A short story. – written in 15 minutes on a terrible day

I found this on the pen drive, I had completely forgotten about it.  Reading it now makes me realise how far my writing has progressed since then.  I remember the day I wrote it, it was a weekend, the first of the month and it had been a particularly stressful morning. It had just been POS change and the systems had not been correctly updated, of course being in store support for their IT and sales issues meant we were bombarded with calls and despite it being a busy day weekends were never as well staffed, there were 4 people on the help desk and me on the IT support side.  Our team generally didn’t answer calls, our team had IT issued passed over to us (either via call or log after the initial troubleshooting had been attempted, or passed straight over in busy times) and we did further trouble shooting.  However as I (always) arrived at work an hour before my shift I had cleared the software issues, till builds etc from the night before, anything I could resolve remotely had been done and all the issues I couldn’t resolve software wise had been sent to the necessary teams.  So I kindly assisted on the phones knowing that calling stores to troubleshoot issues could wait as the people on the inbound calls were understaffed getting hammered.

Until the company closed I was the voice of the IVR, it was me who any store calling through had to listen to in order choose the option relevant to their issue.  On this day I had also placed an emergency one on regarding the issue with the POS offers not being updated (as soon as it was brought to our attention), the solution, and reassurance the store GP etc would be corrected, it was a message that could not be skipped.  In addition to the IVR message I had also sent out a pop up to each store PC. (now that was an awesome program)  stating the same thing as the IVR, which the store staff had to click ok on in order to continue whatever they were doing, then there were the text messages to the Area Sales Directors, and finally an intranet update on the current issues page.  Not to mention trying to contact the retail team and 2nd line to try and get the issue rectified.  All this was done while still answering the calls, but did this stop them calling through?  No.  The screen displayed a waiting queue of at least 20 calls which despite answering them at top speed and repeating the message on the ivr, never seemed to reduce.

Finally, a few hours later they began to get the idea, probably because we must have spoken to at least one person in every store.  I took my 15 minute break, which was the only one I was going to get that day, (which didn’t matter as I normally worked through them anyway) at my desk and ate my sandwich.  This was the result.  It was enough to once more put me in good spirits.

“Surrender now and I will promise you a painless death.”  The guard stood on his tiptoes as he held his sword to the Dark Lord’s throat, his hand was firm with the confidence of his victory.  Little did he know his approach had not been as undetected as he congratulated himself for.

“I would promise you the same, but I would be lying” He answered coldly, his body almost seeming to vanish with the speed of his actions as he side stepped the blade to grab the guard’s hand.  A scream of torment filled as his once healthy limb began to show the signs of age at the Dark Lord’s touch.  Satisfied with his action the white haired villain released his attacker to allow him a moment.  The guard screamed in pain stumbling backwards, gripping his limp limb as it began blacken and shrivel.  He cowered under the stare of the great Lord, only now did he realise he had played right into his hands.  “Now if you don’t mind, you have something I need.”  The Dark Lord stated taking whimpering guard’s healthy hand, he looked down at the pathetic snivelling creature pulling the limb clean from his body.  Alarm bells sounded across the base, it was about time they realised they had arrived.

“So much for the silent approach.”  Kamiya smiled as she jumped down from the floor above in time to see the screaming figure of the guard reduced to dust.  She wiped the blood from her sword across the leg of her trousers before replacing it into its sheath.  She looked from the Dark Lord to the pile of dust, smiling slightly as she scooped some up to place into her pocket.

“Sorry, I guess that would be my fault”  Arora seemed to step from thin air as she appeared besides them, “my guy was rigged to the alarms, as soon as he moved, that was it, they went off”

“He had chance to move?”  Dark Lord questioned.

“Not as such my Lord, but when I removed his hand…” she waved it at him smiling.  “Besides, you were never one for the silent approach”

“True, true, but these people are so beneath my skills.”  He clicked his fingers incinerating a group of soldiers who thought they were doing a fine job of sneaking up on the talking party.

“But why do it this way, I mean…” Kamiya paused as she flicked some paper between her fingers, she released it into the air along with some of the dust from the body, a huge explosion rang out above them, several corpses fell from above as the balcony, where they had been reading their weapons, collapsed.  “it’s not really our style.”

“True as that is, a little field work never goes a miss, besides, they have a magic shield around the door, it is on par with the magics found in the Forest of the Epiales, making even Gods mortal, and susceptible to death, it seems like a worthy challenge.”

“And the hands?”  Arora questioned once more waving the severed limb, Kamiya returned the gesture with the limb of her own, previously hung on the strap surrounding her belt.

