Editor’s Note: This article is the conclusion of a series about this reporter’s quest to find the One True Picolas Cage, a quest that ended in the en-pickled Nicolas Cage bequeathing his identity to this reporter before flying off in a helicopter to live in an Egyptian pyramid.
Several months had passed since I had last seen the original Nic Cage, his wrinkled lumpy green pickle-face gleaming with either tears or brine. I had followed his instructions to a T and, after many rounds of plastic surgery, I had finally transformed my athletic young body into that of the middle-aged American icon I had so long revered.
Though the process had been long, I did my best to keep up the breakneck pace for which Nic Cage is so well-known. Since I couldn’t appear on-screen during my transformation, I had to land other types of roles.
My first gig was the voice of Willy Watercress in “Veggie Tales: The Podcast,” but I quickly made it back to cinema with a non-speaking cameo in the straight-to-DVD “Emoji Movie” sequel. I even fulfilled a personal fantasy of appearing in a “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie, working as the motion-capture model for a ship’s mermaid figurehead in “Pirates 6: Hopefully They Brought Back Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.”
A few more months went by after my final operations, and I was getting into the swing of being Nic Cage. I had even started seeing Stephanie the Ex-Nutritionist, now free of her contract’s anti-fraternization clause after The Pickle Formerly Known as Cage (as we had taken to calling the original Nic Cage) fired her in the barn in Nevada.
It was a cool, fall afternoon. Stephanie was, er, “visiting” me between my morning gig as the host of the Hulu-exclusive game show “The Weakest Kink” and my evening job playing Drake Parker in the upcoming movie, “Drake and Josh: 40 Years Later: Also It’s in Space.”
We were alone and upstairs, so I was confused when I heard what sounded like someone opening the front door downstairs. I ignored it at first, but I continued to hear more sounds coming from downstairs, so I decided to go investigate.
The only thing resembling a weapon that I could find was a cricket bat signed by wrestling legend André the Giant, so I grabbed it and tried to look as threatening as possible as I crept toward the kitchen.
The cricket bat and my jaw dropped in disbelief at the sight confronting me. Before me was none other than the actual Nicolas Cage, completely de-pickled, naked save for a tattered lab coat too narrow for his broad frame.
Dirty and disheveled, as if he had just returned from a long journey, his face was beaming with a wild grin of triumph, the triumph of a man who has just recently fulfilled his deepest desire. He managed to exude this radiant jubilance even as he performed the mundane task of rummaging through the cabinets, gathering the ingredients to prepare what looked to be a peanut butter and hummus sandwich.
He didn’t see me at first, and I stood frozen, unsure how to start a conversation with the man who had bequeathed me his identity. Before I could say anything, though, I was distracted by the pocket of his coat, which seemed to be wriggling. I even thought I heard a voice coming from it. I didn’t have much time to worry about it, though, because at that moment Nic noticed me.
“Who the hell are you?!” he roared, brandishing a hummus-covered slice of bread at me.
“It’s okay, it’s just me…” I bumbled, unsure how to introduce myself since he had never called me the same name twice.
My indecision cost me, and before I could complete my sentence Nic charged and smote me to the ground with a sticky thwack of his hummus-bread.
“What the shit is going on out there?” Now on the ground, much closer to his pocket, I was certain that there was a voice coming from within. “Get me the hell out of here, you crazy B-list actor!”
The ridiculous notion that Nic Cage could be considered a B-list actor distracted me from my predicament for a moment, until suddenly Nic was hoisting me by my ankle and yelling, “Jarvis, we have another imposter!” Looking back I shouldn’t have been surprised that this wasn’t the first time this had happened.
Suddenly, a bookshelf against the wall slid out of the way, revealing a secret door. A butler I didn’t know existed came out of the door and replied, “Yes, sir. Of course, sir.”
Jarvis grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and the waist of my pants, carried me like a defenseless kitten to the front door, and threw me, face first, out toward the front lawn, which was inhabited solely by Venus flytraps and pygmy badgers.
As I flew through the air, hanging over the vicious flora and fauna below, my mind was racing with questions: How did he get unpickled? How did he get back from Egypt? Why didn’t he remember who I was? How had Jarvis survived in that room for so many months without my knowledge? Will I be able to get a job, trapped as I now am in Nic Cage’s body?
But a surprising number of these questions were answered as I heard one final outburst from Nic’s pocket.
“Goddammit, trapped in my own lab coat like some kind of fucking metaphor,” I heard from Nic’s pocket. “You were just an experiment to help me get out of my goddamn family therapy appointment! Let me go! I’m Pickle Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick!”