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Nap Lapkin’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve

(included in Tales of Adventure With Nap Lapkin)

 

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?

Dick Clark.

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 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’s 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.

He entered.

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.

 

When Nap regained consciousness, it took him a few moments to process what he was seeing.

“I wanted you to see the full extent of what I’ve been up to.” It was Dick Clark’s voice… so read it as such, damn it.

Before Nap was a large open area. Large as in mind-bogglingly large. Strewn around the cavernous space were holding pens, large refrigerator units, and antique torture devices. Shackles hung from every wall and most of them were busy shackling. I should have mentioned that most of the holding pens were busy holding.

Please note if you are a big Hollywood producer-type considering turning this into a feature-length film: I’m perfectly willing to make the space considerably smaller if budget concerns become an issue.

“What is this place?” was all Nap could get out.

“What does it look like, secret agent man?” inquired Seacrest as he stepped out of the shadows to Nap’s left.

As Nap started to regain his senses, the enormity of the situation began to dawn on him. His eyes stared at a group of disheveled prisoners in the cage nearest him.

“Is that… are they…?” he began.

“Yes. Those are Dexy’s Midnight Runners,” Dick said finishing his sentence. “Well, most of them. I ate the bassist last month.  And before you think too poorly of the treatment they’re receiving, they were pretty bedraggled when I captured them.”

“You monster!” Nap said bitterly between clenched teeth.

“Come now, Mister FBI or CIA or whomever you are,” said Seacrest, clearly enjoying himself. “Look around. Do you really think the world misses any of these guys?”

A smile crept across the face of Dick Clark. “At first, I considered feeding exclusively on the homeless. Transients. Bums. But eventually, people would come looking for them. What I needed were people that absolutely nobody would care about.”

Ryan, his long incisors glistening in the bright torchlight (did I forget to mention the torches? I feel like I did), started to walk up and down the long line of cells. He stopped in front of one of them.

“Tell me, who in the world would give a shit about Lou Bega and his Mambo No. 5? When someone contacted his agent – one of our thralls of course – about him appearing in a commercial, we just sent out another thrall, a fat black one, and nobody knew the difference,” beamed Seacrest.

“You do know what a thrall is, don’t you agent-man?” inquired Dick.

“Do I look like I read Twilight, motherfucker?” spat Lapkin.

“And thank goodness for rap. We have so many one-hit wonders coming in these days… quite frankly, I’m getting a bit sick of dark meat,” confessed Seacrest.

Nap tried slipping out of the nylon zip ties that held his wrists but they were pulled tight.

Ryan was making his way back towards Nap, trying his best to make eye contact. “Don’t fight it,” he said. “It will make it easier for you,” he hissed menacingly.

“Any last requests before we drink your blood?” inquired Dick Clark. “Perhaps a song from one of our esteemed guests?”

“A little Dishwalla? Some Semisonic?” asked Ryan with mock sincerity.

Nap kept his eyes down. Every time he would make even the slightest eye contact with Seacrest, things would get fuzzy.

“Do you happen to have Looking Glass down here?” he asked. “I could use a little Brandy.”

“Good call but we ate them a decade ago,” answered Dick. “Now I’m afraid you’re out of time.” With that, he produced a long knife and took a step towards Nap.

The blade was inches from his throat when an even larger blade was thrust through the chest of Dick Clark. It disappeared from where it came only to return seconds later in a sweeping arc that took off the head of one very surprised vampire.

“Good to see you again, Nap!”

“Chance Goodrod?!” was all Nap could sputter out. (For those of you who haven’t read Nap’s space adventure Great Ball of Fire, Chance Goodrod is the moniker Nap gave actor Jeff Goldblum.)

“I was in town for the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve thing and saw them taking you down in the elevator. I thought I’d follow and see if I could be of any assistance.”

“That was your first and last mistake,” screeched an enraged Ryan Seacrest as he hurled himself towards Chance. Although Nap’s hands were bound, he was able to unleash a flying side-kick into the ribs of Seacrest that sent him stumbling back into one of the holding pens. He took a moment to smile and dust himself off and that proved to be a mistake. Suddenly countless arms reached through the bars to grab his arms and legs.

Eyes ablaze, he let loose a roar as he tried to pull away. That was all the time Nap needed. Pulling out the stake that was somehow inexorably placed in his jacket, he advanced on Seacrest.

“I’ll be honest Ryan, you’re a total douchebag. Even if you weren’t a vampire, I was hoping I’d get to do this,” and with that he drove the stake into the dark creature’s chest. With a final guttural cry, Ryan Seacrest died. Again.

Slowly, the arms holding him up relaxed their grip and he tumbled to the cement. As Chance came over to cut through Nap’s bindings, they got their first good look at the owners of those arms.

Gotye. Daniel Powter. The guy from Primitive Radio Gods. Natalie Imbruglia. And in the back, much older than the rest, Peter Schilling.

