked Nap.
“I have the feeling you’re going to tell me either way.”
“From the locker of… wait for it… Martin P. Robinson.” He said it in a very ‘the defense rests’ kind of way. When she didn’t gasp in a very ‘he cracked the case’ kind of way he continued, “The guy in the Snuffleupagus costume on Sesame Street.”
Still no gasping from Madonna. Nap wondered briefly what it takes to get a gasp these days.
“What are the odds that his literary preferences happen to be exactly the kind of thing that would have wooly mammoths sprinting around the tundra again? There has to be a connection.”
Madonna had to admit that the evidence was compelling, but didn’t want to. She also didn’t want to admit that only Nap Lapkin could have made the connection. Honestly she was in no mood for admitting anything.
“So what did you think of my little speech at the door? It’s from Amy Schumer” she said trying to change the subject.
Nap’s forehead scrunched up in the way it does when he is trying to recall someone. Eventually it unscrunched and he said “That’s the fat comedian right?”
“Listen, I’m sorry about calling Amy Schumer fat” said Nap when he saw Madonna the following morning. “She’s not exactly fat. Just… oddly thick in some places.”
“Stop trying to apologize, it just makes it worse.”
Nap nodded and then stood as if waiting for something. Seeing that Madonna was in no rush to offer anything further on the topic, he asked “Isn’t there something you’d like to say?”
“You don’t want to apologize for anything?” Nap asked incredulously.
“What would I have to apologize for?” she snapped back.
“You drew your weapon and pointed it at me.”
“I needed you to leave” said Madonna slowly and firmly. “The fact that your Snuffleupwhatever hypothesis seemed to be correct was more than I could take. If you would have made one more Sesame Street comment or suggested that Amy Schumer is quite capable of trampling someone to death with her large calves and thighs somebody was going to get shot. Which brings me to ask how the fuck are a bunch of high-profile trampling deaths connected to a make-believe character on a children’s TV show?”
“Yeah, crazy right? I tried to locate Martin but he’s been off the grid for months now. He obviously doesn’t want to be found” said Nap, donning his best it’s-time-to-get-work face.
“Maybe we can get him to come to us” suggested Madonna.
“My thought exactly. When I was walking down Sesame Street I couldn’t help but feel I was being surveyed.”
“Maybe it was Elmo” Madonna said sarcastically, “or Cookie Monster.”
Nap ignored her and he continued to finish his thought. “I go back, under the guise of returning the book to Martin’s locker. They’ll be expecting something like that and I’ll no doubt have the opportunity to take a few prisoners and then question the living shit out of them.”
Madonna laughed. More of a snort really. “That means you’ll have to leave a few of them alive. Are you sure you can do that?”
“Simple” he replied, “I won’t bring a gun.”
“Brilliant Lapkin. No gun. What could possibly go wrong?”
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