Editor’s Note: This article is part of a continuing series on this reporter’s quest to find the One True Picolas Cage. At last reporting, this reporter had just found the actor Nicolas Cage in need of aid — trapped in a giant pickle in an underground bunker in Las Vegas.

“M-M-M-M-Mr. Cage!” I stammered, trying not to hyperventilate in the presence of the man himself. “How did this happen to you?”

“Linda, who is this gorgeous young man?” he asked the prostitute on my motorcycle, apparently believing that the 1997 picture of his face I was wearing as a mask was my actual face.

“I don’t know, but he’s at least as crazy as you,” she replied, gesturing to my Nic Cage accoutrements. “He just asked me — ”

“It doesn’t matter,” he cut in. “His face looks trustworthy.”

Turning to me, he said, “Young Adonis, let me tell you my tale.”

His tale began with a question.

“Have you ever heard of something called the Internet?” he asked, not a trace of sarcasm in his tone.

Apparently assuming I hadn’t, he answered his own question.

“I discovered it just a few months ago, it seems to be some sort of vast, vaporous repository of information which floats among us but is invisible. With my great skill and knowledge I was able to access the information, but not penetrate this ethereal gathering place of the anonymous. I assume it is only accessible by the greatest of sages, and everything there is an important truth which must never be allowed to be forgotten.”

“Assuming a great deal of such knowledge must exist about me, I resolved to search my name, but despite my near-flawless typographical skills, I mistakenly typed a ‘P’ instead of an ‘N’ at the beginning of my name. Before I could correct the error, my screen was filled with hundreds upon hundreds of images of my face upon a pickle. The image was ubiquitous, but precious little information could be found about it. I knew immediately that locating this pickle was my life’s purpose.”

His returned his gaze to me, stern and knowing, as if the rest of his journey were self-evident.

“But…how did you end up here, Mr. Cage?”

“Well, you see, whenever I don’t know what to do, I look for inspiration from the characters I’ve played in the past,” he said, chuckling at having to explain such obvious information to me. “So in this case I did what I did when I was sent back in time to 1955 in a DeLorean-cum-time machine — find a crazy-haired science genius and ask for his help.”

Scratching my head and triple-checking my memory, I said cautiously, “If you mean ‘Back to the Future,’ I think that was Michael J. Fox.”

“Michael J. Who?” he asked with the utmost sincerity. “Never heard of him. Anyway, my memory is a bit fuzzy after that, the next thing I remember is waking up in this cage, completely pickled, so I assume the scientist betrayed me with this ironic personification of the very goal from which he is keeping me.”

He paused dramatically, as a single briny tear glistening on his bumpy green face.

“I’ve been trapped here, a grotesque trophy to my own folly, like my famous character from a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away who was trapped in carbonite to be gawked at by his captors. But, just as in that seminal science fiction trilogy, my trusty compatriot is here to rescue me! Alone, I faltered, but together we will triumph!”

I was too overwhelmed by being called a compatriot by Nic Cage to even bother trying to explain to him who Harrison Ford was, or even to wonder whether he was comparing me to Chewbacca or Princess Leia.

“So! The first order of business is to free me from this pickle! I think our course of action is obvious, don’t you, young Horatio?” he asked, apparently guessing at my name since he hadn’t yet asked it of me.

“Are you — um,” I hesitated, afraid to say what I was thinking and even more afraid (but maybe a little excited?) that we were thinking the same thing. “Are you asking me to eat you out, Mr. Cage?”

“No, my dear Garfield,” he said, seemingly unaware that he had called me Horatio just a few seconds prior. “I’ve been trapped in this pickle too long for that to be effective — my entire body has pruned to the point where sudden exposure could prove fatal. I’ll have to be brought to an expert.”

Skeptical of that claim but glad to go to someone more knowledgeable to deal with this problem, I replied, “Great idea, we’ll find the closest hospital and drive straight — ”

“No!” he interrupted, breaking not only my sentence but also my fleeting hope that he was finally starting to talk sense. “This goes beyond a mere medical doctor’s capabilities. We need to see someone who is an expert on not only pickles but also prunes, and the complex interaction between the two. It’s my only chance of survival.”

“Who do you have in mind?” I asked, not sure it I wanted to know the answer.

“We need to see a nutritionist.”

To be continued…

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