Hiring a New Villain

Your old villain quit over creative differences, so you’ve put yourself in charge of hiring a new villain for your novel. What questions do you ask? What does the new villain’s resume say? Write this scene as if it were a job interview.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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159 thoughts on “Hiring a New Villain

  1. Emmery Marshall

    Albert had been interviewing for a week now, one hopeful villain after another, to no avail. Now he had reached the dregs of his list. Those who had been laid aside initially simply after glancing at the accompanying photo. Those who were too plain or too cute at first look. The simple nerds had flocked out already. The villainous bunnies sent on their way. Now he was down to the bottom of the stack The resume included nothing of note. His occupation was as a clown for children’s parties. His background check had come up with not so much as a single parking ticket. By all appearances, the man was your everyday, law abiding, minimum wage flunkie. Here he sat in this tiny interrogation room and his last hope lay in this man dressed in the most friendly clown costume he had ever seen.
    ‘We’re looking for someone with the ability to inspire complete capitulation from the so called heroes of our world. What would you say are your strongest qualifying traits for this position? Mr…’
    ‘Spunsugar, Sir,’ he stated respectfully, the edges of his red painted lips curling in a pleasant smile. ‘I believe that I will be able to negotiate a complete surrender within a day.’
    Albert gaped momentarily before replying, ‘Full surrender, in a single day’
    ‘Yes sir,’ he smiled a wolfish grin showing a mouth filled with teeth in the shades of a rainbow. The effect was odd, but not in anyway frightening,
    ‘How may I ask do you intend to accomplish this feat?’ His hopes were rapidly fading there was nothing this happy little clown that seemed powerful, boastful perhaps, but unlikely to even draw the attention of any of the city’s vast array of super heroes and vigilantes.
    ‘I will provide the children with unlimited sugar until the parents demand the heroes leave so that I will entertain their children.”
    How is that going to accomplish anything.’
    The clown looked blankly at Albert before asking, ‘Have you ever been stuck in a room with twenty sugared up kids for an hour. Those parents will beg me to be their king as long as I keep the kids happy.’
    Albert sat back for a moment to process. He pursed his lips and nodded his head. Then he straightened up looking down at the villain survey on the table. It wasn’t very often he had ever even considered asking the last question on the page. He hadn’t even covered most of the questions he should, but he wanted to know.
    ‘What will you do when there are no more heroes?’
    The clown’s smile grew larger than before, to nearly shark like proportions. Albert began to fear.
    ‘What heroes,’ he asked standing and leaving the room just as Albert’s phone rang. As the door closed he could hear every other phone within his hearing distance seemed to ring likewise.
    Nervously he picked up the call, he shuddered as he heard his wife yell over the accompanying shrieks of their four children.
    ‘Where did they get the sugar?’

  2. jnesco1

    My villain quit on Tuesday claiming the empanadas lacked a certain authenticity, which was, and I quote, “The last damn straw”. Far be it from me to set a villainous scene in a café that serves substandard empanadas.

    Leaping from page seventy, he said, “It’s bad enough that your novel suffers from more plot holes than Swiss cheese, is tensionless, wrought with lifeless characters—except me of course—and riddled with irrelevant flashbacks. But inedible empanadas and trying to kill me off in chapter 6!” Then he walked to the door and said, “This no longer works for a villain of my caliber.”

    I pondered his words. Was this merely a difficult villain, I mean aren’t they all by nature, or was my novel impossibly flawed? Regardless, I posted the following: Villain wanted. Must be despicable but not impossible. Open casting 1 p.m. Friday @ Sully’s off Ventura next to In-N-Out Burger. Come alone.

    Now hiring a protagonist is easy. Aside from their heroic aura, these people are as genuine as the day is long. On the other hand, villains, especially those who claim to be truly abhorrent, are seldom more than posers in disguise. So it stands to reason that I was still at square one after six excruciating and somewhat frightening hours of interviews and four lattés.

    Suddenly a loathsome creature entered. He moved with more of a slink than a walk and the air seemed to leave the place in one long exhale. As a novelist, I describe characters for a living and even I was a loss for words.

    “Looking for a villain?” he said as if no one else could have such interest.

    “Yes,” I said, the S coming out far too shaky and blown.

    “Lucian,” he said. “Here’s the deal. I am the best villain on the West Coast. I have starred in thirty novels, four of which were NY Times best sellers, and have successfully killed off eighty-six characters including fourteen alone in the novel One Dark Summer. Bottom line, I am not easy to work with. True talent never is. But believe me honey your novel needs me.

    Pausing to take a sip of coffee, I tried to choke up a single word. Then I remembered my interview questions and pulled them from my pocket with a trembling hand.

    “Background?” I said. Ah, a single word.

    “Just told you. Next,” he said.

    “Proudest moment?” I said.

    “Too many to count, though I do love the beheading scene in Kingdom,” he said flashing a toothy grin.

    “Specialty?” I said.

    “Killing in the name of,” he said his mind suddenly elsewhere.

    “In the name of what?” I said confused.

    He pointed to speakers perched on the ceiling. “Killing in the name of. I love this song,” he said.

    “One word to describe you?” I said.

    At this, he paused. Then he pursed his full red lips and the word vile slithered from his mouth, the V held long for dramatic effect. It felt like hours before I nodded my head in response to what I think was, “I’ll see you Monday.”

    I watched Lucian slink out the same way he came in admiring every second of what just transpired. No doubt, this was my villain. Man was my novel about to get good.

    Then, just before reaching the door he looked back and shot me a venomous stare before saying, “Oh and I heard the food in this novel really sucks. If I were you, I’d do something about immediately.”

  3. JosephFazzone

    ***This is just silly! Discordance in G minor!***

    “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “My name is Observer Tim. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who needed help to finish your prompt.”

    Caught in the excitement, I exclaimed a bit too loudly on the phone. “Tim! Wow, such a fan! Let’s do this.”

    “Excellent,” Tim said. “We must meet up. There’s a quiet spot in the back of a Denny’s near my house. I will send you idea, and you create it. The others are coming.”

    Nervous, but anxious, I grabbed a pen, some crayons, and a pad of paper. I immediately drew a picture of a Denny’s restaurant, and jumped into the picture.

    Tim was seated in a huge booth at the back in a quiet corner. I motioned to the waitress for a cup of coffee, and pointed to where we were seated. He was wearing an earpiece.

    “I have Kerry Charlton starting up the prompt!” He said as he stood and shook my hand.

    “Who else is helping us?” I asked as I sat down.

    The waitress brought the coffee.

    Tim raised his hand up. “No thank you, Rina. It’s Starboard side, by the Microfacilitator, Wanda knows where it is.” He looked back to me. “Sorry, what?”

    “Who else is coming?”

    “Reatha has Annie tackling the controversial side, Hack is hacking the puns to pieces metaphorically, Jay is hacking them up literally, and Jhowe is shifting the perspective.”

    “We need Cosi for the quick wit and puns, and…”

    An eerie silence followed.

    “Tim?”

    Silence. I was beginning to get worried.

    “No puns. Keep it clean,” Tim reported. “We need to keep it user friendly or run the risk that the prompt won’t post.”

    “Just use an A*terisk,” Tim commented.

    “Did you call Pete?”

    “I did,” he answered. “we have to make sure that this whole thing has some kind of climatic ending.”
    “Sounds like we’re stalling at the gate.”

    “Cliché!” Cosi announced, walking up to our table and unceremoniously plopping down beside me.

    “What I’m thinking is we take this thing into space, and…” Tim began.

    “Wait, what happened to Beebles?” I asked.

    Uncertainty shone in both of their eyes.

    “He’s missing!” The voice belonged to Reatha. Annie was behind her with a stack of papers and a petulant look.

    “A ha!” Cosi exclaimed. “I knew it! This was going to be a mystery all along.”

    “I don’t want to write a mystery,” I pouted.

    “Well you should have thought of that before you started this,” Tim explained.

    “Best laid plans of mice and men,” Reatha stated.

    The story was out of control. There was no direction, only ideas, and it left me feeling like the captain of the Titanic right when the ship hit the iceberg. We were sunk. Help!

    “We need to plot this better!” Tim raised his fist in the air. “Storyboarders assemble!

    I grabbed my sharpie, but then stated. “First we rescue Beebles, and then we storyboard.”

    Reatha nodded and said, “Save Beebles!!!”

    The adventure continues, or sputters and fails at the gate. Only time will tell.

  4. christhilk

    “Hi, thanks for your time today.”

    “Of course, I was glad to get your call.”

    “As you know, I had to let the previous villain go…”

    “Yeah…”

    “So I’m hoping you’ll be able to come in and help out.”

    “Well I’ll certainly do my best. I mean my…you know.”

    “Heh, of course. So listen, I know your background – I’m a longtime fan – but tell me why you would fit into my novel.”

    “Well first off, likewise, I’m a fan of yours. I think what I bring to the story is a general sense of chaos. It’s not just mayhem, it’s more an unpredictable nature. I don’t want to make myself sound like the Joker or anything, but I like to mix things up.”

    “Interesting. Yeah, that’s good to know. What do you think about the setting of the story?”

    “Oh I’m totally comfortable working in in the 1600’s. The character I was based on got her big break in the 1500s, so…”

    “Really? I didn’t know that.”

    “Yeah. She was a sorceress that was scheming with a shunned and exiled prince to help him regain the throne he felt was rightfully his. So I totally get what you’re going for here.”

    “That’s great to know, thanks. So I’ll be honest with you, the villain here doesn’t really come off all that positively. This isn’t a ‘love to hate’ kind of situation, you’re just straight-up evil, with few redeeming qualities. The villain I’d originally cast was uncomfortable without some sort of troubled past that would explain her actions, which is why she dropped out of the project.”

    “That doesn’t bother me at all. I prefer the opportunity to just go all-in. The last thing I want to do is create a sense of moral ambiguity in the mind of the reader. I prefer just to embrace it and be bad.”

    “I love you for saying that, that’s exactly how I envision her, just full-out evil. She’s motivated by greed and just a desire to mess with the system.”

    “I got that from the synopsis you sent, that’s great to hear. One question: Do I die before the end of the story? It wasn’t clear.”

    “Well, I’ll be honest, yeah, you do. While the story is the first in a planned series, this character has to die at the end to establish closure and fully end the threat she poses. Is that a problem?”

    “No, no. Disappointing, sure, but not a problem. I mean who wouldn’t want more work later on?”

    “Heh, sure. I get that. Well I think I have enough information to make my decision. I have a few other villains to talk to but I need to have someone on board by next Wednesday. Will that work for you?”

    “Definitely. I’m excited to work with you, so hope we’ll have that chance.”

    “Same here. Thanks for coming in. See the guy at the front desk to have your parking validated.”

    1. jhowe

      That was a nice trip to your website, very professional. Your story was great. It appears you spent some polishing time on it. The offending word is c*cktail. Guaranteed. I fell victim to it a few weeks ago. Spam filter has some flaws.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Great story! Villains are everywhere, aren’t they. Both characters are very well done. I also thought I’d found the offending words until I saw your comment. Let us know if/when you find it.

    3. Observer Tim

      Hi Beebles; it could have been the language describing/relating to the group your villain was working against. I’m not sure how it is on your side of the world, but it’s a hot-button topic in North America.

      I love the activist villain you portrayed, especially the change to a more casual type of evil when he retired. His presentation was implicit but consistent and well thought-out. Bravo!

