Nap Lapkin: Terminated (conclusion)
(originally posted 5/10/2018)
As the helicopter made the short trip to D.C. its three passengers attempted to put their situation in some sort of context they could grasp. And failed.
Present Day Nap took a positive approach. “So you’re saying that this Kris guy impregnated Madonna then died trying to protect her against the cyborg. Madonna then raised the kid to be a total bad-ass and he grew up to lead the rebellion against the machines.”
“Yes… that’s what was supposed to happen” answered Future Nap.
“So what’s the problem?” shrugged Present Nap. “All we have to do is knock up Madonna, my DNA has to be better than this Kris guy. All we did was improve things. Steve 2.0.”
Finally it was time for Madonna to pipe up. “How can you show such a profound disrespect for destiny? You can’t just plug in someone new in such a delicate situation.”
“Speaking of plugging … who’s going to be the one to impregnate Madonna?” asked one of the Lapkins, which was is sort of irrelevant.
“Well … I did come back in time for her” said Future Nap… making my last sentence completely inaccurate. Damn those Lapkins.
“Yes, but you’re old as hell. I bet your sperm doesn’t even work anymore” rebutted Present Nap.
Madonna put her head in her hands. “This isn’t happening.”
“I didn’t even have the balls to admit how I felt about her. I did!” said an animated Future Nap.
“I who? I me or I you?” said a confused Present Nap.
“Both.” Said Future Nap and left it at that.
The three sat in silence until the copter had reached a park near Madonna’s townhouse.
“We’ll pick you up in the morning” said Present Nap. “I have an idea who might be able to give us some insight into this whole mess.”
“If you say Jeff Goldblum I swear I’ll shoot you right now” said Madonna.
“Of course not” Nap said with a hurt look on his face. “How could you think I would turn to an actor on matters of time travel?”
“I’m sorry Nap. It’s been a long night” Madonna said. “Who did you have in mind?”
“Apology accepted. Dress nicely tomorrow … I’m going to get us a meeting with James Cameron. He’ll know what to do.”
“That’s exactly who I was thinking of” echoed Future Nap.
The thought that there was the possibility that one of these ignoramuses was going to have to be the father of her child ran through her mind as she stepped from the helicopter. If morning sickness was anything like this she did not look forward to pregnancy.
Future Nap walked through Present Day Nap’s apartment like he was strolling through a museum. He was smiling a lot and touching things and sighing. Present Nap asked if he wanted the bed to which he declined. He’d had a busy day and was certain the couch would be more than comfortable enough. He remembered falling asleep on it countless times when he was younger.
After making a few phone calls Present Nap walked in and sat down next to him.
“So many questions. Where to begin.”
“Well, I’m sure I’ve screwed up the future already so I’m not sure I can tell you much of what’s going to happen from here on out” Future Nap began. “I’ll just tell you what happened in my future.
To begin with, when we’ve sorted out this Madonna stuff I’m going to have to go and kill all the pasty white late night talk show hosts and their writers.”
Present Nap laughed and waited. Apparently Future Nap was anticipating shock or at least a question. Finally Present Nap added “Go on. Remember, you’re me so I’m assuming you have a completely rational reason for a killing spree.”
“Alright then. Well, after Trump was re-elected humor as you know it now was forever altered. The goal was no longer to be funny. Comedy was strictly to feel superior to people who didn’t share your political views. These late night writers simply bashed conservatives and their audiences clapped and hooted like something amusing had been said. It was the death of wit.
Furthermore, this allowed the politically correct crowd to go after anyone who actually tried to say something funny. Everyone knows the only thing that makes people laugh is making fun of people less fortunate then themselves. The PC folks started arresting comedians for hate speech.
The future became a horribly unfun place. You could even make the argument that when machines became self aware that some people were glad it was all going to end … if only to see all the talk show hosts lined up and shot.”
Present Nap soaked it all in. “So you’re going to cut to the chase and do it yourself in the hopes of saving humor?”
“Yes” replied Future Nap.
“Alright. I’m in” said Present Nap. “Anything else I should look out for?”
“Hmmmm. Oh… in five years most of America will stop watching the NFL when a large percentage of a team refused to play for a white coach. Hockey became our national pastime, which really pissed off Canada. Bowling also saw a bump in ratings. Like I said, the future became a pretty unfun place.”
“Wow. I guess we should get some sleep. I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be a long day.”
“Ok. Goodnight past me.”
“Goodnight future me.”
After a few late-night calls from high-ranking government officials the social calendar of one James Cameron was cleared and, as luck would have it, he was in New York to discuss financial details for his upcoming Terminator reboots so Nap, Nap and Madonna had only a short helicopter ride to meet with him.
The group walked into the reception area and were greeted by a stern middle-aged woman. Future Nap whispered to Present Nap “This takes me back. In the future no man would dare to have a female receptionist.”
“Mr. Cameron will see you now. The other member of your party has already arrived” said the woman sternly. Nobody was surprised by her tone. I think everyone would have been surprised by any other tone, that’s how stern she appeared.
