The original, 28-page short story version of

"Bicycle!"

Copyright © 1982 by Roger M. Wilcox. All rights reserved.
(writing on this story began 20-October-1982)

The original draft was written on an electric typewriter. It was inspired by a 1976 disaster movie parody titled The Big Bus. (Yes, there were disaster movie parodies before Airplane!.) All spellings, punctuation, capitalizations, etc. are as in the original.

You have been warned.




This was undoubtedly the best feat of human engineering since the trash compactor. Nobody on Earth but humans would design something so bizarre and yet so highly efficient. It was the first and the only bicycle in the world to have an automatic transmission. Not only was it an automatic transmission, it was also an infinite transmission, able to glide through an infinite number of gear positions to keep the pedaling rate at exactly 1 3/4 pumps per second. It was also the world's only bicycle built to hold thirty drivers.

Well, actually there were only two drivers; the other 28 people were just passengers who helped with the pedalling. But these people were no ordinary passengers. They were specifically selected to have healthy and well-developed legs, as well as knowing how to ride a bike. A system had been installed in each of their legs which would remove the lactic acid the muscles created five hundred times faster than the natural system their bodies had. In other words, their legs would never get sore. As long as they had a continuous supply of energy, they could go on for days without end.

The metallic blue frame gleamed in the dawn light. Thirty-one wheels of extremely low mass rested upon nearly frictionless bearings. Universal joints came between every other seat to allow the bike to turn corners and to curve along hills and valleys. Carpeted sections of aisles stretched down the entire length of both sides of the bicycle. Nothing was made of steel; the whole structure glittered with the small mass of titanium.

Thirty people sat impatiently on the highly cushioned bicycle seats, waiting for the command that would get them rolling. In various places on the aisles, stewardesses and other crew members stood by to be ready to comfort and entertain the twenty-eight people that were the bicycle's passengers.

"Flaps down," said the captain into the CB-style microphone he held in his right hand. "Braking systems go. All sprockets rotating smoothly. Fuel supply ..."

He glanced back at the stockhouse of food the various crewmembers held. "We have ample fuel for the journey. Water supply checks out fine as well. Lights ..." He pushed the button that clapped the thirty-one extremely weak generators into place on the wheels. A circuit check confirmed the electrical system's continuity. "Okay. Stewardesses ..." He looked back once more. "... nice and big. I think we're ready to roll."

"Ride 1, you're cleared for launch" came the reply.

The captain flipped a switch that changed the CB into a cabin transmitter. "Get ready, guys."

"Check your cabin pressure" came a request from the control tower.

"Cabin pre -" he paused. "We don't have a closed cabin, you dummy!" He flipped the switch back once more. "Okay, folks, this is it! Let's roll!!!"

Twenty-nine cheers came from the passengers and the co-pilot, each of whom placed their medically enhanced feet on the pedals as the captain shifted the little ten-speed type gear shift from "Park" into "Drive." Metal clashed as the never-before-used chains and transmissions began to move from the power of thirty muscular pairs of legs. The transmission started sliding immediately to take the rate of leg movement up to 1 3/4 pumps per second. The sound of a jet engine was heard as all the kilo-newtons of force were pumped from the people's legs to the pedals to the wheels to the ground, which inexorably accelerated the bicycle forward.

Slowly at first, but then rapidly gaining speed, the bicycle plowed forward through the dimly lit hangar and toward the opened end through which daylight was pouring. This was a momentous occasion for every biker in the nation, and the passengers and crew could already begin to feel the mounting tension come through the door as they swiftly approached it.

Suddenly, the gleaming, thirty-one wheeled wonder sprang into the full light of the morning through the hanger doors, sending the crowd into a frenzy of fanatical cheering. The bike chugged by, sounding like a train this time, to the tune of the theme from "Breaking Away."

There had been cross-country bike trips before, but none on a thirty-person bike, and certainly none that used the freeway. The greatest bicycle of all time had a transmission of such magnitude as to allow it to move at a freeway legal fifty-five miles per hour. When the bike passed the crowds, the very first thing it did was turn on to the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental highway, the famous Interstate 10.

"Ride 1, what's your ground speed?" asked the tower.

"Much too low. The display reads 15 -" Suddenly, the driver realized that he was looking at the CB channel indicator. "Correction - we're doing just fine. The speedometer reads 24.6 meters per second."

