The work of an evil despot is never done.
How many mornings must I awaken to spit at the dawn? How many babies must I dump from their cradles? How many churches must I put to the torch? It’s never enough.
It all becomes tiresome after a while.
Oh, I am so sick of being evil.
“How many kittens must I strangle, Bradly?”
“…um… seven, Master?”
“No, no. That was rhetorical.”
“Nevermind. Look, I don’t feel like raping the prisoners today. Would you handle that?”
The hunched little man eyed me suspiciously, wondering what the catch was, I suppose.
“…as… as my Master commands…”
“It’s not a reward, Bradly- it’s a punishment. It’s more evil if I make you do it. I’m too attractive to really inspire horror.”
He brightened, slicking his greasy black hair out of his pockmarked face with filthy fingernails.
“Oh, I see Master. VERY evil yes. I am quite hideous.”
“Good. off you go then… I mean MUWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAW!”
“Very good, master.”
The ugly troll of a man limped off, dragging the leg I’d broken in a feigned fit of rage once when it had seemed appropriate. it had never healed correctly.
No doctors in my realm.
I don’t even remember what he’d done to merit the attack. Retribution is a bit random here. You do good, you get yours. You do evil, you might get it too.
You never know.
Rising from my black-sheeted bed, I put on my black silk house slippers and went to the window to do my morning obscenities. Cursing and gesturing and whatnot for the benefit of the oppressed citizenry in the city below.
They love a spectacle, gives them something to hate.
I thought that maybe I should send some rough sorts down into town to stir up trouble. Mean ones. Don’t want to start looking soft.
I’d started to notice the quantity and quality of my evil acts dropping precipitously some years ago. At first, I’d thought I was ill, but long bouts of silent contemplation eventually convinced me that I was just … bored.
So bloody bored.
There comes a time in the life of an evil mastermind when you realize you’ve done everything– murdered the heroes, looted their lands, torn down their temples, salted their fields, impregnated their women, and then…what?
Where exactly do you go from there?
No one will challenge you anymore.
The closest ‘good guy’ with even half a shot at you is a thousand miles away and diligently trying to forget you exist.
‘Good people’ in first world countries are too wrapped up in their day to day trivia to put much thought into the suffering of strangers half a world off.
When evil is far away, it’s easier to convince yourself that the greater good (yours) allows you to ignore it, I imagine.
I don’t know.
It’s certainly not like *I’m* a good person. I like a malevolent torturing—of-innocents scenario as much as the next fellow. Used to even more, which is of course how I rose to my present lofty station.
Well- the first time you peel the skin off a popular entertainer or vocal activist on broadcast television, well that’s brilliant. But the fifth? The twentieth?
It gets so your populace doesn’t even tune in to witness the horror anymore.
Been there, seen that.
Now, I am a *terribly* creative man. I have a whole library full of books, many authored by myself, on victim psychology, torture, warfare, explosives, poisons, general mayhem- what have you. With so much material, you’d think I’d have endless potential for maleficence.
But in practice, one evil is very much like another.
And then there’s the question of definitions.
Often, yes, it can be quite a powerful tool for evil. You can burn an oil rig, burn a government building, burn an abortion clinic-
but tell me, are there not ‘good people’ all over the world who might applaud one or all of those things?
What is a dark genius to do?
So eventually it’s back to drowning puppies, or plucking live canaries just to maintain the status quo.
Petty, yes, but at least everyone can agree that those things are evil.
So many damned puppies.
And what about starving the peasantry?
Again, there are ‘good’ folks out there who convince themselves my subjects have it coming to them, That they deserve this treatment since they aren’t smart enough or brave enough to leave the bounds of my principality.
Which is true.
But isn’t it a wee bit perverse to have such thoughts and still think of yourselves as honest, upstanding, GOOD human beings?
I, of course, don’t have those sorts of illusions.
“Bring me a box of pandas… and then… jump out of my window. Try to land on a child or a pregnant woman.”
“Very good, sir.”
MORE pandas? Why did I say pandas?
They’re so. Damned. Cute.
“And set yourself ablaze on the way down.”
“Of course sir.”
I’ll miss her. Evil help is so hard to find.
Maybe I could toss the pandas down after her, instead of stomping them, or crushing them with a heavy stone.
That would make the tabloids for sure.
Evil things, tabloids.
Perhaps with their collusion, I could fake my own death. Maybe take out the capital with a thermonuclear device. I HAVE been saving one. Go find a little homestead somewhere. Grow a little garden…
Well seriously, though, you can have an evil garden can’t you?
I could grow poison ivy.. or poppies.. those are still evil, I understand.
And so very pretty…
WHAT am I doing to myself??
Of COURSE, I couldn’t go and run off, after all, I’ve done to get where I am.
But still… I’d be leaving a kingdom behind, without any sort of effective governance in my absence… there’d be bloodshed, pestilence, a massive power struggle that might well roll on for decades.
That’s fairly evil, is it not?
Then again, if I stayed, that might be an even more creative evil as I’d be torturing MYSELF just by existing in this place…
I admit the complexities are frustrating.
“Your pandas, sir.”
“Thank you… er, MUHAWHAWHAWHAWHAWHAW!”
“Very good, Master.”
The old hag turned and hobbled to my window, dragging the heavy chains that bound her ankles together. She stank of gasoline and incontinence.
“You have a lighter?”
“O.k., then. To evil and all that. Mind the curtains.”
When she was gone I pulled an infant panda from the crate by the scruff of its neck. It hung docilely, staring at me for a few moments before I carefully replaced it among its associates.
Wouldn’t allowing it to continue it’s existence in this world be quite evil enough?
“Nice one, brain.”
The crate quickly followed Auntie Selma out the open portal, shattered loudly on the square below, among screams of shock and alarm.
Shock and alarm? Here?
Maybe I can’t win in the long run.
Perhaps the doing of evil deeds will always promote the common good. Keep them on their toes. Make them strong… Perhaps my very existence makes people appreciate what they have, gives them opportunities to shine in a world gone dark…
…or maybe not.
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