Nap Lapkin: Terminated (part 3)
He was a few hundred feet from the top when Nap fell. He had been stuck for over an hour in the same spot, his knee wedged into a crack and seemingly nowhere for him to keep moving upward. Going back down wasn’t an option. He instead spent some time fuming over the comments made at the rock gym about the Tom Cruise ascent during Mission Impossible 2. Two complaints in particular stuck out; the first being that nobody would jump sideways and down during a climb. They went on and on about how it would be impossible deal with the momentum associated with such a maneuver. Second, seasoned climbers would never turn their back to the wall while hanging off two handholds with their arms extended sideways.
He had made a mental note to make sure that at some point in the climb he would jump sideways and down then turn his back to the wall while hanging off two handholds with his arms extended sideways.
It was as important to him that this happen as it was that he make the climb in the first place. When he was meeting a beautiful woman for the first time he needed to be able to catch her eye with a look that said “I have jumped sideways and down then turned my back to the wall while hanging off two handholds with my arms extended sideways.” You can’t fake a look like that. That’s what other men never understood. It’s why he could bed any woman he wanted.
There was a price to be paid for this gift and he was in the middle of paying for it.
The wind had picked up a bit and fatigue had begun to set in. He looked around and saw a small ledge that had escaped his notice earlier. Mostly because it was so damn sideways and down from where he was at the moment. I mean, really sideways and down. Ridiculously sideways and absurdly down.
“Fuck Tom Cruise” he said softly and leapt.
His foot hit hard and began to slide. His hands clawed wildly for purchase and momentarily found nothing but air. His ass bounced off the rock and he realized that he only had a second before he ran out of ledge and gravity, momentum and all those douche bags at the rock gym would be proved right. He extended both arms fully before dropping over the ledge… and hung there. His back to the wall while hanging off two handholds with his arms extended sideways.
A triumphant roar escaped his lips. He looked down at the dizzying depths below him. He looked left and right for somewhere else to grab.
There was nowhere else to grab.
“Well this sucks.”
His fingers began to ache and he felt a quivering in his arms. In the distance a large bird began slowly moving towards him.
“Of course. A fucking eagle. Not even big enough to carry my weight. Perfect.”
His mind raced. Was there a way to get a bunch of eagles to head over and lend him a hand?
“Is it a gaggle of eagles? That doesn’t sound right. Flock?”
It’s not a gaggle or a flock. A group of eagles is a convocation. Because the eagle is the symbol of this great nation Nap would later look this up.
It was ten torturous minutes before the eagle finally made its way over to Nap. It landed just above his head and leaned over to look him the eye.
“Come to eat my liver?” Nap asked him. The fact that he could verbalize any thought at this point was nothing less than heroic. Most of his fingernails had ripped off, his arms and chest were on fire and sweat was dripping off him and then beginning its six hundred foot fall to the talus slope.
The fact that he was making a Prometheus reference should give you an idea of the type of man we’re dealing with here. Able to hang from a ledge using only two handholds with his arms extended sideways for ten minutes and still come up with a reference from Greek mythology. A rather appropriate one at that.
The eleventh minute ended up being a bit trickier though and by that I mean his hands gave out and he plummeted to a certain death on the rocks below.
That is until giant air bags suddenly inflated underneath him and broke his fall.
He was not expecting this rescue and even resented it a little as he had made peace with slipping this mortal coil with a hundred feet still to fall. Of all the ways a man can bite it he ranked this near the top so when the bags popped open and he felt himself bouncing instead of splatting he was of mixed emotions.
“Those bastards! Those rotten head-shrinkers. I guess I’m getting too predictable.”
The fact that he was such a valuable asset might be a nice thing to reflect on until you realize that at the end of the day you’re still just an asset.
He could only hope that anyone who knew about this little adventure had been terminated. He had a reputation to uphold after all.
He reached for his phone and requested a lift back to Washington.