Florida- The “wizard” who is “just a crazy old man” seems to have become a regular source for Observation Deck Action Team 5 . During our latest clandestine meeting at a nondescript mobile home park, he revealed his name, his surprising source, and an incredible revelation about the Star Wars Universe and more.
EL34 and Staff
(Editor’s advisory- Contains some rough language, Bigfoot, Santa, and possible Eldritch terrors)
When the team received an early-morning summons (on a burner phone) from our confidential source, we had no idea what we were in store for. What follows is a transcription of our latest meeting.
EL34/Observation Deck- “Hello sir, good to see you again. Nice shirt!”
Source- “Thanks man! I picked it up over by the Waffle House on [state route] A-1-A in Daytona. It’s my disguise. I ain’t a surfer.”
EL34- “You said you had top secret information, sir?”
Source- “Son, my old man was “Sir”. Call me Captain Slappy, everyone else does...”
EL34- “Okay, Slappy. So you said you-”
Slappy- “That’s CAPTAIN Slappy! Jesus, a little fuckin’ respect!”
EL34- “Sorry, sir. I mean, Captain. So, you said-”
Captain Slappy- “Yeah yeah, right on. So, I’m over at them Disney corporate offices, kinda rootin’ around in my buddy D-Man’s suite...”
EL34- “Wait- you got in the Disney corporate offices?”
CS- “Whaddya mean “got in”? Been there a lot, I do business there-”
EL- “They’re really listening to your new Star Wars Holiday Special ideas?”
CS- “What? No! I mean, yeah! But, no. I’m known to be able to provide certain items for certain folks, so I pretty much- Hey, you want the scoop or not?”
EL- “Sorry Captain, you were saying-”
CS- “Right on. So, I’m milling around in D-Man’s office... That’s not his name, you know. I just call him that. Like I’d call you E-Deck or E-Bag or E-Low or somethin’ if I liked ya. His real name is Hindenhof or Lindelberg or some shit, but he speaks American. He lives in Cali but keeps an office here in-”
EL- “Wait, wait, are you you talking about Damon Lindelof?”
CS- “Interrupt me one more time and I’m taking my fifty bucks and kicking you to the curb, man.”
EL- “Five bucks. Maybe ten.”
EL- “Please, please, continue.”
CS- “Right. So I’m doing some business with ol’ D-Man, and he’s got this weird cheap plastic kiddee toy box in his fancy office. I’m like “dude?” and he’s like “that’s my idea box”. Basically, he keeps all kinds of top secret trinkets and stuff in this thing, and uses it all to inspire hisself, get new ideas and shit, cuz he’s a big-shot writer and such. So, bein’ an idea man myself, I start rootin’ around in it. Here, man, check it out...”
*At this point, Captain Slappy goes inside his mobile home and shortly emerges with a pink toy chest. He invites me to peruse the contents. What I find is an odd assortment of stuffed animals, toy cars and planes, action figures, comics and pulps and self-help books (including a dog-eared copy of “Chariots of the Gods” and a vinyl-bound children’s book entitled “I’m Awesome Because I Say So”), several autographed photos of actor Daniel Craig, and most bizarrely, what appears to be an authentic Haitian Voodoo doll with the words “Bird” and “Spaihts” scrawled on it in reddish-brown ink or paint.
EL- “This is kinda fun, I guess. Especially that Six Million Dollar Man figure with the cool telescope eye-thingy... But, really, I wouldn’t call this a 4 AM-Phone-Call-Worthy-Scoop. Captain.”
CS- “Oh, right, because you’re so fuckin’ smart. Look at the bottom, right there under that pink Barbie Corvette-”
*On further inspection, the box proves to have a false bottom. I pull it back to discover several manuscripts with age-yellowed pages, some VHS tapes, and what appear to be rolled-up posters held tight with rubber bands.
