Deep in the moist shadows of its more famous cousin, the anti-joke, is my cherished anti-story, “The Hunt for the Infamous Roy G. Biv”, now edited for modern-day consumption.
The origin of this “art” is that I wrote the first version of this in reaction to finding out from an editor that a previous story didn’t have enough “story” in it. That original story had been meant as a gentle and subtle character piece, in a somewhat untapped setting; it had a story, but it was the kind of story that curled up beside you and rubbed your shoulders until you quietly agreed to attend its brother’s second wedding on the outskirts of a Canadian military base.
And to this day, I still like that story. But somehow not every editor on Planet Earth agreed with me.
So I wrote “The Biv”, and then I thought the result was interesting enough for other people to read. But then I wanted to go further, and make it weirder, and make it meta, and make it so very wrong, but hopefully still a little right.
And now, here it is. In completed and soon-to-be-forgotten format, the illustrious chronicles…
The Hunt for the Infamous Roy G. Biv
by Regan “I-Choose-To-Frustrate-My-Wellwishers” Wolfrom
I. Our Fearsome Villain
“You’ll never get away with this,” the prime minister of Norway said to the infamous Roy G. Biv, fighting against two heavyset guards as they dragged him towards the glass and lycra prisoner chute.
The notorious Roy G. Biv was delighted — and only marginally aroused — by the plucky yet balding statesman’s efforts.
“I already have, dear sir… I already have.”
The opprobrius Roy G. Biv tried his best diabolical laugh, but the combination of his lack of practice and his morning’s poorly misconstrued breakfast burrito resulted in a high-pitched donkey bray.
The prime minister of Norway looked at him with what could be viewed as a mocking smirk, so the contemptible Roy G. Biv had no choice but to kick his prisoner in the crotch, if only to cement his status as an evildoer.
He had a wretched reputation for wretchedness to maintain. Albeit wretchedly.
Thirty seconds later, the prime minister of Norway was gone, shoved into the surprisingly slimming chute like a pair of dirty corduroy pants, his nordic and echoing screams of terror slowly fading from earshot.
The loathsome Roy G. Biv particularly enjoyed that part.
The chute had seemed like an extravagant luxury at first, but it had more than paid for itself by consistently bringing a smile to the pock-marked face of criminal mastermind, universal supervillain, and bad-boy sex symbol… Roy G. Biv.
The control panel lit up in shades of gold, green and black, as the alert-skank sounded to the tune of “Simmer Down” by the Wailers. As the skank skanked, the super-computer-generated voice of James Earl Jones, in a lively and quaintly unrealistic Jamaican accent, aptly described the cargo that was about to be sent along the matter rainbow:
Fourteen tons of sheep manure
And after further analysis:
California Red variety, with a hint of neutered Doberman
Precious cargo, converted from matter to light using the latest Polywell technology and an abundance of cheap and clean Tokamak fusion energy (with a generous dollop of Farnsworth–Hirsch fusor), and shot by Livermore Laser from Earth to Mars, with one stop on the little unashamedly ex-Soviet satellite that held a clever backdoor for the decidedly insalubrious Roy G. Biv.
“Pass,” he said, fighting back the temptation to see just how earthy and red it was. But most of all, he considered himself to be a generous supervillain, a Rocket Robin Hood for the diamond age of the proto-singularity and all-you-can-eat sushi, someone who cared far too much for the common man to loathly lift lamb-cloacaed leavings from hard-pressed Martian colonists. Besides, he’d had a busy day so far, taking in twenty tons of flour, a pallet of Dr. Thunder Cola, and not least of all the indignant and uncoiffered Prime Minister of Norway… he wasn’t exactly sure what he’d do with one of those.
Not that it mattered too much… he had more than enough microwave pizzas and beverages for his many special guests.
II. Our Blatantly Single-Sided Sexual Tension
“So please understand the sensitive nature of this problem,” said the Chief of Rainbow Operations — Passenger Services, Dave “Rainbow” Armstrong, to the alluring visitor who sat on the other side of his imitation sharkskin desk.
“I get it,” the sexy — and breathlessly blond — bounty hunter replied. “You’ve britta’d things up big time, and you don’t want anyone to know.”
She called herself Shadow, but to Armstrong she looked more like a mousy but cute blonde, or possibly Gillian Jacobs herself, if he just imagined her as Gillian Jacobs, which was usually more than enough to get the job done. Shadow was certainly not the name he’d recall when it came time to remember their interaction during his forty-minute relaxation shower. If he threw in Allison Brie, he could probably shorten things down to twenty-five.
