LNH: Beige Countdown #5: 'The Bicycle in the River'

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer at earthlink.net
Sat Feb 2 16:40:54 PST 2008

[Note for Readers:  Read Beige Countdown #6 before you read this.]

[Cover: Hex Luthor stands on a bridge and watches a bicycle slowly sink 
into the river below him.]

                             [B  E  I  G  E]
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                [C  O  U  N  T   #  5    D  O  W  N  !]

By Arthur Spitzer




<<I did it!  It was me.  But it wasn't supposed to be wReamicus Maximus 
in that hotel room.  No.  Hex Luthor was supposed to be there!  It was a 
mistake!  And so my cloned version of the Ultimate Ninja killed the 
wrong person.  And then I lost control over him.  But that doesn't 
matter.  No.  What matters is Hex Luthor!  Yes!  President Hexidecimal 
Luthor!  He's the one responsible for everything!  He's trying to take 
over the world!  Take over our minds!  Take over our precious bodily 
fluids!!  Yes!!  And that's why he must die!!  Yes!!!!  Hex Luthor must 
die!!  People!  You have to believe me about this!!  We must all rise up 

"And that was video footage of LNHr's Bicycle Repair Lad's crazed insane 
Anti-Ame.racc.an confession about the assassination of the religious 
figure wReamicus Maximus found on the anarchist internet website 
MyToobFace.  Later when our reporters and the police and FBI caught up 
with Mr. Bicycle Repair Lad to arrest him, he denied ever making such a 
tape and attempted to blame President Hex Luthor for creating the tape 
and trying to frame him.  He also added this insane story about how 
President Hex Luthor wasn't really president and had stolen the election 
by pressing something called the Cosmic Reset Button." [See Limp 
Asparagus Lad #45 -- Footnote Girl]

"A spokesperson for the President has told us that Bicycle Repair Lad is 
now safely in custody in a secret facility where Ame.racc.a's greatest 
enemies are held because he might have ties to a terrorist organization 
and they need to question him."

"In further news, the President met with the LNH leader, Ultimate Ninja, 
today for a joint conference and photo-op about how the two can help 
keep Ame.racc.a safe from those that would hurt it."

"Issues #10 through 8 of Beige Countdown are still missing.  If you 
should happen to see them please notify authorities.  The rest of the 
issues of Beige Countdown are deeply worried."

"And lastly, scientists warn that if the Beige Clock Tower that 
mysteriously appeared in the city of Net.ropolis back in July keeps 
growing at the rate it is it will be in danger of hitting the 
Inter.net.ional Space Station as early as March 2008."

"And that's the news."



                       'The Bicycle in the River'


In a secret place without windows.

The door to the room opened and in walked President Hex Luthor 
accompanied by a couple of secret service people.  In the room was a man 
strapped to a bed.  The man had unkempt hair, a scraggly beard, and very 
blood shot eyes.  Up in the corner of the room was a blaring TV.  Hex 
Luthor dismissed the two secret service persons and shut the door to the 
room.  He turned his head towards the TV and smiled.

"Ah, that's my 2001 Inauguration Speech, isn't it?  Wow.  I looked 
really young back then.  Those were the days, right?  This must be the 
Hex Luthor Speech Channel, eh?  24 hours of non-stop Hex Luthor oration 
action.  I don't think I get that channel.  I envy you.  Lying around in 
bed all day and watching TV.  Ah!  You're living the American dream.  Do 
you know that? But you don't look like you're enjoying it, do you?  Want 
me to change the channel?  Now, what do you like?  Bicycles, right? 
Yes.  Bicycles.  And British Comedy?  You love that don't you?"  Hex 
Luthor grabbed a remote and started to flip through it.  "Let's see 
here.  The Hex Luthor Golf Channel.  Nope.  The Hex Luthor Interview 
Channel.  The Hex Luthor Pet Channel.  The Hex Luthor Puppet Theater 
Channel.  The Hex Luthor Fan Club Channel.  The Hex Luthor Beatnik 
Poetry Channel.  Well.  It doesn't look like we get any Bicycle or 
British Comedy Channels.  Nope.  What a pity."  Hex Luthor muted the 
TV's sound.

"What do you want, Luthor?" growled the man strapped to the bed.

"And he speaks.  Why did I come here?  To see my greatest arch-enemy for 
one last time.  And to tell him, I won.  And then to leave him to rot 
forever in his failure to stop me."  Hex Luthor chuckled to himself. 
"Greatest Arch-Enemy.  That's funny in a sad way.  A person like me 
should have had someone like the Ultimate Ninja or Kid Kirby for their 
greatest nemesis, not some idiot who repairs bicycles with a phony 
British accent.  But I guess it doesn't matter.  I beat them all in the 
end.  And now the LNH is mine.  Body and Soul.  Yes.  And you, Bicycle 
Repair Lad, failed to stop this.  And it's only a matter of time before 
I have the entire world at my fingertips."

Hex Luthor grabbed a chair and sat down.  "And do you know what I'm 
going to do when I have absolute control of everything?  Come on, take a 

"You're going to grow one of those Hitler mustaches?"

"No.  I'm going to outlaw the bicycle.  Yes!  I'm going to have every 
bicycle in the world burned in a giant bonfire.  Every single one of 
them!  I'll even outlaw the word bicycle.  And there will come a time 
when no one even remembers what a bicycle is.  It won't even be in the 
history books.  No.  It will be gone.  Gone forever!  What do you think 
about that Bicycle Repair Lad?  How does that make you feel?"

