A story about not being equipped to help someone. #flashfiction #shortstory #mentalhealth https://t.co/q9KdEdGWVF https://t.co/H14jfmpg2Z (21 hours ago)

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Mar
19

Nap Lapkin: Terminated (part 4)

(originally posted 5/10/2018)

 

The initial impact was tremendous and, despite the airbags and seat belts, both Madonna and Future Nap sat dazed and struggling to stay conscious. When you see the word initial before the word impact it leads you to believe that there is another impact coming and in this case you are spot on. I’m not going to say the cyborg got carried away in the excitement of the chase, I think we’ve clearly established that he’s incapable of such emotions, but when he saw Madonna heading for the loading dock door at full speed he decided he’d follow at full speed and thus there was a second impact shortly after the first as the cyborg’s car smashed into the back of Madonna’s.

You might be surprised to learn that artificial intelligence from the future does not place a high priority on seat belts. Throw in the weight of his metal endoskeleton and you have a cyborg lying on the hood of his car with his legs trapped between what remained of the steering wheel and the dashboard.

Future Nap slapped himself hard and tried valiantly to stay awake. He knew that the cyborg would extricate itself from the wreck in no time and if he or Madonna passed out it would be curtains for them.

“Come on Madonna… we have to go.”

Going proved a little harder than expected given their vehicle had been hit from both the front and back and looked in no small way like an accordion with wheels (only three of which were still touching the ground). They were finally able to scoot out their respective windows just as the cyborg was freeing his legs and reaching back into his car for another weapon. They were just able to duck out of the way of a fresh round of bullets and begin to make their way into the dark recess of what appeared to be a machinery graveyard.

Luckily the collision had badly damaged one of the cyborg’s legs so he was limping noticeably as he gave chase. Unluckily the collisions had badly damaged pretty much all of Madonna and Future Nap so they were barely able to keep ahead of the robot assassin.

“Madonna … in case we don’t make it. I just wanted to say something to you” yelled Future Nap as they weaved through a variety of arc welders, pipe benders, lathes and belt sanders.

“Can’t it wait?” she yelled back.

“No, it can’t. I came back through time to tell you this. I love you Madonna!”

Obviously this news made quite an impression on her. While she’d always suspected that beneath his gruff exterior Nap had cared for her she never imagined he could feel love.

“While I’d always suspected that beneath your gruff exterior you had cared for me I never imagined you could feel love” she said … rather unnecessarily.

More bullets bounced to and fro and they were beginning to run out of warehouse.

“It wasn’t until I was older, when it was too late, that I realized it. By that time you’d settled down with some dorky optometrist.” Future Nap seemed pleased to have gotten this confession off his chest. The timing was outstanding as well as they had reached the back of the building and there was only one machine left between them and the back wall; a four hundred ton hydraulic press.

“Yes” yelled a clearly relieved Madonna.

“I’ll disarm him while you pretend to be trapped and crawl through the press. When he crawls after you I’ll squish him” yelled Future Nap.

“Will this work?” asked Madonna.

“Of course. Would The Terminator lie?”

With that Future Nap doubled back and waited for the cyborg to walk past him. He grabbed a thick length of steel pipe and just as the robot began to limp by he swung with all his strength and the machine gun fell and slid across the cement floor.

“Run Madonna! Save yourself. He’ll never think to find you behind the four hundred ton hydraulic press!” For a moment Future Nap worried he might have overplayed his hand and rest assured if this was a theater critic from the future as opposed to a single-minded cyborg trying to kill Madonna he would have never bought it.

But the cyborg did. It hurled Future Nap to the side and started towards Madonna. There was nowhere for his prey to run now. I’m not saying the cyborg got a cyber-boner from the realization that the end was neigh but clearly there was a little extra pep in his step.

Madonna slipped through the narrow gap in the press and wedged herself against the wall. The cyborg began to slither into the press, his arms reaching out and his eyes gleaming malevolently. Future Nap had positioned himself right by the large red button that activated the press and when the cyborg was right in the middle he smiled and said “What is best in life? To crush your enemies” and with that he hit the button.

Nothing happened.

 

“Is the last thing I’m ever going to hear really going to be a quote from Conan the Barbarian?” shrieked Madonna as the cyborg was well past the half way point and closing fast.

“So you got the reference? Nice!”

“I can’t believe that the robots are going to win. I wanted our son to grow up and lead the resistance” Madonna said as a powerful hand emerged from the press and was inches away from her face.

“Yeah… about that. It wasn’t exactly our…”

With a final scoot the cyborg was within range of crushing Madonna’s skull in his robot hand when all of a sudden the press sprung to life and squashed him. There was a great deal of crackling, a few showers of sparks and some little bursts of lightening as the press came down but soon all that was left was a single hand sticking out. With a final twitch it went still.

