What does an alcoholic, pill-popping alligator who returns to military service have in common with Jose Canseco?
Well, nothing. That is until Dan Ryckert, author of "Air Force Gator" and its newly released sequel, "Air Force Gator 2: Scales of Justice," stumbled upon the author, reality star, celebrity boxer and retired baseball player volunteering to write the novel's foreword.
It gets weirder.
In November 2012, Ryckert released "Gator" a book that even he claims to have "the dumbest f---ing plot." The story follows a military alligator pilot who is searching for his missing partner in the Middle East. On New Year’s Day, Ryckert put aside his work on "Air Force Gator 2" (which takes place eight years after the first book) to goof around on Twitter. He sent a tweet to Jose Canseco and called him an idiot. This was not a particularly unique moment for Ryckert, because he's sent multiple tweets through the years to the former baseball player. However on this day, for reasons we may never know, Canseco replied.
@danryckert how many copies of Air Force Gator did you sell dan?Let me know if u need help mine made the NY Times Best Seller list
— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) January 2, 2013
A stunned Ryckert instantly responded, and the former outfielder replied with an unsolicited offer to write the foreword for "Gator 2". Ryckert accepted the offer, but because Canseco is known for incoherent ramblings and bizarre statements on social media, the author had no idea if he should actually believe the offer.
“I thought he was joking around," Ryckert said. "There’s no way he could have been serious. But through the tweets, it seemed like he was more and more serious. Although it did take a while to get him to actually write the foreword.” Canseco actually asked Ryckert for money for his services via 140 characters. Ryckert promised sausage instead. Canseco agreed.
We said it would get weird.
“I figured Jose was a little desperate for attention because his 15 minutes of fame are basically up,” said Ryckert. “Before I thought he would do anything for money, you know like getting a company’s logo tattooed on his face kind of thing. But I realized it was just about attention for him. In this case, when he said he would do this for free as long as I gave him the lead role in the Air Force Gator movie.” (There are currently no plans for a "Gator" film.)
Canseco delivered and -- bizarrely -- assumed the books were about his career.
@josecanseco That doesn't even make sense.
— Dan Ryckert (@DanRyckert) February 15, 2013
While Ryckert admits to seeing a few vague parallels between the plot and the former athlete, he had no clue if Canseco believed it or just wanted to play up the persona we’ve all come to expect.
“I would like to think Jose doesn’t really believe the plot is about him, but it’s just so hard to say,” Ryckert said. “I have no idea just how deluded he is or if he has any self-awareness whatsoever. Maybe he’s playing up being a laughingstock on Twitter and here, I really have no idea. I couldn’t believe he wrote it or read the books at all.”
Crazy or clever -- Canseco delivered on his promise. Read his ridiculous foreword below.
"Air Force Gator is a thinly disguised metaphorical depiction of my life."
"Sound familiar? GatorAid -- Steroids. Famous and legendary -- that was me. Shunned and blackballed -- that's what MLB did to me. An evil nemesis Gustav -- that's Bud Selig. Vindicated and Triumphant -- again me as I turned out to be the only one telling the truth about the Steroid Era and ended up saving baseball. It was unauthorized and weakly veiled but we all know what Dan was doing here."
"Air Force Gator II, or whatever the hell Dan is calling this sequel, continues the chronicling of my resurrection in society and the good that I am able to do for all. There are more assumptions made in this book as it is not as anthropomorphically historical as AFG I, but is a highly probable prediction of the things I will be able to accomplish. Kind of a tome of reptilian based Nostradamus Canseco prophecies."
As a fitting thank-you, Ryckert posted an image of a shirtless Canseco holding a baseball bat on the back cover of "Gator 2" with the description, “Jose Canseco is an idiot that used to play baseball.” Ryckert then posted a picture of himself in an identical pose. If that doesn’t sum up this bizarre collaboration, then nothing will.
"Air Force Gator 2: Scales of Justice" is out now in paperback and on Kindle.