“Mr. Armstrong?” she said. She was staring at him. She seemed to be wondering why he hadn’t responded, or possibly she’d clued in on his vacant stare and the early warning signs of pre-shower drool.
“We particularly don’t want anyone in the administration to find out,” he said. “President Google is notorious for replacing whole departments with their own staff.” Armstrong was fed up with the methods of the most recent corporation to win the Presidency, but none of that had been his fault; he he’d voted for Victoria’s Secret. “He calls himself Roy G. Biv. And he’s infamous. He’s stolen around a hundred celebrities and statesmen, along with several people who probably aren’t well-known enough to fall into either category. But it’s not really for me to make any kind of A- or B-list determination –”
“Yes… I read all of that in your tweets… you know everyone can read those things, don’t you? What you haven’t mentioned is what you want me to do with him.”
“I assume you’ll find him, seduce him, make him fall in love with you… and then you can just transmit him forward through his hijack stream, to the receiving station on Mars. We have a nice interrogation facility there.”
“I know the place,” she said. “I’ve delivered a few members of the Blue Oyster Cult there for deprogramming.”
Terrifying images of far too much cowbell filled his head; Rainbow Armstrong had lost a sister that way.
Shadow was staring at him again. He toyed with the notion that she might find his crippling quirks appealing, somehow.
“So how do I find Mr. Biv?” she asked. “Have you tracked the stream from the point of interception?”
Armstrong smiled. “I’m going to level with you, Miss Shadow… I have no idea what you’re talking about. The guys who actually know how this matter-to-light laser thing works don’t have high enough security clearance to be here today. Hell, most of those guys come to work in pajama pants and watch clips of the Daily Show with John Oliver on their lunch breaks. All we know is that the cargo goes into the matter rainbow, bounces through the relay satellites as needed, and comes out at its destination. But… every once in a while the package that arrives isn’t quite right.”
“It looked like an energy leak at first, usually just a gigawatt or two, disappearing somewhere between Earth and Mars, but not like on the moon, or whatever. Usually a little bit of the payload is missing, but not enough to upset most people. And that’s not usually my problem… that’s for the hairy-hobbit-footed jackasses on the fifth floor. But when the cast of Friends were sent through on their way to do a reunion show at Newest New Delhi, the suspicious energy leak resulted in the complete loss of David Schwimmer.”
“Interesting,” Shadow said. She was chewing on a pen in the corner of her mouth, making it hard for Armstrong to concentrate.
But he had to concentrate. This would start cutting in on his shower time…
“And that was only the start,” he said. “Sometimes instead of skimming off the top of the bulk cargo, what started to happen with human shipments is what we think is a type of duplication… someone is copying the matter stream, then taking the person from the original package and sending us the shallow copy. With skimming of goods we often don’t notice the difference… but with duplication we notice pretty quickly.”
“The biological copies usually arrive either dead or completely insane or Australianized. The duplicated talk show hosts and reality stars are usually hard to spot aside from the occasional over-mention of drop bears and Hungry Jack’s, but most other people are pretty obvious. Last week the prime minister of Norway arrived on Mars, but could only communicate by clucking like a chicken. The duplicate did devise an ingenious Morse code of clucks, but that’s really not the best way to lead a country that’s so much more amenable to fermented trout.”
“And you don’t know where he’s keeping these stolen people?”
Armstrong heard himself sigh.
Did she think he was an idiot? Why was it that women were always underestimating him? Why would they meet him once for coffee then totally stonewall him on any follow-up dinner date? Why did even the homeliest of green-circle girls on OkCupid leave him in a lurch?
“No, no,” he said. “Of course we have a general idea… we believe he’s here, on Earth.” He thought for a moment. “Or the moon… but almost definitely not on Mars… well… he could be on Mars, but my gut says Earth.”
“So you don’t really know anything,” she said.
There was something decidedly alluring about the way she rolled her eyes.
III. Our Search Begins
Shadow decided to use her connections at Coca-Cola-Pfizer to track down the iniquitous Roy G. Biv. She had once spent three months with the top exec out there, laughing at his bad jokes about dead babies, eating at the wrong kind of pretentious restaurants, and going to ridiculously Picasso-free gallery openings. It wasn’t all bad, of course, as she did get plenty of incredibly unsatisfying sex with an overweight middle-aged man who had his own innovatively male version of “the starfish”.