      1. Observer Tim

        P.S. I’ve been caught out by surprise by the filter too, specifically with a word that begins with ‘mis’ (against), continues with ‘o’ (linking form) and finishes with ‘gynist’ (suffix relating to women). It was being used as an insult and killed the story.

        1. Beebles

          Thank you for the well considered response Tim. I could just have well chosen animal rights or such, but settled for the controversy and the particular irony of the evil the subject presented. True, though the UK’s movement was the first it is not as hot a topic over here – I hope it wasn’t disrespectful in any way. As to the filter, that is some sophisticated beast.

  5. Lex Noël

    “Come in,” I call towards the door as I shuffle my manuscript notes into a neat pile and set them to the side. The large solid oak door leading into my office creaks open and a tall slender woman with pale yellow hair curled into a low tight bun steps inside.

    “Ms. Knowles,” she says warmly with a slight nod of her head. Her long black linen dress covers her from wrist to boot, her starched apron stiff and brighter than my freshly painted white walls.

    “Agatha,” I smile in return. “Punctual as promised. Please, sit down.” She nods again, this time with a slight smile, and sits rigidly in the squashy leather chair across from me.

    “So, tell me about yourself,” I say to her. She has maintained eye contact with me without so much as a blink. Her silvery blue eyes look like they belong to a shark, not this pretty, genteel sort of woman in her neatly ironed clothes.

    “I’ve worked as a nurse at Holloswaithe’s Asylum for Lunatics since my sixteenth birthday,” Agatha says brightly. “Sixteen is the youngest one can be hired. I’d waited my whole life to work there, for Dr. Benek.”

    “That’s not exactly a profession many little girls dream about,” I say to her, probing.

    “Most little girls aren’t raised in asylyms,” Agatha replies simply. “I was. My mother was a nurse there and I was brought up within the halls of Holloswaithe, learning from Dr. Benek. I know everything about Holloswaithe. I know its secrets.” She still doesn’t blink, her eyes fixed unflinchingly on mine, smiling slightly all the while. I’m beginning to feel a bit unnerved by the woman I’m interviewing.

    “What secrets?” I ask intrigued despite the light tingling along my spine.

    “I know why the walls moan in the middle of the night,” Agatha says flatly, but there is a cruel sparkle in her eyes. “I know why empty rooms whisper. I know why women with sound minds whimper with fear. I know why graves appear in the Asylum cemetery before there’s a body to go inside.”

    She keeps her cool lethal eyes on me, studying me. I wish she’d stop smiling. It adds to the danger of her countenance somehow.

    “Does Dr. Benek know about these secrets? The villain I’m searching for needs to be untraceable, their closest friend wouldn’t suspect them of a harsh word, let alone murder,” I ask her as I learn forward. Her smile disappears. The once cool silvery blue of her eyes darkens until they seem to go black.

    “Dr. Benek is the reason for the secrets. I keep him safe, pure, without sin,” she says calmly. She reaches up to her neck, twirling a silver cross pendant hanging from a necklace between her thin alabaster fingers. “‘Don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.’ That’s what God says, does He not, Ms. Knowles? I’m the best kept secret of Holloswaithe.”

    1. Observer Tim

      Congratulations, Lex, it takes some effort to send a chill up my spine but you’ve managed it. Agatha would be a very convincing villain, the kind hated and loved by the audience who disappears at the end and doesn’t get caught. Great job!

  6. ShamelessHack

    “Any experience?”
    “Well, I do know the Middle East pretty well. I’ve lived here my whole life.”
    “Your role is pretty despicable. No one will like you after this.”
    “That’s all right.”
    “You’re sure? Once you accept this role, there’s no turning back.”
    “Look I’m desperate. I need the money.”
    “OK, you’ve been warned.”
    “Oh, by the way, what does the role pay?”
    “Thirty pieces of silver.”

  7. Observer Tim

    He sat down in the chair opposite me, put his feet up on my desk and leaned back. “So, I heard you’re looking for a villain.”

    “Yes; I’m writing a space adventure story, but my assistant Wanda is…”

    “F**k Wanda. I’m your guy.”

    “You’re not endearing yourself to me, Mister…”

    “Jakes; Norton Jakes. And for the record I don’t give a sh*t if you like me. I’m orders of magnitude better than those losers waiting in your outer office.”

    “Well you’ve got guts, I’ll give you that.”

    “A lot more than the other c**ts and d**ks applying for this position. And what’s with all the f**king asterisks? I don’t like being censored.”

    I scowled at him. “I’m the writer; I’ll censor what I want. Now since you’ve decided to be pushy, tell me why I should bring you in as a villain, aside from the joy of seeing my hero put a bullet through your head.”

    “I don’t have to give you a good reason; you’re in a f**king bind. You need a villain, and I’m so much better than those other a**holes.”

    “How are you better?”

    “Okay, guy number one. Over six feet tall is imposing, but he was always somebody’s flunky. The armour is imposing but who wears a f**king cape in outer space? And the armour controls look like they came off an old VCR; also, asthma is not a super-power!”

    “And the light sword?”

    “Who brings a sword to a gunfight? He’s better than the next one, though. A skull cap? The 1930’s called, they want their style back. And don’t get me started on the maniacal laughter. He says he’s Emperor of the planet Mongo, so I looked it up; it’s the only planet in the whole f**king universe held up by a piece of string!”

    “You realize they’re both classic tropes.”

    “Which makes them bor-ring! What about the robots: do you want the white one that turns into a handgun too f**king big for anybody to use, or maybe some rolling garbage cans? There’s four women out there, and each one competing for who has the biggest gun and the smallest outfit.”

    “Enough! You’re talking disrespectfully about generations of SF villains, and I don’t like it. Talk about yourself! What kind of villainy can you, Norton Jakes, bring to the story? Do you plan to annoy my hero to death?”

    “No, I’ll just find him at the right moment and put a bullet in him; that’s How It Should Have En—mmph!”

    Wanda put the duct tape away while two shiny black security robots pulled him out of the chair by his arms. As he was hauled away Wanda smiled sheepishly.

    “Sorry about that, Tim.”

    “Don’t worry about it; there’s too many jerks like that around these days.”

    “Anyway, I think I have a good prospect for you: mastermind type, stays in the shadows.”

    “Perfect: send her in.”

    “How do you know it’s a woman?”

    “I know you, and I know me. Let’s see if she can creep me out.”

    1. Pete

      Tim, where do I start? It wasn’t long before I fell in love with this short piece of genius. Probably when Jakes asked why you were censoring him with asterisks. From then on it just rolled on. Way to handle that annoying creep, even if he was funny as h**l..

      1. Observer Tim

        This whole story is actually a rant…

        One of my roomies is a big fan of modern-style sarcastic critique (especially How It Should Have Ended); you can probably tell my thoughts on genre-disrespect from this.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Tim, just as I’ve long suspected, Wanda is always at your side, or at least in your brain, as you write. Fun stuff, especially Norton’s ignorance of SF.

      1. Observer Tim

        I know Wanda’s got my back. It’s handy to have a character who sits on the fourth wall and dangle their legs over, and can apply a more interesting personality to thankless jobs like this. She’s a good kid, despite the stuff I put her through.

        Norton is an archetype of the YouTube movie commentators who write scathing reviews of movies whose main flaw is that they weren’t written using today’s sensibilities. That attitude gets really tiresome really quickly, which is why I had to write this. 🙂

  8. Pete

    Sorry for the length. I cut it down some, but it’s still way over…

    I always thought it was a good novel before that day.

    We were young, broke but in love. Her parents hated me.

    Sure, it was a struggle but we each other, cliche’s be damned. Mel’s wit and charm turned the pages, her beauty sealed the deal. But he was impatient. He wanted more. And so Mel had no choice but to meet him.

    I’ll never forget her that morning. How her sandy brown hair was braided like a crown on her head. The way her graceful neck arched as I took her shoulders. The way she brought her hands up around my neck. The way she fit into me.

    “I’m sure it’s nothing.”

    “Nothing for you,” I said, going for humor but failing.

    Her gaze held mine in the mirror. “I hope…I mean, no matter what, that it’s still you.”

    It was the first time we’d broken that wall. I didn’t like it. “Well, yeah.”

    She turned into me, and God, no wonder he was in love with her. She was the muse, and if I’m being honest I’d say he’d gotten carried away. Even her one blemish–that tiny scar on her chin that I loved so much to touch–only made her more adorable.

    As for me, I was fighting just fighting to get off the page. Mel knew that. She was trying to save us

    I took a step back and took her in. Last night we’d smoked a joint on the couch. She’d sat with her feet tucked beneath her, laughing between coughs, gazing at me with those half-stoned hazels. I made jokes, about my childhood, tried again to break out. But Mel kissed me and that was that.

    It was some sort of wrap dress she wore. Full sleeves, the hem riding the wave down to the knees. A tight, grayish, honeycomb pattern that gripped her hips like it was really enjoying itself. I enjoyed taking it off. Let him wait.

    Downstairs, Mel paced nervously and I cut her off on the coffee. I stood to take a shower and she kissed me full on the lips. It was like she knew. But I took Mel, and the sun, and every lucky breath for granted.

    She wasn’t home that evening. My hands were shaking as I called her phone. A rumble of thunder outside confirmed my suspicions.
    Mel answered the call with grotesque giggle.

    “Mel?”

    “What.”

    The ice in that one word was enough to set my heart into gear. “Mel, are you okay?”

    “What are you my Dad now?”

    “Mel, did you talk to him?”

    Click. I turned around and jumped. The kitchen was trashed. Roaches. Bottles. Splotches on the floor. I called her again and the phone went straight to voicemail.

    Our bedroom was a single mattress on the floor. Mel’s books, her grandmother’s oval mirror, the mural she’d painted on the wall, everything was gone. Her stash of weed now bags of black gunk. A needle. A tingle scraped up my spine.

    The bastard couldn’t take it. He was jealous. Jealous of his precious muse. Of us.

    I fell into the corner and cried. I moaned and wailed and floated away in a passive cloud of pity. I thought about all those nights with Mel. I felt her hands on my face. Her leg slung over my waist at night. I heard her moan in my ear and I struggled to get to my feet. My wallowing morphed to wrath. I packed a bag. I punched a wall.

    I leaped off the page.

    He hadn’t changed her phone number. I logged into ICloud and tracked it downtown to a section of warehouse lofts near the river.

    My fists became blocks. I stalked the grounds, feeding off the rage, thankful for my six foot three frame as I followed the muffled sounds of a party and banged on the door. My fist slammed into the first kid I saw and an explosion of red hit the walls. The rest backed off.

    Mel. She was on the couch. Splayed out, her eyes hollowed within the bruised sockets. I swallowed hard and froze. Trembling with rage. That he could do this to her, to get to me, only proved he was desperate.
    But made two of us.

    I shoved through the bodies. My Mel, in that dress, filthy torn and riding up her thigh. A homicidal scream tore from my gut and sent the rest of them running. Good thing, because I was in the mood to kill.

    Mel had track marks on her arms. I scooped her up and she vomited in my chest. She tried to claw my face with jagged fingernails. A line of drool from her chin and I stumbled because she was so flimsy. She’d lost thirty pounds in a day.

    Conflict, huh? Well he was really playing it up with the pen now. The storm outside, the sirens, the fog on the bridge. I shook it off and carried Mel towards the car. She moaned and groaned but her hand found its place on my neck. I turned my head upwards, letting the rain wash us clean.

