(By the way, I almost certainly will not be putting novel words up here regularly, but I figured I'd show my work for the first day.)
It's not easy being evil. I say that in all seriousness. It sounds facetious, I know, but in actually fact it's really rather hard. I think the problem, such as it is, is that no one is entirely evil. Everyone's got at least a little good in them.
The good is there, inside of you, and it's just waiting to bring everything crashing down. There are a lot of strategies people use, most -I'm convinced- do it without realizing it. One is to give it an outlet. Someone or some group that you can just let the good in you connect to. More often then you'd think it seems to be a pet. Examples I know are dogs, and the cat stroking villain had to come from somewhere.
I have a rat, for what it's worth. Well, I live with a rat. I don't actually have him. I cohabitate. The plan was to experiment on him but I never had the heart, so I just let him roam free and we talk. I talk to him, he gives me a look of, “Is something wrong with you? I'm a rat. Rats don't talk,” it's a good relationship. His name is Benjamin.
The problem is that even if you have an outlet named Benjamin the good is still inside you, looking for weaknesses in you defenses, trying to tear down the walls you've built up. And that's bad. Wall building is evil 101. Good fences make bad neighbors possible. If you don't have a wall between yourself and your victim, if you can't label them as Them who is in no way part of Us, that's a problem. That's a very big problem.
And even if you do have a wall, that wall can come down.
You'll be standing in the middle of a bank, major structural supports wired with explosives, hostages all in their places, the police on the radio playing into your hands perfectly, and then you'll look into one of the faces of one of your victims', a little girl -maybe nine years old, blonde hair that's tending towards light brown, blue eyes, freckles- and you'll think, “Maybe her name's Suzy, and maybe she wants to be a rocket scientist, and maybe her college fund is at this institution, and maybe what I'm doing right now will prevent her from getting into a good school and ruin her future,” and she's stopped being a part of Them. She's stopped being a meaningless statistic or an abstract concept. She started to be a human being. And that's hard.
But it doesn't stop there, because she's not the only kid in the bank. So you think to yourself, “What the hell, is this take your kid to the bank day?” and there's a little boy, and maybe you're costing him his future dental work. It's going to turn out that he has a cleft bicuspid molar (you're pretty sure that that's complete dental gibberish but the emotional side of your brain is running with it and it's not going to be stopped by something as inconsequential as the truth) and his insurance won't cover it an his parents will have lost their money in the bank so he'll be doomed to a life of toothaches and a broken smile.
And all of a sudden you're surrounded by broken lives and it's no fun whatsoever when the heist goes off like it should and you get away the money. Then the next month is spent making sure that your actions did not in fact cost any children their future college funds or dental work. Which is a lot less interesting than planning a robbery and tends to result in the kind of frustration that makes you want to scream. But if you do scream you'll scare the rat, although this was actually before I had the rat but you get my point.
And all of sudden you can't rob a bank without getting to know their finances better than they do because you need to track the financial fallout down to a person, and you start to worry about the financial stability of the FDIC, and you're researching insurance companies and you can't even blow up a building without analyzing it's constituent parts to make sure none of them pose a health hazard.
Plus, when you get down to it you discover that all of the non lethal weapons in the world aren't actually non lethal, they're just lethal less often than those weapons known as lethal. So you have to, from scratch, design a new type of weapon capable of consistently rendering people unconscious without risk of killing them just so you can shoot back at the people firing fracking 9mm parabellum rounds at you because you can't help but think of them as people who are just doing their jobs and probably have families and must have hopes and dreams just like you. They're people and once you start thinking of them as people it's very difficult to fire potentially lethal weapons in their general direction
All of this and more happens because the damned bit of good in you found a crack in one of your walls and, at the least opportune moment, burst through like Mothra through a dam.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to blow up a twenty story building in the middle of a crowded city without causing a single injury? Not a sprained ankle, not a stubbed toe.
And then a hero showed up. He wears an all white form fitting suit with a cape, which is a step up from his original costume that had a lighthouse on it, I suppose. It's caused me to stock mud as one of my basic items. He calls himself, “The Beacon” and he can fly. The jerk.
I suppose I should say what I wear. I wear a duster, a fedora, and sunglasses, for whatever that's worth. It's hardly sexy, but I'm not in it for show. I don't actually like attention that much. I like the planning (if not the constraints), I like the chase, I like the game, I like the money, I like things that go boom. I'm not so big on the publicity. Which is, I suppose, how I ended up with a silly name. When asked who I was, I'm Ryan if it matters, I just made up the first name that came to mind. That was, “Randal Stevenson,” apparently that's not cool enough sounding for the media because they named me, “Doctor Boom.” Yes, you read that right. Yes, it is very silly. Though perhaps not as silly as, “The Beacon.”
