Nap Lapkin’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (part 1 of 4)
(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.