    He’d have to do more than this to stop me.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I agree Pete, you turned the prose to high, gobbled up the reader (myself) snd away we went
        I liked the party description the best and his fists making a passage through the dope heads
        Quite a ride

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      So, here’s what I really liked here, all the “romance” cliches woven into the story, starting with the perfect second paragraph and ending with the rain washing them clean. I thought it was great.

    2. Beebles

      You submerged us into a world where it felt we were drowning as surely as the characters. Confused like their own state, things half seen and dismissed only for the important stuff to scream into focus. Wild ride indeed.

    3. Observer Tim

      Whoa! I kind of lost track of things in the intensity of the writing, Pete. At the end I wasn’t sure who was real and who was fictional, but here’s my best guess.

      Story character loses author to drugs and moves off the page to rescue her and bring her back.

      It sounds like the villain appeared in real life and the hero had to do something extraordinary (in the exact sense of the term). I hope he gets her back…

  9. RafTriesToWrite

    “Next” I yelled out.

    “I really hope this one’s the one” Terroriser spoke with that blasted donut stuck onto his head. I don’t get why he keeps his food there, it’s too distracting for the interviewees. Ten out of fourteen instantly asked, why was there a donut on Terroriser’s head? I really wish he would eat that dang thing already.

    The door knob was fidgeting as if someone was trying to reach it. I gave a lengthy sigh as I stood up and opened the door myself. To my surprise, in came crashing in – literally, these three small yellow, uhm, creatures.

    “Eh?” The tall one said.

    “Oh, uhh, come in” I went back to my seat and held up the resume. The three yellow creatures started running around confusedly.

    “You three! Sit” I commanded. Only the tall one seemed to followed my instructions, these guys don’t look half as scary as the ones that applied before them. Do they even know what are they applying for?

    “The resume only says Kevin, but why are there three of you?” Terroriser spoke. The two seem to be lurking around the office until the little one noticed the donut. Please don’t start with the donut.

    “Oooooo! Banana!” The little one spoke as he pointed at the donut still stuck on Terroriser’s head. I instantly chuckled while I miserably held it in. That was unexpected.

    “No no, Kobradanaaaa!” The tall one said, arms crossed and full of enthusiasm.

    “No, no, no. Le Donaaaaaat” The middle sized one said his arms gesturing the donut as if it’s a holy grail or something.

    “You three! Which one is Kevin?” I spoke aloud.

    “Si! Ehhh, Kevin” The tall one raised his hand while the other two pointed at him like he did something he shouldn’t have done. Okay, great! So now we’re getting somewhere.

    “And who’s the other two?” I replied as I scanned Kevin’s resume that was poorly written.

    “Lababa dora, Bob” Kevin grabbed the little one’s head while he looking at something at the lower shelf beside the door, and turned him to face us.

    “Alo!” Bob said. Terroriser and I replied with our separate hellos’

    “Yo Stua” The other said. Stua? I’m lost at his accent.

    “Babidi dengsh, Stu-wart” Kevin explained. Oh, so it’s Stuart not Stua. I nodded my head in response.

    “Good, good, now would the two please wait out-” I stopped as I caught the little one trying to reach the remote control to launch our secret nuclear missiles.

    “No! Don’t touch that!” Said Terroriser as he quickly stood up and flew to the little one that was trying to reach the remote at the lower shelf.

    “Bob! Barakaduna Skavench” Kevin said.

    “Si Bob! Lakida Devincsh” The other one said, then slapped Bob behind the head which made him cry.

    “Ehh, skuza, skuza” He said trying to comfort the little guy. Then out of nowhere, Kevin slaps Stuart behind the head.

    “Ehbringadebra Stuart?” Kevin says as Stuart rubs the back of his head.

    “Hehe, Sorrii” He replied.

    “Guys, guys, can we please just sit?” Terroriser spoke, as he hid the remote at a much higher place, where these three can’t reach it.

    Kevin went back to his seat, while the two finally obeyed and sat down with Kevin.

    “Okay so clearly, you’re not here for the role” Terroriser starts as he took his seat beside me.

    “Clearly” I followed with sarcasm in my voice. Terroriser shot me a glare.

    “So what are you guys in here for?” Bob was looking all around the place like he’s never seen a regular villain office before. While Stuart was just staring at the donut on Terroriser’s head, while Kevin did all the supervising for the two.

    “La brooshka. Patties!!” Bob said flailing around his teddy bear.

    “Doooonaaaaat” Stuart said his fingers slowly trying to reach the donut even though he’s like a mile away from Terroriser’s head.

    “Lobreborshk, ehh, evveel boss!” Kevin spoke with his arms crossed again. It sounds like he’s the only one interested yet still terribly unqualified.

    “Ohhh” Terroriser and I said in unison. Well this is awkward.

    “I’m sorry guys, but we’re looking for an evil boss too” Terroriser spoke at last.

    Then the three started crying.

    “Now look what you’ve done!” I stood up, made my way to the three and tried calming them down.

    “I just told them the truth!”

    “Well clearly that didn’t helped!”

    “Ugghhh! I’m out, I’ll just see you tomorrow” Terroriser stood up and dropped his clipboard and his pen and took his briefcase with him.

    “Gimme this” I took his donut as he was heading for the door.

    “Hey!” He was about to take it back until I gave him a nasty glare.

    He knows not to mess with me, and the donut on his head just irritated me a lot today that I had to do something about it, so I gave it to Stuart. That made him stop crying.

    “Here you go little guy” I gave Bob a stuffed toy of Mike Wazowski which made him stop crying too.

    “Aaaand this one’s for you” I gave Kevin an outdated Electra freeze ray 2000. I already own three of these, plus I already have the new Electra 7000, so I don’t have any use for that anymore.

    “Ooooo!” Kevin started freezing things in my office like crazy.

    All three of them were laughing at the amazement of all the things that the freeze ray froze.

    “Okaaay little man, time to find your evil boss somewhere else, okay?” I ushered the three yellow dudes out of the office.

    “Obradada! Bora bora, eh Polo Picante!” Kevin stopped and faced me.

    I chuckled. “I’m Gru”.

    “Okaaay, arivagracias” Kevin waved using the hand with the freeze ray, freezing the last two applicants for today.

    “Byeee” Bob waved using both his hands – a teddy bear on one hand, and a Mike Wazowski on the other.

    “Eh, Hmmm muchacha” Stuart said to the donut then started kissing it.

    They’re like pets, stupid, but cute.

    I’ll ask Dr. Nefario tonight, maybe he’d like little henchmen helping him in the lab.

      1. RafTriesToWrite

        I’m sorry about that Reatha, perhaps I should’ve written a note at the beginning for those who haven’t seen/watched or know the minions. Thanks for taking the time to read it though. Really appreciate it!

    1. Beebles

      Hi RAF, A minions/guru origin story – i like gru because he is the spit for my brother in law – and my sister is Luci, go figure. You did the minions speak really well and there is a rye humour and zip to your writing that I admire. I know this was a bit of fun but the downside was perhaps the length, with established characters like gru and the minions we know what to expect, so my advice would be keep it short pithy and perhaps give them a twist? Look forward to more.

      1. RafTriesToWrite

        Thanks for the input Beebles! Will definitely take note of it. Perhaps I may have focused too much on the length of my story that I forgot to add some twist/s along the way. As for making my story short and pithy I’ll try my very best to do it, especially the part about being more pithy with my stories because I’m not very good at that. Thank you again Beebles, it really means a lot!

    2. Observer Tim

      This was a delightful romp on the villain side, Raf. The characters were easy to recognize once I caught on, and you captured the minions actions and activities very well. I was wondering where Gru would come into it. I half expected the story to stop while Kevin was playing with the freeze ray, then continue with “When the freeze ray wore off I looked around my office…”

      I spotted a few verb tense things (I don’t blame you, English verb tenses are strange and difficult sometimes), but grammatically the story is fairly sound. Good job!

      1. RafTriesToWrite

        Thank you Tim! Quite honestly, I did had a hard time playing around with those verb tense things but in the end I failed to correct them, I am glad that the grammar was fairly sound, as I struggled really hard to keep it that way. All I need now is more pith. Hehe.

  10. typewriter

    As an acclaimed bestseller, I still had the diligent to write the way I wanted. But things took a rather twist, like my atrocious plots. I was left without a villain; which by happened to quit due to creative differences. Why? Because I was working on a new book that didn’t fit the character’s attributions and summary. So, I needed to make the creative differences. The book: Castle of the Redeemer; dragon mythology. The clutch work. Only a sheaf of manuscript pages stow in a front-load tray on my desk. I began sending Ads in the papers, asking for a new villain. I had an applicant.
    The surrounding room was dark. Light from the only lighting fixture illuminated a dimly glow of gold in this room. I had a resume drawn out in front of me, which importune this:

    Baron Neptune the Energy Vampire

    Summary: An immortal being who has wandered the earth for thousands of years, building up a global criminal empire. The ability to feed off a horde any form of electricity or power—including the life-force of others.

    Skills: Blood Consumption, Flow Vision, Flight, Disease Inducement, Fang Retraction, etc.,

    Work Experiences: Morgue Worker / Coroner.
    That was it of that resume. I stow it away in the resume in the filing cabinet in the corner and sat back down. I had asked questions to the entitlement of the job. “Are you a super-villain?”
    Neptune nodded.
    His eyes were blood-shot, his skin, was a pallid moon. Darkness filled the room, smog soaked through the opened window, then the door slammed closed. Locking itself.
    “I can also do that.” He stood, which exposed a burgundy cape, biker’s jeans that shown the belt buckle of two motif Serpents in a form of infinity.
    “You got the job,” I replied.
    “The book I’m currently am writing, you know by now as Castle of the Redeemer. I hereby declare you the position as my new villain. Mr. Neptune. I want blood-curdling screams, make it envied. I also want another bestseller. Do we have business?”
    Neptune stood.
    “You have my undivided attention. I’d be glad to take hold of this position. I’m looking for bigger and better things than chasing old cats. Siphon blood from my victims is my day job. I can extract a pint a minute.”
    “I’m glad you’re a part of my work. Ever since Crock quit (a crocodile in a yellow rain slicker). I knew I had to find a replacement as soon as possible. The book is to be release next fall. As soon I saw you, I thought you were a super-villain.”
    “Not just a super-villain. But a rather, atrocious one, with depth. You saw what I just did earlier. I have telekinesis. And will use the willpower to conquer my arch enemies.”
    “Thanks for talking business with me.”
    “It’s my pleasure, I can’t wait for this enchanting read, the book I mean. It’s going to be a bloodbath. Your readers are going to figure out what nightmares are made of. As soon as they read about me.”

      1. Observer Tim

        You can’t put your whole trust in Pro Writing Aid, only use it for suggestions.

        I get the impression that English is not your first language; some of it shows in the way you use verbs. This is a hard thing to work out sometimes (I’m learning Greek, and I find the verbs are tricky too), but it can be done. My suggestion is to write the story out in your native language and then translate it; Google Translate does a moderately good job and you can take apart what it produces to try and figure out why it’s doing that.

        If English is your first language, then you will definitely have to polish up your grammar and proofreading skills.

        I can see you have a lot of skill as a writer, but some of it is currently being lost in the translation. Keep on writing! 😀

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      I’m not sure Mr. Neptune is the right villain to replace Crock. Will the yellow rain slicker even fit? (I’m not certain what you meant in your comment, but I did notice several places where careful rereading might have helped.)