The white knight in white clothing who flies seemed to have no concept of how fights should be waged. He'd end up damaging this or that thing and then I'd have to double back to save someone he put in danger, more than once losing my prize in the process. (Though in retrospect a two thousand pound runestone might not have been the best thing to steal in the first place. I thought it would go nicely in my living room.) He made chases more exciting, I'll give him that, but he made them result in a lot more abject panic. And the thing is, when you're the bad guy no one give you credit for saving people. They all think, “Well if you didn't do something wrong in the first place none of this would have happened,” which may be true but I think it completely misses the point.
So, political manipulation.
It should not have been so hard to convince people that what the city really needed was a system of bunkers in which the population could hide while jerkface hero made a mess of things and a blew stuff up nicely with all due elegance. (When I do it it's an art form; when he does it it's a train wreck.) In fact, various very smart people had already made completely viable proposals to do just that. The only thing standing in the way was politics.
Politics is about as unfun as as trying to run, on foot, from police on motorcycles while you have a sprained ankle. Possibly less so. On the other hand, it's the one place where you can really let lose without ever worrying that you might hurt a human being. There aren't any in politics. Maybe somewhere far away, but certainly where I was they all seemed pretty inhuman. Some bribery there, some blackmail here, the unfortunate discovery that the people you'd most like to blackmail instead of bribe are the ones who are best at insulating themselves from blackmail, two votes of no confidence, more shell corporations than I can even remember, and the exhausting of all of my funds to the point I was actually two hundred and twenty seven dollars in debt after stealing millions, and finally the bunkers were on their way to being constructed.
And it was worth it.
The bunker system is amazing, the streets can be cleared in minutes, the buildings don't take much longer. It's a good day when I can dodge an 18 wheeler thrown at me without having to worry about what it might hit behind me. The city becomes a playground, and there is much fun to be had. On paper I haven't had a lasting success since the flying brick with super strength and the ability to plow through buildings without a scratch moved in.
In reality it's been good. Not easy -never easy- but good. I never feel so alive as when I'm in the middle of a job, just barely outrunning the jerk. Ducking into a building pretending I think I've lost him, then running like hell and dropping the building on his head when he follows me inside, running through abandoned streets, luring him into just the right place so I can used explosives to launch a car into his face. A lot more running.
Half the time I have to cut and run and I don't get what I want, much of what remains what I wanted wasn't what anyone thought. I wanted a stock to change in price I wanted a company to hastily backup their files to a secure underground server so I could copy them in route, I wanted an excuse to blow up an eyesore without people realizing I just really really hate that building. It's architect said it was a tribute to Ayn Rand. What the hell were they thinking? Tax payer money should not be spent that way, I say as someone who has never paid taxes except perhaps via shell corporations that I've honestly lost track of. For all I know they're profitable. I doubt it thought.
The remaining times usually involve art. Museums are full of people. It's intolerable. I want to look at art, not be surrounded by people. People are dangerous and unpredictable, and looking at just one little girl, who later research revealed was not in fact named Suzy, can throw a wrench into one's entire worldview. So if there's a piece of art that I want to get a better look at, I'll generally steal it.
Then I'll get a better look at it. I'll do that for a while but at some point I'll start to feel bad about the fact no one else gets to see it, and that that point I'll pretend I'm trying to fence it and let it get grabbed. The Beacon will conclude that crime doesn't pay (yes it does, thank you very much) and while this case took longer than most Dr. Boom (snicker) was foiled in the end. And if he actually uses the word, “Foiled,” which he sometimes does, that's about the point where I break down laughing. I've learned not to be in public when the press release is given.
I let him have credit for a flawless record, why wouldn't I? At first he was really beating me, and that was frustrating as all hell. But then I realized that I could win by playing a different game, and he has yet to catch on. Let him win on the field. I'm cleaning up at the bookie's.
I like it.ReplyDelete
(Sorry, brain isn't in a "give a constructive commentary" mode.)
Sweet! It's off to a good start.ReplyDelete
Delurking to say that I've enjoyed all your NaNo posts--all your posts, period--so much. I was really hoping you'd post some of your novel on here and I am really, really happy you did. I'm working on my own nano, the plot of which really just started today, based on a relationship between a very butch slave and the master's daughter...Basically, your story is much better than mine and I'm really enjoying the chance to read it.ReplyDelete