Now it was time to make use of the groundwork and/or pipe that had been laid.
Her ex-lover — who enjoyed being known as the “Coke-head” — sent her the id of a sysadmin at his company, who quickly gave her full access to the Coca-Cola-Pfizer Database of Humankind™ for the measly price of a ten-second single boob flash via webcam, significantly less than her last trip through the Dulles Toll Road plaza, when she’d totally britta’d and forgotten to bring the full $3.25.
The database was the largest on Earth, outranking even President Google’s, listing every man, woman, and child, along with their favorite soft drink and, in the interest of completion, any venereal disease or sexual dysfunction they might have.
Naturally, there was no Roy Biv in the database (other than the famous adult star who was considered by most thinking persons as above reproach), so Shadow decided to use the next best thing to a name search: the cola consumption matrix.
By taking the sum of missing people multiplied by their time in captivity and subtracting any cola shipments that had also gone missing from the matter rainbow, she was able to deduce that their captor would need to purchase thirty-five hectoliters of cola per week to maintain the medically-recommended minimum level of cola-saturation in his prisoners. Even a madman like the abominably perverse Roy G. Biv would not dare to defy international law; those cola consumption figures would show her the way.
After two false-positives were summarily dismissed, one a data error and the second yet another attempt by Long Island separatists to use Fanta Strawberry as a nerve agent, Shadow found a place where the cola supply vastly exceeded expected consumption: the Warehouse Distict of Toledo, Ohio.
The once-renowned Oliver House in Toledo, a popular venue until it was purchased by the Blue Oyster Church of America and later condemned, had only one person listed as a resident, occupying a basement suite while the rest of the building was presumably empty. And this one person, a 124-year-old spinster named Eve McAdams, was responsible for purchasing slightly more cola than the entire population of Miles City, Montana. The other oddity of Ms. McAdam’s purchasing trend was that she was regularly ordering both Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola with Vanilla, a combination that had proven fatal to both rats and Unitarian Universalists in several controlled laboratory experiments.
It was clear to her that the unfathomable Roy G. Biv’s evil lair was in that building, and not on the moon or Uranus. She would need to infiltrate his operation, and she felt no need to tell Rainbow Armstrong or the other poopoo-crats of her plan. Shadow was a woman of impulse, often demonstrated by her blunt speech and her dizzyingly poor choices in body art.
And her impulsively impulsive impulse was to go it alone.
IV. Our Search Begins to Continue
Oliver House was in poor condition after years of apparent neglect; the once proud façade of the 175-year-old hotel was cracked and worn, its various venues chased out by the abysmally poor percussional choices of its previous owner.
Dressed in a tight t-shirt and ripped jeans, Shadow walked to the loading bays at the south side of the building and found a conveniently unlocked door. She was armed with three very-small-caliber semi-automatic pistols affixed clandestinely to various semi-automatic parts of her body, but even still she felt vulnerable. Perhaps, in part, by walking through that — previously described — conveniently unlocked door.
She’d opened the door to what appeared to be a storage area, filled with the expected cola shipments, along with various less important supplies including dried food and assorted medication variety packs.
Shadow’s plan was simple; she would casually walk through the building, as though she was expected to be there, until she found the detestable Roy G. Biv. It had worked countless times before, since men rarely felt threatened by young blonde women — who could almost be seen as Gillian Jacobs through squinting — dressed in t-shirts with deceivingly goofy slogans; today’s selection was white lettering on a pink background.
Loosey’s Cabana: home of the world famous pink taco
She walked past several workers, relatively attractive and well-built. Naturally, they repulsed her.
The men leered at her, one even said hello, but not a one made any attempt to stop her. Assuming that our bad guy’s receiving station would be similar in size to those of the standard facilities of the Dept. of Rainbow Operations — with or without the extended shower facilities — Shadow made her way to the largest room on the floor plan, once part of a brewpub. She passed by a series of locked doors, which she assumed were filled with the wretched prisoners of the darstardily-wretched Roy G. Biv.
She wondered what he planned to do with his victims, as the curtain had fallen on the villainous fad of non-consensual acapella.
The steel double-doors to the room were locked, so she assumed a corps-jutting posture and then knocked. The doors opened, and she was greeted by two men dressed in green jumpsuits and adorned with obviously fake moustaches.