"Eh?"

"That's SI talk for 55 miles per hour."

The bicycle sailed on by like a thing out of a disaster movie.


"We must stop that bicycle!" yelled the stocky businessman as he slammed a gold finger down on a marble tabletop. "Why do you think that sign by the freeway says, 'No bicycles or pedestrians allowed?' I'll tell you why! Because then every vehicle on the road will be powered by some form of petroleum! That keeps us in business!"

The Exxon badge on the one sitting across from the businessman was on the chest of the Exxon tiger. He looked very deeply concerned about the whole matter, but in actuality was thinking more about what was for lunch.

"Now," the businessman continued, "Somebody's gone and invented a mass transit bicycle that's freeway legal! If that bicycle completes its journey and gets to Miami, it could ruin us!" He slammed his finger down on the table again, this time taking a chip out of the polished marble surface.

"And if you're washed up, I'm out of a job, right?"

"Right, tigey baby! We must stop that bicycle!"

He attempted to slam his gold finger down on the table again, missed, hit it with his middle finger instead, heard a bone crack, and held his finger surreptitiously in dire pain.

The Exxon tiger put down his copy of "Tony the Tiger Comics" which he had cleverly disguised as "The Oily Times." "Well, legally, what can we do about it?"

"Nothing!"

It took about three-and-a-quarter seconds for the full impact of this message to reach his frontal lobes. Tiger opened his eyes widely, then decided that this wasn't such a good thing to do, since tigers' eyes are supposed to be locked in a narrow position naturally. "Well, then illegally, what can we do about it?"

A smile passed over Gold-finger's face, but quickly left when it discovered who it belonged to. Before he was able to state what he intended to do, however, a man dressed in a black overcoat barged into the room, wielding a carbine-type pistol.

"Okay, tiger, where's the formula?" he demanded.

"The what?"

"Don't play dumb with me, Tony! The formula! The secret formula for the frosting on Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes!"

Tiger slapped a paw on his face and pulled it down off of it. "Wrong tiger, dummy!"

"Oh," he said, embarrassed. "Well, then could you tell me the way to Tony the Tiger's office?"

"Down the hall five doors, then turn left. You can't miss it. It's the door with the word 'Grrrrreat' written on it in expanding block lettering."

"Thank you." He left the office, slammed the door shut, and vanished down the hallway.

"Now then," Gold Finger said, "Where were we?"

"You were about to tell me what dirty underhanded scheme we were going to use to get rid of the bicycle."

"Wash your mouth out! We may be low-down, kanniving, and yes, even underhanded, but we are NOT dirty! We make only clean fuel, and anyone who says differently has condescended to allow us to take him out to be shot. You're lucky you're a big business exec.."

"I never heard that before."

"Article VI, section 78, clause 45 of the oil conglomerate constitution - 'In order to preserve democracy, the oil conglomerates have the right to take the life of anyone who disagrees with them. This includes people who put down their product.' Now then, back to business. Come with me ..."

He led Tiger down a secret passage which opened in the floor and led to a sparsely lit, vast underground chamber occupied in the most part by men who were dressed the same as the one who came in looking for Tony the Tiger a minute earlier. In the center of the arena was a big, old-fashioned motorcycle that didn't look very efficient - you know, one of the gas-guzzing 15 kilometers per litre type. It had no seat and no handlebars, and in their place was a large device made of black plastic and covered with lights so as to make it look like a remote control device from a 1960's B-movie.

"What is that?"

"That, said Gold Finger calmly, "Is what's going to stop that bicycle. It can intercept anything going at up to sixty miles per hour. The bicycle we want to get cruises at just under sixty miles per hour. Now can you see what's going to happen, or do I have to draw you a picture?"

Tiger said nothing. Evidently he knew what was going to happen. The nearly-obese businessman pushed a little button on the black box marked "Go," set a dial to "thirty-passenger bicycles," and watched it speed off down the exit plank to the tune of a revving motor.

The bicycle went roaring merrily down Interstate 10 at a nice, smooth 24.6 m/s clip. "Coffee, tea, or me?" asked the somewhat unclothed female stewardess to the fourthe male passenger on her agenda.

