This article is from the Misc Bicycles FAQs, by various authors.
From: fish@ihlpa.ATT.COM (Bob Fishell)
Copyright (c) 1989 by Robert Fishell
[In the year 1998, one man fights the tyrrany of the automobile]
I heard it before I saw it. An ancient Cadillac convertible was
closing very quickly from the rear. There was nothing ancient about its
electronics; at least 1000 watts of amplifier power screamed raunchy C&W
from god knows how many speakers. It sounded even worse for the doppler
shift; he was doing at least 100. That was stupid. He would try to
clip me in the side, because people in snazzy cars always try to clip me
in the side, and at that speed, he wouldn't be able to maneuver. I
feinted to the left when he closed to within a few hundred feet, then
cut right abruptly when he'd committed himself. He missed me by a good
four feet. As he roared past, I opened up on the tires with my MAC-10,
shredding them. The Caddy swerved crazily, rolled over twice, and slid
off the road upside down. Crazy as it seemed, that godawful music was
still blaring out from the wreckage. I fired another burst into the gas
tank, and the racket stopped as the wreck went up in a huge ball of
orange flame. The driver's Stetson hat lay in the road perhaps 50 feet
away, virtually undamaged -- unlike the driver, who had no further use
of it. I emptied the rest of the mag into it, chasing it down the
asphalt, cutting it to scraps. Sure as shootin', I was in Texas.
I'm Spike Bike. I hate cars. I don't care much for C&W, either.
I'd been to Texas before. The rednecks in these parts are as
stubborn as they are mean, and that's meaner than most. This time,
though, I had come for one man, and it wasn't that bozo in the Caddy.
I'd never met Earl Josiah "E. J." Ross, but I'd heard plenty about him.
He was a millionaire oilman who spent much of his time hunting since
Standard Oil bought him out. It was said he hunted rattlesnakes,
coyotes, and wild horses. These days, he also hunted bicyclists. My
Anticorporatist contacts in Lubbock said he'd run down at least 20 of
them, and those were only the confirmed kills, the ones there were
accident reports on. I'd come to see that there would be no more.
I arrived at the Yellow Rose Cantina at about 11:30 in the morning.
I counted three cars and two pickups in the dusty gravel parking lot,
plus a couple of cars out back. It was more than I'd expected, but not
too much of a problem. I leaned the bike up against a crumbling adobe
wall and went inside, bracing myself against the assault of darkness,
smoke, and Tex-Mex blaring from the jukebox. I paused near the door,
letting my eyes adjust to the dim light, and checked the place out.
Three men sat at the bar, and two more played pool in the adjoining
room. A tired-looking waitress set out ketchup bottles on the empty
tables. There was a big, middle-aged redneck behind the bar. I guessed
that there was some one in the kitchen, but I couldn't see much through
the tiny round windows set in the door. That would complicate things.
As my vision cleared, I noted that all eyes present were on me. I
wore black lycra shorts with a red stripe, and a red three-pocket. I
surmised that this was not suitable attire for this place, but then, I
wouldn't be staying long. I crossed to the bar.
"A glass of beer" I ordered.
"Ain't got no beer, boy." This brought chuckles from the men
seated at the bar.
"How about a sandwich, then?"
"Ain't got no food." More chuckles.
"What time does E. J. Ross show up?"
"You a friend of E. J.'s?" The chuckles gave way to raucous
"Didn't know the son of a bitch had any."
I casually strolled over to the jukebox, studied it for a moment,
and viciously yanked the plug out of the wall (Who the hell was in the
kitchen?). The twangy music abruptly stopped.
"Awright, get the fu** out of here, sissy-pants!" The bartender had
lost his grin.
"I said, what the fu** time does E. J. Ross show up?"
"'bout half past noon, but y'all ain't gonna be here that long."
He was out from behind the bar, lumbering towards me with an
unopened bottle of Lone Star beer in his hand. When he closed to within
a couple of feet, he brought it up in a wide arc.
"I thought you didn't have any beer" I commented, as I threw a
block to his wrist and brought my knee up into his groin. As he
flinched from the pain, I snap-kicked him in the face and he fell back.
He and the beer bottle he'd wielded hit the floor about the same time,
and ended up in approximately the same condition. The sleepy-eyed
waitress screamed, dropped her tray and retreated into a corner. The
three men from the bar advanced on me, one of them hurling a bar stool
in my direction. I ducked aside and blocked it away with my wrist.
Coming up from the floor, I fan-kicked the nearest of the three in the
jaw, spun around and threw a fist into the adams-apple of the next man.
Both collapsed. The third held back, circling, looking for an opening
(who was in the goddam kitchen?). The pool players had entered the room
by this time, brandishing their cue sticks menacingly. I thrust a side
kick at the third man from the bar and caught him off balance. He hit
his head on the corner of a table as he fell. A pool cue came around at
my head, and I ducked, grabbed the man's arm, and felt his elbow crack
as I twisted. The pool stick flew out of his hand to crash into the row
of bottles behind the bar. The other pool player realized his situation
and wisely dropped his stick, retreating with his hands out to the
Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a flood of light from the
kitchen door, saw a blur, and heard the sound of a shell being chambered
into a pump gun. I instinctively reached for the 9mm Walther I had
concealed under my jersey. In one motion, I chambered a round, took aim,
and fired. The mercury-filled slug tore through the cook's skull and he
fell back. The scattergun discharged as it hit the floor, and a
lighting fixture shattered overhead. I quickly swung around to cover the
people who were still standing, and backed towards the door.
"Tell E.J. Ross I'm looking for him. I'll be up the road a ways."