“I’m here to see the big guy,” she said with an air of confidence. This was, indeed, something she had done a dozen times before.
The guards stood aside and gaped, and she walked in through the most open of the doors. It was a control room similar to the stations she had been to, in Washington and in Boston; the biggest difference was the décor, with tasteless green walls and a large yellow carpet in the middle of the floor.
There was a time in the life of Shadow, in her prehistory, her backstory, her days as Melinda Fainsbutter, the corporate mail clerk, when she would have dug the low-volume rocksteady beat emanating from the panel. Melinda Fainsbutter would have thought it was cool. Melinda Fainsbutter had kept a Bob Marley poster on her bedroom wall. Melinda Fainsbutter had always wanted to smoke pot, but had always been too timid to procure any.
But that Melinda Fainsbutter was dead and buried, her brown roots smothered in the blondest of Nice ‘n Easy hair dye. Shadow glowered at the panel, and the man standing beside it.
Standing beside the previously described control panel, in view of that previously accounted glowering, was an overweight man with a balding horseshoe of dirty-blonde hair.
He was dressed in black jeans and a black turtleneck, and Shadow was convinced that he could very well be the most unattractive man she had ever seen, some kind of hideous goat-man, possibly. It was not just his scarred face or his pear-shaped physique; he had an entire air of bad hygiene and a complete disregard for aesthetics of any kind.
Shadow — and possibly even the dead and buried Melinda Fainsbutter — was immediately turned on.
“You’re Biv?” she asked him as she walked towards him.
The man smiled at her. “Shadow the Bounty Hunter! I am a huge fan!”
He’d seen her reality show, apparently; her ratings had been growing since the last season, now that she no longer had to go head-to-head against A&E’s Zombie Chauffeur featuring Lindsay Lohan after rehab number fourteen.
“I’ve been watching you since that double-episode when you took down both Jon and Kate,” he said, waving his guards over. He turned to the tallest of his men, offset by the thickest of black and blocky glasses. “Put her in the interrogation chair.”
The two guards seized her by her arms and dragged her to a black leather recliner. They pushed her into the seat and bound her wrists to the armrest using built-in leather straps. A guard pulled on a handle to bring the footrest out, and then restrained her legs.
“I assume you were sent by order of the president?” Biv asked. He seemed cordial.
“Someone in the government,” she replied, unsure if she wanted to offend him with his relative unimportance to the US authorities. Obviously he could never be as high a target as the most famous of the bunch, the slippery Osama bin Laden or the ephebophilic Hamburgler.
At that moment, she heard the strains of a reggae song — not exactly the same as rocksteady — as the control panel lit up.
“Incoming cargo,” a Jamaican Darth Vader announced. “Former UFC fighter and current Ultimate Makeover Champion Matt Serra.”
“Pass,” Biv said. He looked over to Shadow. “No one’s as scary-pretty as you, my dear.”
“So tell me, Biv,” Shadow said, “what have you done with your victims?”
“Victims?” He laughed like a mule. “Hardly. They’re my willing guests. I feed them pizza and cola and let them stay up all night watching classic Dan Aykroyd movies… and as I’m a man of god, obviously not Coneheads. Do you think their everyday handlers and court-appointed supervisors would let them get away with that?”
“So you’re telling me that both the prime minister of Norway and Friends star David Schwimmer are willing guests?”
“The prime minister, yes… he loves the sundae bar with dirty Swedish lingonberries. But Schwimmer… well… that was a humanitarian mission. I think the people of both Earth and Mars have suffered through enough of that on-again off-again thing he does with Jennifer Aniston.”
“I agree with your goals,” Shadow said sincerely, “just not your methods.” She smiled at him. “Maybe we should talk about this some more… over dinner.” She shot him her best flirty look.
Loosey’s Cabana was open for business.
“Good idea, my dear,” said the flagitious Roy G. Biv. “That is, as long as you don’t need your pretty little hands to eat cold and slightly past-its-prime pizza.”
V. Our Sexy Heroine is Ja-making Him Crazy
The odious Roy G. Biv, or shady Clark Pauling-Smith, as his family once knew him, had finally met the woman of his dreams. To be honest, Shadow the Bounty Hunter was more the woman of his Tuesday night at 9pm/8pm Central must-see-TV ritual, but since Gillian Jacobs was no longer appearing on Thursday nights, Shadow was a more-than-acceptable consolation banquet. And now she was in his bed, her blond hair tousled — and her blond-haired nostrils wrinkled — as she snored.