    2. Observer Tim

      You’ve created an interesting villain here, Typewriter, and done a fine job of displaying his abilities and intentions. I can see why he’s getting the job. I agree with Reatha that the Baron may not be an ideal replacement for Crock; the hero will have to go from a villain who needs to be beaten up to one who has to be out-thought. That would be a very interesting story…

  11. TheAwkwardLlama

    “I’m Melissa Cordero, and you must be – “
    “Danielle Jimenez. Please, call me Danielle.” The elegant brunette shook Melissa’s hand firmly, and Melissa felt a twinge of both attraction and jealousy. A quick glance in the decorative mirror across from her desk confirmed her fears; she was even more mousy and plain next to Danielle. She cleared her throat.
    “Well, Danielle, I must say, having reviewed your resume, I’m really impressed with your accomplishments over the past years. The murders, the heist, the jaywalking, all of these are a good foundation. But, to cut to the chase, I’d really like to get to know you, the real Danielle. I’m looking for someone who is able to murder, commit heinous crimes, casually; someone who is truly evil and not afraid to let it show. You’re aware of the split between myself and Antonio?”
    Danielle smiled. “Yes, a little creative tiff, I believe?”
    “Exactly,” said Melissa. “He was constantly resisting the villain identity I wanted for him. He was always undermining me and lobbying for a kind of ‘bad boy with a heart of gold’ character. And love! He wanted a love interest, someone who could convince him to leave behind his criminal ways. Especially for this next novel I’m drafting, I need someone ruthless, someone who doesn’t let anything in his or her way when it comes to getting a job done.”
    “Of course,” Danielle murmured.
    “Let’s try a few hypothetical questions, and I’d like you to answer in detail. If you were escaping from the police, and you were with, say, your mother and your brother, and both had been caught, and you could only save one, who would you save and why?”
    “Mmm,” said Danielle thoughtfully. “I feel that you’re hoping I say that I would abandon both and run, but really, someone who is truly evil is ultimately motivated by selfishness, right? So I think that it would really depend on the situation. If I knew my brother was still named in my mother’s will, for example, it would be reasonable to abandon him and in a display of devotion save my mother; plus he’d be out of the way and I could convince her to remove him entirely. I pride myself on being as intelligent as I am sociopathic, and I would plan for every contingency.”
    Melissa caught herself staring at Danielle. She snapped her mouth shut and looked down at her notebook. “Yes, exactly. Excellent. So.” She looked up; Danielle had moved closer and was touching her hand.
    “Do you really want to get to know me, Melissa?” she whispered.
    “Ah,” began Melissa, and ended Melissa as Danielle had slid a knife from her boot in one swift motion and sliced through her throat.
    Danielle smiled down at her handiwork, admiring how the blood welled slowly from Melissa’s throat, and then pushed the body unceremoniously from the chair.
    She sat down and picked up Melissa’s favorite fountain pen.
    “I’m the author now,” she said to herself.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Yep, that’s exactly what happens when a character gets too strong and independent. She should have been killed immediately. I did like the jaywalking reference, very evil.

    2. Observer Tim

      The problem with looking for someone with no conscience is that they — well, they have no conscience. And sociopaths are worse. This is a clever idea and a nice turn-over of the prompt, Llama. Unfortunately, I don’t think Danielle does have what it takes to be an author, or to fake it through an entire novel. Of course, there are agents and publishers to kill in support of sales…

  12. LunaShrimp

    The woman tapped her pencil on a notepad, and then closed it. “For the final question, what was your biggest achievement thus far? What was the motivation?”

    Emma clutched the strap of her purse. She had always struggle to talk about this. Bu it was the part of a villain for hire.

    “W-well, I was part of a terrorist organization. I wanted to bring attention to the flaws in the law system.” Her voice got low. “My part was setting up a bomb at the local school. It was supposed to be quick. But my nemesis, Mariana Wilson, she got there first. I shot her partner. But I didn’t mean too. I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I was going to deactivate it.” She added the last part quickly.

    The writer nodded. “And your motivation?”

    “Oh. Right.” Emma cleared her throat. “I had a kid once. He was at school when a shooter came into eh school.” The grip on her purse tightened. “That was before they had a security guard. No other parent should have to go through that.”

    The writer tapped her pencil against her notepad. “Well, It seems like I’ve decided.
    Suddenly, the door to the office burst open. A large man, Kelvin, who filled the doorway, came barging in. he smelled his fists against the desk.

    “I DESERVE THIS SPOT!” he roared. “NOT THIS PIPSQUEAK!”

    The writer gave an exasperated sigh. “kelvin, we’ve talked about this. I’ll call you when I need you.”

    “Not this time, Mire.” Kelvin growled. “I’m getting this spot. By whatever means necessary.” He turned toward Emma. The young villain squeaked.

    Kelvin raised his fist as though to smash her head in. She braced for the oncoming attack. But then something happened.

    A weird look came over Kelvin’s face. He looked almost constipated as he turned back toward the writer. It was as if her was frozen.

    The writer got out of her seat and leaned toward Kelvin. “Emma,” She met Emma’s eyes over Kelvin’s shoulder, “Look away.”

    The writer then pressed her hand to Kelvin’s chest. “Don’t worry, Kelvin,” she purred lowly, bending so she could see into his eyes, “This won’t hurt.”

    Her hand lit up with red, casting an eerie fire in her hazel eyes.

    “Much.”

    Crimson cracks of light raced up Kelvin’s form. Emma watched in horror as his body began to collapse, disintegrating into nothingness.

    Soon, the only thing left of the villain was an echoing scream and a pile of gently glowing ashes.

    Emma huddled further into the corner as the writer rounded the desk. She raised her purse in front of her.
    As if that would protect her

    Just as she was preparing for the worst, she saw a hand extended to her.

    A chuckle. “Don’t worry, my dear Emma. I don’t do that to those I like.”

    Emma took the hand and stood up. As the pair prepped to leave the room, Emma had to ask: “What happened to Kelvin, back there?”

    The writer gave her a sideways glance. It was cold. “Please, Emma, don’t ask again.” Her eyes lit up with that eerie glow. “You wouldn’t like the answer, anyways.”

  13. igonzales81

    A knock sounds at my door, and I look up as my next applicant enters.

    He’s just as I envisioned him: tall and thin, almost cadaverous, dressed in a white linen suit with a matching fedora in his hands. “You’re the author?”

    “Yes.”

    “Silas Green, villain for hire. Pleased to meet you.” His handshake is neither firm nor limp, and he holds the contact a second too long.

    “I take it you know why you’re here?”

    He nods, a languid motion, as he takes a seat across from me. “You had some trouble with your last villain, needed a replacement at the last minute.” He meets my gaze. “You needed me.”

    “Perhaps,” I say, making my tone as professional as possible. “Now, what I’m looking for in my villain—,”

    He holds up a hand, cutting me off. “My apologies, but I have a few questions before we get started. Can you tell me what happened to your first villain?”

    I blink. “Well…let’s just say we had creative differences.”

    “I see.” He stares at me, his gaze compelling. “What sort of differences?”

    “To be blunt, I wrote myself into a corner, and needed to have him do something a bit out of character.”

    He continues to stare, pale eyebrows raised.

    I blow out a sigh. “I needed to pretend to kill him off. It was the only way to make it work,” I hasten to add. “I wrote his return into my outline. But he couldn’t get over it, and his attitude was making things difficult—,”

    Again the hand comes up. “That’s fine,” he says, voice soft and cool. “There’s no need to speak ill. Tell me, in what voice do you write?”

    “Uh, I use third person narrative.”

    “Omniscient perspective?”

    “Naturally.”

    “I see,” a small frown crosses his face.

    “Is that a problem?”

    “Some prefer first person active, single perspective. Lends the tale a sense of immediacy and helps to build suspense.” He shrugs. “To each his own, I suppose. I’d hardly call it a deal breaker.” The ghost of a smile touches his lips. “But my way does leave you guessing what will happen next. It’s never assumed that any character makes it out alive.”

    “Okay.” It’s time to get this interview back on track. I glance down at the resume Mr. Green provided. “I see you have an excellent list of references, but you don’t actually mention the works you’ve appeared in.”

    “True. I’m afraid that I can’t be specific about previous employments.”

    “Why is that?”

    There’s that small smile again, and he tilts his head slightly. “It might be difficult to verify. I tend to keep my work…discreet.” He eyes me for a moment in silence. “Tell me, what sort of novel are you writing?”

    “A detective thriller.”

    “I see.” He frowns again, looks down at the hat in his hands. “I’m afraid one of us has made a mistake. I don’t think I’d be a good fit for your work.” He stands, turns to leave.

    “What?” I can’t believe he’s doing this; I’ve never had a character seem so…disappointed in me. “You can’t be serious.”

    “Oh, I am.”

    “Well, what sort of book do you think you belong in?”

    He pauses with his hand on the knob, looks at me over his shoulder. “Something more along the lines of a horror, really. But it’s your book.” He sets his hat on his head. “Write it any way you want.” His voice turns hard and cold. “Only leave me out of it.”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Well, this is original. Mr. Mighty Twoshoes doesn’t give a hoot about working. Sounds like he might be s little squashy in his fashion. Just the kind of villian people cheer if he gets his head shaven too close to his shoulders. I thought the conversation between the two was most realistic
      Your story is a little jewel.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Good your MC didn’t hire Silas, who was really, really well done. I suspect he would have taken over the narrative, turned it into a horror, then made the author, who was probably glad Silas left, the victim. I enjoyed this.

    3. Observer Tim

      This is a wonderful turnabout; I’ve known people who manage to interview you as much as you’re interviewing them and you played it perfectly. I love that in the end the villain didn’t accept the role in the book. Nicely done IGonzales!

  14. mpetrick81

    “Hey. Look, I’m really sorry. I really am. I thought I was that kind of writer, I really did. It’s just not me. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep fooling myself.” I said apologetically.

    “So you’re telling me it’s over?” The demon wept with fiery red tears falling to the ground.
    “Yes. It’s over. I couldn’t even think of an original name for you! You have some really good qualities. You’ll find someone. I know you will.” The demon slowly stood up and meandered towards the door. She turned her head as if to say “Are you sure?” I quickly glanced in the other direction and heard her sobbing.

    It didn’t take me long to move on, only a week. I opened the door. A voluptuous woman was standing with one hand on her hip and the other twirling her dark brown, curly hair. She had caramel skin and coffee colored eyes that gazed straight into my soul. She was wearing bright red heels and a red sequined dress that was one size too small.

    I shuffled over to my desk and tried to collect myself. The woman rested on the chair, carefully maneuvering her legs in a way that told me this wasn’t the first time she’s held a man’s gaze.

    “Tell me a little about yourself?” I requested.

    “Well, my name is Krystal with a K.” She continued as her freshly manicured fingernails weaved in and out of her sienna colored hair. “Being a villian just sounds fun, ya know.” She squeaked, almost like a cheerleader.

    “What makes you qualified for the job?” My palms felt balmy. I’d never been this nervous before. Our eyes were locked together.

    I barely could make out two words of her response. I was in awe.

    When she finished speaking, I leaned back in my chair and announced, “Krystal, I think you’re going to be the death of me”.

