As a true Nicolas Cage fan, I consume as much Nicolas Cage as possible—movies, TV cameos, manga, fan fiction, and I’m working on finding a supplier for toenail clippings.
But there is one corner of the Cagiverse that I find most alluring—Picolas Cage.
Most people believe the captivating cucumber is a myth—a meme for the casual punnoisseur to laugh at before moving on with their life. But since infancy I’ve known in my heart of hearts that the Picolas Cage is real.
I set out to find it using the only means I knew how—searching for hidden maps using elementary school tricks. Inspired by “National Treasure,” I would put pickle juice on everything Nic Cage-related and heat it with a hair dryer.
I pickle-juiced posters, life-sized cardboard cutouts—everything I could find. But it was when I started trying DVDs that I finally had a breakthrough.
In my deluxe edition of the 1997 classic “Face/Off,” there are two discs: one with John Travolta’s face and the other with Nic Cage’s. When I applied the pickle juice and heat to these, I was horrified to see that the Nic Cage disc started to peel, until I realized it was just his face that was peeling—his face was coming off, just like in the movie!
Beneath was exactly what I had been looking for—a map! It showed a map of the world, with the locations of different Nic Cage movies marked on it.
I traveled to each location, collecting Nic Cage props and costumes along the way. The map took me across continents, from New York to get the wooden prosthetic hand Cage wore in “Moonstruck” to Greece to get the mandolin from “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,” to Liberia to get one of the prostitutes from “Lord of War.”
I even stole the Declaration of Independence, but it was much easier than in the movie because these days most of the National Archives’ budget goes toward protecting a big gold vault full of tax returns and emails that use Cyrillic characters.
I rolled into my final destination, Las Vegas, riding the motorcycle from “Ghost Rider,” resembling classic Cage character Balthazar Blake from “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” after months of traveling without bathing or cutting my hair.
The final destination on the map was fitting, as it was the setting of Nic Cage’s Academy Award-winning performance in “Leaving Las Vegas.”
I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be looking for here—the prostitute with whom Cage’s character forms a relationship in the movie? No, I already has the prostitute from Liberia, and two seemed excessive.
Frustrated to be so close to the legendary Picolas Cage but unable to find it, I declared to myself, “I’m not leaving Las Vegas until I find this pickle!”
And that’s when it struck me. Of course the Picolas Cage wouldn’t be in Las Vegas, the movie was called “Leaving Las Vegas!” So I went to the city limits and found a sign that said, “Now leaving Las Vegas.” Atop the Ghost Rider motorcycle, mandolin firmly in my prosthetic hand, Liberian prostitute riding on the back of the bike, and peeled-off DVD Nicolas Cage worn as a mask over my face, I rode full throttle right toward the sign, knowing I could find only glory or death on the other side.
Desert sun scorching the ground beneath my bike, I pass under the sign, but nothing happens. I come to a stop, the disappointment beginning to mount, when I feel a lurch as the ground beneath me begins to move.
I realize I’m descending on a hidden platform into a secret underground complex of some sort. This must be it. The Picolas Cage must be near.
I search from room to room, anticipation building in my soul. I come to what appears to be the final room, pausing only a moment before throwing the door wide open.
My eyes have never seen anything so glorious. Where I expected to find a measly eight-inch cucumber with a passing resemblance to Nic Cage, I instead found a six-foot-tall green gargantuan of a gourd in a cage, with the actual face of Nicolas Cage gazing down upon me.
“Mr.—Mr. Cage,” I stammered, in physical shock at what I was seeing. “What are you doing here?”
“Ah, I’m glad you found me,” he said in his sonorous voice. “I need your help.”
“I’d be glad to help, Mr. Cage,” I replied, voice trembling. “What’s wrong?”
“Well it seems I’m…” He paused for dramatic effect. “In a pickle.”