Two plumes of smoke intertwined in the air above the Yellow Rose
Cantina. Before leaving the parking lot, I'd fetched my .44 magnum from
the mountain bike's panniers and fired a round through the radiator of
each of the cars and trucks parked around the dump. Two of them caught
fire as the heavy slugs ripped through the engine compartments. I'd
taken care to cut the phone lines, but I didn't want any of the
survivors going for help. The ones I'd left breathing would recover.
The one I'd left with his brains splattered all over the kitchen door
wouldn't be needing help. Now, I watched the Cantina through powerful
binoculars from a mesa half a mile up the road.
My friends in Lubbock told me that every day, E. J. Ross stopped at
this dive for a bowl of Texas chili and a few beers on his way back from
his Lubbock office. The bartender had told me he'd arrive at half past
noon. Sure enough, at 12:30 sharp, a cloud of dust near the horizon
portended his arrival. I took some time to study his vehicle as it
pulled into the Yellow Rose's parking lot.
I'd heard about the E. J. Special, but I had to see it to believe
it. It had stared as an enormous Chevy pickup, but thousands of E. J.'s
dollars had transformed it into a rolling monument to bad taste. It was
mostly a glossy black, with elaborate desert scenes airbrushed onto the
side panels. The windows were tinted very dark. The grille was from a
Rolls-Royce, or a good imitation. Headers protruded from beneath the
running boards, to come together and elbow into stacks that rose three
feet above either side of the cab. The license plate read
All the brightwork was plated in 14K gold. The antlers of an authentic
Texas Longhorn steer embellished the hood. Under that hood, I knew, was
a finely-tuned, 454 cubic inch V8 that didn't bother with emission
E. J. himself was as audacious as his truck. He was big, at least
6'4", and 350 pounds if he was an ounce. He wore a white suit and
matching Stetson, with mirrored sunglasses, a string tie, a hand-tooled
Navaho belt with an enormous gold monogrammed buckle. His
correspondingly enormous belly hung over it. On his feet were ornate
Texas boots with gold caps on the toes. Gaudy, expensive rings
embellished each of his pudgy fingers. A huge stogie jutted out from his
I regarded him through the binoculars, wishing for a moment that I
was peering through the telescopic sights of a .30-06 Winchester; one
squeeze of the trigger and I'd make happy ladies of each of his ex-
wives. No, that would be too easy, too quick. I wanted him to know it
was coming, and who it was who brought it.
A small crowd had formed in the lot beside E. J.'s truck: the
bartender, the frumpy waitress, and a couple of the men I'd dealt with
earlier. I could not hear their conversation, but I surmised they
weren't talking about the weather. One of the men gestured up the road,
in my general direction, and I thought it was time I announced my
presence. I fired the magnum at the side of the building, not expecting
to hit anything in particular at this distance, but I was pleased when a
window shattered. The report echoed several times from the sides of the
nearby hills. All but E. J. hit the ground or scattered. He merely
looked up, trying to pinpoint my location. I hoped my red jersey made
it easy for him.
E. J. got into his truck and started up the road. I stuck the
magnum back in a pannier and hurried down the slope to meet him. I
waited behind a rock for the E. J. Special to round the bend, and took
off up the road, certain I'd been spotted. Timing would have to be
perfect. That monster could go from 0 to 60 in less than 9 seconds,
despite its size, and it had already killed at least 20. Surprisingly,
he gained on me very slowly. So that's how he did it; let them sweat a
little before the kill. I let him close to within 50 feet before I made
my first evasive move, cutting accross the center line and darting
through some rocks. I abruptly spun the back wheel around in a
controlled skid as E. J. brought the truck to a halt, and I took off in
the opposite direction. The truck did not turn around, but screeched
after me in reverse, much faster this time. As it closed to within a
few yards, I sliced off to the left and rode up the steep slope of the
embankment. At the summit, I paused to make certain E. J. knew what
direction I took.
The road wound through a canyon cut into the low mesas that dotted
the countryside. I had scouted it carefully earlier, but it was going
to be tight. I sprinted over the uneven, rocky surfaces towards the
bend in the road where I'd hoped to intercept him. I arrived barely in
time. planting myself in the middle of the road, I just had time to
draw the MAC-10 and cock the receiving bolt. The E. J. Special roared
around the curve, 200 feet up the road. I took aim for the driver's
side of the cab and looked for his face, found it, met his eyes. The
huge pickup bore down on me like a hellhound, but I waited for his
expression to change, his jaw to slacken, his eyes to widen in fear with
the shock of realization: that's right, you son of a bitch, this is a
machine gun, and you're going to die! He got an arm half-raised before
his face and cut the wheel sharply to the left as I opened fire. I held
the trigger and fanned the barrel in a narrow arc, exhausting the full
magazine. The windshield disintegrated and both the side mirrors
shattered before the truck ran aground against the embankment and turned
over on its side.
Five miles down the road, I could clearly see the column of smoke
rising from the remains of the E. J. Special. A well-placed satchel
charge had taken care of it, the road, and part of the adjoining
hillside. E. J. Ross was no more; 20 lost souls were avenged, and Texas
was just a little safer for bikes now. Perhaps E. J. had been the
worst of the men I'd faced, perhaps not. At least I'd known his name,
unlike most of them. And I'd had time to hate him. The satisfaction
was fleeting. E. J. and his ilk had always been there, murderous
intentions just below the surface, hatred and intolerance held barely
in check. The real evil was the system that allowed the E. J.s to
emerge, and I and all my guns, grenades, and bombs had no more effect on
that than spitting on a forest fire.
All that would change some day. I had to believe it would. I'd
killed two men today, and I'd seen their eyes. You don't forget the
eyes. You feel them watching you when you wake up shivering, pillow
soaking wet, with the sound of your own hearbeat shattering the night.