Nap Lapkin’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (part 1 of 2)
(originally posted 12/26/2017)
As crazy and overwhelming as it might sound, at any point in time, there’s not only a singular tallest person, deepest hole, or oldest tree on the planet but an endless list of other ways to measure, compare, and rank every living and nonliving thing.
For example, the most evil thing on the planet at the moment. You could argue that evil is a subjective term and usually I’d agree with you, but in this case, however you define it, this particular entity takes the cake.
And that entity?
I know, I know. You’re saying two things to yourself right now. First, Dick Clark was a beloved radio and television personality. He hosted the wildly popular show American Bandstand for thirty years as well as rung in the New Year as host of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve for another forty or so.
Everyone adored him.
Second, if you noted the words “was” and “hosted” in last paragraph, you’re already one step ahead of me; Dick Clark died April 18, 2012.
How can someone be the most evil thing on the planet if they aren’t alive?
Exactly what Nap Lapkin was thinking as the New York skyline started to come into focus on the horizon. The chopper rattled a little as the wind off the ocean introduced itself. There was a jolt and a small amount of coffee left Nap’s cup and made its way onto his pant leg. Seeing this, the helicopter pilot put one hand on the door and quickly debated the merits of hurling himself out of the craft where he could blissfully plummet to his death, rather than see an angry or disappointed look cross Mr. Napkin’s face. Nap shot him a quick “Hey, it happens” look and the pilot made a small promise to himself to attend church services for the remainder of his life.
Once Nap was deposited on the top of a large non-descript building, he quickly ran down a few flights of stairs to a small file room. Therein was waiting for him a folder and therein (again) that folder were the victim’s names. A litany of one-hit wonders that for generations made up the diet of one of the most voracious vampires to ever exist.
You knew him as the “world’s oldest teenager” due to his perennial youthful appearance. An appearance that was maintained by drinking the blood of countless musicians.
Nap started to flip through the list of the missing and presumed dead.
The disappearances started in the ‘70s. Norman Greenbaum (Spirit in the Sky), Terry Jacks (Seasons in the Sun), and Carl Douglas (Kung Fu Fighting) all exploded into the limelight only to never be heard from again. Nap wondered how people so famous could just up and disappear. Didn’t anyone miss them?
More insidious was a British musician named Tony Burrows who had hits with five separate groups: Edison Lighthouse (Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes), White Plains (My Baby Loves Lovin’), the Pipkins (Gimme Dat Ding), the First Class (Beach Baby), and Brotherhood of Man (United We Stand). None of the musicians making up these acts was ever heard from again after charting. It occurred to Nap that Tony might have been a vampire, perhaps the one to turn Dick Clark, but the file was too heavily redacted to draw a conclusion. It said only that he was killed by a covert CIA operation in 1974. They left out why.
For a moment, Nap imagined Dick and Tony luring the poor bastards from Edison Lighthouse into a recording studio only to slaughter them and dine on them like cattle. A shudder ran through him. Then he thought about the alternative … having to play Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes for the next twenty years and realized they got off light.
My Baby Loves Lovin’ and Gimme Dat Ding, answering the question “What do you think the elevators in Hell play?”
Then came the ‘80s. The list was a bit overwhelming. The Vapors (Turning Japanese), After the Fire (Der Kommisar), Haircut One Hundred (Love Plus One), Murray Head (One Night in Bangkok) and Kajagoogoo (Too Shy). More than enough bands to keep the hungriest vampire sated. As Nap read the list of songs, he wondered for a brief moment if Dick Clark was perhaps doing the world a favor.
He shook off that idea immediately. As an agent of the federal government, his job was to enforce the laws, not act as a music critic.
He wondered if Tommy Tutone was aware that in Georgia, the phone number 867-5309 would connect the caller to an Atlanta nightclub that claimed to be a vampire hotspot. As Nap had heard nothing further from either Tommy or whomever Jenny was, he concluded he probably found out a bit too late.
The ‘90s provided no shortage of bands to feast upon: Right Said Fred (I’m Too Sexy), Sir Mix-A-Lot (Baby Got Back), House of Pain (Jump Around), Harvey Danger (Flagpole Sitta), Marcy Playground (Sex and Candy) and … The Verve Pipe (The Freshman). His eyes froze on the last name. He remembered the song.
All too well. He was in college.
For the life of me I cannot remember
What made us think that we were wise and
We’d never compromise
For the life of me I cannot believe
We’d ever die for these sins
We were merely freshmen
He’d seen a lot in the years since. Very little of it good. Now here he was on New Year’s Eve in New York City about to hunt down and kill a beloved American icon.
He flipped to the list of assumed victims in 2000s; Baha Men (Who Let the Dogs Out?), American Hi-Fi (Flavor of the Weak), James Blunt (You’re Beautiful), … then… no … it couldn’t be.
Snow Patrol (Chasing Cars).
I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own
If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
That undead bastard can eat all the Baha Men and James Blunts he wants, thought Nap, but killing Snow Patrol was going too far. Now it was personal.
It was New Year’s Eve in New York City. There was only one place to be if you were a vampire; the Marriott Marquis Times Square.
It was time to dispatch Dick Clark once and for all.
Security was tight around the Marriott and Nap couldn’t let Clark know he was there by flashing his credentials. If Dick knew he was there, he’d simply disappear into the night. If he even caught Nap’s scent, he’d run, so he washed off his usual Fulton and Roark Captiva cologne and doused himself liberally with Michel Germain’s Sexual Paris Pour Homme Eau de Toilette. He winced as he took a whiff of himself. He just hoped there were no women he wanted to sleep with later that night.