“I thought it would be fun.”  Dark Lord smiled, the group approaching from Arora’s flank howled in agony as they fell to the floor.  She smiled brightly, as she and Kamiya slapped the two severed appendages together in a high five

“They never learn.”  She sighed.  “Really you thought it would be… fun?”

“Yes, it’s been a long time since our last scavenger hunt.”  He replied coolly

“Yes, retrieving that amulet from Hero Corpse Mountain was a little tedious.”  Kami sighed.

“As I recall, the bodies spread for miles”

“Ah yes, we do make a great team,”  The Dark Lord smiled.  “Anyway the access panel is just ahead…  what do you make the count?”  He turned to Arora to check his figures.

“Dead or Alive?”

“Alive of course, it would take far too long to count the dead, I stopped at two hundred.”  He gave a playful sigh.

“I make it seventy one,”  She paused, “fifty eight” she corrected as an echo of screams was heard before them.

“Ah…”  Dark Lord stopped, “Kami, would you mind?”  He questioned as they approached a nearby wall.  “It is affected by the magic reflector”

“It would be my pleasure” she grinned pulling a cowering soldier from behind the crates, she extended her index nail into a claw drawing upon his trembling flesh a circle before placing a Obolus in his mouth.  She stepped back a few paces smiling sadistically as the being exploded.

“Why do you do that?  You know you don’t need to use a symbol”  Arora questioned.

“I know, but it makes them panic.”  She grinned playfully.

“Remind me again how you do that?”

“Easy, the human body contains many chemicals used in explosives, I simply made them react”

“Oh, I see, remind me not to make you angry”  Arora stated stepping through the hole.

“This one is mine.”  Dark Lord stated as he beheld the colossal figure that stood before them

“Okay” Kami answered in unison with Arora

Dark Lord’s footsteps echoed through the marble wall as he approached the figure that awaited him, they stood roughly the same height, but from the soon to be corpse’s face, you could see he misjudged the Lord’s appearance, the cadaver flexed its bulging muscles, sniggering as the slender figure approached.  The sound of footsteps stopped as the first attack was launched, Dark Lord moved slightly dodging the attack, the figure let out what could only be described as a cry of joy.

“Such reactions!  It seems you will prove a worthy adversary.”

“It is a shame I cannot say the same.” He answered wryly, with a wave of his hand a piecing light surrounded the figure reducing him to less than dust.  “Ah here we are the control panel.”  He stated dismissively.  “Although I have to say, it seems a little too easy, do you still have your appendages?”  Arora and Kami adjusted the hands to give a thumbs up motion and thrust them towards him, he smiled with faint amusement.  “Very well.”

They approached the console each placing the hand on the designated scanner.

“You know, we could have just overridden the circuits…”  Arora stated glancing to the panel.

“Yes, we also could have just taken the keys from the guard and come in the back way, but would you have had as much fun?”  Dark Lord replied.  “It has been some time since our last adventure, we had to make thing interesting somehow”

‘System deactivated welcome Mr Costy, Pain and Toffee,’

The doors slid open as the computerised voice resonated, there in the chamber, on a pedestal, stood a small piece of paper, the Dark Lord approached removing it carefully.

“What is it?”  Arora questioned moving to take a look.

“It’s my grocery list, those idiots pinched it sometime ago and have been trying to create some kind of super weapon with it.”

“A grocery list?”  Kamiya questioned flatly.

“Yes.”  He nodded.

“They employed such heavy guarding for…  a grocery list?”

“I never said they were clever did I?”

“Couldn’t you have written another one?”

“Yes but my pen ran out and going down the shop to get another just seemed like too much bother.”  He laughed.

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Memo – popping candy – (when i brought aforementioned sweets to the office)

Villains 4 U Memorandum

To        Dark Lord Hammerfist, Arora Shigo

From   Kamiya Akutenshi

Ref      bad line

Date    12 July 2006

Once again I am pleased to inform you of our advancements, we have once again found sponsorship.  This time it is in the form of a small company named HLeks, who, now on our behalf, produce exploding candy, now personally I wanted their name to be changed to Hexs but they advised it was too big a step, even for the Dark Lord.  Needless to say this change will be occurring shortly now I have made an example of the one who would utter such blasphemy.

This exploding candy will make a fantastic addition to not only our food range but smiting accessories, they are perfect to put off that annoying person who insists on ringing you, I was thinking of perhaps, wide spread distribution in call centres, imagine the level of soul condemning we could cause, already angry after holding for twenty minutes, the caller find they are connected to a crackling line and the call, terminated.

Once we have captured the market, we will be slightly altering the candy to whisper subliminal messages composed by the various popping tones, this however, will take some time, but due to its addictive nature, is not something of immediate concern.