He’d managed to seduce her over dinner, not just with his passion over watching the world burn, but with his timely puns about professional football and his clean and tidy limericks.
After twenty minutes he had decided to free her from her restraints… three minutes after that they shared their first kiss… and it was only five minutes more before he was the one strapped to the interrogation chair while the tough and sexy Shadow had her tough and sexy way with him.
To be honest, he was glad that his guards had been there, to keep her from trying to escape, but he was unsettled by the fact that the tall guy with those really thick glasses had spent much of the time staring at the shirtless and pear-shaped body of the decadently monstrous Roy G. Biv. He didn’t not relish the attention, but he felt as though there was a serious risk of a lost aura of professionalism, an inherent risk in most orgies with henchmen included.
So he’d sent the guards away, and after their act of love, he and Shadow had collapsed together onto the minimally rusty metal cot he kept in the control room, for just such an auspicious occasion.
The consistently, inherently infamous Roy G. Biv still knew how to charm the ladies.
“Are you awake, my love?” he asked her, as he watched her left leg kick and her eyes twitch. Either she was waking up or dreaming of chasing bail-jumping rabbits.
She moaned softly.
And he still could not believe his luck.
“Good morning, my beauty,” he said.
“Good morning, Mr. Biv,” she replied. She rolled over to him, pushing her body against his. “It’s time for you to face the cold fingers of justice.”
That was the point where he realized that he hadn’t really thought things through. She quickly subdued him, tying his hands behind his back with layer upon layer of scotch tape.
He imagined that he could break out of his restraints, but then she’d probably hurt him. And the alacric Roy G. Biv, that bold antihero of the modern age… he tended to bruise quite easily.
“So tell me something,” he said to her as she stared at the control panel with a look of confusion; she obviously didn’t get the whole Jamaican motif. But then again, he didn’t, either. “Why are you on their side, anyway?”
“I’m not on anyone’s side,” she said. “I’m just doing what I was hired to do. I’m putting an end to these kidnappings.”
She wasn’t going to listen to him.
She was going to send him off to the feds, where they would throw him in prison for life. And he knew from whispered pillowtalk with previous henchmen that prison wasn’t all candy and sunshine like they made it out to be on Oz, that there was also group therapy and vocational training and impromptu dance numbers from the long-running Broadway version of The Lion King… that it took away a man’s raw love of being evil, that it turned him into everyone else.
His situation was hopeless… why had he not stopped at stealing freight? Why did he have to start stealing people?
At first it had been for the challenge, and then it was to have his own celebrity bowling tournament, but then he kept going.
Maybe it was a good thing that she was going to send him in.
But still… he couldn’t hold back the tears, and his crying soon turned to full out sobbing. Not surprisingly, so not exactly to his surprised amazement, his pathetic blubbering also sounded very much like the bray of a donkey. An incredibly sad and pathetic donkey.
Shadow walked over to him and smiled.
“You’re ugly, and you’re a wimp,” she said.
She kissed him passionately.
He didn’t understand.
“And I’m putting an end to these kidnappings,” Shadow said.
The rotten, wrongdoerish Roy G. Biv shrugged.
Though he was now in possession of both Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Phil, he still didn’t know the first thing about women.
VI. Back to Our Previously Depicted Rainbow Connection
Dave “Rainbow” Armstrong could hardly believe his eyes.
He knew that Shadow the Bounty Hunter was good — that’s why she was on TV, n’est pas? -– but he hadn’t expected results so soon. He’d received the interrogator’s report along with his morning mail; it was printed out, as he demanded all his emails to be, stuffed between the latest issue of Mad Magazine and a letter from his Aunt Muriel, known predominately in his family as the sexy one.
The preliminary findings were intriguing: the infamously infamous subject Roy G. Biv, the criminal mastermind who had almost brought down a revolution in technology, was not nearly as impressive as expected. He was overweight, bald, and very unattractive.
And, surprisingly, he was certifiably insane.
There was something familiar to that, Armstrong thought.
But he wasn’t going to worry about it.
That criminal was sitting in a prison on Mars, and no one had disappeared in the stream of the matter rainbow for three days. There still was the occasional energy leak, but that wasn’t his responsibility; he didn’t get paid enough to solve problems for the fleshlight-porting nimrods on the fifth floor.
And besides all that, he had a perfume-scented letter to read from his Sexy Aunt Muriel.