By Richard Frantz Jr. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: March 2008
Summary: Four microfiction (<300 word) stories on the nature of being a villain.
[Disclaimer: Clark Kent, etc, are not my property and are used solely for noncommercial purposes.]
[This is written as microfiction, the most challenging form of the short story, meaning it had to be no longer than 300 words.]
[After I posted it to the message board someone commented about Nor's reaction, so I wrote additional microfictions on the theme of being a villain. I've put them in one file because they're short (they're supposed to be.)]
"Let's make sure I understand you. You are an envoy of Lord Nor, a noble of New Krypton who is busy consolidating his power there and to do this he must first defeat a lord Kal-El, who we on Earth know as Superman. He would like me to assist in this because I am a well-known foe of Superman and because this would make lord Nor disposed to appreciate me, feel gratitude and offer me compensation. That compensation to include being able to rule a substantial portion of Earth after lord Nor conquers it. The alternative would be his future enmity. And you, personally, believe I would entertain this request because I am considered a villain on Earth. Is that correct, Hoth?"
Hoth nodded. It was, after all, a good offer and the alternative was foolish. And a villain knows how to pick a villain.
I gripped the armrests of my chair and drew myself up a little taller. I said, "The answer, Hoth, is-" and I pressed the button under the padding of my chair. Three lead lined ports popped open revealing three glowing chunks of Kryptonite.
Hoth gasped and staggered. He looked for an exit.
I'd had the system installed in case the inevitable confrontations with Superman happened in my office; I was rather pleased to have an opportunity to test it. I rather suspected that even as trusting Superman appeared, he would have stood so he had a clear line of escape if needed. Hoth wasn't as prudent. He stumbled and fell to the floor.
"The answer, Hoth, is 'No'." I stood up.
"I am Lex Luthor and I may be a villain, but I am an EARTH villain."
"So Hoth has not reported?" Lord Nor asked for the third time as he paced.
"No, my lord. There has been no communications since he indicated he had arrived at Earth and identified a possible villain to serve your plan. Luther has sent a message that Hoth did not arrive when expected but a detachment of Earth constabulary did...Luther believes deception on our part."
Nor considered briefly. "You know what this means? Hoth has betrayed me! It is obvious! He decided not to make the offer to Luther. Luther would have accepted if he'd received the offer. No one would have refused me." Nor was speaking quickly, his hair was becoming disarrayed and he was turning pink in the face. "Have Hoth's family executed," he ordered.
"He has no survivors. You had his family executed when you determined his brother had failed you."
"Then find some friends of his to execute! Betrayal must be punished!"
The underling departed, to do his villainous deed, quickly...before Nor realized he had been a friend of Hoth.
"Why am I surrounded by villains?" Nor demanded of the walls.
Zara and Ching looked over the report Trey had just presented them. "Nor's henchmen are actually killing each other to try to get in Nor's good graces?" Zara ask.
"It seems they do not realize he has NO good graces, so yes," replied Trey.
"If I thought we could wait long enough I believe our problem would eliminate itself, or at least each other." She considered and finally asked, "Do we absolutely have to rescue them from each other? These are not nice people."
Trey looked askance, "If I may say, my old friend Jor-El once said that he made a point of rescuing his enemies--"
"Yes, yes," interrupted Ching. "Because they were far more grateful, more reliable...and," he smiled as he added the final reason, "because it sowed confusion among his enemies far more effectively than attacking did."
"Can we at least not feel too badly when we fail to save them, under the circumstance?" Zara asked.
Ching smiled even bigger, "The nice thing about trying to save our enemies is that when we succeed we can enjoy our success and when we fail...well...we can enjoy the repercussions."
"But it's not very nice of us, pleasuring in other's loss..." she continued.
"Yes, Zara," Trey admitted sadly. "We must accept, that in our failings, we are villains."
Nigel walked back from having disposed of the body of Hoth. He walked precisely. Not walking so fast that he attracted attention nor so slow that he stood out. He did it precisely and methodically. Methodically he unlocked his non-descript car and entered. Precisely he checked that he'd been unobserved.
Precision and methodicalness, he mused, were the marks of a professional. And if he was anything, he was professional. He did his job very well. He wasn't proud of his villainy, he left that to Luther who gloried in being unconstrained by society. But Nigel was proud of his professionalism and constrained by it.
Amateurs would blow up a city block to get one person and kill numerous bystanders. A professional, and Nigel was a professional, got only the target. That was the problem with the world: too many amateurs making a mess.
When he'd worked for governments it had been to mitigate the mess that was made. Politicians and spymasters and world leaders needed a mess made, occasionally, to prevent worse things. Professionals made a clean mess of it. Now he did the same professional things for Lex Luther. He did the dirty work with a minimum of dirtiness. If you wanted something done, get a proud professional to do it.