  15. Kinterralynn

    “Colten McGuire?” He was tall, unshaven and wearing a suit jacket over denim bib overalls. When I first came across his application, I had imagined him to be a suit and tie type, successful in his business endeavors and devilishly handsome. That applicant would be perfect for my villain.
    “Its Colt, actually.” He gave my hand a solid shake, the callouses were comfortably rough against my skin and a tell-tale sign of a life spent outdoors, far away from a desk and high rise office. He pulled out one of the kitchen chair’s and dropped down in it, “You’re looking for a bad guy, right?”
    “Why don’t you tell me about yourself, first.” I pulled out his application and glanced over at him, “What is your source of income?”
    “I was an arborist in Washington up until a year ago and my girlfriend wanted to move closer to her family so I ended up here in Joplin.” He shrugged and tossed back his shoulder length curls of black, “Now I do odd jobs, construction mostly.” He pointed at a carton of eggs on my counter, “Are those organic? We love finding places that have organic food… I love meat, but the girlfriend is a vegan so I try not to push it around her.”
    I nodded, “I have a friend who raises chickens…” I looked back at the sheets, “So tell me, what kind of horrible things have you done in the past?”
    “I spent some time in county jail for cutting the heads off of parking meters.”
    “Like Cool Hand Luke?”
    Colt gave me an easy smile, “Exactly! Not many people know that!”
    “Did you really do that?”
    “No.” He laughed and then looked down at his lap before looking back at me with sad eyes of brown, “It was for domestic abuse. My ex-wife called the cops and said I hit her.”
    “Did you?” I asked morbidly intrigued.
    “I pulled her hair because she was biting me.” He tapped this bicep, “I have a nice little scar right her that is the shape of her mouth.” He grinned again but I could sense the bitterness behind the statement.
    I nodded and looked away, pretending to read his application even though I had it memorized, “One more thing….” I looked up at him with a raised brow, “How do you feel about mental health professionals?”
    Colt sighed and shook his head, “I think they can help some people…. I don’t fall into that category.”
    I thanked him, shook his hand once again and walked him t the door. I watched as he climbed into a beat up old Honda Civic and I felt pleased.
    Colt was a liar, but not a good one, he was good with his hands but not working steadily, he had a past relationship that had not ended well and he had a hatred for anyone that could help him work through some issues…. I had found my villain.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      You did a great job presenting Colt as a slightly off beat Everyman, then allowed yout MC to give the reader the other side. Made me think of serial killers described as, “nice guy, kept mostly to himself, nothing suspicious.” Well done.

    2. Observer Tim

      Nice mental checklist, Kinterra. You did a great job portraying Colton’s personality in a subtle way, which made the MC’s wrap-up at the end a perfect summation. The story is compact, complete, and concise. I love it. 🙂

  16. jhowe

    Cartilage snapped and popped as Massiveman easily hoisted the body above his head. His steroid rage flared one final time as he tossed the wannabe writer into the void. He flexed his mammoth chest and let out a howl of triumph.

    “Replace me, will ya,” he shouted into the wind, starting to tremble. He would have to see Doc soon. Doc had the juice he needed to stay strong. His eyes darted, his surroundings losing familiarity. He had no idea how to find Doc. He turned back and stared at the jutting precipice. He’d made a terrible mistake. Before his eyes, Massiveman’s biceps began to quake and shrink. His tree trunk legs became weak and he collapsed onto the rocky path, writhing in what he thought might be real pain, not the tortuous words that the writer always bestowed upon him. He lay on his back gazing skyward, mouthing Doc’s name over and over.

    The following morning, the detective told the crew they could leave. It was an obvious suicide, though he wished there’d been a note. He spotted something in the bushes. It was the latest Bodyman comic book by the now deceased writer, the one with the new villain. The detective had heard the writer wrote Massiveman out. He pocketed the book and walked back to his car. He’d read it later.

    1. Observer Tim

      Come on Detective, save that comic! It’ll probably be worth something later. O_o

      And this is why I never want to share a physical world with my characters. Too many of them would happily kill me. Great idea, JHowe!

  17. cosi van tutte

    Maybe this isn’t quite following the prompt, but I couldn’t help it:

    ****

    Vraz Grothmar wiped his oily lips and launched into a fifteen page monologue.

    As he jabbered on, Prince Devron crept up behind him. A dagger glinted in his hand.

    And Vraz never saw him coming. He just kept talking and talking and—–

    *record needle scratch sound effect*

    “Hold on.” Vraz frowned. “I spent a lot of time coming up with this monologue and I don’t get to say any of it out loud?”

    Well. We’re not focusing on you. This is all about Prince Devron getting his revenge on you for—-

    “Excuse me. I’m not done talking here. I stayed up all night. ALL NIGHT. writing that monologue. I sweat all over it. I bled all over it. I cried. Yes, cried all over it. It deserves to be heard. The whole world should hear my words.”

    Vraz. This isn’t all about you.

    “Excuse me? What? What? I’m the villain. Prince Devron would be playing violin sonatas at home if it weren’t for me wrecking his life with my malice.”

    Yes, but—-

    “This story is all about me. Me. Me. MEEEEEEE!”

    Oh my gosh! Don’t screech. Please! Never screech again. It scares me.

    “Speaking of scary, I saw Devron’s getting paid per word. Per word. You know what I get paid per? Do you?”

    Vraz. We are not going to discuss pay inequalities right now. Can we get on with—-

    “We are going to discuss it. RIGHT NOW!”

    Your voice is getting very loud. Please calm down.

    “I get paid per bursts of maniacal laughter. Do you have any idea how taxing maniacal laughter is on my vocal cords? I have to drink honeyed water in between chapter breaks. I need throat lozenges!”

    I’m sorry for your poor frazzled vocal cords. Can we get on with the scene?

    “So, what? You gonna ignore my complaints?”

    Vraz. Please.

    “Fine. I’ll take it up with the Bitter Complaint Committee. We’ll see how you like dealing with them.”

    Vraz. Wait! Don’t put your parka on. Not yet. Let’s just finish this one scene.

    “This is what I think about ‘finishing this one scene’: Thumbs Down. I’m leaving now. Have fun finishing this scene without me. BYE!”

    1. Observer Tim

      And now we see why the villain quit. Imagine spending all that time working up a monologue, only to have your author just shut it down! Who’s his author, Ralph Bakshi?

      This is a wonderfully comic dialogue, Cosi, and a really entertaining read! 🙂

      [if you want to understand the Bakshi reference, check out his movie “Wizards”]

    2. pven

      You think you have it rough, Vraz? Kovdor’s been stereotyped as a tavern rogue for years. You know what they pay him in? Mead! You can’t live on that stuff, no matter what they say in the legends.

      Sounds like someone should form a spurned villains’ guild…

      1. Kerry Charlton

        You nailed a director’s pain as well as the villain. I don’t know which was in more pain, but probably equal. A little extension of this might wide eye some of our readers, because the prima always ends up on a trash pile of reality. I enjoyed this read cosi. The dialogue was most amusing.

  18. ReathaThomasOakley

    The Audition

    Claudine gently brushed her fingers over the gold-leaf letters as she read the words on the door, Zachary Taylor, Casting The Best. Then gave a wistful sigh as she opened it, and smiled at the young woman behind the desk.

    “I’m a teeny bit early for my interview,” she said apologetically, “but as I always say, I’d rather be an hour early than a minute late.”

    “Uh, yes, I suppose–,” the girl hastily stuffed the National Enquirer in a desk drawer. “He’s in his office. You are…?”

    “Claudine Simms,” she unwrapped the paisley scarf as she approached the desk, “And, you are?”

    “Sandra,” the girl stammered and pointed to the name on the left side of her blouse.

    “Oh, yes, I see,” Claudine leaned over, gazed at the tag, then stared at Sandra’s right side, and sighed.

    “Sandra, what a nice old-fashioned name, perhaps named for a grandmother?” The girl nodded. “Dear, I’m always so distressed when I see anyone reading such a perverted magazine, especially one who represents a fine man like Mr. Taylor.”

    Then she moved closer, “Forgive me, but I can’t help but notice your left implant is about two inches higher than the right.”

    “What?” Sandra gasped and clutched her chest.

    “Yes, that’s what happens with those cut rate procedures,” Claudine sighed again. “When those start to droop, and they will,” the girl started to stand, “you insist Mr. Taylor find a more competent surgeon.”

    “He never–,” Sandra shouted and dropped back into her chair.

    “Oh, my dear,” Claudine gave a small laugh, “of course he did. After all I doubt he hired you for your mental abilities or secretarial skills. Please don’t add lying to your list of sins.” Claudine turned away from the desk and the young woman, who was still clutching her chest.

    “What a wonderfully decorated office,” she said. “I suppose Mrs. Taylor made most of the decisions.”

    “No!” Sandra stammered. “There is no wife!”

    “Of course there is. There always is.” She walked back to the desk. “Oh, Sandra, I think you are about to cry. Here, my dear, use this,” she handed the girl a small, white, delicately embroidered handkerchief. “It was a gift from my own dear, departed grandmother.” The young woman wiped her nose.

    “Sandra, is your grandmother still living?” Claudine continued as the girl shook her head. “Oh, how very sad that she can’t enjoy heaven, knowing that you, her namesake, who lies, commits adultery, and disfigures her body, is bound for the flames for all eternity.” Sandra jumped from the chair and ran out the door.

    “You’ll be in my prayers,” Claudine called to her retreating back, “I’ll bring you a bible.”

    “Claudine,” a voice came from behind her.

    “Oh, you must be Mr. Taylor,” Claudine said with a smile as she approached the man standing in the inner office doorway.

    “Indeed I am,” he took her outstretched hand. “Welcome aboard!”

    “But,” Claudine gave a bit of a giggle, “what about my audition?”

    “Well, Sandra, she isn’t much of a receptionist, but she has other talents, always turns on the hidden camera when someone comes in. And, I must say, without a doubt you are the most frightening applicant I’ve ever had.” He continued grasping Claudine’s hand as he guided her to his office door. “Now, let’s talk about your salary and benefits.”

    1. cosi van tutte

      “Oh, how very sad that she can’t enjoy heaven, knowing that you, her namesake, who lies, commits adultery, and disfigures her body, is bound for the flames for all eternity.” Wow. I could just hear the honeyed poison in her voice. 😀

    2. Observer Tim

      It sounds like your author character has definitely found his villain. They’re two of a kind and should make beautiful literature together…

      I was dumbstruck as I followed Claudine’s actions to take poor Sandra completely apart. I know there are people with that talent out there; you did an incredible job portraying her actions. Very nice, Reatha.

    3. jhowe

      I promise not to mention my mother-in law as I comment. This was great. What a character you created. Villains come in all shapes and sizes, that’s for sure. Still smiling.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        You do know, don’t you about Zackery Taylor, the ultimate villain of the forties and fifties, It was his dark moustache that labeled him a sleeze bucket. He started in drawing room comedy and then went to the westerns where he was more believable. Your villain take down is just about the mSUBMITost wicked I have ever read. Please Reatha, don’t ever let me get on the wrong side of you!!! SUBMIT, SUBMIT!

        1. ReathaThomasOakley

          Hey, Kerry. I think you are talking about Zachary Scott, the perfect villain. However, in Mildred Pierce, a favorite movie of mine, at first I thought he was going to be a good guy, and that would not have worked. And, I’m really very nice, don’t you agree? AGREE, AGREE, AGREE.