"You, baby!" said the Clint Eastwood-Charles Bronson-looking man as he grabbed the perfectly built woman and proceeded to mate with her in the aisle (covered from the view of the rest of the passengers, naturally).

The pilot/captain began doing the technical soliloquy that is mandatory in any disaster film: "No considerable air turbulence, the frame's holding up nicely, and we're within the speed limit. Everything's running smooth as silk."

Suddenly a panel warning light lit up with the words, "Emergency! Enemy homing motorcycle approaching! Do something about it, dummy! You're the captain!"

"Smooth as silk with a run in it! Hoist the mainsail! Batten down the hatches!"

A piano player, on board for the entertainment (and the fact that the pedals under the piano were bicycle pedals), began singing and playing: "Oh, we're gonna die. I don't know whie. Oh, the food tastes as bad as it should, and the wine is much too drie ..."

"Attention, passengers. The piano player is right. Now, don't panic, stay calm, and take this like a man. That especially goes for the stewardesses!

"Someone, for some reason, has sent a homing motorcycle after us. We're going to undertake some excessive evasive maneuvers, so hang on. The pavement's not too comfortable at 24.6 meters per second."

"What?" came the chorus of voices from the passengers.

"That's SI talk for 55 miles per hour."

"Oh, we're gonna die. I don't know whie. We good Americans are stuck here with a metric-using guie."

The motorcycle zoomed straight at the bicycle, but at the last moment the pilot executed a sharp turn which evaded the motorcycle but sent the mating couple in the aisle flying off into the bushes by the side of the road. They wouldn't notice for the next ten minutes.

Suddenly, the motorcycle skidded around in a half-circle and came charging back at the bicycle once more. One of the passengers involuntarily screamed the words: "#$%¢ 67&%$ *!" (Translation: "Oa-tao mishugg nai-fo!")

"I'm gonna try something I learned in an old, two-dimensional movie," said the captain as he fished the glove compartment for what he needed.

"Forget it," replied the co-pilot. "Stealing ideas from other movies never works."

The pilot ignored him as he took out his flare gun, took careful aim, and fired in the general direction of the incoming death-cycle. The vehicle paid no attention at all.

"Haw haw," said the co-pilot. "Chuchle chuckle. Grin. Humor. Pop a button. Split a side. Tee-hee." He paused for dramatic effect, which this disaster movie is seriously lacking. "That motorcycle isn't heat-seeking, you dinglebrain! If it was, we wouldn't be a viable heat source, would we? Chuckle-chuck."

"With that couple that just flew off, I don't know. Well, I've tried everything, and the motorcycle's still heading for us."

"So this is it. We're all going to die."

"Don't go Arthur Dent on me just yet. Making allusions to another movie, a technique which you know and loathe so well, may be our only way out of this. Have you seen E.T.?"

"Hasn't everybody?"

"Good."

The "Hey!" that followed was the co-pilot's response as the joints in the frame suddenly became rock-hard and the front end of the bicycle lifted off the ground to the tune of some now-familiar John Williams music.

When the bike's rear end lifted from the ground, the homing motorcycle became very confused; it no longer had a target. With a reluctant, mechanical moan, the motorcycle screeched to a halt, the words "Aw Shucks" lit up on its instrument panel, and in stubborn protest it blew itself up anyway.

"Oh, we're gonna die. I don't know whie. This crazy idiot of a driver thinks he can make a bike flie!"

The metallic blue frame of the bicycle glinted in the moonlight. The driver thought this was very strange, since it was mid-morning, the sun was shining brightly, and there was no moon out. Slowly, the driver lowered the bike to the pavement in a horizontal, safe manner, which was made easier thanks to the fact that there was miraculously no traffict on this part of I-10.

"How did you do that?" asked the co-pilot, somewhat awed.

"Do what?" replied the driver, smiling.

The bicycle sailed onward, the thirty pedal-pumpers all making a noise which sounded like a rocket engine.


"Damn!" We didn't get 'em," said Gold Finger in disgust.

"Well, that's because you didn't use Exxon premium unleaded. It really puts a tiger in your tank."

"Oh, shut up, you walking commercial!" The underground engineering workshop was filled with a stench that pleasantly reminded Gold Finger of raw human flesh. He didn't know why a metalshop would smell that way; he wasn't even sure he actually smelled it. He just liked the after-effects of somebody getting ripped to shreds.

