Malcom BMX: The Unbeatable Oppressor

[[image:mbmxfront_copy1.jpg::left:1]]A semi-underground hideout is expected to be drafty. One would think that being partially underground would make a place better insulated. This might be true for many places, but not so for hideouts.•••

Published March 22nd, 2006 by C.I.C.L.E.
Contributed by Brady Russell

A semi-underground hideout is expected to be drafty. One would think that being partially underground would make a place better insulated. This might be true for many places, but not so for hideouts. Either it’s because hideouts are typically made in the less desirable buildings of a city or it's something cosmic about hideouts themselves. The gods reckon that if you're going to set yourselves apart to be revolutionary ascetics, then you ought to be cold in winter.

[[image:bike.amb2_copy1.jpg::right:1]]It might be why Russians have had more paradigmatic revolutions, on balance, than most other parts of the world. No one knows the brutality of a winter like a Russian. And a drafty hideout normally doesn't mean much to Malcolm BMX either. He's lived in a lot of hideouts in a lot of parts of the country. He’s lived in hideouts in every part of Washington D.C. At one point, before the bad business in Oklahoma City, he managed to hideout for a week inside the Old Federal Office Building. Malcolm BMX is nothing if not stoic.

Except just now. Except this week. Except when he has the flu.

10:10 AM – Rabbitboy knocked on his door. "Uh, Malcolm? You said you wanted me to try and wake you?"

"The air, the air," Malcolm said. "You kill me when you move the air."

Rabbitboy shut the door, which wasn't much more than cardboard on hinges anyway. He hears a new coughing fit hit inside.

11:43 AM – Malcolm BMX got up and walked out into the main room in his pajama pants, t-shirt, long underwear and sweatshirt, wool socks over his hands and feet, and walked into the bathroom without looking at the six friends working throughout the small space, packing everything up.

Guttural sounds emerge from the toilet. Describable sounds, but not desirably describable.

1 PM – Rabbitboy brings Malcolm BMX chicken soup and a bucket. Use of the first rapidly follows the second. Rabbitboy removes both. As the door shuts, Malcolm BMX says, "The air…" with a rasp and shoves a pillow over his face to cushion an oncoming coughing fit. It feels like someone is shoving a corncob up and down his throat.

Rabbitboy returns to his work on the old hideout. The phone rings. He answers it before the first ring finishes so that the harsh sound doesn’t jolt Malcolm. It's the owner of their next temporary hideout. Rabbitboy calls to ask if he minds if they use space heaters for a little bit, and if the fellow has any extra he could spare.

3:14 PM – Goliath loses the coin toss to clean the bathroom before they move out. He's interrupted by Malcolm who takes some time in his usage before returning to his bed. He mutters a bleary eyed apology before returning to his room and making small sounds as if someone had stabbed him some time ago and he'd reached the end.

Goliath whispers to Rabbitboy, "Look, I got an idea to get some traction out of the sick bay back there. Call up Wondersteena and Getaway. Tell the girls to bring their cameras over here tomorrow and we'll make this an event for the website." Rabbitboy nodded and went outside.

Goliath looked back at the patient's room, glanced over at the dwindling Gatorade supply and said, "I'm just going to have to clean it in there again tomorrow…" Then, he set about unloading one of the big flatbed bike-trailers they were moving their stuff with in the morning.

Rabbitboy came back in and whispered, "They say they think they can get Thorny-B in to do sound, too." Goliath gave his compadre a thumbs-up.

10:45 AM, The Next Day – Goliath had a small crowd gathered outside the cargo gate that led out of their old hideout. "Everybody gotta box strapped to their ride? We gotta lot of bungee cords." Murmured affirmations followed. Goliath said 'all right' and went inside. A few minutes later he came back out, on his bike with a trailer hitched behind it. They'd rigged old-fashioned red ambulance lights to the front of the bike and the back of the trailer (no siren, though – that might have killed him). Goliath stood up on his seat to pull the load up out of the basement ramp, though for Goliath it really took no great effort.

Atop the trailer rested Malcolm BMX's bed, with the revolutionary bicyclist strapped down under layers of blankets, sheets and comforters. His trademark blonde dreadlocks had been partially obscured by a large red hot water bottle that they'd picked up for the occasion (though BMX really took to the prop quickly). The top blanket had a big red ambulance cross painted on it. They even had a plastic thermometer in his mouth.

Fans and supporters held up signs that said, "Get well soon, Malcolm BMX" and "Warm Travels to your new Home!" Those without signs applauded- with two fingers of each hand, only, as Goliath had instructed them at the outset. Rabbitboy ceremoniously gave the keys back to their old host, who kept his back to the cameras but enjoyed the attention nonetheless.

Wondersteena moved around the crowd and Goliath and Malcolm, clicking photographs. Getaway followed the ambulance bike closely while her pal Thorny-B monitored the sound from the wire they had on Malcolm and the boom she was holding up over the crowd. They had done a lot of internal shooting and interviews with some of the leading members of the revolutionary cooperative. They'd sort of interviewed Malcolm, but he mainly gave them a thumbs up and some groans.

Malcolm's girlfriend, Blinky, walked the trailer out to the street, patting his arm under the blanket whispering, "One more revolutionary act, honey. One more. You'll get through it." Malcolm groaned. A parade of cyclists with small parcels strapped to their bike racks and into their baskets surrounded the bike ambulance and took the cooperative to its new HQ.

Noon – They had Malcolm's bed settled in his new spot and in his newly warmed room. Blinky had just finished taking his temperature (no surprise that it hadn't gotten any better with the move outside). Everyone was about to back out, leave him alone and start putting together their new digs, but Malcolm BMX wanted to say something. He pointed to a few different spots on his chest and said, "These are the real oppressors we must defeat." His eyes were closed and his face was off to one side. Then he started coughing.

Brady Russell works in politics. He has been a national organizer, a local organizer, a campus organizer and is currently an Organizer with the Philadelphia Unemployment Project. He started writing in elementary school and never stopped. In fact, he remembers his second grade teacher scolding his class for not trying any of the writing exercises she had put out for them, which she finished by saying, "except for Brady and he's done all of them."

Sometime in high school he decided he would not pursue studies in writing and just try to do it himself. Brady had a few opinion pieces published in some small magazines around the country, but so far he's largely been writing in a closet and keeping his work there.