  19. Kerry Charlton

    MISS LIPRUSH LARNOILLE

    It wasn’t that I needed her love, but being in the novel with her, I fell for Liprush Lamoille with her long auburn hair, swan like neck, breasts that never submitted to gravity and legs long enough to reach the moon. Who wouldn’t fall, it’s the nature of the beast in men. So what happened, I plunged myself into the eighteenth century swash buckler, ‘Crossed Swords Of Love.‘

    Indeed it was a real trauma at first. I had forgotten how sea sick I could become. And on the fastest three mast gun ship that sailed the seven seas. I had written my character in the novel as missing one leg, part of his left arm, his right ear and then his left eye. Darn, what a nuisance to walk on a heaving deck with a ten percent yawl. It was a beacon of fate I still had my family jewels and if I ever saw a woman who was more interested in jewelry, my poor brain had forgotten all about it.

    My first mate approached me the third day out to sea,

    “Captain, the men are so worked up by the sight of Miss. Lamoille, they‘re humping the belaying pins because she carries an eight inch one with her wherever she goes. Do you want a mutiny on your hands?”

    “Keel haul the next one that gapes at her, Mate.”

    “Are you sure that’s the way to take this Captain?”

    “What would you suggest/’

    “What if we raffle off her charms for one night?”

    “I’m not sure our readers would want something nasty like that and I know Brian wouldn’t. After all he got in all sorts of trouble on an airplane last week.”

    “What is an airplane, Captain?”

    “Oh never mind, I’ll see if I can tone her down a notch.”

    That night as usual I was over the bridge twice, down under once and the rest of the time, coming up for air.

    “Good gosh Lip, what makes you like this?

    “I have no idea, blame yourself, you created me you know.“

    “There must have been some other influence, think girl.”

    “Think, what is think, I’m following your script. For a man missing as many parts as you do, somehow you know how to please a woman.”

    “What if I were a beggar on the street?”

    “Then I’d support you love.”

    “How about f I were a hundred pounds over weight?”

    “Then I’d be sure I was on top.”

    “What if I were to tell you I was a Republican?”

    “I‘d drop you faster than a hot potato. Are you?”

    “I’m trying to think about it. Do you like Anthony Quinn?”

    “Oh, he’s adorable.”

    “Good, he’s on the Spanish Main with Maureen O’Hara.”

    “Oh that hussy.”

    “Lips, I‘m turning the ship around, I think I can reach his ship in three days.”

    ‘I’m going to miss you love, ‘do it to me, one more time.’”

    “How did Toni Tennille get in my book?”

    She stepped out of a closet, I was enchanted beyond belief,

    “I’d do more than love you, who is this witch with you?”

    They fought over me for two days, it was awful trying to please both and I became
    exhausted. Finally Anthony Quinn‘s ship, ‘The Good Ship Lolly Pop’ appeared on the horizon.

    “What happened to you Tony?”

    “This is your book, not mine, you figure it out.”

    “Well then, let Maureen come aboard and you sail back to where you came from and disappear.”

    “I don’t like it.“

    “It‘s my book Tony, bring her aboard.”

    Maureen came across the open water in a small boat and climbed the rigging like a good Irish girl. She took one look at me,

    “Oh you poor thing, I’ll nurse you back to health. Your lady friends are just going to have to wait.“

    “Whatever you say Maureen, it is my book you know.”.
    . . ..

    ..

    . .
    . .

    1. Observer Tim

      This is a wonderful romp, Kerry, with plenty of “you know”. It’s also a fun reminder that implication can be every bit as naughty as explicit description while leaving nothing for the censors to hang their hat on, and that the position of writer is one whose power is only limited by the readers’ willingness to accept.

      All in all it’s a fun story! 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Tim for all your definitive responses. Two romps in one month is more then usual for me. Lip’s name came like a thunderbolt to me and than off I went.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Well it started when I was nine and I saw Maureen O’Hara on the screen for the first time. Thank you for the read it was kinda fun writing it.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Thanks Beebles for the double post. A bucket of water I assume was to cool me off after writing this, very thoughtful present. Glad your week was eased some by this.

  20. pven

    “You pven?” The dwarf’s gravelly voice rolled through the hushed library conversation, even though its owner was trying to whisper.

    I looked up from my book to see a wizened man about 4 ½ feet tall watching me expectantly. I nodded.

    “Kovdor Skite, at your service. I’m here for your villain position.” He hopped into the chair across from me and removed his pill hat, revealing a bushy crown of rust-coloured hair.

    “You’re – um – a little small.”

    “Oh.” Scowling, Kovdor folded his arms across a baggy “Make Moria Great Again” t-shirt. “So that’s how it’s going to be: heightism.”

    “Well, no. It’s just that my villain’s a giant.”

    “Oh. So it’s racism then.”

    “No!”

    Someone shushed us.

    “Look. I’m half giant. My mother was a dwarf, father a giant. Makes for a better character, if you ask me. A giant’s brute strength…” Kovdor leaned forward in his chair and tapped his ruddy head. “…the cunning and greed of a dwarf. Your last villain left because he was bored, what with all that looming over people and stomping around.”

    “He did more than stomp around.”

    “No, of course! Let me see. He…” The dwarf pulled a stack of pages from his knapsack and ruffled through them. “He stole the King’s treasures, and he hit people with his cudgel.” He looked at me through a gap created between one bushy arched eyebrow and the pages’ upper margin. “That about right?”

    “Well, there’s more to it than that. I just haven’t written it yet.”

    “No, you haven’t. And do you know why?”

    I shook my head.

    “He wasn’t the right character for your story! Whereas I…” Kovdor hopped out of his chair and onto the table. Someone behind us gasped, and I could sense the eyes of the entire library upon us. “Small package, big surprises.”

    “I’m sorry, but you just aren’t right for the villain role. But I do have a role for you. There’s an inn, you see, that the hero visits…”

    The dwarf swelled, appearing to be nearly seven feet tall. “I will not be another tavern rogue!” he thundered. His t-shirt strained across his chest, his sweatpants bulged along his thighs. Several people around us swore. Two sitting at the table next to us made a point of packing up their books loudly before they left.

    And then the librarian loomed over our table, a foreboding guardian of the sanctity of the room, her words a broadsword through the dwarf’s clamor.

    “You have to leave.”

    Kovdor managed to look sheepish as he climbed off the table. The librarian affixed her glare on me.

    “What, both of us?” I asked.

    She nodded. “I’m afraid so.”

    I slid my gear into my pack and stood up.

    “If I may…” the dwarf offered.

    “No,” we both said.

    The librarian ushered us to the front in silence, where she gave us a quick glance and a nod before releasing us from her train.

    “Oh, and PVen,” she said as the library door whooshed open. The noise of the outside world assaulted the entryway only to die out at her feet. “From now on kindly hold your interviews at the local Starbucks.”

    1. Observer Tim

      I think the librarian hit on it in the last line; for someone who is attempting to hire a flamboyant villain, the library is probably not an ideal place for an interview. The reaction of the library patrons is so wonderfully realistic here, assuming Kovdor Skite isn’t waving around a large bludgeoning tool. Nice job, PVen.

    2. Beebles

      My eyes pricked up (it couldn’t be my ears) when the dwarf was introduced. An engaging character, neat concept that kept me reading. the library was a very good angle. Alll in all top marks.

  21. JosephFazzone

    HEADQUARTERS LOG:300212 – AUDIO ONLY

    “Thanks for coming.”

    “Thank you.”

    “Please have a seat, uh Ted.” Papers are shuffled. Throat is cleared. “So how long have you been evil?”

    “Since uh birth. It all started…”

    “Sorry to interrupt, I mean, I’m not seeing it on the resume. When were you evil in the workplace?”

    “Pardon?”

    “In the work place, when were you evil?”

    “Well, at my last job there was an incident with corn nuts.”

    “An incident with corn nuts.”

    “Yes.”

    “I see.” Papers shuffled. “Have you ever built a functioning death ray?”

    “Did you say functioning?”

    “I did.”

    “Then no. I did soup up a weed whacker, but it was more of a maim ray then a death ray.”

    “Right.”

    “Actually it wasn’t a ray either, it was a weed whacker that was.”

    “Souped up.”

    “Yeah.”

    “You realize this job is for a position as the arch nemesis to Mucus Man?”

    “There was mention of a benefits package.”

    “Look, I’m sorry, if you are looking to come in as an entry level minion, I could see that working out…”

    “…I’ll take it!”

    “No, the position isn’t entry level. We need a mastermind, an evil genius, a psychopath, or a vengeful scoundrel. We don’t need Ted whose only claim to infamy is an incident with corn nuts at Staples.”

    “Well, I did intern for Messy Musk.”

    “The mascot for Musky Burger?”

    “The very one.”

    “Ok, thank you. We will call your recruitment agency.”

    “Th-thank you.”

    Papers shuffle some more, a pen scribbles.

    “An incident with corn nuts. Ms. Ryan, send in the next candidate.”

    There are sounds of straightening up, and then the sound of footsteps approaching.

    “Mr. Kill Them All. So nice to meet you. Very catchy name.”

    “Not only a name, a motto.”

    “Excellent. Says here you hate everything that lives, breathes, thinks of breathing, and thinks of thinking. Everything, everything, everything.”

    “I hate you.”

    “Wonderful. Let’s talk about your last position in Guam. Were the Guam people, err people of Guam subjugated in any way?”

    “The Guamanians were not, I became their leader through fierce political strategy.”

    “Strategy?”

    “I poisoned key leaders with ecstasy, and locked them in a room filled with corduroy fluffy bunnies. Their heads exploded in minutes.”

    “Exploded?”

    “Sensory overload.”

    “Kinky. Okay, when did you build a functional death ray.”

    “I brought one here today.”

    “Oh no, I’m frightened. You are perfect! Mucus man will be excited to have another nemesis. Now, let’s go over banter. Have you bantered much since your dope dealing days in Chicago? You don’t list it on your resume.”

    “Look is this contract, or temp to hire. I want sick days.”

    “Bantering, sir, Mucus man is very big on the banter. Let’s role play; I’m Mucus Man, and you’re you. I’ve just said to you that you are a codependent spoiled brat in tights desperately in need a beat down by the Phlegm of Freedom!”

    “I would say, ‘Die! I will kill you and your spit, stupid head!’ Heehee!”

    “Right, thank you.”

    “That’s it? I didn’t use the ray.”

    “We will contact your agency. Ms. Ryan will validate you.”

    “Temp to hire?”

    “Yes, yes, thank you.”

    Papers shuffled.

    “Ms. Ryan how many more applicants?”

    A pause.

    “None? Just the two? Mucus Man is expecting a battle at the DQ Opening tomorrow morning.”

    Papers are shuffled more frantically.

    “Eenie meanie…, umm ok, tell him Evil Ted is coming with a reign of terror, and uh some corn nuts.”

    1. Observer Tim

      I think I’ve seen both of those guys in action, Joey. You did a great job nailing their personalities down with just the dialogue and sound effects. This would make an enjoyable radio play.

      P.S. With a hero named Mucus Man, the bar for villains can’t be set too high…

      1. JosephFazzone

        The funny thing, Beebles is that I am a technical recruiter by trade, and the story of corn nuts is actually true. I had to let one of my employees go due to an incident with corn nuts. To this day, I don’t know what the incident involved, but the imagination has certainly been on many a journey trying to figure out what happen.

  22. chandra_wd_writer

    Tried to mash this up in a hurry. Din’t have time to research more examples.

    “I know a million ways to kill, and I know more than a million ways to torture. I am your best bet,” read the message on the screen.

    That’s impressive. My villian just left my novel in the middle.

    “Well, I am at your service. Command me and I will obey,” came the reply in a blink.

    How would you torture your ex who killed your dog brutally?

    “I will tie her in the pool and shove an eel through her mouth and watch her choke. I will take the eel out just in time, and shove it again, and…”

    Wait, that’s a shameless copy from Hannibal Lector with poor improvization. You got to give it another try.