A smile started to surface on Bicycle Repair Lad's face.  "You remind me 
of that fable, Hex.  Didn't your Mum ever tell you the one about the 
'Dog and the Bone' when you were an itsy knee-biter?"

"'The Dog and the Bone'?  What are you blithering about?"

"It's an old story.  I think one of Aesop's.  It's about this dog who 
has a bone and walks over this bridge and looks down and sees another 
dog with a bone."

"Oh yes.  I know what you're talking about.  And the dog jumps into the 
river and loses his bone."  Hex gave a yawn.  "And your point is?"

"You know, a couple years ago I was almost worried that you were going 
to win.  Everything you were doing was so clever and smart.  You were 
using lawyers and business deals to get all the power you needed to 
subvert this country and the world.  I was going crazy.  No one would 
believe me about you.  They didn't see you as a threat.  You were too 
low key for the LNH to bother with.  I didn't think you were ever going 
to make a mistake.  But I was wrong.  You have.  And it's a big one."

"And that is?"

Bicycle Repair Lad let out a laugh.  "You're going blind, Hex.  Can't 
you see what's happening?  No you can't.  He's coming back, Hex."

"Who?  Who's coming back?"

"The Old Hex Luthor.  He's clawing his way back into your mind.  He's 
growing bored with your meetings with lobbyists and foreign leaders and 
so he's starting to affect your judgment.  He's putting loony ideas into 
your noggin.  Like taking over the LNH.  Like ruling the world.  He 
wants to go back.  Back to the days of death traps and crazy bicycle 
eating robots.  And so he's slowly sabotaging every thing you've built."

"You don't know what you're talking about."

"I don't?  Then why are you here?  Should the leader of the 'Free World' 
be chatting with some idiot bicycle repairing superhero?  No.  That's 
not something that the 'New and improved' Hex Luthor would be doing. 
Nope.  But the 'Old' Hex Luthor -- he would definitely be doing that 
because I'm what gave his pitiful life meaning.  His hatred of me was 
the thing that kept him going.  He couldn't kill me of course because in 
killing me he'd be destroying the only thing that gave him a reason to 
exist.  I was his Holy Grail.  I was his kryptonite.  I was his cage. 
The cage he could never escape from."

A frown took over Hex Luthor's face.  "He's dead.  The old Hex Luthor -- 
is dead."

"You're in the river, Hex.  The bone's slipping out of your mouth.  You 
could have won, but you wanted too much.  Just too much.  And now it's 
all over.  It's only a matter of time before I get out of this cage and 
put you into one."

"Your phony British accent is slipping."

"It will come back.  In time.  Just as I will.  And the LNH will. 
You're in the river."

"I'm not listening to anymore of this insane nonsense.  Goodbye."  Hex 
Luthor grabbed the remote and cranked up the TV's volume till it was at 
its maximum volume.  Beatnik Poetry recited by Hex Luthor flooded the room.

Bicycle Repair Lad started to shout, "You're in the river!" over and 
over again.  Hex Luthor quickly got out of the room and slammed the door.

"A gun!  Give me a gun!" Hex Luthor said to one of his secret service men.

"Umm, sir -- I'm not sure..." the secret service man started to say with 
hesitation in his voice.

"I am the Goddamn President of the Loonited States.  I gave you an 
order!  Give me your gun!"  The secret service sheepishly handed him the 
SIG Sauer P229 pistol he had in his coat.  Hex Luthor grabbed the gun 
and froze.

He'd walk in there.  He'd take the gun and put it against Bicycle Repair 
Lad's head and blow his brains away.  Yes.  Blow his brains away.  The 
old Hex Luthor would never do something like that.  No.  It would 
finally be over.  All these years.  Over.  He could move on with his 
life.  The Old Hex Luthor would finally be dead.  All his stupid plans 
that never worked.  His stupid death traps.  He should just walk in the 
room and do it.  Blow his brains away.  It would be easy to cover up. 
Easy.  Hex Luthor's hands started to tremble.

No.  What was he thinking?  This was too risky.  No.  Bicycle Repair Lad 
didn't matter.  He didn't matter.  It was stupid to think about him. 
His death wouldn't matter.  Let him rot away in this prison.  Yes.  Rot 
away and away.  He wasn't a threat even when he was walking free.  No. 
These were just mind games.  Just messing with his mind.  Need to just 
stop thinking about him.  No more thinking.  He needed to get away from 
this place.  Get out of here.  Never come back.  Never come back.

Hex Luthor handed the gun back to the secret service agent.  "Thank you. 
  It's a very nice gun.  Don't think I'll need it though.  I guess we 
should be going, don't you think?  Lots of work to do."

"Yes, sir."

Hex Luthor glanced back at the cell door.  He doesn't matter anymore.  I 
have won.  Yes.  I am not in the river.

Hex Luthor adjusted his red tie.

I am not in the river.

Hex Luthor and his secret service agents began walking away from cell 
door and towards the outside exit.  Walking away from the cell that 
contained Bicycle Repair Lad.  Walking away.  Away from him.  Away from him.

I am not in the river!




Bicycle Repair Lad - Chris Hare
Hexidecimal Luthor - Chris Hare and Saxon Brenton
Footnote Girl - Saxon Brenton

Arthur's Notes:

This was a short one...

I don't think I got Bicycle Repair Lad quite right...
I didn't really want him to sound like some Monty Python character for 
my stories purpose... tried to make him into more of a Patrick McGoohan 
type character because I don't think he'd be very cheery strapped to a 
bed all day forced to watch Hex Luthor speeches... but I don't know...

Arthur "A World without Bicycles" Spitzer

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