"Well, let's see," thought Tiger. "We tried a technique from Airport 79, which he was unable to conquer with a ploy used in Airport 79, but which he was able to conquer using a ploy from some dumb old extra-terrestrial movie. So, what if we catch him off-guard, and use something from E.T.?"

"Like what?"

"Oh, like a spaceship. Only this time, we'll arm it with missiles or something."

"Naw, he'd only call his driver's seat the cock-pit or fire another flare gun at it or do something else from Airport 79. We need a new approach."

"Okay, how about 'The Towering Inferno'?"

"No thanks, I already ate. But that would be a good thing to use against the bicycle. Aha! I've got it...."


"Nobody move!" said the man with the large time bomb while standing in the bike's left-hand aisle. "This is a hijack!"

"Ah, siddown and pedal!" screamed twenty-nine non-exhausted people who wished they were exhausted so they wouldn't have to pedal any more. The Hijacker instinctively sat down and resumed pedaling, throwing his time bomb off the bike. The bomb went off and took out three cars on the other side of the freeway.

The captain relaxed slightly as a little boy joined him in the driver's seat.

"Hi there. What's your name, son?"

"My name's Jimmy. What's yours, mister bike pilot?"

"My name is The Captain. Say, Jimmy, do you know what the word bike means in German?"

The boy turned the word over in his mind for a second, then gave the captain a suspicious look.

"Jimmy, have you ever seen naked men in a turkish bath play with their -"

Suddenly, their warning radar picked up an unusual blip (it was colored blue; green blips are normal, blue blips are unusual, red blips are bizarre, and white blips are totally way-out, man). "Well, that's unusual."

"What is it?"

"It's a radar set, but that's not important right now. We're picking up something that's much too big to be another vehicle. You'd better get back to your seat."

"But why?"

"So that I won't have to do as much pedalling." As he shifted his attention, the boy left. "Co-pilot, look! Up in the sky!"

"It's a bird!"

"It's a plane!" add the person behind the co-pilot (who had the unofficial title of co-co-pilot).

"No, it's a meteor!"

"A good guess," said the captain, "But I think you have the wrong movie. Whatever it is, it's coming right at us."

"Then shouldn't we shift our course?"

"Dammit, I've got a bike to drive and a schedule to meet! If we change course, the lives of each and every person aboard will be changed for the worst. I'm not backing down now."

As he finished his sentence, he was suddenly able to recognize exactly what was coming towards them. "Holy cow!"

"What is it, sir?"

"It's a mammal of the cattle family that is widely used in the production of milk, but that's not important right now. That thing hurling at us is no meteor."

"Then it's a nuclear missile?"

"Worse. It's a gigantic, flaming building. They're using the towering inferno on us."

"They?" asked the co-pilot. "Who's they?"

"I don't know, but I have a hunch they're the same ones who sent the homing motorcycle after us. Hang on!"

The captain applied full brakes and let the bicycle make a turning screech to a halt as the Arizona countryside slowly ceased whizzing by. The building, sensing the bicycle's change in velocity, altered its angle to the ground to compensate. Even though the bicycle was stopped, the flaming building was still heading straight for them.

The piano player immediately began a new song, since several of the passengers had paid him not to sing his rendition of "Oh, we're gonna die.": "Oh, we'll all burn together when we burn; oh, we'll all turn together when we turn; oh, you don't have to screa-am when you see that ICBM, we'll all burn together when we burn...."

As the captain released the brakes in acquiescence, the thirty pins that had jammed each of the pedals were mechanically removed so that the bike could move again.

"Well," inquired the co-pilot, "What are we gonna do?"

"I'm going to push my strength to twenty and try a martial kick."

"Huh?"

"You're right, wrong universe. Okay, then, I'll take out my plus-five holy avenger and try to hit it. What's its armor class?"

"Take your RPGs and shove 'em, all right? We gotta do something about that flaming building!"

"Well, I can't think of anything." He picked up his radio and began to communicate on channel 15. "Houston control, this is ride one. We've got a problem."

Houston control was situated on the top of a large control tower on which the words, "No crashing allowed" were inscribed. About twenty radar sets were situated at various locations around the fluorescent-bulb-lit room, half of which were being used as washing machines, the other half of which were being used to play a 3-D video game.