Incapacitating a Marriott bellhop was child’s play. Once Nap had dragged him into a storage room and switched clothing, he realized the young man must have recently applied a large amount of Black Suede cologne and Nap’s head swam a little as the musky scent squared off against the Michel Germain’s Sexual Paris Pour Homme Eau de Toilette already on his person. He briefly imagined Dick Clark’s first words to him being “Is that really Black Suede AND Michel Germain’s Sexual Paris Pour Homme Eau de Toilette?! What are you … a male prostitute?”
He moved quickly up the stairwell to the top floor. For those of you who appreciate good cardio, that’s forty-nine floors without taking a breather. For those of you who appreciate all things olfactory (things related to smell, for those of you who usually stick to Harry Potter books), you can imagine the effect sweat would have to the already potent mixture of Black Suede AND Michel Germain’s Sexual Paris Pour Homme Eau de Toilette.
And yes, I realize that reading Michel Germain’s Sexual Paris Pour Homme Eau de Toilette over and over is annoying and yes, I also realize that those of you who usually read Harry Potter books are smugly thinking to yourself “J. K. Rowling never makes us read Michel Germain’s Sexual Paris Pour Homme Eau de Toilette over and over and that’s why she’s worth just under a billion dollars,” but if you really can’t suffer through a few superfluous (which means unnecessary for you Potter fans [“J.K. never makes us read unnecessary words like superfluous… or even regular fluous’], “no wonder nobody reads your dumb books, Lance Manion”) Michel Germain’s Sexual Paris Pour Homme Eau de Toilette references, then I feel it’s probably best to part ways now.
For those of you still with me, you’ll be thanking yourself soon enough as things are about to heat up.
Before that happens though, let familiarize you with the word “thrall.” It means a mortal who serves a vampire. A slave of sorts. I’m about to just casually start using the word and I can’t have you thinking it means “heartthrob” or “supermodel” like a dumbass who reads the Twilight series would conclude.
(“Stephenie Meyer has a net worth of $125 million” … proving that once you let a Harry Potter fan interject in the middle of your story, they are going to keep doing it until you take away their parentheses privileges.)
Nap slowly opened the door and looked down the lavish hallway. There were two beefy men standing rigid outside a large doorway which clearly was the largest of the rooms on the floor. They were wearing dark suits and looked to be all business.
Patting his concierge jacket (concierge means “bellboy” for any fans of The Hunger Games… ok, ok. I’ll stop), Nap took quick stock of some of the spy gadgets on his person to see if any might help him get past the sentries. The pen that shot out shocks the equivalent of a stun grenade might be a bit of overkill. The poison darts in his cufflinks assumes that the guards are bad guys, and for all he knew, Dick Clark might be in the adjacent room and he will have killed Ryan Seacrest’s bodyguards for no reason. The same objection could be raised for the throwing stars contained in each of his shoes. The drone he carried in his front pocket, the size of a postage stamp, wouldn’t be able to tell him anything he didn’t already know.
“Screw it,” he said quietly to himself and threw open the door and approached the men. I know you keep waiting for me to call them thralls but at this point, there’s no way you could know they’re thralls. I know it. You know it. But you just don’t know you know it yet.
I refuse to pander. It’s one of the things that have kept me an unknown writer.
The two guards began with the “You can’t be up here” and “Sir, you’ll have to go back down” patter but the niceties ended abruptly when it became apparent to everyone involved that Nap meant to get into the room and would accept no other outcome.
There were brief fisticuffs. Brief but shockingly violent.
Nap tried the doorknob and found it was open.
Didn’t I tell you it was going to heat up?
The room was spacious and the attention to detail in the furnishings and color palette was impressive. Clearly, no expense was spared. Even the sheets where the corpse laid looked like they had a thread count that would make a Duchess choke.
Nap walked over to the corpse. He looked oddly familiar. It was hard to make out where he’d seen him before because he appeared so pale but then Nap noticed the enormous parachute pants.
“Holy shit. M.C. Hammer!” was all he could say.
“You can’t touch that,” said a voice mockingly behind him.
Nap whirled around to see who it was exiting the bathroom.
It was Dick Clark.
He looked ghastly. Not as bad as his last few years on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, but still terrifying.
“Is that really Michel Germain’s Sexual Paris Pour Homme Eau de Toilette?! What are you … a male prostitute?”
“Shut it, Dick. We both know why I’m here,” said Nap producing a long stake from inside his jacket.
Just as he started to walk towards Dick Clark, he sensed movement behind him. It was Ryan Seacrest coming out of the closet (which really shouldn’t surprise anyone, let alone a spy like Nap Lapkin).
“And there’s some Black Suede mixed in,” Seacrest noted as the stun gun he was holding made contact with Nap’s back. Instantly 300,000 volts made their way into him.
“It… takes… more… than a … stun …” started Nap but Dick Clark obviously knew where the conversation was headed and almost took off our hero’s head with a punch of supernatural force.
All went black for Nap.
“Bring him downstairs to the underground lair,” Dick ordered Ryan, “and then snap Hammer’s neck. The fool agent interrupted my feeding and I don’t want Hammer having to spend eternity wandering the Earth wearing giant gold lame’ pants. I may be cruel but I’m not entirely heartless.”
I feel like this would be a good spot to remind you to read that last sentence in Dick Clark’s voice. I just get the idea you’re barreling through this and not really making an effort. For both our sakes, I hope you take the time to savor the image of Ryan Seacrest breaking the neck of M.C. Hammer as Dick Clark looks on.