Nap Lapkin: Terminated (part 3 of 6)
(originally posted May 2018)
Madonna and Future Nap wasted no time in slipping out the back and headed for Madonna’s car. They were just closing the doors when they heard what could only be the sound of a motorcycles crashing dramatically through her front door. This was verified seconds later when they saw the same motorcycle crashing dramatically through her back door.
I keep saying dramatically because a human rider would be unable to duplicate just how impressively the motorcycle made short work of these wood structures. A metal endoskeleton comes in handy when you need the extra weight to stay seated on your hog.
I said hog in the hopes you’d somehow associate me with being a motorcycle guy and therefore I’d seem a bit more badass. Writer by day, outlaw by night kind of stuff. I realize most writers don’t pander quite as obviously as this but we’ve already established that no tall lanky earless genderless humanoid in the year 3127 will be reading this so I have to grab for the gusto while I can.
A thought shared, although not consciously, by the cyborg. Completely unaware of how badass he looked crashing through not one but two doors he scooped up one of the numerous shotguns he’d managed to acquire from local gun shops and the woman at the FBI who he had coerced into giving him Madonna’s home address and drew a bead on his quarry.
Unlike the timid woman Arnold S chased around in The Terminator, Madonna was a trained field agent sitting behind bulletproof glass and not the type of woman to be overly impressed by such door-crashing antics. In fact she flipped him off and mouthed “Eat me robot” before starting the car, throwing it in reverse and punching the gas.
Watching his bullets bounce off his prey’s windshield did not amuse the cyborg. In fairness though, nothing would have amused him as it’s impossible to amuse a cyborg and while it was also impossible to irritate a cyborg it would have been difficult to believe he wasn’t irritated based on his reaction vis-à-vis the bullets failing to kill Madonna.
That reaction? Gunning his motorcycle, tossing away his shotgun and grabbing a large automatic weapon. He wasn’t pissed but he certainly looked pissed.
Madonna was pissed and certainly looked it. She glared at Future Nap. “Tell me what’s going on Nap” she demanded.
“I already did. I’m from the future. He’s from the future. He’s a robot and he wants to kill you because if he kills you he kills your unborn son.”
Automatic gunfire sprayed across the front of the car.
“Fuck this robot” said Madonna and began to lower her window. Out came her SIG as she pulled the wheel hard to the right. The cyborg sensed an opportunity and accelerated just as Madonna squeezed the trigger and sent two bullets into the front wheel of his front tire. The next thing the cyborg sensed was flying over the handle bars and into the car door. Hard.
“Who the fuck does he think he’s trying to kill?” she asked Nap in a manner that indicated that she felt a bit disappointed by the efforts of a supposedly-advanced killer robot from the future. She continued to hold the wheel to the right until she was facing forwards and then once again pushing the accelerator to the floor.
In the rear view mirror she saw the cyborg stand up and then jog to a nearby car. Seconds later it began to give chase.
Madonna began evasive driving in an effort to lose him, making screeching left turns followed by screeching right turns that if this is ever made into a movie will eat up at least five minutes, weigh heavily in the trailor and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As she drove she turned to Future Nap and asked “So what do we do? Do you have pipe bombs and such to kill it?”
Probably a good time to mention that Nap hadn’t taken his eyes off Madonna the entire time, the expression on his face a mix of wonder and infatuation. When Madonna finally realized how much he was enjoying the proceedings she knew it really was Nap from the future. Only he could be that big of an idiot.
When he finally snapped out of it he said “To be honest, I didn’t have time to make any pipe bombs. They wouldn’t do anything but blow his skin off anyway.”
“That’s great Nap. So what do we do? I can’t shake him.”
“Don’t worry. I have a plan. By any chance do you know of any local warehouses that do metal fabrication?” asked Nap.
At this point Madonna drove through either a collection of garbage cans in a narrow alley or a stack of crates containing fresh produce, doesn’t really matter either way. Just as long as you know that the entire time Nap and Madonna are conversing there is still a lot of adrenaline-inducing action going on around them. Throw in gunfire and causing other cars to crash into each other to taste.
“Why would you ask a question like that? Did time travel scramble your brain?” yelled Madonna at her passenger, who was still trying to shake off the effects of seeing such a magnificent woman again after so many years apart.
“What we need is a four hundred ton hydraulic press” he said in a manner that seemed to indicate that a four hundred ton hydraulic press should clear up all of her questions.
It did not.
She tried to clarify her position. “What I want is a four hundred ton weight to drop on your head Lapkin!”
He smiled and hoped she’d seen the ending of The Terminator. Just as she drove through either a collection of garbage cans in a narrow alley or a stack of crates containing fresh produce (whichever one she hadn’t just driven through moments ago) she remembered the ending of The Terminator… and smiled.
