Nap Lapkin: Terminated (part 1 of 6)
(originally posted May 2018)
There was a crackling of electricity, a quick flash of light and suddenly a large hulking figure was deposited in the alley. Naked as a two hundred and forty pound jaybird. The newspapers and other bit of debris that were scooped up and hurled around in the obviously-time-travel-related event were slowly making their way back down to the pavement replete with the requisite amount of filth and puddles of unknown but terrible smelling liquids.
The figure slowly stirred, framed by dumpsters and terrible-smelling cardboard boxes of unknown origin. And you want to talk unknown origins … that figure had it in spades. Once he steals a leather jacket and a pair of dark sunglasses from some tough that has it coming he might blend in with normal humans but standing naked in that dark alley he definitely had a strong ‘cyborg assasin’ vibe.
Yes, he was standing. He went from stirring to standing. Try and keep up.
On the other side of town there was a very similar crackling and flashing taking place, except the figure deposited in into the shadowy backstreet was more dapper than hulking. A nice way of saying older. Distinguished even in his nakedness. Although his alley was much less foreboding it did come with the necessary privacy that time-traveling gentlemen look for in an alley. It gave him the opportunity to compose himself. He swiveled his neck around slowly and said only one word; “Madonna.”
Then, a few moments later, he said another; “Pants.”
It’s at this juncture I should point out that if you’re seeing any similarities between these opening paragraphs of the story and the movie The Terminator that it’s really not my fault. I’m just reporting things as they happened, to the best of my rather limited abilities. If a spaceship landed in New York and someone looking a lot like Darth Vader stepped out and blasted the city a new one with a weapon that appeared strikingly like a AG-2G quad laser cannon the Star Wars lawyers couldn’t sue the newspaper that reported it could they?
Really. Could they? I’m asking sincerely. It will determine exactly how much I can mention about the terminatoresque bad guy in the upcoming story.
Meanwhile in Moab, Utah a solitary shape was making his way up Dead Horse Point and he wasn’t happy about it. He glanced down at the rocky expanse below him before looking up at the expanse above him. Neither expanse filled him with particular enthusiasm for continuing the climb but at this point he was committed.
The people at the office had told him that Tom Cruise hadn’t actually climbed this rock for the opening of Mission Impossible 2 and had instead used ropes and pulleys and trick camera angles but it was mission impossible to tell Nap Lapkin anything. Once he’d seen the movie he knew he was going to have to conquer this hunk of rock. Interestingly enough, the FBI, CIA and NSA had spent millions of dollars between them making sure he never saw the movie but thanks to a free weekend of HBO and his on-again/off-again romantic partner Madonna Axion being AWOL their plans were FUBAR. The next thing they knew he was on his way to Utah.
It wasn’t easy being the world’s most foremost and revered super spy. The title came with a lot of real responsibilities that Nap was only too eager to ignore. It was the self-imposed criteria that made his life difficult. Once he’d seen Tom Cruise do the climb he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that all the women in his office had seen it and asked themselves “Could Lapkin do this climb?”
“Holy shit. I’m only half way up and my hands are killing me” he muttered to himself. “Some chalk would come in handy about now.”
Obviously he’d headed down to the local rock gym to find out the proper way to climb before boarding his flight to Utah but he had grown bored after only a few minutes of hearing the various tricks of the trade. When he saw some guy hanging there and then reaching behind him to stick his hand into a little bag of powder on his belt he swore to himself he’d rather plummet to his death than get caught doing such an effeminate thing.
It appeared that the plummeting option might now be on the table.
Being the crack reader that you are it’s probably occurred to you already that I’ve already doomed this tale to the scrapheap of history by including two pop culture references on the very first page. No tall lanky earless genderless humanoid in the year 3127 is going to ask the class to open their books on important works of literature to page 37 for a story that references both The Terminator and Star Wars in the opening 800 words.
Now that the pressure is off, I can relax and just let things flow where they will.
It’s a shame that the killer cyborg didn’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. That would have made things easier for everyone involved (although if you think I was going tom type out Schwarzenegger more than once you’re crazy). Instead it struck an uncanny resemblance to Lou Ferrigno, which makes the opening sentence that much more accurate. I wanted to make it look like André René Roussimoff, you no doubt know him as André the Giant, but what advanced artificial intelligence would send that cyborg back in time with the intentions of blending in?
I understand if you’ve leapt to the conclusion that the cyborg immediately went looking for a phone book so he could look up the home address of his intended victim but I’m going to have to stop you right there. This is 2018, not 1984. Don’t go leaping ahead.
The Lou Ferrigno-looking cyborg had acquired clothing, sunglasses and enough weaponry to choke a horse. One minute he’s standing up in an alley and the next the body count is at three.
With calculated efficiency he stomped leisurely into a Starbucks and sat down at a computer with a “Free Wi-Fi” sign sitting next to it. The machines knew that their target wasn’t going to be easy to find so he didn’t even bother Googling her name. Instead he Googled sites where they would provide people’s addresses at no charge.
He typed M a d o n n a A x i o n and hit enter. The site cheerfully asked for his credit card information.
He clicked out of it and went to the second one on the Google list.
For long minutes it asked for details about his requested person and then asked him to wait while the site located her. After a few minutes the site politely inquired about his credit card information.
Was that a small puff of smoke that escaped from his left ear?
He was about to click on the third option provided by Google when a perky barista approached and ask if he would like to try a Sous Vide Egg Bite.
“Leave me alone.” The cyborg’s voice sounded like an angry Michael Bolton. These are the crucial details that really bring stories to life and separate the novice writer from a veteran word-slinger like myself.
Sensing a case of the Mondays the barista switched gears and asked if he could bring him a Teavana Shaken Iced Tea Infusion.
The third website jumped right to asking him for his credit card.
“Is that a no on the steeped fruit tea big fella?” asked the chipper young coffee-slinger.
Moments later the body count had jumped to eighteen.
I’m going to try and hold off telling you the identity of the second figure that made the trip back in time. Believe me, it’s killing me not to tell you but I think we’ll both be glad I hold off as long as I can.
After relieving a homeless man of his clothes this mysterious time traveler walked to the nearest intersection to get his bearings. If you’re worried about the homeless man whom had his clothes stolen you can relax. It’s widely known that homeless people wear all their clothes at times, at any given time they might be wearing a half dozen shirts and at least three pairs of pants. Our hero (?) simply had him strip off his least favorite items. One look at the underwear options had him convinced that free-ballin’ was the way to go.
A quick glance at the street sign and he knew exactly where he was and, more importantly, where he had to go. For he enjoyed one advantage the cyborg assassin did not; he knew where Madonna lived.
He broke into sprint.
He was pretty nimble for an older guy.
Somewhere in an unnecessarily shadowy office in Washington, a man sat behind an enormous desk and his enormous phone began to ring.
“Operation Fallen Eagle has come to fruition.”
The behind the desk rolled his eyes slightly and asked “Has the target been confirmed as safe?”
“Ok then. Have the construction crew liquidated.”
“Already done sir” replied the man on the other end of the phone. He continued; “There is only one loose end to tie up and it will be as if it never happened. It has been an honor to serve sir.”
With that the very unnecessarily patriotic man put his sidearm into his mouth and pulled the trigger.
“Fucking Lapkin” the man said as he placed the phone back in its cradle.