Tales of the Supernatural with Nap Lapkin (Part 2 of 2)
(originally posted 11/19/2015)
Ron Snyder had read about the strings of mascot homicides with growing concern but he was in no position to call in sick. He knew that if he wasn’t inside that Mad Ant costume someone else would be happy to take his place. The NBA Development league games were never televised and Fort Wayne, Indiana might not be as glamorous as New York City but at least it was a job and it helped pay the rent. His ailing grandmother lived with him and her medication ran at least five hundred dollars a month and besides, he had promised some of the boys down at the orphanage where he volunteered he would get them a few autographs from some of the up-and-coming basketball players, so even though he knew he was exactly the kind of person who usually gets eaten in situations like this, he threw his ant outfit in a duffel bag and headed out to the game.
Later that same night…
In addition to the usual crowd of forensic nerds, there were a few nerds that Nap couldn’t put his finger on. Then he realized that the discovery of a six-foot-long ant corpse is not the kind of thing that happens a lot in the entomological world. You couldn’t throw a notepad without hitting a tweed jacket. Six notepads later, Nap finally asked who he’d been pelting with notepads. “I’m an entomologist… and that’s going to leave a mark.” (It’s important to note as you build a mental image of Nap Lapkin that he typically doesn’t carry six notepads. This was a special case.)
I throw in a bit of levity because I know that there are some of you who must have fallen under the spell of hard-working-yet-lovable Ron Snyder (damn my ability to create living, breathing characters, damn it to hell) and probably need a minute to collect yourself after putting the pieces together.
Take your time.
Fort Wayne is as good as any place for Madonna to join Nap in the hunt for the killer. If you introduce Madonna into a story, you know it’s going to end up with Nap sleeping with her so let’s cut straight to that chase. If you’re expecting me to go all 50 Shades on you, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. I’ll be leaping straight to the post-coital scene where Madonna is lying next to Nap and waiting for him to say something romantic. He continues to stare at the ceiling with a far-away look on his face. She assumes he is replaying their intimate encounter in his head. Finally he speaks… “What kind of sick mind thinks of making a dessert out of carrots?”
Her eyes almost bulge out her head. “Really Nap? Carrot cake again?!”
Some of you still might be salty about the fact I skipped over an outstanding opportunity to introduce a little smut into what might be the least supernatural story you’ve ever read. Typically I ignore such second-guessing, but even I have to admit that I’ve pretty much abandoned the original premise so it certainly couldn’t hurt if I threw in a little of the stuff that seems to sell books these days.
So here goes… Madonna slowly walked into the room and closed the door behind her. Moments later, it began. Birds in the area took flight and small woodland creatures hurried to find shelter. Waves lapped at the edges of a nearby pond that had never seen waves before. There was a two-minute guttural groan that escaped her trembling lips and brought dust down from every ceiling in the county. Asphalt surrounding the motel shimmered as though it were August in Death Valley. Seismologists scrambled to confirm their readings.
On the topic of sex, Nap once gave a little speech he gave at the Academy on that very subject. It was completely unrelated to the topic he was supposed to be talking about but he felt it was good advice just the same and needed to be imparted. That advice? A man needs to approach sex as if it’s his goal to break the vagina with his penis. He was so sincere in his delivery that many of the men in the room actually wrote it down. The quick sketch he did to accompany the lecture turned one of the women in the audience into a lesbian.
Nap also had this advice for the cadets: “There are going to be moments that are over before they begin. It could be prom night or your first exchange of gunfire, you’ll be there but you won’t. As if the moment exists only to pass into your memory. Recognize them for what they are. In those situations, I find it’s best to just act how you’d like to have acted looking back on it and not how you want to act. Take yourself out of the decision-making because you’ll just fuck it up. For those fleeting minutes, be the person you want to be and not how you are. Do that enough and you end up being that person.”
He then paused for a few seconds before adding “Whatever becomes of the person you are is anyone’s guess,” in a hushed, almost nostalgic tone.
Here’s something else to consider about Madonna Axiom. When she was in her high school health class, there was a rather odd discussion amongst the other girls- when the teacher was absent from the room of course- about the way their private parts smelled when aroused. It caused a lot of giggling and blushing but also exposed some rather telling information about the way the girls thought about boys. It wasn’t long before they debated amongst themselves what they wished their vaginas smelled like. At first things like flowers and apple pie were offered up as preferred bouquets but eventually they started moving towards what they believed boys would find attractive. Soon they were wishing their vaginas smelled like beer or pizza. Finally all eyes fell on Madonna, given the fact that she seemingly had an opinion about everything, and her one word answer ended the discussion cold.