"What the hell's going on around here?!?" asked the man in charge who had a voice like Burgess Meredith. He picked up the nearest microphone, and replied to The Captain's distress call. "Pilot?"

"Yeah, this is the pilot."

"What the hell's going on around there?!?"

"Well, if you must know, we're being attacked by a giant flaming building that's headed right for us."

"Why the hell wasn't I informed of these things?!?"

"Look, Houston control, we're about to get turned into a little pile of flesh and metal. Can you get us out of this or are we gonna have to live with being dead?"

Unfortunately, the captain had left the intercom system to the passenger's cabin on, and his last sentence had come through loud and clear. The piano player immediately began playing a nice, cheery dirge: "The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinouchle on your snout...." Needless to say, the passengers were quite panicked, despite the large, friendly letters that lit up on the lighting panels at this point.

"Hmmm ..." said central control at Houston, pondering. "Have you tried the flare gun?"

"Sorry, but I already used that up when I was trying to fend off a homing motorcycle."

"Why the hell does this have to happen?!? Okay, then, how about your asbestos gun?"

"My what?"

"Your asbestos gun! You know - wait. Don't tell me ..."

Both of them said simultaneously, "You don't have an asbestos gun because you didn't think you needed one."

"I thought so," the guy at Houston control continued. "Hmmm. A fire extinguisher wouldn't exactly be powerful enough, either. Okay, pilot, what you're gonna have to do is outrun the building. If you can get up enough speed you may be able to pass right under it before it can change course and intercept you. Then, it'll only strike down on the freeway behind you and destroy a couple dozen cars."

"Okay, we'll try it. Houston control, this is ride 1 over and out."

He switched the CB to the channel necessary to talk to the passengers (channel -6, which he didn't really need since all he had to do was flip a certain toggle switch which tas already turned on anyway), and began speaking. "Ladies and gentlemen, what we're going to have to do is -"

"We know!" interrupted the passengers unison. "We're going to have to outrun the flaming building!"

The pilot buried his face in his hands, and then continued: "Okay, so we all know what's been going on. Let's hit it!"

Thirty pairs of legs bore down with considerable strength on their respective pedals, bringing the bicycle to cruising speed almost twice as fast as they should've. "Okay," said the captain, "Give it everything you've got!"

The bicycle accelerated to a monumental 40.2 meters per second.

"Huh?" inquired the passengers.

"That's SI talk for 90 miles per hour," replied the captain. They were travelling the fastest that any manpowered vehicle had ever traveled on level ground.

The building immediately began changing course to compensate. The building was big, but it was by no means sluggish as the guidance system on board compensated instantly for the bicycles new velocity, coming in closer than ever.

"Damn!" exclaimed the pilot. "It's too close. If we had tried this a few minutes earlier, instead of chatting it over with Houston control, we might have made it. But now, it's coming too close at too steep an angle." He picked up the CB transmitter. "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm afraid we're done for. We didn't try this stunt early enough, so now we're all gonna be dead -"

"Look!" shouted the co-pilot. "Up in the sky!"

The captain put down his transmitter. "We've done that routine before."

"No, I mean it! Look!"

"All I see is a big, burning building. The windows are so close now that I can look inside and see lots of little burning people.... Hey, wait a minute. You're right!"

There was something moving around the building; a small, flying, humanoid something with a cape. Suddenly, the flying humanoid grabbed a hold of the building at one end and, with an effort too great to be that of an ordinary human, lifted the bottom end - the front end - of the building straight upward. Then, in a single, smooth motion, it threw the building high into the upper atmosphere where it finally burnt itself out and came to the ground in the form of harmless, disintegrating meteors.

By now the bicycle had settled down to it's 24.6 (that's SI talk for 55 mph) cruising speed. The humanoid came swooping down until it was flying parallel with the pilot. It was a he (the humanoid, not necessarily the pilot), and he was wearing a red suit with a black cape and an insignia which looked like a modernized airplane joystick. His hair was blond and curly.

"Who are you?" the pilot asked.

"Don't play dumb with me," he replied, and vanished into the sunset. Once more, the pilot thought this was very odd, especially since it wasn't even noon yet.