“Are you Nap Lapkin?” he asked.

“Yes, I am. And you’re Peter Schilling, right? Major Tom himself,” replied Nap.

Let me stop here and point out that I previously said there were “countless” arms holding Ryan Seacrest against the holding pen (a description of the pen that proved quite ironic) when in fact there were ten arms holding him there. Ten is not exactly countless. My apologies. I got caught up in the moment.

“Yes. I am Peter Schilling,” said… well, you get who said it. I hope so anyway. I have pretty high standards for my readership.  I just thought I’d get us back to the Peter Schilling dialogue after my clumsy apology.

“I had the weirdest dream that David Bowie was singing Major Tom and you were somehow there,” he continued. “He” being Peter Schilling. Just to be clear.

“It wasn’t a dream,” Nap began to explain. “It was me sharing consciousness with a comet headed to destroy the Earth. You must have been included somehow. Long story – and available on the website.”

As Peter, Gotye, Daniel, the guy from Primitive Radio Gods, and Natalie walked around, letting out their fellow prisoners, Chance approached Nap.

“Do you really think the world needs all these hacks coming back at the same time? Can you imagine all the bad music we’ll be setting loose on the world?”

“What else can we do?” asked Nap.

They both seemed lost in thought for a moment.

Finally, Chance nodded in the direction of Duncan Sheik as he stumbled around incoherently.

“Can we at least say he was barely breathing when we found him and despite our best efforts he died?”

Nap Laughed. “Well I appreciate you saving me, Goodrod so… yes, you can kill Duncan Sheik.”

“Thanks Nap. I fucking hate that guy.” And with that, he set off with a murderous look in his eyes.

 

I was originally going to use the brothers Phil and Pauley Fuemana, who made up the New Zealand band OMC (Otara Millionaires Club), because of their horrible one-hit How Bizarre but it turns out they both died very young and were therefore ineligible for the honor of being killed by Jeff Goldblum.

How bizarre indeed.

 

Later, as they went up the elevator to enjoy the rest of their New Year’s Eve, Chance took a deep inhale. Given the size of his nose, it was a lot of information for him to take in.

“You have a rather unique choice of colognes Nap,” he began. “I’m usually pretty good at recognizing fragrances but I just can’t place yours.”

He took another long whiff.

“Bleu by Chanel?” he inquired.

“Nope,” replied Nap.

“Paco Rabanne’s Invictus?”

“Nope.”

“Acqua Di Gio from Giorgio Armani?”

Nap shook his head.

“Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme Ultime?”

“Nope.”

“Creed by Aventus?”

“Did you really pick up a fruity bouquet of Corsican blackcurrant, Italian bergamot, French apple, royal pineapple, birch, and patchouli? You’re better than that Goodrod,” said Nap coldly.

“Nautica Voyage?”

“Nope.”

“Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb?”

“What about my scent leads you to believe it is a contrasting yet complementing mix of chili, saffron, leather, tobacco, vetiver, bergamot, grapefruit, elemi, and pink pepper?” replied Lapkin contemptuously.

Bearing down harder, Chance sucked in another lungful of Nap.

“I’m getting mint leaves, lemon zest, tonka bean, amber, vanilla, cedarwood, vetiver, and oak moss. Versace Eros?”

“Wrong again. Your nose is as useless as a dick on a eunuch… just much bigger,” laughed Nap.

(For fans of the Inception book series, a eunuch is a man who’s been castrated. For people who read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, castration is when a man’s balls are cut off.)

(Are you fucking kidding, Manion? You spend 210 words listing men’s colognes for no discernible reason whatsoever and you’re going to disparage other authors who dare to actually have a purpose for including something in a story? Writers who are actually successful because they come up with a plausible plot and spend time doing things like reviewing what they’ve written for errors. Are you jealous or just stupid?)

“Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Maxi?”

“Nope.”

“Only the Brave from Diesel?”

“Nope.”

“Italian Bergamot?”

“Nope. And if you guess Polo, I’ll punch you in the windpipe,” Nap said in a manner that indicated he wasn’t kidding.

“Pheromones for Men by RawChemistry?”

“Do you think I need a patented blend of human pheromones to get laid?” Nap said in a manner that indicated that he was actually contemplating punching Chance in the windpipe for such a transgression.

“Lalique Encre Noire? Valentino Uomo? Maison Martin Margiela Replica Jazz Club? Come on, Nap, give me a clue,” pleaded Goodrod.

At that moment, the elevator door proceeded to slide open revealing Madonna Axion in a short red dress with a plunging neckline. She breathed in ever so gently and looked Chance Goodrod in the eyes.

“Michel Germain’s Sexual Paris Pour Homme Eau de Toilette… with a hint of Black Suede,” she said, then took Nap’s hand and led him out into the mayhem of Times Square.

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