After crash landing out in the middle of nowhere, Robbie had an epiphany. It was his turn to become a supervillain. And that’s when Agatha, Eric’s girlfriend arrived to give them a ride home.
Agatha brought the two henchman home. A small two bedroom apartment on the westside on the third floor. It was in a complex that looped around a small unheated pool, which meant it went unused except for the three hottest days of the summer.
Agatha opened the door, dropping her keys into the bowl next to it. The living room had great windows facing the East, and a kitchen area with a breakfast nook. Simply and tastefully decorated by Agatha. You wouldn’t know two other people lived there. She liked it that way.
Robbie headed to the refrigerator. “I am starving. Eric, I’m eating your pasta.”
Before Eric could answer, Agatha said, “We need to talk.” Robbie and Eric looked at her, eyebrows going up. “Alone.” Eyebrows went down. Agatha turned and headed towards the bedroom.
Eric looked to Robbie for help. “Serious, I’m going to eat your pasta. Is there any of the sauce left?”
Eric nodded. “Bottom shelf.” Eric turned and followed Agatha.
Robbie’s stomach growled, so he turned back to the refrigerator. He opened it. Looking, looking, looking for the pasta. His eye landed on Agatha’s stash of diet ginger ale. Then, his cell phone beeped. A text.
He dug the cell out of his pocket. The text was from Number Two, the Professor’s right hand man.
It read: “Poor showing tonight, henchmen! The Professor blames you! Tomorrow 8 am at the secondary lair!”
“Are you–?” Robbie began. How DARE he, Robbie thought. He blames US for HIS failures? “This isn’t MY fault you pompous, sonofa–“
He began strangling his cellphone. He didn’t get very far. The cell phone did not beg for mercy nor show any signs of dying. He shoved it back into his pocket.
Robbie shook his fist at the ceiling and then grabbed one of Agatha’s sodas. He was just about to pop it open, when inspiration struck. He grabbed another can from the refrigerator and shook it. Hard.
He slopped it back in and popped his soda open. He chugged. He enjoyed his stolen soda. He felt good. I’ll show them, he thought. I’ll show all of them. But, for now, he had pasta to reheat.
Meanwhile, in Agatha and Eric’s bedroom, Agatha had her hands on her hips. She was calmly explaining to Eric, “Because I’m tired of picking you up late at night.”
Eric shook his head, “But that’s no reason to ask me to quit being a henchman.”
“It’s not the only reason, it’s just a very good one.” Agatha sighed. “I’m worried about you.”
Eric blinked. “You’re worried about me?”
Tears welled up in Agatha’s eyes. She brushed them away. She nodded. Eric moved to her, she put up a hand, stopping him. “No. Don’t. I need to say this. And if you hug me, I won’t be able to finish.” She took a breath and then started, “Every day you and Robbie go off to work for that awful man, I am worried that you won’t come back.”
“What about Robbie?”
Agatha frowned, “This isn’t about him, I’m talking about you, about wanting to see you at the end of a day.” Agatha looked at him, right into his eyes. “What if you don’t…. Make it back. One day.”
Eric tried to think of something to say. Robbie would have something to say, he thought. Robbie always has something to say. But Eric couldn’t think of anything. So, he shrugged. Which wasn’t the answer Agatha was looking for.
She set her jaw, her eyes moved from tears to daggers. “That’s it? Just a shrug? You two, just love to shrug, when you don’t want to answer, just a shrug.”
Eric moved to her, “Honey…”
“No, no, no.” Eric stopped, she continued, “Don’t try and get yourself out of this with affection and cooing. I’m mad at you. Do you see this face?”
He did. She was mad. “What do you want?” He asked.
“I want you to come and work with me.” He didn’t like where this was heading. “I set up a job interview. For you. Tomorrow. They are looking for someone to manage aisle four.”
Eric was trying to make sense of what was happening around him. “You want me… to sell… office supplies?”
Eric took a breath and slowly let it out. Something clicked in his head. He had an idea. “What if I talked with the Professor and I got a different position within the organization. Something, you know, a little further from the action. Maybe in his lab or, or, or maybe,” he was on a roll now, “maybe I could become one of his–.”
Agatha cut his roll off. “Do you see this relationship going somewhere?”
“Of course,” Eric said. “I love you. I can’t imagine my life without you.”
She moved to him, touching his face, “Me, too. If something were to happen to you, I would be devastated. Eric, if you’re a henchman, in the lab, at a desk, you’re in danger.”
“Isn’t that a little, you know… sexy?”
Agatha smiled, “Yes… it was. But… I’ve grown used to falling asleep with you. I know it doesn’t seem as exciting, working with me at PaperClips. But. It can be an awesome place to work. We have fun. We have adventures. Ok. One time. In the warehouse. But, we clean it up. Please, for me.”
Eric had a decision to make. He hated making decisions. It’s one of the reasons why he really embraced being a henchman. Inside, he swirled.
The next morning, Robbie stood in the middle of the kitchen, spoon in one hand, a bowl of Multi Grain Cheerios in the other. He was still in his t-shirt and boxers. And he was angry. “Fuck you, Eric. Are you KIDDING ME?”
Eric tugged at the tie that Agatha had picked out for him. He was sitting at the table, eating his scrambled eggs, ignoring his orange juice.
Agatha replied to Robbie’s outcry, “Eric is not kidding. He agreed to do the interview. He’s leaving the world of henchmanery behind. Right?”
Eric nodded. Slowly. Looking back and forth between Robbie and Agatha.
Still gripping the spoon, Robbie rubbed his throbbing head. “I’m trying to wrap my brain around this, Eric. Last night, while walking home, you lectured ME on how great it is to be a henchman, how it’s in our families blood, how HAPPY you are, and now, this morning, after a little bit of whoopee with her–.” Agatha darted a look at Robbie. “The walls are thin, ok?”
“You don’t have to live here, you know.” Agatha finished her coffee, and put her mug in the sink. “Come on, we’re going to be late.”
Eric scooped the rest of his eggs into his mouth. “It’s just a job interview.” He headed to the sink.
Agatha grabbed her bag. “Which he is going to crush. Listen, Robbie, this is for the best. He’s going to be safe. He’s going to have fun with me at PaperClips.”
Robbie’s mind exploded. “FUN? At PAPERCLIPS?”
Agatha swiveled to face Robbie. “Yes. FUN.” Those eyes. Robbie shut his mouth. “Eric.”
He shuffled past Robbie, mumbling a “Sorry” as he went.
And then they were gone. Robbie still stood in the middle of the kitchen. The Cheerios had now become mush. But that wasn’t going to keep a bad guy down.
Robbie chucked his bowl into the sink. He had some evil to do.