Goldfinger was quite displeased. He banged his gold finger down on the nearest thing, which happened to be one of the lesser personnel. The man would be out for quite some time.

"That's twice we've failed!" he bellowed. "He managed to fly out of the way of an explosive homing motorcycle, and then we just about had him with a flaming building when all-of-a-sudden some TV super-hero comes by and ruins our plans. What would you say to that, Tiger?"

"I'd say they have incredible luck."

"Who asked you?! Now then, they're already out of Arizona and are currently moving through New Mexico. They've already saved about five hundred dollars on gasoline costs! We'll be ruined if we can't stop them immendiately!"

Without warning, a loud buzzer began accompanying a flashing red light on the wall. This was not what Gold Finger had wanted.

"Rats! They've found us!" said Gold finger.

"So who cares if the rats have found us? A few mouse traps here and there, a little rat poison - they'll be gone before you knew they were here."

"No, no, you stupid carnivore! That warning buzzer means that the police are raiding this place!"

"But what about the rats?"

"There are no rats!"

"Well, I guess that means all the pesticide companies have been feeding us lies about an animal that doesn't exist. Sounds like something you'd do."

"Will you shut up! We've gotta evacuate as fast as possible. Come on!"

He led Tiger down a metal lined hallway at the end of which was a single button labelled "evacuate." He pushed the button, and whacked himself over the head as the airlock doors slammed shut and air began to get sucked out of the room. "Wrong type of evacuation!" he exclaimed.

A command from his remote control unit on his belt immediately reversed the process which was followed by the wall with the button on it flying open. Unfortunately, instead of a getaway car lying at the other end, there were five men dressed in cop outfits and holding cop rifles aimed with cop accuracy at Tiger's and Gold Finger's heads. Gold Finger was sweating like a pig, and Tiger was sweating like another particular striped mammal.

The moment was very tense, and yet nothing happened. For a few microseconds, nothing continued to happen, and then nothing remained continuing not happening for a couple of milliseconds. Then the police people slowly lowered their guns, as the chief, embarrassed, said, "Uh ... heh heh ... I think we have the wrong place." He picked up a walkie-talkie and said into it: "All units recalled. We've got the wrong place. We're supposed to raid the oil corporation across the street!"

"Sorry for the inconvenience," he said, and took off with the rest of his bunch in a randomly chosen direction. Gold Finger had never been so scared in his entire life.

"Now then," he began, "Where were we?"


"We checked out the possible leads for who threw that motorcycle and that building at you," said a voice that did not remind anyone of Burgess Meredith.

"And?"

"We've narrowed it down to five possibilities. The massage parlor on fourty-second street,"

"Too obvious," came the reply from the man occupying the pilot seat who happened to be the pilot.

"The U.S. Steel corporation,"

"Much too obvious."

"Kentucky Fried Chicken,"

"Much much too obvious."

"Steven Spielberg productions,"

"Much much much too obvious."

"And NASA."

"Even obviouser yet."

"Well, then, I guess that's it. We have no more leads."

"Not quite. When that building attacked us, I had a premonition."

"That's not very scientific."

"It was a premonition in the form of an 'Exxon' sign hanging on one side of the building."

"Hmmm. That might be too slim of a lead, but we'll give it a try, anyway. Over and out."

As the pilot contemplated their latest situation, his train of thought was broken by a stewardess. "Want a light?" she asked in that particularly polite voice designed to cause hatred, loathing, and even dislike in victims who were unprepared.

"No thank you," the pilot replied, "I just ate," and continued doing his pilot type things. "I wonder what they could hit us with next. We don't have a cabin, so I guess fooling with our air supply wouldn't do much of anything. They've tried Airport 79 and The Towering Inferno, so the only thing left to use is -"

"Earthquake!" yelled the suddenly aware co-pilot.

"Yeah, that's what I was thinking too! I wonder when they're going to try it."

"Right now!"

"Oh dear. Raise the shields, engage warp drive, arm front phasers, and cross your fingers."

"You dingle-brain! I told you that making allusions to another movie wouldn't help us! We don't have any of the systems you just mentioned, the quake hit 7.14159, and now the road in front of us has split up!"

"Just like in the movie. Okay, then, we'll do what they did. Flaps up!"

"And we have no flaps either! I tell you, this is it! We are all going to die!"

