Friday, February 1, 2013

FFF: Rest For The Wicked

Every Friday, Kurt posts a new piece of flash fiction. This week...

Rest For The Wicked
Word Count: 600

Professor Vengeance held up a hand for calm. “Please, people, we need order,” he said, but to no avail. The meeting was getting out of hand. “Order!” he shouted again, and pounded a metal fist on the lectern. “We can’t take our grievances to management unless we know what they are.”

“Better benefits!” shouted Hefty, a gelatinous thug with an eating disorder.

“Shorter hours!” said a low-level enforcer in the back of the room.

“We can’t just say we want shorter hours,” said Vengeance. “That’s the problem. Shorter than what? We have to ask for something concrete.”

“Let’s ask for a forty-hour week,” suggested a thug in a clown costume who called himself “Killjoy”.

“Who has enough henchmen for that?” asked Vengeance. “I don’t think it’s realistic.”

“If Dr. Disorder can afford a Shrinking Machine, he can afford to run us in shifts!” said Killjoy.

“It’s not about money,” said Vengeance, “it’s about supply. There just isn’t enough muscle to go around. Now, we could ask for better overtime pay.”

“I’d rather have better job security,” said Hefty. “Supervillains don’t always have cash on hand; I don’t want to get fired during the slow season.”

“And by fired he means rubbed,” said Killjoy. A chorus of yeah’s echoed through the hall.

“See, now there’s something we can ask for,” said Vengeance. “Non-lethal downsizing.”

“What about plain-old job security?” asked Hefty. “I can’t get private insurance.”

“I think we can offer a few options,” said Vengeance. “Base-plus-commission for seasonal work and maybe a higher base with no commission for villains with year-round funding.”

“That’s another thing,” said Gigantopithecus, crouching in his chair to avoid the ceiling fan. “I want to know who’s paying my check. I know Dr. Disorder gets money from a foreign power, but I don’t know who.”

“We can ask,” said Vengeance, “but we’ll get some push-back from management.”

“I don’t want to find out I’m taking money from Syria,” said Gigantopithecus. “It ain’t dignified.”

“Dignified?” asked a thug in the third row. “You want dignified? I temp for villains all over town, and each one makes me wear a different outfit: snowsuits for Captain Cold; clock-themed outfits for The Timethief; fatigues for General Shockenaw. How am I supposed to build an identity? I look like a freaking clown.” The thug eyed Killjoy warily. “No offense,” he added.

“Do your employers pay for the outfits?” asked Vengeance.

“Sometimes, yeah” said the thug.

“Good,” said Vengeance. “That’s something we can ask for. Now, what else?”

“You know what I can’t stand?” asked Dark Bart. “They spend all this money on these elaborate fortresses, but we have to patrol them alone. We should be working in pairs so we can’t get snuck up on.” This brought another chorus of yeah’s.

“Good,” said Vengeance. “I think we can establish a minimal security-staff requirement based on square-footage and points of entry. Can you come up with some numbers, The Calculator?”

A slim man in square glasses nodded. “I’ll work on it,” he hissed.

“This is good,” said Vengeance. “I can go to management with this. If they don’t like our terms, we threaten to strike.”

“One moment,” said a voice in the back. It was The Soothsayer. “Threatening to strike is good, but you should know something. If we actually do strike, Dr. Disorder will bring in Gestapo Pete to kill us all.”

For a moment, no one spoke.

“Ah,” said Vengeance, breaking the silence. “Well. Maybe we can wait to present our demands, then. See you all next Tuesday night.”

Edited by Carolyn Abram.

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1 comment:

Chappy said...

I'm an IUMHBE member. It just makes sense.