It’s at this point that you can be forgiven if you’re clenching and unclenching your fists and asking aloud if I ever plan on getting back to the mascot-eating dragon that started off this whole mess of a story. I mean to say, this really got away from me. But, ever the thoughtful writer, I will do my best to try to stay focused and return to the realm of the supernatural.
Let’s see what Nap is up to, shall we?
Nap arrived too late to save the UC Santa Cruz mascot. The half-eaten banana slug lay draped across a bench in the locker room and gave off a pungent and sluggy scent. What you might ask is a sluggy scent? I have no idea. At some point, I have to be honest and say I have no idea what a giant five-foot-eight banana slug would smell like. I think everyone’s banana slug corpse will smell a little different. I gave you pungent; you’re on your own for the rest.
Nap reached into his pocket and produced a red phone that acted as a direct link to the President. It was red because Nap refused to address the President as anything but Commissioner Gordon. A fact that irritated the President but nowhere near as much as the endless string of late-night calls from inebriated cocktail waitresses asking him if he really was the President. “Yes. Yes I am. Yes… THE President. No, I’m not a Sagittarius. Put Nap on the phone please. Ok, well, when he’s done vomiting please tell him that if he calls me again I’ll have him shot. Yes, really.”
It wasn’t really necessary but Nap pressed in the required digits and heard the call go through. After a few rings he heard a familiar voice.
“What is it Nap? This better not be some drunken slut asking me if I’m really…”
Nap cut him off.
“It’s not. I just wanted to tell you I know where the mascot killer is going to strike next.”
This might be a good time to come right out and tell you that I’m not going to explain the how or why of mascots turning into the actual creatures they are pretending to be. Face it, whatever explanation I offered up would fall flat compared to the one you already came up with. Nor do I have a good back story about why an out-of-work mascot would suddenly turn into a dragon and what’s more if I were to sit and come up with one, you’d only roll your eyes and think to yourself “Lame!” While you might have been a bit thrown by the first paragraph of the story, I’m sure by now your imagination is really cooking and there is a part of you that hopes that I will not screw things up by trying to explain too much.
What I will tell you is how Nap knew the dreaded dragon would end up back at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Because he was about to offer him a treat that no self-respecting demonic entity could pass up: a sixth competitor running during the seventh inning stretch. The wolf in meat’s clothing. (#6) Pepperoni. (#6) Nap Lapkin… dressed to kill. A salami out for justice. Out to avenge Sammy the Slug, Speedy the Geoduck, and Arkansas-Monticello’s noble boll weevil.
While waiting for the seventh inning fireworks it might be interesting to mention that there was something about listening to Take Me Out to the Ballgame that always got to Nap. Not so much a wave of melancholy as a deep resentment that Cracker Jack is no longer available at ballparks.
“It’s in the fucking song” he would rage to himself. He couldn’t shake the thought that somewhere there was a really crappy Cracker Jack salesman who slacked off and allowed other snack foods to waltz in and take the baseball market.
The casual baseball fan did not escape Nap’s wrath either. “How can anyone sing Cracker Jack and then not want Cracker Jack? Why isn’t there a stadium full of people with their head’s swiveling around wildly looking for the Cracker Jack vendor?”
It baffled him that peanuts make the cut but Cracker Jack did not. He was about to scoop up his red phone and discuss the matter with the President but then realized that there were more pressing matters at hand. Plus, his giant Pepperoni hands would not allow him to dial.
But before the pressing matters could commence he had a race to win. Although he was told prior to the gate swinging open that it was Chorizo’s turn to win, Nap was damned if he was going to lose a footrace to a pork product. Sensing what was afoot, Madonna, situated in an ill-fitting Polish Sausage costume, tackled him about twenty feet from the finish line. The sight of two Racing Sausages getting to their feet and engaging in an impromptu martial arts battle was an unexpected treat for the thousands of baseball fans in attendance.
Once back behind the confines of the hallway, both Nap and Madonna heard a familiar growl.
It’s here I have to warn you that if you’re expecting some epic showdown between good and evil, you might be a bit disappointed. The thing is, even if you’re a dragon, you’re still susceptible to the kind of weaponry Nap and Madonna were packing inside their mascot attire. Before Madonna could even raise her plasma-spewing vibrator, Nap had unloaded a clip of hollow point bullets into the demon’s head.
It fell over without even a last snarl.
The problem is that countless fantasy authors have filled your imaginations with completely unrealistic expectations regarding the durability of dragon scales and dragon teeth and all the other things that make up a dragon. The truth is that they are basically just as sausagey inside as any other animal.
Obviously I’m not any happier about it than you… I ended the damn story with the word sausagey for fucks sake.
Totally not epic.