"If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a pregnant cumquat."

"Huh?"

"Just something I heard in the army. I thought it might help the allusion."

"I tell you, allusions don't work!"

"Oh yeah?" As the crack in the road approached, the driver removed a small black box from his belt and flipped it open. "Beam me up, Scotty!"

Scotty did just that by affixing a tractor beam to the thirty-one wheeled monstrosity. The beam worked at a minimum rating, but that was all that was required to have the bike leap up over the large cliffside that had developed in the road. The bicycle immediately resumed normal operation.

"Ya see?" said the driver, hopelessly content.


"Hrrragnagggruntttt!" yelled the enraged and discolored Gold Finger. The new color of his skin seemed not to fit the finger of gold he posessed on his right hand (but then again, nothing really fit him anyway, no matter what mood he was in). His color was an offensive purple. "How? How?! HOW??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"I didn't know you were an indian."

"All right, that's it!" He took out a 747 magnum and proceeded to fill Tiger with approximately seven holes. The feline was quite dead.

Suddenly, all-of-a-sudden, and any other chiche you can think up, three chinese of small build wearing gis with black belts jumped down from the ceiling and yelled a loud "Kyi!"

"All right!" cheered Gold Finger, the purple rage gone from his face. "Combat time!"

Mission impossible music immediately began playing as Gold Finger began to lay into the three martial artists. He struck one of them across the jaw with his gold finger and sent him flying through a window. "Feeling no pane?" he rhetorically inquired.

He was immediately caught of his guard by an elephant-kick into his abdomen. His "oof!" confirmed his pain as he went falling to the floor. "What's the matter," said the one who'd kicked him, "Don't you have any guts?"

Twin beams of ruby-colored kinetic energy sprang from his eyes and splattered his attacker against a far wall, frying him in the process. The blood would discolor the wood grain formica, but he'd worry about that later. "They don't call me Eye Beam Man for nothing!" he chuckled.

"Who doesn't call you eye beam man for nothing?" one of the chinese inquired.

"Never mind," he replied, "That isn't important right now," and did a flying roundhouse kick into the one who'd asked.

Before anyone could make another move, though, the door to his office was knocked down and five men with automatic cop rifles entered. "Nobody move! Don't you move either, Gold Finger! We've already secured the rest of this place, so even if you manage to escape us you'll eventually be captured by someone else.

"We know what you've been doing to the bicycle, and it's no good!"

"Oh yes it is! I thought I had some really good plans myself, but that driver has too many connections!"

"Never mind that, we're taking you in for two counts of murder, three of attempted mass murder, employing tigers without a license, parking in front of a fire hydrant, and general meanness. Put the cuffs on him."

They put the cuffs on him.

"Well, you may have stopped me, but I'm not down yet. I still have one last trick up my sleeve. An ace in the hole. My last resort."

"... and excessive overuse of cliches! Take him away!"

"Just you wait," he screamed as he was being hauled off the soundstage. "I'll have the last laugh! I'm not licked yet! You'll hear from my lawyers! That bicycle is dead meat!"

"Hmmm," said the man giving orders. "I have a funny feeling about this. Nah, must be my funny bone or something."


The bicycle was in the home stretch. It had gone the rest of its journey rather smoothly and, except for a twenty-five car pile up, without incident. They were in Florida, and were nearing Miami each second. As everyone aboard thought, they had made it.

The pilot glanced down at his instrument panel. They were still maintaining the 24.6 meter per second clip despite the days of journeying they had just undergone. The headlight was operating normally, and the excess electricity generated was illuminating the instrument panel with a warm, soft glow. This would be the last night of their trip. By noon the next day, they will have arrived in Miami.

If the next day ever came.

As the pilot routinely checked the fuel supply (the hors de oeuvers), his body suddenly seized up and he became erect in his seat. His eyes were bugged out, his skin pale.

"What is it?" inquired the co-driver anxiously.

"I feel a great disturbance in the force."

"Oh, come on, not another one of your allusions!"

"It's not an illusion, it's real! I can feel it!" He looked back over his shoulder at the single-file row of pedalling passengers. Sure enough, one of them had gotten up and was switching on a light saber. He was clad from head to toe in black robes, and on his chest was an Exxon badge.