This candy has a very child like appeal and I feel would capture the child market as well and the adult, again with all of our products, they are left overs from the harvesting team.  We have chosen the name ‘magic colour changing popping candy’ for this product as I am told it would have more marketing potential than ‘popping hero kidney stones’ which of course make up an small amount of this product.

I have left you several samples for testing and would appreciate a full report on their performance, of course all addicting agents are absent from these samples.  The same company will also be producing popping candy with rocks and I should be receiving a sample soon.

I hope this meets with your approval.

This concludes the memos, I will have to have a look through the folders and see if I have any more things I could share.  I hope you enjoyed.

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Memo – highlights – (issued when i brought a hot chocolate selection in for the kitchen)

Villains 4 U Memorandum

To        Dark Lord Hammerfist

From   Kamiya Akutenshi

Ref      Highlights

Date    24th October 2007

Please find enclosed with this memo a sample of the new line Villains 4u are introducing, like out popular ‘heroes’ these too are made with villain enjoyment in mind.

This specially created drink is mixed with various chemicals to allow the villain to recall the highlights of their death match with the heroes.

This drink stimulates the neuron receptors in the brain and triggers the memory of their most spectacular victory (or one of their selection once they master control of the chemical balance).

By releasing this product we not only hope to motivate the villains out there to create more fantastical victories over the lowly scum known as heroes, but it also helps then learn control of various regions of the brain, who knows they may even learn new powers from it, but one thing is certain, with this control we can not only see their inner most thoughts, but also they are trained to protect themselves from exploitation of mind control used by some of the hero race.

The line was introduced for training measures, once ingested by the villains they will also be able to tap into a different villain’s memories and can be used to brag about great victories (without fear of being overheard) and hopefully have them all aspire to greatness.

I hope this meets with your approval.

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Memo – Cheap labour – business proposal.

Villains 4 U Memorandum

To        Dark Lord, Arora, Phyrehawk

From   Kamiya Akutenshi

Ref      Cheap labour – business proposal.

Date    13th April 2007

It has recently been brought to our attention by a source, who shall remain nameless* that the hero torment and slaying opportunities in the normal work environment has been somewhat limited.

It is believed this dry spell is due to the employees of said area being the re-animated zombie minions of Dark Lord’s early experiments.

It seems that some training has been provided by an external source**, to permit said re-animated zombie minions to perform basic functions such as phrase and task repetition this however has limited storage space generally around 10 phrases

It seems once said slots are full other knowledge is pushed from them.

We are now starting to advertise that we are willing to supply them to villain businesses at a small cost and they will accept pay at least 60% lower than any of their current employees.

By employing these re-animated zombie minions it will permit the business more resources to tempt a hero or heroes into your employ, after all, we all know they tend to be high paid accountants and such, by offering a good wage you will be, effectively, trapping them in a hell bent organization forcing them to do overtime and any dirty work you can torture them with, without giving away your true nature.

Then when the employers get bored with them you can simply arrange an employee fun day.

It is our aim to see at least one hero working in all the villain owned companies, after all, not only is it fun to torment them and have them aid you, if they see through you disguise, you know how better to adapt for your next hero.

*due to confidentially we will call him Daddy’s Tomato

**Possibly HP

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New merchandise – (issued when i brought lanyards and ID card holders)

Villains 4 U Memorandum

To        Dark Lord Hammerfist, Arora Shigo, Aylix Phyrehawk, Calli Neoni

From   Kamiya Akutenshi

Ref      New merchandise

Date    15/02/2007

Please find enclosed within this memo our new line of merchandise.

To the naked eye it appears to be just an ordinary badge holder, however to those trained, such as yourselves, In the art of magic you will see it is much more, it is in fact, your very own instant Smite button.  That’s right, by pressing the symbol on the front a target of your choosing will be struck down.

This is still a prototype and its results depend on the users ability to correctly form Chakra.  The concept is based on Chakra channelling the ‘badge holder’ acts as a storing device to hold any accumulated Chakra energy which is then used to Smite down your foe in a array of different ways.

This great device means even those incapable of magic abilities can store enough energy for a single magic attack using the ‘badge holder’ as the magic’s medium.  This is perfect for  our combat type villains, after all, what hero will expect to be struck down with magic by one who can use none?

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Chocolate sideline memo (issued when I brought chocolates into the office)

Villains 4 U Memorandum

To        Dark Lord Hammerfist, Arora Shigo

From   Kamiya Akutenshi

Ref      sideline

Date    12 July 2006

I am please to inform you that our harvesting department have seized a sponsorship from Cabdury’s.

We have begun immediate production and distribution of a product that is bound to take off with all villains; all profits will be put towards the development of a Villain recreation centre.

Having discussed many names for our new product such as hero gibbets and various other names, we have settled for a more commercially sound Cabdury’s heroes.  These seemingly innocent ‘chocolates’ are in fact treated hero remains made for mass marketing.

