After realising my true goal in life, I almost-immediately ran into some problems.

October 13, 2009

My age was the first and most simply-surmounted stumbling block. It is difficult at best to inspire terror when one is clad in short trousers and, however more satisfying it might be to solve this problem with the violent application of a blunt instrument to the tender parts of any scoffer, it seemed to me that the best course of action was to wait. Here I will supply a few simple tips for those, at a tender age as I once was, considering a career in evil. Waiting is a key skill to anyone truly serious about their evil plans and can be helpfully divided into three main categories.

The first, brooding, is the most self-explanatory. Brooding can help a fledgling, or even matured, mastermind gather together their inner hatred of the world and concentrate it into a pure core of evil. Steepling the fingers can help you get into the correct frame of mind for this essential-to-master skill. Surroundings of opulent luxury are a plus, although an unnecessarily-high-tech jail cell will also suffice. One must focus one’s mind at first on any recent annoyance or minor problem. Then, with a slow build in intensity begin to cast your mind back to earlier, more severe set backs. By continuing in this way one can typically blame one’s tendency to murder, maim and torture on, for example, being given the wrong flavour ice cream at one’s sixth birthday party, or perhaps the fact that the first crush of your early teens could not not see past your hump and the mechanical claw with which you had replaced your left hand. If all else fails, blame your parents, either for smothering you or not paying you enough attention, or even both if you are feeling particularly ambitious. Initially practice brooding once a day, preferably at sunset, when the dying rays of the sun can mirror the extinguishing of any hint of mercy or kindness in your soul. Eventually you can progress to brooding twice or three times a day. Breakfast is also a prime opportunity for some serious brooding. I have plumbed new depths of malice and misery while dipping toast into my soft-boiled egg. Eventually brooding will become so natural to you that you will find yourself doing it whenever your mind is not otherwise occupied. It is then that you know your heart has been crushed into a diamond of pure evil.

The second type of waiting is plotting. This more active and taxing type of waiting can often follow a lengthly session of brooding. The first and most important factor for successful plotting is to avoid any hint of doubt about the eventual success of the plan. If any doubts do beset you, the only course of action is to make the entire thing much more complex. If evil colleagues and minions look confused about the point of, for example, constructing a giant underwater magnifying glass or creating a plague of rabid gerbils, you know that you are on the right track. No one should be able to grasp the point of your plan or why so much impressive machinery is needed to put it into action. That is why you are the evil genius and others are merely minions, politicians, or pizza delivery boys. When those around you look dumbfounded at your latest, greatest, most-evil masterplan you are permitted to smile knowingly, wave your crystal-topped cane in the air and even emit a short cackle. Of course the full-throated long cackle, termed by some ‘manic laughter’ should be reserved only for moments when you believe that your arch-enemies are at your feet.

This leads us rather neatly (If I may say so myself. Which of course I may. I am an evil genius after all. Ha.) into the final type of waiting: the unexpected pause. The true genius knows that when the enemy is in a position of weakness and quivering in anticipation of the final blow there is only one thing to do. Nothing. The last thing your enemies will expect is a sudden and unequivocal period of inaction. They will struggle, they will squirm, they will activate complicated gadgets embedded in their wristwatches, but you have them where you want them and are entitled to enjoy the moment. The afore-mentioned crystal-topped cane is considered an essential element here by traditionalists, a floor-length cape or golf cart are also time-honoured accessories for this moment of gloating. When you feel moved to do so, employ the long cackle and, of course, explain your future plans at great length. If any minions or other associates suggest that you should just get on with things, send them away, set them on fire or just jab them with a handy cattle prod. Once again, others can not be expected to understand your methods and it is your moment to savour the heady aroma of impending success. I repeat for the sake of emphasis the main point here: the timeless beauty of the unexpected pause lies in its unexpected nature. No one expects it, no one! Haaa! Hahahahaha! … But I forget myself.

Like so many others, my journey began with a simple hour or so’s light brooding each day, staring out towards the horizon, feeling the warm glow of hatred build inside of me. Many begin on this path and are tempted into straying by such trifling considerations as love, pity and a dawning realisation of the futility of it all. Strive for a feeling of what I like to call ‘positive negativity’, the belief that, despite your growing unhappiness, the fruition of your plans will make everybody else even more unhappy than you are. Therein lies the key to achieving true evil.

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My croquet instructor told me to always aim for the top.

September 22, 2009

As my fingers caressed the smooth wooden shaft of my mallet, I paused for a moment to consider the implications of his advice. I closed my eyes briefly and began to imagine success beyond my wildest dreams. In my mind I was turning to the crowd, holding aloft the MacRobertson Shield and blowing kisses to my adoring fans. Perhaps it was unfortunate that a congenital defect has long run in my family which takes the form of an irresistible urge to gouge out the left eye of anyone who presumes to offer us advice while we are playing croquet. Wiping the blood from my hands onto my freshly-pressed flannel trousers I felt a tinge of regret, for the advice that Rufus had offered me was sound. In the game of croquet the player who aims merely for the vicinity of a hoop, hoping perhaps that their journey on fortune’s wheel is due for an upward swing, is lost and destined to be taunted for his ineptitude by peer and spectators alike. Indeed, one must aim unerringly for the dead centre of one’s target and make one’s shot with both confidence and serenity and so it is with life.

That day, as my dreams of croquet stardom slipped from my hands, soaked as they were with blood and vitreous humour, I like to think that I caught a glimpse of it somewhere in the offing, past the steamships and proud-sailed clippers, my destiny. As I turned my back for the last time on the appealing thump of mallet against ball, I knew somewhere deep inside that Rufus’ depth perception had not been sacrificed in vain. I could taste it, bitter and yet tantalising to the senses like an anchovy-stuffed olive or a really ripe piece of cheese, the culmination of the dreams of every man, woman and child on this earth and quite possibly some other reasonably-intelligent animals like chimpanzees or dolphins, yes it was almost in my grasp: success. Back then, I could only see the broad outlines of the future. What after all could the future hold for a seven-year-old boy with vast inherited wealth and a genetic pre-disposition towards random acts of ultra-violence? As I herded Rufus towards the mansion with a few sympathetic, but firm, lashes with my mallet handle, this was the question that preoccupied me.

The same question continued to haunt my waking thoughts over the next few years. I tried to distract myself with my studies and the training of my beloved attack hounds, but no matter how many times I bent my head to my desk with the best of intentions, I was only ever delaying the inevitable. Doctor Flannel, my mathematics teacher, was the one who finally set me on the correct path. With perspicacity perhaps not unexpected in a man of his genius, he hit the bullseye with all the grace and precision of one all-too-well versed in the archery of the mind. ‘My boy’ he said, patting my arm affectionately as I struggled over a particularly tangled piece of calculus, ‘you should always play to your strengths and rely on others to overlook anything that might be considered a weakness.’ The wisdom of his remark was immediately clear. Through his tears of pain I could see pride in the manner in which I had immediately translated his advice into action. For, dear reader, why waste years of study on the finer points of mathematics when one can solve all of the equations in the world merely by tying a recognised specialist in his field to a chair and applying a blow torch to his feet? I knew then my talent and the source of my inevitable success: my genius for evil.