“Our other member?” said a confused Madonna.
With that the receptionist swung open the door to an office revealing James Cameron seated behind a large ornate wood desk and, seated in front of him in a large ornate wood side chair, another older Nap Lapkin.
“I’ve pretty much brought James up to speed on the situation” said the newest Nap.
“And I’m afraid I have no idea what you want from me” said James.
“Yeah, he seems pretty useless. Plus I have some more bad news” announced the newer Future Nap.
The three figures in the doorway had not moved since seeing the newest Nap. Three mouths hung open. When the newest Nap saw this he remarked “I know right. James Cameron. I’m king of the world!”
Finally Madonna was able to form a semi-complete sentence. “Three … Naps. Three… of… him. In… one… room.”
“Oh that” said the new old Nap rather cheerfully, “Well if that floats your boat get ready to be really floated. There are ten cyborgs headed in our direction even as I speak.”
“Ten?” inquired Nap, Nap, Madonna and James.
“Yeah… well. Long story short, our son was a dud in the hero department. Growing up knowing what was coming didn’t really have the effect on him we were hoping for. He never really took the war seriously.” New old Nap got a faraway look on his face.
“What did I tell you about destiny Nap?” snapped Madonna.
All three Naps looked at their feet.
“Wait, why am I looking at my feet?” said the Present Nap. “I haven’t done anything wrong yet.”
Old Future Nap turned and looked at James Cameron extremely dramatically. “You don’t happen to know where we can find ten four hundred ton hydraulic presses do you?”
“No I don’t, but I have to ask… have you ever done any acting?” said a clearly impressed James Cameron.
Just as a flattered Future Nap was about to launch into a monologue from Approaching Zanzibar Madonna anticipated such a move and brought the production to a sudden end with a swift slap to the back of his head.
(Just for the record … here is the scene he was about to deliver for Mr. Cameron; Randy Wands, a proud father, speaking about his newborn baby William at the top of Lookout Point: “Forget the sledding… ! My wife and I have already bought him one of those aluminum numbers that looks like a satellite dish. Woooosh…! I can’t wait! My daddy used to bring me up here when I was little. We’d ease down on that old Flexible Flyer and go belly whopping all the way to Nashville and back. My mother’d have to pry us off with a crowbar… and then summers we’d come up here with chili dogs and soda and play our harmonicas. He was good, he was real good. When he got going, the bears would come popping out of those bushes and start stomping their feet like there was no tomorrow…!”)
(You have to wonder if Madonna would have regretted interrupting him had she known…)
(As a side note … where else are you going to read a story about killer cyborgs AND still get a monologue from Tina Howe? Nowhere, that’s where)
“Why are there still cyborgs trying to kill me?” asked a perplexed Madonna, her hand still sore from being a very annoyed Madonna.
The new Future Nap stood up and invited the others to sit while he explained.
“Apparently the original cyborg sent an email to his future bosses upon arriving here asking why they would have only sent one. I guess they read it the second time around so they sent ten this time. Also, I’m guessing that after you squished the last cyborg you left the body there to be discovered the next day by the employees of the used equipment company.”
“I used that as a premise in one of the Terminator sequels” interjected James Cameron, happy to finally have something to interject.
“Oh now you’re interjecting” said new old Nap flippantly. “Now I’ve lost my train of thought.”
“How do we know you’re not a cyborg?” asked Present Nap.
“Honestly, I could be. I’ve sort of lost track.”
“Ok, he’s not a cyborg. Even Allen Turing couldn’t have come up with a more perfect rebuttal” old new Nap concluded.
“You realize all three of you are idiots don’t you?” asked Madonna with a sincerity that stung them all a little.
“What they might not realize is that they are creating alternate realities every time they decide to send themselves back in time.” Now it was finally time for James Cameron to shine. “If the theory of the Multiverse is to be believed, what you’re actually doing is…”
And with that all discussion stopped as the floor rumbled, the walls shook and a deafening explosion sounded somewhere beneath them. Did I mention they were on the 45th floor? Probably not. They were. So somewhere between the lobby and the 44th floor something very bad was happening.
And it more than likely involved cyborg assassins.
Present Nap leapt into action and almost ran into the other two Naps leaping into action.
James Cameron did not leap into action. He leapt under his desk. He, of course, might argue that in some sense that should be considered leaping into action as it incorporates both leaping and action but given he had four secret agents in his office he wasn’t going to find many supporters of this opinion.
“You two deal with the cyborgs, I’ll get Madonna out of the building safely” said Present Nap.
“I was just about to say the same thing” said new old Nap.
“No, he’s right new old Nap. We’ve both dealt with them before. It would be more prudent to make sure Madonna is looked after” argued the old old Nap.
“Since when do I say prudent?” said Present Nap.
“I couldn’t think of the word I really wanted to say” explained old old Nap.
