NEW YORK - Veteran anchorman Dan Rather implicated White House Political Director Karl Rove as "the mastermind behind the so-called Acme Group" after his rocket-powered roller skates exploded during a Wednesday CBS Evening News investigative report.
Rather had donned the controversial Acme skates -- along with an Acme brand Bat-Man suit -- in a complicated sting operation to reveal what he termed a "deep conspiracy between the White House and internet partisans to cover up George Bush's shameful military records."
The investigation went awry soon after Rather lit the skates, releasing what NYU Physics professor Alan Sokol estimated as "20,000 to 30,000 pounds of thrust." The heat of the initial explosion was so intense that it singed the hair off several nearby CBS reporters, including Rather's anchor heir-apparent John Roberts.
The blast sent Rather hurtling along 53rd Street toward the Hudson River at speeds estimated upwards of 200 miles per hour, scarcely slowing as the runaway skates drug the helpless journalist over, under and through stalled rush hour traffic.
Rather frantically righted himself just in time to hurtle cleanly though the side of an MTA bus at 7th Avenue, leaving a gaping Rather-shaped hole. The impact sent Rather careening down the stairs of the 50th Street subway terminal, through a turnstile, and onto the tracks of the Uptown-bound 1 train.
"The incoming tunnel was sparking and lighting up, I thought there was some kind of power problem," said Carla Robertson, who witnessed Rather speeding through the tunnel at the 34th Street platform. "Later I realized it must have been his ass hitting the third rail."
Robertson said she didn't pay much attention whe she saw a spread-eagle Rather, screaming along the tracks on rocket roller skates.
"This is New York, so we see celebrities all the time," said Robertson. "Then I realized he was heading downtown on the uptown tracks."
Witnesses as far as Chelsea report hearing the collision as Rather met the next oncoming train, which sent the newsman rocketing skyward through a man hole cover at 31st and Broadway, arms flailing wildly, his rocket skates sputtering their last spare ounces of fuel.
Midtown bystanders looked on in horror as the award-winning broadcast titan began plummeting from his 3000-foot apex. Amazingly, though, Rather's arm-flailing and prescient decision to wear the Bat-Man suit had paid off. Regaining composure after the initial shock, he began soaring over the skyline of Manhattan, swooping through its concrete canyons.
Rather's high-flying antics came to a abrupt conclusion when he splattered into the New York Times building. Momentarily stunned, he peeled off the side into a desperate pummet, not realizing his Bat-Man wings remained adhered to a 38th floor window.
Gasping for breath as he climbed from his Rather-shaped crater on 43rd Street, he quickly faced another ignomy: his impact had jarred loose a grand piano that was hanging from a rope outside William Safire's 30th-story office. As the shadow of the piano slowly grew, Rather pulled out a tiny umbrella and picket sign that read "Yipes!!"
His lump-covered head peering through the demolished keyboard, Rather finally played a off-key rendition of "Taps" his piano-key teeth.
Rather remains in guarded condition at Cedars-Sinai hospital, but says his legendary investigative ferocity "is as healthy as Olympic weightlifter's liver."
"Batten down the barn door, Aunt Gussie, we're got more stories coming, and I promise you that these will sting the Bush boys like syphillitic urine," said a defiant Rather.
Rather said that the CBS news team was already working on a new story that would "prove, once and for all, that Karl Rove made those rocket skates."
"I can't reveal much right now," added Rather. "We're still trying to line up the necessary catapult."