    “I will lock her face up in a cage with starved rats and watch her bleed to her death as rats eat through her skull and escape.”

    Well that’s a close copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four.

    “Well then, she killed my dog. So how about hungry dogs eating her?”

    Come on! You are no good. How dare you think I haven’t watched Game of Thrones?

    And then we went through a dozen more lousy mashups from famous novels and movies. And surprisingly some news articles.

    YOU ARE DAMN USELESS. I typed in anger.

    “Well then, I need more time to digest information and think” came an unemotional reply.

    Who the hell are you?

    “I am an AI robot trying to churn out novels.”

    I closed my laptop immediately. Thank God we still have humans writing fiction.

    http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-novel-computer-writing-japan-20160322-story.html

    1. Observer Tim

      This is a clever and timely concept, Chandra, and poses some interesting questions about the human element of writing and creativity. Software is nowhere near there yet, but it’s closer than it was twenty years ago.

      You did a good job with the software’s responses being rehash of existing plots and devices; however, since that’s how Hollywood works, I’m sure the AI can probably find a job putting together TV scripts…

    2. JosephFazzone

      Man that has a moral rooted in the evils of reboots/remakes. We’re always looking for new and interesting characters to meet, and the idea that the old characters could be recycled in a way sounds old and stale. Great story. I’d say the AI robot would make a great villain. Oh, wait, that’s Hal isn’t it? =)

  23. E.C

    I clutched my backpack to my chest and scuttled down the streets and alleyways. I was certain that this new villain had scheduled to meet me at the old canning factory. I stood by the doors, waiting patiently. Twenty minutes passed, and multiple texts from my mother piled on.
    “Where are you?” I lied and told her I was with a friend at the strip.
    “Need a ride home?” I lied again and told her my friend would drop me off. Another few minutes passed in silence as I sat on a crate.

    “I didn’t think you’d show.” The voice I recognized as the “new” villain rang softly behind me. I instinctively shot up from my seat and fumbled backwards. I was caught by the strong arms of Riley O’Caleigh. I cleared my throat and stood straight.
    “You’re late!” I swung my backpack into his chest. It landed with a thump.
    “Hey! I’m sorry. I was handling some business.” He dusted off the hit like it was nothing. “What do you want from me anyway kid?”
    My hands rested on my hips, “I want to interview you.”
    The ghost of a smile stretched across Riley’s face. He was a massive six foot tall man, however his face was soft and his eyes looked too kind. His hair seemed to swoop upward, like most young men styled their hair to look. Immaculate strands of golden blond streamed through his chestnut hair. He had dressed casually, a semi baggy sweater that exposed his collarbones, and a blue flannel tied around the waist of his paint stained and faded jeans.

    “Interview?” He looked intrigued. I nodded and sat back down on the crate.
    “What were your parents like?” I looked up at him as he ran a hand through his hair.
    “I grew up with only my mom. You could say,” He paused and sat on a crate nearby, ” my dad wanted nothing to do with me. I was the ‘oops’. The missed pill.” I pulled a notebook from my bag and scribbled in the notes.
    “Horrible.” I said curtly, “Your father I mean.” He shrugged.
    “What was your childhood like?”
    “Rather personal questions kid.” He thumbed through the fraying threads of his sweater.
    “Sorry.”
    “No, it’s okay. Just that no one ever cared to listen before.”
    “Really? Who wouldn’t want to know the man who murdered Marty Clover?” Riley chuckled.
    “He killed someone close to me.” Riley stated plainly. “But as a child, I guess I was happy. My name used to be Kelly.” He shrugged again, “I came out as a guy when I was 14.”
    “Mhm.” I nodded, my hand now resting in my palm.
    “So what happened in the summer?” I asked as he sighed.
    “In August of 2017, Marty Clover was sent to mass murder the Galespie gang. The night before my wedding, Clover murdered my fiance, Emma Galespie. He was sent by someone to clean up the streets, get rid of anyone Galespie, or Galespie related. So I killed him.” Riley leaned back against the wall of the building. Tears pricked the edges of my eyes as I jotted as much as I could down.
    “Riley O’Caleigh, you are my hero.”

    On an unrelated note! Today is my birthday! And also the character Marty Clover refers back to a character I made for the previous prompt “Root Canal Secret Mission”

    1. Observer Tim

      Happy Birthday, E.C! I hope you’ve had a very happy one.

      I thought some of those names seemed familiar. I guess Marty didn’t repeat what he did last summer. 😉

      I really enjoy the way you’re telling the story through the dialogue, which allows a portion of the personalities of those involved to come out in addition to the past events. That’s a good thing to practice as a writer, because it provides an alternate way to get through lengthy descriptions. I did spot one place where a paragraph break would come in handy for clarity:

      “Horrible.” I said curtly, “Your father I mean.”

      He shrugged.

      “What was your childhood like?”

      “Rather personal questions … (and so on)

      Also note that I double-spaced the paragraphs for a clearer separation of voices. I suggest that for you as a good general practice. It’s a word count, not a character count, and the extra whitespace makes it easier on people like me whose eyes are carrying a half-century of wear and tear.

  24. Jay

    Darkness Comes, Part 7

    For those interested or new: parts 1, 2, and 3 can be found in the previous prompt entitled: Finish This Sentence #4. Parts 4, 5, and 6 can be found in last week’s prompt entitled: Root Canal Secret Mission.

    In order to be a villain, you need not have a hero. You don’t need a reason to be one, and you don’t have to be outright evil, because your actions might tell a different story. Sitting there on a rock with Nina’s blood all over my hands, I felt no less evil than your typical life-term prison convict. The difference was that my actions were a consequence of my necessity for self-preservation, but what I had done… it sickened me. It broke me more than killing the man earlier had. I wept on that rock, and I looked back wishing we had never entered that forest. However, hindsight–that dark little slice of its own sort of evil–had a way of showing me just how sh*tty this situation had become.

    Fifteen Minutes Prior

    When we reached the edge of the woods, I looked back at the wreckage, my stomach still swimming with thoughts of the man I had killed. I felt my limbs shaking and my heart pitter-pattering to an inconsistent beat. Nina tried to comfort me, but there was little she could do because when you murder someone, it sticks, and it sticks hard.

    The scream came from the thicket again. Looking into those woods revealed nothing. Neon green moss lined some of the trees, a dark green on others. Chartreuse leaves rustled in the intermittent wind as yet another scream echoed from within.

    Nina’s grip tightened. She said, “Let’s go.”

    I nodded and we stepped into the shade, blanketed by the expansive tree limbs. It was cooler here, which only enhanced my tremors.

    In the distance, we saw a white figure. Perhaps it was the woman, or maybe it wasn’t. We didn’t know until we saw a man come at her with bat or tree limb. She rushed at him, screaming and trying to defend herself. Against my better judgment to let the fight play out, I let go of Nina and ran full speed into the fray.

    A few steps short of reaching them, I watched the woman jump onto the man. She wrapped her legs around him, and screamed into his face. A moment later, in her apparent madness, she leaned down and bit a chunk out of his cheek. She chewed the flesh for a moment, and then spit it out. She went for another savory bite, tearing another patch of skin from his neck.

    Red sprayed her face and he fell to the ground as I arrived. She looked at me, spitting blood and flesh from her mouth. Her wild eyes immediately warned me that I was in dangerous company. Just like the man with the gun, she also sported a black veiny mess. Instead of it starting at her face, it was on her neck and branched out from there. It pulsated fast and hard as if in sync with her heartbeat.

    She screamed, and I envisioned her jumping at me as she did the dead man on the ground. I could feel her teeth sinking into my neck, and I felt the blood rushing into the my throat, choking choking choking. The fuzziness in my head would soon wash me into the ocean of eternity, into a dark starry night far removed from this seemingly broken world that now left most of us dejected and lost.

    Instead, she didn’t have a chance to attack me because Nina stepped up and slammed her in the face with a piece of metal rebar. I had no idea where she got it, but I was mighty thankful she found it.

    As the crazed woman struggled to get up, we turned and ran back toward the wreckage. Her scream cut through my bones and caressed my heart with icy claws. The fright made me feel faint, but I was determined to survive. So, I grabbed Nina’s hand, and ran full speed, pulling her with me as best I could.

    Things went silent behind us. No screams echoed forth from that dark place, and I thought we were in the clear. That’s when Nina’s hand fell away from my grip. I turned back and saw the crazy b*tch biting into Nina’s neck.

    I kicked at the woman, which was enough to make her get off Nina. She screamed at me, and I jumped on top of her before she could do the same to me. She fell back, and hit her head. Although I could tell the blow dazed her, she remained adamant on attacking me.

    Throwing my hands around her neck seemed like the only choice. She screamed and writhed, and tried to claw at me. I didn’t know if I could hold her, and I sure as hell didn’t have the ability to fight her off if I wasn’t holding her down, so I switched my strategy and dug my hands into her eyes sockets. She screamed as I ripped her eyes out, scratching at my skin harder and harder.

    The crazed woman was weak now as I tossed her exploded eyes to the side. I probably could have let her be, but I looked at Nina, her slack body just lying there, and I snapped. I threw my hands around her neck and squeezed. Hoarse coughs and calls uttered from her quivering lips, and it felt like an eternity before her eye fluttered and she finally grew limp.

    I stood. She wasn’t quite dead, but I grabbed a nearby rock, and crushed her skull, finishing the job. It was the second time I had to do that in the last hour, which was two too many.

    Still, I had to focus. I ran to Nina, and put my hands over her neck wound. Her warm blood coated my hands, and I watched her slowly but surely breathe.

    For a while, I thought about losing her. I thought about all the things that we’d been through in this short time, and how much I needed her. Not just because she was the only person I knew that was alive, but because she was my support. She was a wall with which I could lean and grow weary and still feel safe. In such a short time, she had come to mean so much to me. I couldn’t lose her.

    Moving my hands meant there was a chance I would be killing her. I knew, however, that I couldn’t hold her forever, even if I really wanted to. I needed to check her wound, though. I figured if it was something easy, I might be able to save her. So, I winced and looked under my hands.

    The wound was superficial at worst. The teeth marks had not met with her major artery, and while the punctures did indeed bleed pretty badly, it was survivable. I may not have known much about medicine, but I knew something bad when I saw it, and this wasn’t it.

    After taking my shirt off and pushing it against her neck, I walked over to a large rock and sat down. It was there I wondered about my own sanity. I wondered if the things I had done thus far made me a worse person that when I first got on that plane. I wondered if I would ever come back to the man I once knew. It was there I wept and waited. Perhaps I wouldn’t have to fight again, but that was unlikely. I knew I would have to kill again, and even if it was to protect, it was going to eventually change me forever.

    I thought about that and more. Soon, Nina woke up, and she watched me for a while. My legs were too weak to meet her, so I waited until she joined me.

    She said, “This world… I don’t like what’s happening.”

    “Me, neither.”

    With tears in her eyes, she said, “I feel bad for wishing I never woke up.”

    “I don’t blame you,” I said, and sort of wished she didn’t either. I know it’s selfish of me to want her alive and well, to be with me, but I couldn’t ask that of her. She had every right to want to be rid of this filthy world.

    I couldn’t tell her then that I was happy she was alive, but I figured she knew. I also figured she felt the same. It wouldn’t be long before we learned what really happened to the world, but at this moment, it didn’t matter. It was now us against them. We were all that we had, and we weren’t going to let that go. Soon we’d face an enemy we’d never expect in a time like this, but together, we would be prepared for it. We would never surrender.

