Nap meets the lost Hanson
When you are widely considered the finest agent that America has ever produced you get calls. From people who would like those skills on their side.
They rarely call themselves. They use ‘back channels’. They reach out through underlings or call in favors from friends.
Anything to bend the ear of Nap Lapkin.
(It’s gotten to the point that just typing that name sends shivers down my spine. Wondering what antics he’ll be up to this time and hoping my limited literary skills are up to the task. Most of the time it’s like holding a glass under a fire hose, most of it gets away.)
Anyway, neither here nor there really.
In this case the request for a meeting came in through via his email.
He found it in his spam folder.
Because it was spam.
Somehow he’d gotten on a list of government employees and this particular email was no doubt sent to hundreds of people. Which is why he decided to call the individual named and set up a face to face.
Typically when ‘recruiters’ call representing nefarious organizations Nap simply gets their information and puts them on his ‘to do’ list.
You don’t want to be on that list. Why? Because ‘do’ means ‘kill’.
But not Reggie Bemonte.
No sirree. Nap had agreed to meet ol’ Reggie because he knew that Reggie had no idea whom he’d be speaking to.
(Notice the ‘whom’ in the last sentence? That’s the kind of articulatory excellence that Nap brings out in me.)
(And yes, I’m aware that there is no such word as articulatory. That is also the kind of excellence Nap inspires.)
)Do cultures that write backwards write their parenthesis like this?(
During the phone call to set up the time and place for their meeting Nap grilled Reggie a bit on the use of the term headhunter;
“Are you aware Reggie that the term headhunter refers to someone who kills someone else and then removes their head?” began Nap.
“I am acquainted with that definition Mr. Lapkin… but I prefer the word recruiter.”
“The practice was quite common. Happened all over the world. China, New Zealand, the Amazon. Even the Celts were known to lop off a few heads now and then.”
After a brief pause, Reggie tried unsuccessfully to steer the conversation elsewhere.
“Why do you think they did it Reggie?” Nap asked a slightly befuddled Reggie.
“Um… to assert their dominance?”
“Sure… I guess. But did you know that some cultures did it to enslave the victim in the afterlife?” Nap realized that he was enjoying the conversation.
“Um… don’t worry Mr. Lapkin, my clients are only looking for your services in this life.”
Was that wit he’d just heard from Reggie? It was rare that Nap enjoyed conversations these days. Talking to normal folks was a treat he rarely got to partake in. He’d forgotten their tendency to have little bursts of unprovoked wit.
“My Point Reggie is this… when you take the head from the body what you are really doing is removing that individual from the larger group. So as a headhunter Reggie, you are trying to remove me from the U.S. government correct?”
“Um….” Was all Nap got in reply.
“Do you follow Reggie? But really the government is the head in the analogy. At best I would be a trigger finger. That would make you an fingerhunter Reggie. Not as sexy but a lot more accurate.”
“I… um… will be in town tomorrow if you’re available for lunch Mr. Lapkin” said a more-befuddled Reggie. He was like triplefuddled.
“That works for me Reggie” replied an upbeat Nap.
“Ok then. I’ll email you my hotel address and we can meet at the bar.”
When Nap opened his email later that day he was in for a shock. Next to his contact information was a small picture of Reggie Bemonte.
“Holy crap, Reggie looks just like one of the Hanson brothers.”
If you’re thinking of the adorable Hanson Brothers of MmmBop fame let me stop you right there. I’m going to ask you now to punch yourself right in the mouth for even thinking for a second that Nap Lapkin knows the song MmmBop. You have to admit I’ve let a lot of stuff slide so far but that’s just abridge too far.
Do it. Punch yourself in the mouth.
I’ll wait you big sissy.
