“People don’t think I’m in on the joke, but I’ll show them.”
Nicolas Cage stands in front of the window that dominates the eastern wall of his office, looking out at the desolate landscape of the Mare Imbrium, one of the Moon’s biggest seas. On the glass swim the reflections of the six Mako sharks that dwell in the gigantic aquarium behind Cage.
He turns and flashes me one of his trademark, wide-eyed grins. “I’ll show them all.”
I sit in a minimalistic black leather armchair. The entire office is decorated in minimalistic black and silver furniture. It’s all very modern and tasteful, and it offsets the black marble floor tiles nicely.
“What made you decide to build a secret base on the moon, Mr. Cage?”
He sits down at his expansive glass-topped desk and steeples his fingers. “I picked two things I really like and put them together - the moon and secret bases.” After a moment’s pause, he adds “It just seemed like a good idea.”
Suddenly he’s grinning at me again. He tilts back his head and widens his eyes until it looks like they’re about to bug out of their sockets.
“Do you want to see my death ray?”
After a few minutes of navigating raw, winding concrete halls of Cage’s secret moon base, we arrive at a huge steel door, which he throws open ecstatically. Stepping into the room beyond the door, I get my first look at the giant, deadly laser. It’s huge – the base alone is easily 40 feet across, by my estimate. Its height is absolutely staggering. The room’s floodlights illuminate its brushed steel form, enhancing the dull red glow of the laser’s muzzle.
“Wow.” I can’t think of anything else to say. The death ray’s massive presence renders me awestruck.
Nicolas starts clapping slowly, gradually increasing in speed and volume. “Oh, bravo,” he shouts up to three figures in hazmat suits standing on a platform partway up the laser, in front of some complicated-looking machinery. They turn around and wave at us.
“Bra-fucking-vo,” he continues. “Oh God, this is excellent. Bravo!” Cage seems to vibrate with excitement.
“Thank you very much, sir.”
I turn around to see an androgynous young person in an impeccably tailored black suit standing behind us. “We have been working around the clock to bring it up to your specifications. I’m proud to say that the death ray will be ready for the big ceremony in two days.”
Nicolas Cage walks over and claps the newcomer on the back. “This is Morgan, my assistant,” Cage announces proudly, sounding like a child showing off an interesting bug. Morgan’s face is nearly expressionless as they extend a hand to me, which I accept. Their handshake is firm and businesslike.
“Morgan, tell our reporter friend about the death ray,” Nicolas orders with a smile. His assistant nods.
“Very well, sir.”
Morgan turns to face me. “The Balthazar Mark 7 was invented to destroy large celestial objects by harnessing the power of cosmic radiation. If you look very closely, you can see the red quartz crystals used to focus the beam.” They point to what seems to be a series of glowing red spikes sticking out of the barrel of the death ray.
I turn back to Nicolas Cage, and find him watching us.
“What do you intend to do with this giant death ray, Mr. Cage?”
Cage lets out a strange, manic giggle. “Why, blow up the Earth, of course!”
His response leaves me speechless. Nicolas seems to take this as encouragement to continue.
“We’re not going to start with Earth, of course. Our first target will be Mars, as a kind of test run of the ray’s power. In two days, if all goes well, Mars will be nothing but ash and gravel.”
“You’ll never get away with it, Nicolas! Once I send word to my editor, your secret will be out!”
Cage lets out a deep, booming laugh. I feel hands grab me, pin my arms behind my back. “Did you really think I was going to let you go back once I’ve told you my plans? No, I’m afraid I can’t let you return to Earth.”
“They won’t let you do this!” I yell as I’m being dragged away.
Nicolas Cage looks at me, eyes sparkling with ill intent. “The question isn’t who will let me,” he replies archly, “But who is going to stop me.”
Sharon van Wyngaarden is a student in the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College. She enjoys taking long walks, drinking tea, and reading a good book. She also loves spending time with friends – especially if it means subjecting them to the torment that is watching terrible Nicolas Cage movies.