CS- “See, me and D-Man are gettin’ to party-An... Dude, get it, that rhymes! Anyway, one thing leads to another, and I ask him how he gets inspired by this old stuff. Besides just playin’ with ‘em,’course, because everybody likes cool toys and-”
EL- “So he plays with the toys and develops story ideas! That’s actually really cool...”
CS- “No, dipshit, listen! He says he doesn’t get any ideas from the cool stuff; all his ideas come from the stash in the bottom... So, anyway, the night goes on, and he’s watchin’ me play with the Six Million and Bigfoot dolls- I told ya Bigfoot was my favorite, remember?”
EL- “Right. Bigfoot and Santa Claus if I recall-”
CS- “Dude, Santa ROCKS! Fuck the War on Christmas! But just shut up a minute. I’m playin’ with the toys, and after a while, D-Man starts lookin’ like a cartoon light bulb is floatin’ over his head, and he grabs somethin’ from that bottom pile and picks up the phone and starts talkin’ a mile a damn minute to somebody called J.J., like I’m not even there...”
EL- “Okay. This can’t be real.”
CS- “I know, right? Fuckin’ A. So, like I told ya before, I have been around. So I just know that he’s talkin’ to Jonah Jameson. And I like Irish Whiskey plenty, but I ain’t lettin’ no Big-Shot New York Spidey-hatin’ reporter scoop my new internet blogger buddy. Dig? Besides, fifty bucks is fifty bucks.”
*While he’s talking, I’m unrolling one of the old posters. And I can’t believe my eyes.
CS- “See what I told ya? Ol’ D-Man goes into that basement under the Disney building, finds all these old movies and TV shows that never got seen by nobody, not ever. Hell, maybe those Disney catacombs have time capsules or some shit, or portals to other worlds or worse... Yeah, I know, crazy. Whatever. That’s my story. But I’ll tell you somethin’ that will curl your damn toes and keep you up nights: When I was sneakin’ out the office with that toy box in my hands, I looked over my shoulder, and there was the exact same toy box sittin’ there, like I never even picked it up...”
EL- Oh. My. Well, er, um, Captain, I’ll get Lenny to get you that, um, fifty dollars... Can I take these posters?”
CS- “Naw, man, that’s my insurance policy right there. I mean, it’s not like anybody in those offices is ever gonna need any of my ideas for movies and shows... I mean, if D-Man is getting his ideas from Ol’ Scratch hisself, at least some of ‘em gotta be kinda good, right?”
(He pauses for a moment, holds a breath, then slowly lets it back out.)
“Go on, you can pick out one of them posters, leave the rest. And leave me them toys, too. That Sasquatch doll is goin’ for a joyride in that Barbie ‘Vette on the beach today.”
EL- “Fair enough... Um, hey, Cap, call me anytime, okay? We can’t have old J.J. Jameson scooping the Observation Deck, you know...”
CS- “Yeah yeah, whatever, mister smart-ass... Y’know, you’re alright, E-Loaf. But I gotta be honest with ya. If D-Man was talkin’ to good ol’ Carl Kolchak on the phone instead of J.J., I never woulda called ya.”
EL- “Fair enough.”
Lenny [staff photographer] handed the Captain four fives, two tens, and the change from our rental car’s ashtray and shook his hand. But as I was grabbing the strange poster and preparing to leave, a sudden concern for Captain Slappy’s safety came over me.
EL-“Hey, Cap. You gave us your name and let us take pictures and all. Aren’t you worried about people reading this?”
CS- “What, on the Observation Deck? You kiddin’ me? Everybody knows it’s Star Trek Week on io9.”
EL- “Fair Enough.”
Somewhat happy with my new nickname, and with my mysterious Star Wars poster safely in the back seat, I piled into the rented Ford Fiesta with Lenny. We waved to Captain Slappy as we headed back toward our headquarters at the boat docks, hoping it wasn’t the last we would see of the strange old fellow.
(Special Thanks to staff photographer Lenny for scanning and cleaning up this exclusive movie poster from D-Man’s Phantom Toy Box... And also thanks to Tiffany, the girl who always gives us directions at that red light on st.rt. 441.)