It was dark. Really dark. And it sucked. Robbie and Eric walked down a gravel country road, heading towards the bright lights of the big city. Behind them, smoke rose from the remains of their escape pod. The smell of steak that hung in the air came from the cow that was now underneath the escape pod. It didn’t have a chance.
Eric broke the silence between the two of them. “I still don’t see the car.”
Robbie sighed. “We didn’t land by the car.”
Eric shook his head. “The pod is supposed to land by the car. That’s what it’s supposed to do.”
Robbie turned on Eric. “Do you SEE any cars around here?” There was, in fact, not much around. A farm house that was in bad need of a paint job. The remains of a cow. And gravel road they were standing on.
“You don’t have to snap at me. This isn’t my fault.” Eric picked up his pace.
Robbie said, “I’m not blaming you, I’m blaming the Professor.” He kept trying to catch up to Eric, but Eric kept increasing his pace. “Would you slow down!?”
Eric stoppped and turned. “I’m just kind of tired of your attitude right now, ok?–“
Eric nodded, “Yeah. I just want to get home and get some sleep before work tomorrow.” Eric walked away.
Robbie stood his ground. “I was the one getting punched, I was the one trying to do something. It hurts, it REALLY hurts.” He pointed at his noise. The bleeding had stopped, now it was throbbing.
Eric kept walking. “We’ll get you an ice pack when we get home.”
Robbie grunted. “I wouldn’t HAVE a broken nose if you had helped out. You just stood there.” He said.
Eric turned sharply. “I wasn’t ordered in. What did you want me to do?”
“Punch her? Kick her? Throw something at her?” Robbie replied. “That’s three things off the top of my head.”
Eric rolled his eyes. “Do you honestly believe that two henchmen like us could’ve taken the Damsel?”
“What do you mean,’henchmen like us’?”
Eric was at a loss for words. “I don’t know, I, I… we’re HENCHMEN. We don’t take the hero. We help our boss take the hero.”
Robbie shook his head, “Being a henchman is ridiculous.”
Eric gasped. “You did not just say that.” Eric went nose to nose… nose to bloody nose with Robbie. “Being a henchman is a family tradition. Uncle Ralphie would be ashamed–“
“Don’t bring my father into this–“
Eric continued, “I love being a henchman. It gives me great pride helping someone. I don’t know what’s going on with you, but lately, lately you’ve been a real drag to be around.”
Robbie, offended, said, “I have not–“
“Yes, yes, you have. You have been grumpy. Snappy. You roll your eyes in briefings.”
Robbie put up a finger. “In my defense, the plans the Professor has been coming up with lately are pretty shit.”
“And you can do better?” Robbie began to answer, but Eric cut him off, “You don’t GET to do better. That’s not our job. Our job is to follow. Now, suck it up because it’s late and Agatha is going to be pissed.”
With that, Eric walked away.
Sitting on a curb outside of a 7-Eleven, they waited. Eric slurped on a soda as Robbie held a frozen burrito to his nose. This time, Robbie broke the silence, asking “Have you ever thought about doing something else besides being a henchman?”
Eric took a sip. Thought. Finally. “I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do. It’s exciting. There’s adventure. There’s danger. And there’s not a lot of pressure.” Robbie looked at him. “Well, you just show up and do what you’re told to do. It’s nice. I feel like this is a secure occupation. I’m happy being a henchman.”
Robbie shifted the burrito. He looked at Eric. “But there’s no glory, no fame in being a henchman. You’re just some guy taking orders.”
Eric shrugged, slurped, “That’s like 90% of the world, man. Though, I happen to really like my job. Points for me, I say.”
Robbie was quiet for a moment. “I think it’s time for a change.”
“A change? Like get out of the business change? Our family has been in the business for generations–“
“No, no. Not OUT of the business.” Robbie took Eric’s soda. “I’m thinking of a promotion.” He slurped from the drink.
Eric eyed him.
Robbie explained, “I think it’s time that I became the bad guy.”
Robbie explained again. “That I would become the supervillian. You know, making the plans, giving the orders.”
“You?” Eric couldn’t believe his ears.
“Yes, me. Why not me? What’s so special about the Professor or any of the other villains in this city? Huh? I have everything they have. The smarts, the ambition. That’s what it takes.”
“The Professor is rich.”
But, Robbie wasn’t listening. He had made his choice. “I’m tired of taking orders. ” He handed back Eric’s soda. He tossed the burrito and stood. “I’m TIRED of being humiliated.” He raised his arms, gesturing to all of the world. “It’s time that I took my place in the pantheon of villains! Look out, world, because this guy is–!“
HONK HONK. A car horn. Robbie and Eric looked.
Across the street, sitting at the wheel of a sallow green hybrid, was Agatha, be speckled, wrapped in a robe. The window rolled down. She leaned out, “Do you know what time it is? I was in my pajamas. You know I don’t like leaving the house once I’m in my pajamas.”
Eric stood and started walking across the street. “Sorry, honey.”
Robbie lowered his arms. And followed.
Click HERE for I, Bad Guy Part Three