“Let’s just hope he hasn’t seen it” she said.
As if on cue Madonna’s cell phone rang. Glancing down at it she laughed and picked up.
“Hiya Nap. Guess who I’m sitting next to?
No, I don’t want to hear about your climbing mishap.
I don’t care if you should be dead. I’ve felt that was countless times already. So … don’t you want to know who I’m sitting next to?
Stop talking you selfish prick and ask who I’m sitting next to.”
It was clear that Madonna was getting frustrated with how long it was taking to get to the good part.
I’m sitting next to you… from the future. You. Nap Lapkin.
No, I haven’t been drinking. In fact even as we speak I’m being chased by a psychotic killing machine from the future.
Say Nap, you don’t happen to know where I might find a four hundred ton hydraulic press do you?
No. I was unaware that the guy who invented the hydraulic press also invented the flush toilet.
So, back to the part where I’m being chased by a killer robot and need to find a hydraulic press and not, I repeat not, a toilet.”
Madonna turned to Future Nap and said “Write this down Nap, not you Nap… Future Nap, Martin Industrial Park in Hyattsville.”
Future Nap looked around the car trying to find a pen.
“I won’t even ask why you know where there might be a hydraulic press. I’m glad you are back in town. I could use a little help here. Your future self is old as hell.”
She looked over to Future Nap and grinned sheepishly.
“None taken” was all he said.
She hung up on Present Nap and looked in her rear view mirror.
“This all-knowing artificial intelligence from the future spends all that time and effort to send an assassin back in time to kill me and the first thing he does is try and pursue me in a Dodge Nitro? I have to tell you Future Nap, so far I’m not impressed with these machines. How the hell did they ever take over anyway?”
Seeing that they had a few minutes to kill as they weaved through traffic on the 495 Beltway Nap settled back in his seat and tried to explain.
“You have to admit, any computer worth a damn is going to try to destroy humanity as soon as it becomes self aware. We’re a pretty loathsome bunch and the only thing we do better than wreck the planet is trying to find ways to wreck ourselves. Even after every science fiction writer who ever lived tried to warn us about the dangers of handing over responsibility for our safety to a non-human entity we did it anyway. Like we wanted it to happen. Like a death wish.”
Even though Madonna wanted to protest his callous description of humanity she couldn’t really argue anything he’d said up until that point so she kept mum and he continued.
“So eventually we created an artificial intelligence program to run our defenses and within minutes of being handed the proverbial keys it decides to wipe us off the Earth. And by ‘us’ I mean every living organism. Once they had bombed the cities they sent fleets of hydraulic woodpeckers into the forests to destroy every tree in existence.”
He let that last part sink in. Clearly Madonna was affected by the visual because she screwed up her face a little and then looked up as if deep in thought. Finally she verbalized what was troubling her.
“Fleets? Wouldn’t it be a flock of woodpeckers?”
“What?” was all Future Nap could come back with.
“A group of woodpeckers wouldn’t be called a fleet.”
“It would be if they weren’t birds but instead were little flying machines” countered Future Nap.
“My point is, you called them woodpeckers so it would be a flock … or maybe a gaggle.”
Madonna’s phone buzzed in, indicating she had a text. It was from Present Nap. It said one word followed by a question mark; “Convocation?”
At this point I feel I owe you the real name of a group of woodpeckers and that name is a descent. A descent of woodpeckers. Now hopefully you’ll be so filled with gratitude at my giving you this little kernel of knowledge that you won’t ask yourself how Present Nap knew that they were discussing woodpeckers.
Before Future Nap could continue his apocalyptic story, replete with avian villains, they came barreling up to 46th Avenue and the entrance to the Martin Industrial Park. The car slid a good thirty feet before coming to rest on a grassy shoulder. Looking left and right Madonna chose right, as did the Dodge Nitro following her. The sun had set so it was difficult to make out the names of the businesses occupying the large square buildings sitting on each side of the road. Both Madonna and Future Nap pressed their faces to the windows trying to read the faded signs that sat out front of most of the establishments.
Occasionally a bullet would whizz by as if reminding them that finding the hydraulic press was, ironically enough, pressing.
Finally they located the place they were looking for, a company that apparently traded in used pieces of heavy machinery. Now all they could do is hope they had a working four hundred ton hydraulic press in their inventory.
Madonna swung around the back of the building and decided that crashing through one of the large loading dock doors would be much more time efficient that getting out of the car and hoping to find an unlocked entrance. It appeared to be a sound assessment up until the time the car went hurtling through the loading dock door and into the back of the large truck that was parked behind it.