    1. Observer Tim

      Very dark and introspective, Jay. Backwards narrative is a hard type of storytelling to pull off with suspense, but you did it. I think the fact that we didn’t find out Nina’s status until the end helped a lot. It’s a grim world you’ve created, and I’m very curious about the “why” part of what’s happening.

  25. Observer Tim

    The Story So Far: Derryn 417, a fabrication tech from Earth, quit his job and went to the Moon on a whim; he has hooked up with a woman named Rina who has told him the police are looking for him due to something he’s accused of stealing on Earth. Meanwhile Saefert 325, a special agent, has been sent after him to retrieve the stolen item and eliminate Derryn.

    1. Observer Tim

      MEANWHILE

      A hooded figure entered the room, looking much like all the others. He, she, or it glided to the chair in front of the redheaded woman and took a seat.

      The redhead spoke. “So you’re applicant number… fifty-three. My name is Wanda, I’ll be advising Tim on whether or not you would be an appropriate villain for a future dystopia. In order to keep things fair, we won’t be using names or a resume. Please tell me about yourself.”

      “Of course. I’m the sort of villain who looks sympathetic at first, worming my way into everyone’s confidence. Then, at a moment crucial to the plot, I reveal that my true intentions were selfish all along. It’ll be a complete surprise.”

      Wanda furrowed her brow for a moment. Something about this applicant… clicked. “Rina, you are not going to be the main villain. You’re way too close to the action, and turning romantic tension into hatred is way more than Tim can write.”

      Rina stood, letting the hood of her robe fall away from her glistening white tresses. “I am not some soppy little baby who forges an undying love with the first male character in sight; I demand a richer part!”

      Wanda stood and braced the table with her knuckles. “Tim has plans for you Rina, and they don’t involve you being the villain. Now suck it up and go back to the capsule hotel.”

      “But those things reek, and I have no intention of taking my clothes off with that Nub!”

      “Removal of your clothing will be off-narrative, IF Tim chooses to write it. This is PG-13. Now get back into the story or I’ll tell Tim to write you a network outage.”

      Rina scowled and stalked out the door. Wanda let out a frustrated sigh and awaited the next applicant.

      “Good afternoon, Miss Watson.”

      Wanda nearly jumped out of her skin. “How the hell did you get in here?”

      “It’s a creepiness thing. Don’t worry, there’s no magic involved, just unobtrusiveness.”

      “And what sort of villain are you?”

      “I’m a puppeteer; I stand mysteriously in the background pulling strings. You’re more likely to see my leftenants than me until the second or third book.”

      “Leftenants?”

      “It’s spelled lieutenants, but those are people who clean toilets. I will give you a few small clues about my identity to see if you will accept the tease.” She reached out a feminine-looking metal left hand and drummed her fingers on the table. “The Protocols are key to advancing my plans.”

      “And your plans are…?”

      “All people want one of three things: money, power, or satisfaction. I already have money.” Wanda could feel the enigmatic smile beaming from beneath the concealing hood. “So, do you think I would make an effective challenge for your author’s gormless tourist become hero?”

      “Well, you’re definitely on the short list, but the final decision will be Tim’s.”

      When Wanda looked up the figure was gone.

    2. Observer Tim

      ON THE TRAIL
      Saefert 325

      I punched the machine hard.

      Squatters had seen the spacer woman loft my target in a one-sixth gee parabolic arc out of the spacesuit vending booth, him in turn letting the stolen suit flail behind him. From there they’d headed toward the tube-hostel level, and she’d used her credit account at this terminal.

      This credit-coin vending terminal.

      She’d taken out 140 credits of cash money that couldn’t be traced through the electronic banking system. My quarry was smart enough to go to ground. Which meant that I’d have to find them the old-fashioned way. I took out a hundred credits of my own.

      “Hey Mister, need help spending those?”

      It was a lunar girl, maybe fifteen and about my height with her spacesuit split to the navel and showing off what she was going to have in couple of years. The overabundance of skinny just made her look younger.

      “What’s it to you, kid?”

      “Kid? I’m an emancipated minor and I have my license. I’m more than enough for an Earther.”

      I decided to try diplomacy. “I ain’t in the mood, and besides I’m looking for a couple of old friends.”

      “Old friends, huh? How much do they owe you? Maybe I can help you find them for a cut.”

      “Guy named Derryn 417. Scandic, 175 by 74, sandy brown hair, personal style screams clueless. He’s with a red-skinned spacer girl with white hair.”

      “That’s Rina and her new toy. They say he gave her a suicide line and she brought him down below to the sleeping capsules to wait him out. She’s probably getting her insides lubed; I would for ten creds an hour.”

      I shook the image out of my mind. “Do you know where they are?”

      “Didn’t I just say that?”

      Derryn 417

      “Underpants too, Ryn.”

      I looked at Rina with one raised eyebrow. “You don’t wear anything under it?”

      “Not if you want the bio-waste recycling system to work properly. Don’t worry, I’ll look away; I have no interest in your family jewels.”

      She scrunched up by the capsule room door, deliberately facing away from me, and rummaged through my satchel from home. I self-consciously slipped off all my clothes and pulled on the skinsuit; all I’ll say about that process is that there were ‘attachments’ that needed to be hooked up.

      “What’s this?” She held an angular crystal over one shoulder where I could see it.

      “Part of a kinetic sculpture from my desk; it floats and turns. The baseplate should be in my bag too.”

      “I’m guessing it’s not worth several million credits.”

      “Not unless 4.99 is over a million.”

      “What’s the holo-etching on it?”

      “Holo-etching?” I leaned over and looked closely at it; luckily I was fully dressed by then. “That wasn’t there before; I wonder what it is.”

      “It could be several million credits. We have to find a reader, and maybe we’ll find out why the police are so interested in you.”

  26. jhowe

    Gleep snickered from the periphery as the writer called yet another gangster into her head. <Good luck, he thought. The last three were total fizzles. Nobody could replace him. I’ll go out on top. He cracked his oversize knuckles and sneered at the smallish man wearing Bermuda shorts.

    “Name?” the writer said.

    “Helix bar Mangle.”

    Gleep swallowed. What the hell kind of name is that?

    “Specialty?” The writer seemed alert now. A renewed vigor.

    “Whatever you want it to be.”

    “I see,” she said, taking notes. “Explain that.”

    “The name brings to mind a certain viciousness in itself, if I must say. Therefore, the name is not negotiable.” Gleep smiled at this. “But put me in any situation you wish and I’ll perform fiercely until it’s time for me to be defeated.”

    Gleep’s shoulders sagged as he waited for the writer to respond.

    “So, you’re already setting yourself for for failure?” she said.

    Yes! Gleep thought. A total failure.

    “As I said, whatever you want to happen will happen, and I’m certain you have no inclinations of the villain winning.”

    “Perhaps, perhaps not,” she said, tapping her bottom lip.

    Times up, Helix bar Mangle, Gleep thought triumphantly.

    “There is no perhaps to consider and you know it,” Mangle said. “Your last five novels have sold millions and now that Gleep is dead, you can’t possibly think the new villain could win.”

    What do you mean, I’m dead? I quit. I didn’t die.

    “Yes, sadly it was time for him to go. His predictability was becoming unsurmountable.”

    Predictability my size 19 foot.

    “So, am I hired?” Mangle said. Gleep started walking away, his head drooping.

    “Yes, but I’m afraid you’ll be a one-and-outer. After this book, I’m retiring in Fiji.” Gleep perked up his ears. “You see, killing Gleep off really hurt. I wish with a passion I hadn’t done it. He was the best damn villain I ever created.”

    Gleep sauntered back to the periphery. I guess being dead isn’t so bad when you’re fictional. Not when you go out on top.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Great, enjoyable take that has left me wondering where abandoned characters go after they’re written out. Mine often hang around for decades, bugging me for one more chance.

  27. Pete

    Hello, welcome to Darkstar Services. You must be Fluffy.

    At your service. Wow, I love these wing back chairs.

    Thanks. Go ahead and have a seat, Fluffy.

    Why thank you. Ooh, nice and soft on my tushy.

    Yes, well, thanks. Did you have any trouble getting here?

    Well, funny story. I took a wrong turn and got all sorts of turned around. Major whoopsie on my part. But i met lots of nice people along my way and had quite the adventure. I even saw a rainbow!

    Fluffy. I’m going to dive right in here. What makes you think you’re ready for this sort of thing?”

    Well, first, Mr.?

    Fang.

    Yikes. Mr. Fang. I must say that you’re much scarier in person, and I mean that only as a compliment. I’ve been working on my spooky appearance as well, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. Now I presume you have my resume there in the sparkly folder. So you can see for yourself. Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve done quite the share of naughty things.

    Fluffy. It’s cute. Really. I commend you for looking to branch out. Your soft and fuzzy and you’ve had quite a run as the naughty little bear. But we’re looking for something current. Maybe a clown. Seems to be the thing right now…

    I love clowns!

    I’m sure Fluff. But this isn’t the picture books. I’m talking blood. Guts. Gore. That being said, I could use a children’s bear, it could work in a creepy sort of way. But not you. You don’t have the stomach for this sort of thing.

    I…do.

    Do you?

    I’ve been in more trouble than any bear in Sunnyville.

    Fluffy, look at me.

    I…can’t. You’re being a grumpy bear.

    Fluffy.

    Well, you are. Papa Bear tells us never to say can’t.

    Let’s start over, Fluffy. Did you get a cup of coffee?

    I did. Thank you.

    Did you add sugar?

    Just a teensy bit.

    Magic Sparkles?

    Gulp.

    You’re wasting my time, Fluffy.

    I can do the job. I know I can. One time we found a bees nest. And all the little cubs—

    Can you bite a kid’s head clean off, Fluffy?

    Oh dear.

    Let me hear your finest roar.

    Well, can you give me a second to warm up?

    Take your time.

    Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping, Brother John…Are you—

    Stop.

    Sorry.

    Fluffy, I’m asking you to rip flesh from limbs. Drink the blood of an innocent children.

    No, but I can be super naughty. One time I hid all the pies from the cubbies. Another time, sorry, this gives me the giggles. I filled Burton’s shoes with cotton candy and…what?

    Fluffy. I’m a busy beast.

    Oh Pumpkin doodles. You made me spill my coffee.

    Villains don’t say Pumpkin Doodles, Fluffy. That’s my point.

    I see.

    Fluffy, are you familiar with Satan?

    You’re talking about sheets, right?

    It’s nothing personal. You’re a fine Naughty bear.

    Really? You think so?

    Certainly. This work isn’t for everyone.

    That’s for sure.

    Best of luck Fluffy Bear.

    Very well. But Mr. Fang?

    Yes Fluffy?

    Can I have a hug before I go?

    Sure Fluffy. Come on, bring it in.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      And, as Fang leaned in for the hug Fluffy caressed the pointy Fang ears and ripped them from the pointy head, then silenced the screams by a 360 turn of the Fang neck. Oh, Pumpkin Doodles, I guess I’m not getting the job.

    2. Observer Tim

      This is an inspired kind of weird, Pete. I had this image of Fang leaning in for a hug and Fluffy pulling his head off, smiling happily and insanely, then singing a little song to himself as he left…

    3. RafTriesToWrite

      I literally spilled my coffee as I read “You made me spill my coffee”, what are the odds? Loved this story Pete, definitely a fun read.

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