It goes almost without saying that Nap arrived at the hotel a few minutes early so he could find out which room Reggie was in and make his way there. I say “almost without saying” because I knew I was going to have to say it. I have to remind myself that there are still readers who are unfamiliar with Nap Lapkin and need to have a few minor character gaps filled in. I won’t bother to describe him any further because we both know that as soon as I’m dead the studio is going to completely overhaul him and Nap Lapkin Part VII will star a blind, one-armed gay transgender half-black/half-Mexcian retarded midget with MS and a stutter and there will be fuck-all I can do about it, despite the lengthy contract I’m having my family sign swearing that they will defend the image of Nap Lapkin as a white cismale at all costs. I won’t even be cold when they happily sign over the rights to his likeness for a few pieces of silver.
It goes without saying………. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
(That’s what it looks like when things go without saying.)
Nap was surprised how easily hotel front desk personnel will tell complete strangers which room their guests are staying in. Violence was not only not necessary but he didn’t even have to hint at it.
Slightly disappointed he made his way up to the third floor, sauntered down the hall and, when standing in front of the door with the correct digits, applied his knuckles to it in quick succession and got the desired resulted; Reggie materialized in front of him in only a few moments.
“Mr. Lapkin! I thought we agreed to meet in the lobby…”
“We did but I learn a lot more about people when I see their hotel room. It’s an old habit of mine that I picked up in….I… I…” and with that the words dried up and his mouth fell open.
It took Nap a moment to regroup. A man who routinely experiences explosions without the need to regroup. Who’s seen severed body parts and naked big-breasted women and sneezed so hard he farted a little in front of foreign dignitaries, all without the need to regroup.
He pushed past Reggie to soak in the scene in front of him.
“Is that… a train set?” he finally stammered out.
“Um… yes is it” Reggie replied.
“On your bed? In your hotel room?”
Reggie nodded to their affirmative.
“You are a Hanson Brother” Nap said, clearly awed by the thought.
“A Hanson Brother? I’m not sure I understand… I don’t listen to pop music much” Reggie said, not realizing the danger he was in. (Would he be forced to punch himself in the mouth? Read on dear reader, read on!)
“Pop music?” Nap stood trying to put the pieces together in his head.
“Didn’t they have that song MmmBop a few years ago? Did they enjoy model trains as well?”
(Holy shit, a self-punching seems imminent! “Inevitable” you’re saying to yourself)
“Mmmwhat?” Nap replied, clearly unaware that there were other Hanson Brothers crawling around on the face of the planet (Dodged a bullet there Reggie). “From the movie Slapshot. You have to be the lost Hanson. The long hair. The big black glasses. The fucking train set on the bed!”
“I’m afraid I’ve never seen that movie Mr. Lapkin.”
“The fuck you haven’t Reggie Hanson” was all he could get out. He couldn’t figure out whether he was angry or having a delightful moment. Until he could figure it out he thought it best to just stare at the train set on the bed.
Finally he spoke. “So… you say you’ve never seen the movie Slapshot?”
“No sir” said Reggie in his most sincere voice.
“And yet… I find you in your hotel room with a train set on your bed. A train set you clearly didn’t know I’d ever see.”
Nap looked at the ceiling.
“Clearly I’m in over my head Reggie. There are forces at work here” and with that Nap, the finest agent the U.S. has ever produced, turned on his heel and left the room.
“So… you’re not interested in the position?” Reggie called out after him.
“Oh, I’m interested alright” Nap said to himself as he pressed the button to summon the elevator.
“Obviously there’s no such thing as normal folks” he mumbled as the doors opened and he stepped inside. “Headhunters. Fingerhunters. They’re all somehow connected for no reason whatsoever. And I get front row seats every time.”
As the elevator made its way to the ground floor a song played softly in the background;
it’s a secret no one knows
it’s a secret no one knows
In an mmm bop they’re gone, in an mmm bop they’re not there
in an mmm bop they’re gone, in an mmm bop they’re not there
Nap hummed along but found himself singing a convoluted version of the children’s song Dem Bones;
The head bone’s connected to the neck bone,
The head bone’s connected to the neck bone,
Now shake dem skeleton bones!
Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around
He exited the hotel and picked up the pace a bit, eager to get back to explosions, severed body parts, naked big-breasted women and farting in front of foreign dignitaries.
A relatable feeling. And in the end, isn’t that what a good story is all about?
Well… a story.