BOOM. The earth shakes and in the distance, a blaze of flames and column of black smoke. BOOM, BOOM, two missiles launched by a US jet streak toward unseen ground targets and explode.
Cut inside the fighter jet, rear cockpit, full combat gear, laughing his ass off, it’s seven time Tour de France champ and cancer-killer Lance Armstrong.
BOOM. Another rocket hits an abandoned soviet-era convoy truck. It explodes in a fireball, Armstrong screaming like the Texas Longhorns just beat Penn State in overtime.
Where the hell are we? Afghanistan, Bagram airforce base, home of the 455th air combat unit. Stated mission: ‘Fighting Terror and Building Peace’.
War — has it really come to this? That’s what hard-core Lance & Landis fans were asking. Was it full metal jacket time? Was this a Hurt Locker headed the mad Mennonite’s way? Was the terror not the Taliban but instead a certain tattle tale former Discovery rider? It sure has looked that way judging from all the explosions.
The man behind Livestrong never looked this strong before — or this heavily armed. The show unfolded with a series of increasingly powerful and shocking events. Armstrong and his top people testing automatic weapons with the technical assistance of US Rangers. The Boss pouring over topo maps with military planners — did anyone fail to notice that map wasn’t Afghanistan but Southern California — home of Landis?
And why was comedian pal Robin Williams involved and dressed in full combat fatigues? He was too old to be a mercenary and yet there he was, in the thick of the action and no jokes for anyone. Was rock star and Armstrong buddy Bono involved in any way? Let’s not forget that U2’s first gold album was entitled War. It was time to pick sides and draw a line in the sand.
And finally, why was US admiral Mike Mullen in private conversations with the Boss? The fool’s answer was a USO entertain-the-troops story but who’s really buying that when Federal Agent Jeff Novitzky is flying around the world in an attempt to bring down the king.
The brilliant Lance & Landis show had just upped the stakes for the hundredth time and all the pieces suddenly fell into place. What started as an ugly pissing match between two hard-headed men had escalated until there was no other solution but armed conflict. No deals, no compromise, no UN resolution.
We should have seen this coming but the writers on the show kept us guessing and ducking for cover. The stage had been carefully set for months and once again kudos to the Lance & Landis writers who trump Mad Men and the Sopranos for dramatic story telling.
The warning signs we overlooked on the way to battle: Lance spin-master Mark Fabiani slowly running out of gas unable to turn the tide of public opinion. The Fabiani character is a fascinating creation who quickly spun out of orbit, lost in his own fabrications.
The scene in the hotel bathroom where Fabiani stands in front of the mirror holding a scotch rocks and recounting his old Clinton Whitewater spins was genius, a master of disaster descending into his own personal madness.
Then there was Fed pit bull Jeff Novitzky amping up his investigation and flying to Europe to interview the French, Italian and Belgian anti-doping authorities and bring home some old Armstrong urine samples as Christmas gifts.
Was there no stopping this federal agent, the Man from Balco, Armstrong’s personal Terminator? The truth was that Juan Pelota’s legal team is now simply over-matched, out of gambits and unable to intimidate. A shocking development.
Let’s not forget just how hard the Boss has been pushed around. The Feds even abducted Big George Hincapie and sweated him good. So the bloody handwriting was on the wall, there were no other options left except for the the Boss to empty the war chest and dial up the shock and awe, Armstrong style.
The tension was pumped up to 150 PSI and the Sidis were cranked as tight as they go. The chopper sequence with the Boss humming Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” sent chills down every spine in the house. Hell yeah, the boss was back and it was troll-killing time.
There was a body bag with Floyd Landis’ name on it. And who was gonna stop the Apocalypse Now when Landis has no special forces? He’s unarmed and unprotected in his battered Idyllwild mountain cabin — a helpless and easy target for the surgical strike now in final preparation. This was Armstrong’s War and this time it wasn’t a Daniel Coyle book title.
A searing episode eight then ended with a dark comedy moment that the Lance & Landis writers are famous for. A worried Greg Lemond in his kitchen loading an old shotgun, fumbling with the shells and knocking over a pitcher of milk. It this the only soldier in the Landis army?
Things look bleak for the man with the titanium hip. Stay tuned because the Lance & Landis show is the rockin-est show you could possibly imagine.
Lance & Landis Viewing Guide
Episode 1 “Hot Air and Sour Lemonds”
Episode 2 “Half Tattoos, A Ball and Designer Jeans”
Episode 3 “Spin, cocaine and conspiracy”
Episode 4 “Betsey and the Onion”
Episode 5 “Cabo & Waffles”
Episode 6 “A surreal nightmare”
Episode 7 “Interpol Party”
Disclaimer: Twisted Spoke makes no claims of guilt or innocence or the validity of legal testimony or arguments. This is strictly a wildly imagained piece of creative writing. No actual events used in the making of this post. We’re just enjoying the best show that isn’t on TV.