You will find a sample on my desk for trial.

These Heroes are perfect as finger snacks for villain gatherings and as they are in a bite size selection perfect for the villain on the go.  Having called them Heroes we a confident that we will attract a none villain market also, this alone has its own sadistic value, not only are heroes who eat them converted to cannibalism, but hero fans will unknowingly be eating their heroes.

I hope this meets with your approval

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Ask the Elite

This was just a little bit of fun, initially I planned to do an ask the Elite section at the end of each newsletter, but decided against it.

After the announcement of our help section we had an influx of letters, many of them covering the same topics, we have selected a few that we feel will be of most help to our other members;

Dear Elite, I am a respectable villain and pride myself of the element of surprise, however, I find lately that my adversaries seem to know exactly what I am planning giving them the chance to foil me, could it be the forces of good have designed a mind reading device for villain plans?

 

After your letter we took a great deal of time looking into this possibility by using our mole’s in the heroes’ institute, we are happy to report that as yet there is no such device, the cause of your downfall is more than likely the same as most villains in your established position, it is known as, the loose tongue syndrome, better known as bragging.  A lot of you renowned villains, confident by your success, just can’t help yourself, we have lost count the amount of times while sitting in a tavern we hear our members bragging about the inspired genius of their upcoming events.  The other thing you must bare in mind is how much faith you put in your minions, seriously, why explain your plan details to them so fully?  Does it not occur to you that we are not the only people who have spies?  If you want something to remain secret, tell no one, good minions will know intruders a mile away, if their cooperation is needed, brief them just before the task leaving the chances of information reaching the hero minimal.  We also recommend sending your minions to our minion workshops, class details to follow in a future newsletter, here we will take the liberty of weeding out spies on your behalf meaning not only are your minions well trained, but you can be sure your bragging wont cost you your mission.

Dear Elite, my moral is seriously low at this moment in time, I seem to be having problems with a certain hero type, no matter what I do, he seems to always better me, I have no minions as yet being fairly new on the field and am seriously considering retiring from the game.

 

Retiring from the game?  Stop right there, we all had to start somewhere, I doubt there isn’t one person reading this letter that doesn’t sympathise with you, it is always hard being the new villain, especially if your hero has been around for some time, his constant victories leave you unsure of yourself, this is exactly why the higher level hero target the new villain in hope to discourage them, but as we said in our introduction letter, if you are having problems, come to us, Villains 4 U have a intricate support facility available to all its members, simply stop by the guild and we will set you up with a team to aid, not overtake, you.

Dear the Elite, I am finding your new letters a great help, but there is an issue I wish to address, you have yet to do a section on villains appearance, whenever I move in to face my hero they seem to explode in fits of laughter, I can’t help but wonder if it’s something I’m doing, I have enclosed a picture and was wondering if you could give me a few pointers.

Yikes!  We highly recommend you stopping by for some pointers, for starters, you are a fairly small framed villain, wearing such enormous armour does not do much for your villain type and since you are on our records as being a spell caster, not practical for the role at all, but my compliments to you actually being able to walk around wearing something that looks like a small car.  The armour you are wearing is generally designed for axe wielders and ogres and generally on someone your size detracts from the effect of evil, leaving you looking a lot like a child playing villain, we feel given your size and frame you would be more suited to the more modest robes like those of a sage perhaps.  Now it’s hard to tell what you look like under that oversized helmet, we have to wonder if you can actually see through it at all.  As for not having addressed this matter, it was on our to do list, having seen this, I feel we will be making a special edition newsletter covering this topic shortly

Dear the Elite, I seem to be having problems with my minions, they have stopped obeying me and I cannot think what the reason could be, I leave them to their own devices and ask for nothing but a little effort on their part, the other day I was looking through my hero cam and noticed several traps that had not been reset and all my dungeon decoration has vanished, I just don’t know what to do.  Please help.

 

Have you actually read our, how to take care of your minion handbook?  From your description we know exactly what is wrong with your minions, you’re not treating them correctly, sure you leave them to their own devices, but are you feeding them?  Minions, like ourselves need food, it sounds like your minions, have been working their socks of for you and have had to resort to eating decoration in order to survive.  You didn’t seriously think the odd hero or adventurer now and again would be enough to feed them did you?  We recommend taking some high quality food to them in means of an apology, also, it doesn’t hurt to show them how appreciated their hard work is, why not buy them new armour or weapons, treat them to some better staff quarters, give them some paid vacation time.  Minions are not just tools to be used, they need proper care and attention, we suggest you head down to that dungeon right now and make things right before they turn on you and you have to make a new dungeon elsewhere.

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