Sensing a burst of unnecessary dialogue Madonna grabbed Present Nap and made for the stairwell. As they started down the stairs she asked Nap the following;” What do you think James Cameron was going to say?”
“Who knows? Want to know what I think?”
Madonna thought about it for a second. “No. Absolutely not.”
Somewhere around the twentieth floor they heard what sounded like a series of small explosions.
“I hope I’m ok” said Nap.
“They’ll be fine. They’re you” Madonna said in a consolatory tone. “Ok, tell me what you think.”
“Every new me tells a slightly different story about the future. I don’t think it really matters what we do or don’t do. Destiny isn’t real. The future is what you make it.”
It wasn’t until about the fifth floor that Madonna responded. Sounds like a long time but both of these characters are in top shape so each floor took only a few seconds.
“I figured you’d think something like that” she said after only a few seconds. They reached the ground floor and burst forth into a chaotic lobby. People were yelling and crying and running in all directions. The smell of smoke hung in the air.
“Myself” continued Madonna when they were finally able to get out to the street, “I like the idea of a Multiverse. Every decision creating a new branch of reality.”
“Like this decision?” Nap said as he pushed Madonna out of the way of a large desk that had popped out of the building somewhere far above their heads, made its way to the sidewalk in a hurry and then smashed into what appeared to be a hundred pieces of wood. Pens flew everywhere.
“Saving my life isn’t a decision. It’s a moral imperative” said Madonna with a wink.
“You know better than anyone I have no morals. Well, I’d better tuck you away in one of these little bodegas and go back and check on myselves.”
“Do you have to Nap?”
“It’s a moral imperative” he chuckled, and with that he gave her a shove and ran back in the direction of the desk-spewing building.
Nap found Nap and Nap in the lobby, leaning against a wall looking like they didn’t have a care in the world.
“Where are the robo bad guys?” he asked.
“You’re never going to believe it” said new old Nap. “Remember when I said my kid was a bit of a disappointment? I guess I was wrong.” His face was glowing with the closest thing that he’d ever felt to pride… that didn’t involve himself.
“All he did was play virtual computer games all day and night. I guess somewhere along the way he learned a bit more than I gave him credit for. He must have hacked into the artificial intelligent just as they were sending back the cyborgs.”
The other Nap, clearly feeling a bit proud of what technically could be called his son, jumped in. “You should have seen it, one minute they were blazing away with automatic weapons and the next they started singing and dancing. Then they started smoking and melting. It was both amazing and disturbing.”
“I hope he knew how much I’d appreciate it” new old Nap said.
“You realize he hasn’t been born yet right?” Present Nap pointed out. “You could literally write him a letter and have it waiting for him.”
“Actually, now he won’t ever be born … unless this old version of you has sex with Madonna… and even then it’s doubtful you can hand a baby a letter thanking him for something that he’ll never actually do.”
Old new Nap stopped talking when he realized he was so confused that he had no idea what the next words out of his mouth would be.
“So what’s next for you guys” asked Nap. “Didn’t the hero from The Terminator lower himself into lava to avoid creating awkward sexual tension for the people living in the present? Loose ends and such.”
Neither Nap looked like they appreciated the insinuation.
“Well if you must know” said the older of the two older Naps, “I have a screen test with Mr. Cameron in the morning. Then I’ll be taking care of that little assignment with the talk shows hosts we discussed earlier.”
“Don’t worry present-day Nap, I won’t hang around. The globe’s big enough for me to disappear somewhere” said the other older Nap.
“One more question” said Present Nap, “What song were the cyborgs singing?”
Older old Nap laughed. “It’s how I knew it was the work of my son. It’s Madonna’s favorite song.”
“No wonder it made such an impression. What I wouldn’t give to have been there to see ten cyborgs that look like Lou Ferrigno singing Work Bitch (by Britney Spears)” Nap said. And let out a long peel of laughter. “Madonna will love that.”
She did love that. Nap and Madonna sat at a table at a nearby restaurant and recapped the last twenty four hours over several bottles of wine.
“So the machines may or may not take over some time in the future, the question is how do we stop it?” asked Madonna.
“No, the question is, do we want to try?” said Nap. “It seems like we do more harm than good when we try to fix the future. Why don’t we just relax and go about our normal lives and see what’s happens.”
“You think we lead normal lives?” laughed Madonna.
“For us anyway…” Nap said as he opened another bottle.
“So…” started Madonna, obviously building up to something important, “it appears that when you get older you fall in love with me. You’re willing to travel back in time for me. Are we going to put that on the table?” She was staring at him coyly.
“Anything is possible” replied Nap nonchalantly, “The Multiverse and whatnot.”
“That’s all you’re going to say? You’re going to let me marry some other guy again before you realize that you’re in love with me?” Madonna appeared both amused and disappointed so Nap leaned over and scooped up her hand in his.
“You’re the only one of you. If it’s meant to be it will be.”
Somewhere in an unnecessarily shadowy office in Washington, a man sat behind an enormous desk and his enormous phone began to ring.
Three of them?”
He put down the phone.