“What happened?” yelled an incredulous Future Nap.

“You forgot to plug it in” said a figure standing along the opposite wall. After waiting a few beats for dramatic effect he stepped out of the shadows.

“Nap!” exclaimed Madonna.

“Younger me!” exclaimed Future Nap.

“How do you lure in a killer robot and not check to see if the machinery is plugged in?” Nap asked. “You guys look terrible. Why did you drive into the back of a truck? Talk about an off day Madonna.”

“Shut up and help me out of here” she said.

 

Apparently the space-time continuum didn’t give a shit that there were two Nap Lapkins standing next to each other. Madonna’s head swan a little bit looking at the two of them side by side.

“So all’s well that ends well I gather?” asked Present Nap as they walked outside to the waiting helicopter.

“Not exactly” replied the elder Nap.

“Why not?” asked Madonna. “I’m alive so our son can lead the rebellion.”

“Lead the what?” asked a clearly confused Present Nap.

“Against the machines. That’s what this was all about” Madonna said, trying to catch him up.

He remained perplexed. “So you really believe that this guy is me from then future?” He asked, sinking deeper into perplexedness.

“I am” said Future Nap.

“He is” said Madonna.

“You’ll forgive me if I don’t believe you” said Present Nap.

This is the kind of thing that creates awkward silences and these three had it in spades. Eventually Present Nap came up with an idea to verify his future-self’s status as his future-self. Before you start thinking of ways yourself let me stop you here. You can forget about dredging up some memory that only Nap would know or the name of his first gun.

“If you came back through time, tell me what it was like.” He sat back, very pleased with his little litmus test.

Now it was Future Nap’s turn to look perplexed. Madonna couldn’t help but notice the striking similarity between their two looks. “Honestly I don’t remember much … except for this weird dream I had during the process. I dreamt I was a blood cell in the body of a homeless guy. I was traveling through his shabby system when all of a sudden I felt myself leaving his body and being drained into a bag. I sat in this bag for what seemed like weeks until one day I was put into a healthy body. I distinctly remember feeling exhilarated as I was pumped around my new digs.”

Present Nap took it all in and mulled it over. “That is so weird it has to be true. It’s exactly the kind of dream I would have if I was sent back through time.”

Madonna’s mouth began to move like a fish finding itself on the shore, moving silently until finally a “You’ve got to be kidding” escaped. With a final roll of the yes she was able to move on knowing Present Nap now believed that he was standing next to himself. A quick note though, if you think her eye rolling is done for the day you’re going to be disappointed.

Her eyes had just begun to roll.

To which she suddenly remembered Future Nap’s hemming and hawing when it came to their future son.

“Future Nap, I have a question. You made it seem very important that I remain alive so that our son can lead the resistance but every time I say ‘our son’ you get a peculiar look on your face.”

Future Nap tried unsuccessfully to quickly remove the peculiar look that had crossed his face. He replaced it with a stony gaze.

“I know that stony gaze Lapkin. You told me you came back through time because you loved me” Madonna said icily.

“He… I… said what?” the newer model of Nap piped up rather nervously.

Having used up his time for dramatic pauses Future Nap took a deep inhale and began;

“That is why I came back. The problem is… I’m not the father of the baby. I wasn’t the one who was supposed to come back.”

There was, ironically enough, a pregnant pause. You could see Madonna working it out in her head. Sons and saviors and time travel all in the same pot.

Future Nap, with two people, one of them himself, staring at him intently thought it best to continue.

“Your son’s name is Steve. The father was… or is… or was supposed to be a guy named Kris. I was part of the team that was raiding the machine’s headquarters. We were about to end it all, victory was at hand, when we realized that the robots had sent back an assassin to kill you. So we had to make a snap decision … although Steve had known all along who it was that was going to be sent back. He’d known all along that Kris was his father. Steve and Kris had always had a special bond.”

“Please don’t tell me what I think happened is what happened” Madonna said closing her eyes tight.

“I got jealous. Like I said, I’d always loved you and the idea of another man going back in time to bang you was too much for me.

So I knocked him out at the last minute and took his place.”

The gestation time for a human is approximately nine months. It takes an elephant a year and a half. I mention this because the next pregnant pause was an elephant’s pregnant pause. Easily twice the length of the last awkward pause.

“So let me get this straight…” Madonna finally spoke. “You got jealous… so you replaced the man who was supposed to come back and impregnate me. Thus dooming humanity to either complete extinction or, if everything else breaks the right way, eternal servitude to robot masters. Is that what you’re telling me Lapkin?”

Present day Nap laughed and said “Yep, that’s definitely me.”

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