“Oldguy vs. The Riddler” by William Trowbridge

William Trowbridge


The Riddler plans to blow up Hoover Dam,
unless Oldguy can tell him what has many keys
but can’t open a single lock. “My uncle Fred,”
says Oldguy. “He couldn’t tell his ass
from his front door.” The Riddler says that

may be technically correct, but the best answer
is “a keyboard.” “Well, that too, I guess,”
Oldguy replies. The Riddler thinks Oldguy’s
answer has taken the crispness out of the riddle.
“Let’s try another,” he says. “What’s orange

and sounds like a parrot?” “That’d be ol’ Fred
for sure,” says Oldguy. “After he drank that fifth
of Everclear, he turned more of a yellow, but
he did sound like a parrot.” The Riddler decides
to have one more try, asking how the number

four can be half of five.” “Sounds like Fred trying
to count up his canasta points,” answers Oldguy.
Reddening, the Riddler tells him that he shouldn’t
keep giving the same answer for every riddle.
“Maybe,” says Oldguy, “but you’re the fella keeps

asking ones about Uncle Fred.” When the Riddler
asks if Oldguy thinks he can do any better, Oldguy
says, “OK, what has three heads and hops like
a kangaroo?” The Riddler applies his genius mind
to no avail. After 10 minutes, he asks Oldguy

the answer. “No idea,” says Oldguy. The Riddler
says you can’t pose riddles that have no answer.
“OK,” says Oldguy. “What do you think this does?”
firing his Beta X-22 Kinetic Gizmoid, which turns
the Riddler into a two-inch replica of Uncle Fred.

from Rattle #60, Summer 2018


William Trowbridge: “The Oldguy series is my attempt to fill what was a significant hole in the superhero universe: the absence of old superheroes. ‘Oldguy: Superhero vs The Riddler’ recounts yet another of his exploits to rid the universe of evil, in this case a villain who beleaguers victims with annoying riddles as preface to his outrages. Think again, Riddler.” (web)

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