Accidental Evil

“I tell you my boy, the world is your oyster. You just have to apply yourself and do great evil.”, I winked at my new protege, hustling him along the long hallway to my office. The volcanic lair was undergoing some renovations, (damn magma, it burns through everything), so the underground bunker would have to do.

I tousled his hair and give him a nudge on the shoulder. My lord he was young. Had it been that long? All the plans and the ransoms, getting governments to pay me exorbitant sums so I wouldn’t launch my virus-tipped missiles or blast their satellites out of the sky with my death ray had taken up all my waking hours.

“It’s Max, your evil-ship”

“But of course. Pardon me, Max.”

We strode down the hallway lined with oil portraits of past conquests. The sacking of Paris, Eiffel Tower bent and broken from my Mega-Microwave ray, drooped over like a stalk of grass. The ruined half-crescent of the Capitol dome in Washington, DC. That was a nice one, considering the publicity. Politicians loved to talk, but they all knew who was on top of the heap. That’s why they paid, to save their own skins.

Max looked up at me like a small dog, waiting for its next treat. I blamed Human Resources. Every proper organization had to have one, and after a decade or so of wanton destruction even my evil empire had to get with the times. They suggested a internship program, most likely spurred on by the Board of Directors. Most of them wanted to unseat me to gain control over my doomsday device. Fat chance, but I had to play along.

“Max, you are in the center of it all. Fortunes are made and egos are dashed against these walls. You’re looking at the only mastermind that has an unbroken string of successful campaigns.”

Max looked upward with awe, the kind of look that only the young and inexperienced were capable of.

I was a fraud.

Not that Max would ever know. No one save for two trusted advisors even had an inkling of the truth. I fell into this, after a long stint working at a government research facility. My first invention, amping up the power and efficiency of a millimeter-wave weapon to brutal effectiveness.

The media said I was the one that pulled the trigger, playing the deadly beam over co-workers and four-star generals during a demonstration, but that was far from the truth. To be honest, the trigger mechanism had jammed, in conjunction with a faulty mount in the testing chamber. I’m no maniac, but I have to admit seeing some of those pompous generals vaporize into plumes of steam was quite exhilarating. But I didn’t play the beam over the visitor gallery, that was a total malfunction.

History has a curious property, fabricated facts are preserved in the amber of time, even if they’re patently false. And so went my career. First as a rogue terrorist, then kingpin, petty dictator, and finally the crowning achievement – full evil overlord.

It was all a sham, but I had to keep up appearances.

Most of my work was outsourced anyway, since I didn’t have my heart in it. The Russians and Chinese were always at each others throats for the choicest bits from my research facilities. I let them get the advantage over the other in clockwork fashion. This provided a constant stream of stories prominently featuring my name (What the marketing guys called “sticky” brand building) and further cementing my position as supreme mastermind.

Arriving at the inner sanctum, I retinal scanned both eyes and whispered my secret keyword into the small microphone on the wall.

Huge doors began to crank open, large geared mechanisms grinding and churning with oiled precision. This was it, the “magic” room. Here was where all plans and plots were transmuted from ideas into action. If I did any of it, that is. Most of my plans were from Evil, Inc., a nice firm on the outskirts of nowhere – probably operating from a bunker like this one, given how much they were paid.

The plans then were sourced and refined by my crack team, then sent on to one of the many mercenary armies bidding for my contracts – or simply sold to one side to taunt the other. It didn’t matter, I got paid my cut every step of the way.

Max looked around my office with wide young eyes, idiot grin plastered on his face.

This kid didn’t have a single clue, did he.

Sighing, I swung the large leather chair around, guiding him towards it.

“Here, see how the world looks from my throne of ultimate evil.”

Oh, to be young again. Max worked the controls and cooed with excitement.

My eyes misting, I turned my head to hide the tears.