Treachery at $3.50 a box: FinaleFebruary 8, 2011
Ninja Vicki follows the note’s instructions to a bucolic house in the ‘burbs. Nice lawn, small flower garden with a gnome in it, all of the windows still in place. Definitely not a crack house, but perhaps a dungeon of horrors awaits in the basement where a scary man will make her put the lotion on her skin or else she’ll get the hose again.
But as Vicki tries to figure out which window to enter the house through, the front door opens and the scariest man of all comes out onto the front porch, wearing a smoking robe and munching on some Peanut Butter Patties.
“Tag Larkin…” Ninja Vicki says with a sneer. “Since when did you get a robe?”
“Tag Larkin treated himself this Christmas to the finer things in life,” says Tag Larkin, taking out a top hat and putting it on his head.
“Is that… are you wearing an ascot too?” says Ninja Vicki.
“Tag Larkin can rock an ascot!” says Tag Larkin. “But that’s not why you’re here.”
“And when did you get a house?” says Ninja Vicki.
“This is Tag Larkin’s mom’s house, Mom Larkin” says Tag Larkin. “It was the only place big enough to store four palettes of Peanut Butter Patties for Tag Larkin’s most excellent game.”
“What game?” says Ninja Vicki.
Tag Larkin brings her to the backyard where there all the Peanut Butter Patty boxes are waiting in two piles: one with ten boxes, the other with all the rest, about a thousand. And there’s a flamethrower.
“Tag Larkin knows you want Tag Larkin,” he says to Ninja Vicki. “But your heart is not brave enough to take the necessary leap. But Tag Larkin has heard your heart’s silent laments and has tried to answer them. Tag Larkin has gone to dinner with you and your boring friends. Tag Larkin has stood outside your house with a boombox for months playing heavy metal, because it is the music of love and hard pounding. Tag Larkin has ignored you. Tag Larkin has even done reverse psychology by insulting you into a date. But still you are not handcuffed to the headboard in Tag Larkin’s bedroom. Why is that?”
“Maybe because I don’t want to be handcuffed to your headboard?” says Ninja Vicki.
“All women want to be handcuffed to Tag Larkin’s headboard!” says Tag Larkin. “But they lack courage and conviction. They are afraid to open their hearts and their legs to what they truly want. They say things like ‘I’m married’ and ‘why are you in my bathroom?’ and ‘Who let you into this OB-GYN waiting room anyway?'”
“I am a frickin’ ninja,” says Ninja Vicki. “I have no lack of courage.”
“And Tag Larkin is going to test that today,” Tag Larkin says, picking up the flamethrower. “There are two piles of your precious Peanut Butter Patties. Which one you get is up to you. If you decide to give in to your passionate desires and allow Tag Larkin to rock your body until your pelvis goes numb and your legs won’t stop twitching, you get the big pile of Peanut Butter Patties. If, however, you decide to deny yourself your right to have Tag Larkin inside you, the small pile is yours and the big pile gets torched. The choice is yours.”
“This is the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever come up with,” says Ninja Vicki. “This is like the second Matrix movie and those Saw movies wrapped up into a fajita of dumb. I am not going to sleep with you for cookies.”
“The cookies are only here to create a crisis moment to push you to action,” says Tag Larkin. “Like how you don’t know if you could lift a Volkswagen Beetle off a child until yours is trapped underneath one. Tag Larkin has created a scenario to make you address the feelings you keep bottled inside because you have self-destructive issues regarding intimacy and happiness. All you have to do is say ‘yes’ to what you really want and you can have it.”
Ninja Vicki spends a few silent moments, contemplating Tag Larkin’s scenario, looking at the pile of cookies, then back at Tag Larkin with his smoking robe, ascot, pipe, and flamethrower, then back at the cookies. Ten boxes of Peanut Butter Patties would be delicious, but they’d only last two or three days in Ninja Vicki’s clutches. The thousand boxes, however, would last all Winter and maybe the Spring too. Would that be worth being with Tag Larkin? And what if things actually went well with Tag Larkin? What if being with this force of nature truly was what her heart wanted? Would they marry? Start a family? Grow old together and live in a retirement community in Arizona? Die in each other’s arms in a violent confrontation with federal agents? Could she look at fulfillment and happiness in their shifty eyes and say ‘yes’ to the things her heart wants?
“Hey, is that a FBI zeppelin over there?” Ninja Vicki says, pointing at the horizon.
“What?” Tag Larkin looks up into the air. “Tag Larkin doesn’t see anything.”
But when Tag Larkin looks back down, Ninja Vicki is gone, along with the small pile of Peanut Butter Patties. Tag Larkin takes a few pondering puffs from his pipe before setting the big pile of cookies on fire and going back into the house, handing the flamethrower to his mom, and asking her to make him a Long Island Iced Tea and a grilled cheese sandwich.
And somewhere else in town, Ninja Vicki eats her Peanut Butter Patties… enjoying them, but not as much as she believes she should, and not knowing who to blame for that. Maybe Samurai Cathy.