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The Royal Mailbag: Session 5

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2018 Arthur Miller Foundation Honors Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Today is going to be a good day. Today is going to be a great day. Today is always a great day. Today is Greg’s favorite day of the year. It’s Liam Neeson Day.

Greg pulls into the parking lot of the convention center. He checks his pockets. He’s got his wallet, his credit cards, and his phone. He checks himself in the mirror. Liam Neeson shirt? Check. NeesonCon Executive VIP badge? Check. Liam Neeson Taken-themed lanyard? Check. He grabs the satchel beside him. Autograph book? Check. Genuine replica samurai sword from The Dark Knight Rises? Check.

Greg strokes his Neeson-esque goatee as he walks to the doors of the convention center. Liam Neeson balloons adorn the walkway and a life-sized Neeson cutout greets him. His Executive VIP pass allows him one-hour early entry to the event. He’s the only person who spent the extra $765 for the privilege.

He skates through the metal detectors and security, consults his complimentary map, and chooses to visit the Neeson Hall of Fame first. His eyes widen in wonder as he takes in the prop knife from “The Grey”, a prop handgun from “Taken”, a prop handgun from “Taken 2”, a prop handgun from “Taken 3”, a prop handgun from “Run All Night”, a prop handgun from “Unknown”, a prop handgun from “Non-Stop” and a prop lightsaber from “Star Wars”.

Greg chuckles to himself as he sees an animatronic Liam Neeson waving from the end of the hall. He waves back. And then the machine starts walking towards him, smiling. Greg panics. It’s the real Liam Neeson!

His hero graciously approaches. “I see you’re the only one who purchased the Executive VIP Pass. I wanted to thank you for your fandom and give you a personal tour of the facilities. If that’s okay with you, of course.”

“Um, um, um, yes, of course Mr. Neeson.” Greg manages to stutter.

“Relax! I’m a normal guy. Please, call me Liam. Now let’s get this tour started.”

As promised, Liam Neeson guides Greg through a personalized walkthrough of the star’s career. They stop at each exhibit, examining the goods inside, chatting about movie trivia, and laughing through a blooper real in the Whoopsie Room. It’s a treat that Greg never wants to end, but it comes to a close all too soon.

“That was a ton of fun, Greg. I think you’re the biggest fan I’ve ever met. Want to see one other thing? My trailer? I have a ton of interesting things in there” Liam asks.

“Absolutely! It would be an honor Mr. Neeson. I mean, Mr. Liam. I mean…Liam.”

“Then come this way!” Liam walks through a restricted exit, passes by multiple security guards, and leads Greg to a gold-leafed trailer. They enter, and Liam spends the next hour showing Greg all of the personal memorabilia he’s stolen from different movie sets: prop after prop after prop.

Suddenly, almost out of the blue, Liam grows sullen. “Ah, this is all too much fun, Greg. I’ll be missing all of this.”

“What do you mean, Liam? I can’t wait to see your next movie!”

“There may not be another one.” Liam says cryptically. “Let me show you one more thing. Liam removes a painting on the back wall, revealing an impressive-looking safe. “This is a SentrySafe 1223, one of the toughest safes in the world. Inside, I hold something dear, something secret, something deadly. And soon, I think someone will come for that. You see Greg, movies are just a mirror of our lives, my good man. They’re the same, just…backwards. It’s…complicated. Ugh, sometimes I talk too much. Too much gab, Liam.” The movie star shakes his head.

“Is there anything I can do to help?” Greg asks.

“Not unless you can change the past, my good friend. But let’s not dwell on the depressing. Let’s go get a drink!”

“But isn’t the convention supposed to be happening right now?

“Bah! Forget the convention.”

Liam storms out of the trailer, and is immediately grabbed by two goons in suits. One produces the deadliest looking handgun Greg has ever seen. This is no prop.

“TAKEN WAS REAL, GREG!” Liam cries out as he’s dragged away. “Remember when I spoke about the movies! The last two words!”

A gun is unceremoniously shoved into Greg’s face. A short, thick-set man in sunglasses and his giant partner stand in front of Greg “You must be Greg, huh? Gotta be pretty important to our boy Liam if he revealed the truth about Taken. Give us the file and we let Neeson go. Refuse, and he dies.”

Panic sets in. Greg doesn’t know anything about a secret file! But wait, maybe the safe! Maybe that’s what Liam was talking about?!

“Guys, I don’t know anything about a secret file, but Mr. Neeson showed me his safe earlier. Maybe it’s in there. I just want everything to go back to normal. I just want him to be okay.”

“Oh, now it’s Mr. Neeson, huh?” The thug cracks his knuckles. “Well let’s go take a look at this safe and see what we can find Mr. I Don’t Know Liam That Well But He Showed Me His Secret Safe”

Greg leads the mysterious agents to back into Liam’s suite. The painting still sits on the floor, the safe exposed.

“Can you crack it, Hawes?” the short thug asks.

The awkward-footed giant makes his way across the destroyed trailer. “This is a SentrySafe 1223, boss man. I could open this thing up in the same amount of time it would take me to hit a three-pointer.”

“So never?”

“Never, ever” Hawes replies.

“I guess this is up to you, Gregarooni. Open the safe or Neeson get a one-way ticket to Montego Bay.”

“I have no idea how to open it! I just met Liam today! I just want to go home!” As is always the case, tears begin to stream down Greg’s face.

“You expect me to believe that?! Get up. Open the safe. Or I end you.” The gun is pointed back in Greg’s goateed face.

“You can shoot me. You can torture me. You can do whatever you want. I DON’T KNOW THE COMBINATION, YOU NINCOMPOOP. IF I DID KNOW…wait. Wait, wait wait. He said the last two words…I might, might have a guess.”

“I certainly hope you have more than a guess” the thug replies.

Greg approaches the safe. The SentrySafe 1223 is the hardest to crack in the world. Instead of a nine-digit panel, a full keyboard sits in front, awaiting a password. Perspiration courses down his forehead as he enters the combination.

“m-o-v-i-e-s-m-i-r-r-o-r”

BEEEEEEEEEP. A red light flashes across the screen. “Two entries remain until the contents of the safe are destroyed. Please try again.” An automated voice announces.

“The last two words, the last two words,” Greg mutters to himself. He puts his fingers to the keyboard.

“g-a-b-l-i-a-m”

BEEEEEEEEEP. A red light flashes across the screen. “One entry remains until the contents of the safe are destroyed. Please try again.” The automated voice announces.

“You’ve got one more chance here before you and Liam are toast. You sure you’ve got this, Mr. Greg? The thug asks.

“I’m not certain of anything.” Greg replies. “But I’m going to give this one more shot.”

“Think, Greg, think.” He whispers to himself. “The last two words…too much gab, Liam…movies are a mirror…they’re just…backwards…”

And then lightning strikes. Greg smirks as he enters the code and saves his hero.

“m-a-i-l-b-a-g”

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