"I knew it!" the driver said. "There's my disturbance, and also Gold Finger's ace in the sleeve. I'm going back there."

He rose from his seat and pushed a button on the panel which caused Otto the autopilot to inflate and take control. Half calmed, half angered, he stormed down the left-hand aisle, stomping his feet down in the three-centimeter-thick plush carpeting as he strode.

"You fool," said the robed figure in a voice two octaves too low as the driver arrived. "You can't possibly hope to defeat me!"

The pilot took a flashlight-shaped object off his belt and switched it on. It was a blue light saber.

"Maybe not," he said, "But I just love light saber duels."

The light sabers came together. Clang, clash. Another swing - bvvvvvvv; another parry - krak.

"Only a master of evil, Darth. If you strike me down I shall become more powerful than you can ever imagine."

Bvvvvv. Clang.

"What's that mean?"

Clash-krak.

"I don't know, but it always seems to liven up a light saber fight."

Vorp. sp-nou. Mush. (Mush?)

"Besides, there has to be some conversation in these things and I just couldn't think of anything really important to say."

Bvvvvvvorp. clash, clash, clash.

"Say," asked the hooded figure. Bvvvclang. "Why do we always stop fighting whenever we say something?"

"Union rules."

Bvvvvv. This time, the driver was caught unprepared, and the blow connected with his flashlight, sending his light saber flying out of his hand and in through the front windshield of a car. Oh well, another fourteen car pile up wouldn't hurt anything.

"Hah! I have disarmed you! My power with the dark side of the force is greater than your power with the bright side of it! I have you now." He telegraphed his blow so that when he made it, it would skewer the pilot.

"Hey, look!" the driver shouted. "Up in the sky!"

"Huh?"

'How can anyone be that dumb,' he thought, shaking his head. With one swift, strong kick, he sent the black monolith of a human flying off the bicycle and onto the concrete, which was not very comfortable at 24.6 meters per second. The villain stood up, cursed at him while shaking his fist, and was hit from behind by a 1985 Buick semi.

"And he thinks he has the force stronger than me. Hah! I just applied a force to him that sent him flying. He never did that." The pilot, cheered on by the passengers and disgusted with how easily he won that battle, stalked back off to his seat at the front of the bicycle.


The bicycle came roaring up the I-10 off ramp amidst the honking of enthusiastic car horns and the chering of the people who were honking the enthusiastic car horns. Someone in town was having a ticker tape parade, and only the driver of the bicycle wasn't quite sure who it was.

At last, as the great blue marvel approached the stoplight, the driver applied light brakes for the first time in several days. The thirty pedal pins once more jammed into place, simply stopping some pedals while others were in mid-stroke and became very confused at first. Slowly, inexorably, the fourty-three-and-a-half meter long creation coasted to a stop just before the familiar red light that all automobile drivers hate.

The light soon changed to green (actually, a different light came on; the light "turning green" is a very stupid expression), and the bicycle once again accelerated forward. An entire street had been roped off just for them, and the driver immediately turned down it. There were a whole bunch of police motorcycles, reporters, and cheering idiots present.

"Independent bike lines ride 1 on approach, will be arriving at gate one," said an insanely stupid voice. More cheering, more applause.

At last, the monstrosity came to a halt for the last time on its maiden voyage. The driver shifted it from drive into park, and put down the kickstand. "Everyone ready?" he announced at an elevated decibel level. "One, two ..."

"Three!" he shouted. Nothing happened. "Four?" Everyone got off the bicycle in two quick successive steps, except the driver, who was obviously the brunt of some practical joke somebody thought up. He got off last.

Cheer. Clap, clap, clap. Yaay.

"Captain," said president Johnathan Wayne, shaking his hand, "My commendations to you and your excellent performance under pressure. You realize, of course, that this voyage will open up more new vistas than you can shake a stick at."

"Yep."

"Good. Then you won't mind knowing that the bicycle just got ripped off."

"What?!"

"You forgot to lock the bike up, and some hoodlum made off with it. I gotta be moseyin' along now; see ya!" He trudged off into the sunset on bow legs, which was strange since, again, it was only noon.

The driver studied him momentarily, and then simply said, "Yep. He's definitely the best invention since the trash compactor."


Coming Next Eon:

BICYCLE II
the sequel ...




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