EXCERPT: The Angel of Death Has a Business Plan by Heather Lindsley

CATEGORY: Vectors and Properties in Nemeses Relationships

RULE 1113.2: Everybody Needs Help With Their Evil Monologue

SOURCE: Angie, career counselor

VIA: Heather Lindsley

Entering the workforce is hard enough, but landing—and keeping—your dream job can sometimes feel impossible. This is the reason why career counseling and vocational psychology is a growth industry, even in a recession. Sometimes people just need a little help launching their careers.

In our next piece, one enterprising young career counselor has identified a niche market: counseling would-be supervillains. After all, in a field that lacks clear entry-level requirements, it’s hard to know just how to get started. There are no degree programs that can give someone the skills needed to thrive as bad guy. There are few, if any, mentorships to apply for. And as for fellowships and residencies, well, that’s a laugh! You’re on your own when you start out as a supervillain.

But with a career counselor like Angie, you’re better off than the average ne’er-do-well. She’s got just the right advice, whether her client needs help designing the perfect costume, crafting the successful evil plot, or writing a really clever monologue. In fact, some people might think she’s a little too good at her job . . .

 

The Angel of Death Has a Business Plan
by Heather Lindsley

Carl has a pair of purple knee-length boots in one hand and a black PVC codpiece in the other. “Sorry, Angie, I’m running late,” he says. “I just need to get changed.”

“We can do it in street clothes, Carl.”

“No, no—it’s not the same without the costume. I’ll be quick, I promise.”

Carl is a regular client, and one of my first, so I cut him some slack. I should have been able to help him years ago, but I keep coming because he seems to get closer every week. Or maybe that’s just what I tell myself. Living in Megapolis is damn expensive, and a little steady income doesn’t hurt.

I take seat on Carl’s couch, clearing away a stack of Commander Justice comics first. He says he’ll be quick, but I’ve seen him struggle in and out of those boots too many times to believe him.

The comic on the top of the stack catches my eye. Is this the end for Commander Justice? I wish, but of course it isn’t. I flip through the first few pages before tossing the candy-colored propaganda aside.

“You really shouldn’t read this crap,” I tell Carl when he finally comes back into the room. “It can’t be doing anything for your confidence.”

“I need to keep up with his latest crime fighting techniques.”

“No, you don’t. You need to shoot him in the face.”

Carl winces. “That sounds so unsporting.”

“Exactly. You can be sporting, or you destroy your archnemesis and rule this city with an iron fist. What’s it’s gonna be?”

“Destroy my archnemesis.”

“Say it like you mean it, Carl.”

Carl takes a depth breath, checks to make sure his Master Catastrophe logo is centered on his chest, and booms out, “I WILL BRING THIS CITY TO ITS KNEES!”

“There ya go. Now let’s get started.”

  ***

At the end of the session Carl is sweaty and a little wild eyed. If I had the time I’d run him through one more focus exercise, but his hour’s up.

“Good job with your confidence levels, Carl—lots of improvement. But you need to work on your concentration. You’ve got to be confident and focused when you take on Commander Justice.”

“Thanks, Angie. But you know, I really think I could do it if you were with me. We’d make a great team . . . ”

“Come on, Carl, you know that’s not what I do.”

“But it could be! We could be partners. Master Catastrophe and Mayhem Girl!”

“Mayhem Girl?”

“Mayhem Woman.”

“Say it with me, Carl.”

“‘Evil geniuses work alone.’”

“That’s right. And there’s a damn good reason for it.”

“But Angie—”

“I don’t do sidekick.”

“I know, it’s just that—”

“Carl.”

“Okay.”

“So how do you feel? What are you going to do when you see Commander Justice?”

“Ready, aim, fire.”

“That’s right. Even if he asks you a question. Especially if he asks you a question. Confidence, and no distractions. Ready, aim, fire—that’s all.”

“Thanks, Angie.”

“No problem, Carl. Good luck.”

 ***

Every week after Carl’s session I go straight back to my place and do the accounts. Villainy coaching and superhero surrogacy provide a steady revenue stream, but it’s not enough to get out of this tiny basement apartment. It kills me that what I’m paying in Megapolis would buy a massive lair in the sticks, but until you’re a big name you’ve got to be in the big city if you want to be taken seriously in this game.

I fire up the pirated copy of BadBooks I got from the Green Shade, and I’m not surprised that the latest figures show yet another week of high turnover and slim margins. My operating costs are ridiculous—insurance alone ate up half my income last month. There’s just enough left over for a few more square inches of stabilized technetium plating for my Angel of Death costume, though I should be saving up for another shipment of weapons-grade plutonium.

At this rate it will take years to execute my business plan. I must admit was hoping for more from the villains in this town. Some spark of genius. Some inspiration.

A quick e-mail check shows mostly the usual: a report from one of my insurance agents in Fiji, heated but familiar debates in various online villainy group digests, spam for penis enlargement pills. There’s also a message from a potential new client who calls himself Burn Rate. I don’t recognize the handle, so I’ll have to do some research before I get back to him. Probably a newbie with a flashy fire-themed costume and a half-finished deathray.

The idea hits too close to home, and I decide to use last month’s surplus on boring old plutonium. Weapons first, costume second, though it pains me that in its incomplete state my Angel of Death outfit looks like it belongs in one of those four-color hero propaganda mags. It’ll stay in the closet until the protective plating covers all my vital organs.

I put on a pot of coffee and move from my cramped, messy desk to my cramped, messy lab. I’ve been tinkering with disintegration, preferably something that leaves an on-theme sandy or dusty residue, but at my current rate of progress my own villainous schemes look more like a hobby than a profession.

It’s going to be a long night.

[End Excerpt]