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Tuesday, November 8

FREE short story for Election Day

I wrote this one a while back, and since it's Election Day today I just couldn't pass up posting it here.

And if you enjoy it, and haven't picked up a copy of my TALES FROM PARTS UNKNOWN collection, now is the perfect time!



Igor, Egor and Ygor


“I tell ya,” said Igor, raising his glass of blood and tonic, “the worst part of it is the total lack of respect.”

“No kidding,” said Egor, slapping the table for effect. “You’d think they might show a little appreciation from time to time, but no. It’s always, ‘Egor, get this. Egor, fetch that. Egor, you idiot!’ I tell ya, it’s enough to give a guy a complex.”

A third man limped over from the bar carrying fresh drinks.  “You think you have it bad, my master won’t even let me play my flute anymore.” Ygor rubbed his twisted neck as he spoke.  “It’s the one thing I truly enjoy in life, besides torturing villagers and playing with fire, that is, and he won’t even let me have that simple pleasure.”

Igor adjusted his hood and nodded. “Yeah, I know what you mean. I almost couldn’t get off work to make it here this year. I ask for one week a year, just one week. And that’s the week she has to try and take over the world. Sheesh. Fortunately the atomic reactor won’t ship till next week, otherwise I’d still be slaving away underground building another doomsday device.”

Egor shot a quick glance to either side to see if anyone was listening. The far end of the lounge featured a bar with an array of misshapen and grotesque figures seated on stools in front of it. A four-armed bartender served them drinks.  Above the bar hung a banner that read, “143rd Annual Henchmen Convention.”

He lowered his voice to a near-whisper. “Say, let me ask you guys something. Just between us lackeys. You ever screw up on purpose?”

Ygor looked shocked. “What? Why, that would be against union code, you know that. I could lose my privileges for something like that.” He winked at the dwarf as he popped a handful of grub worms into his mouth.

Igor scratched his hump as he spoke. “I’m not ashamed to admit it. I screw up all the time. Maybe it isn’t technically on purpose, but let’s just say I could probably be a bit more careful. But come on, a guy’s gotta pass the time somehow, right? The Transylvanian nights are cold and lonely in those drafty dungeons.”

He noticed a blonde in a lab coat a few tables over. She looked up and their eyes locked. He raised an eyebrow and flashed a toothless grin. She quickly looked away, annoyed.

“I do it on purpose, I admit it,” said Egor. The candle in the center of their table flickered, dripping scarlet wax onto the skull beneath it. “But my master deserves it. He’s a slave driver. And the worst part of it? He never takes my suggestions. I’m no greenhorn; I’ve been doing this for almost a century.” He thumped his chest for emphasis. “I’m a pro, and he should respect that. There are plenty of other mad scientists out there that would appreciate my talents. I’ve had interest from headhunters.”

Ygor nodded in agreement. “I know what you mean. Just last week, a witch doctor in Borneo inquired about my services.”

Igor looked at the other two men, and shook his head. “You know, I think we’re all forgetting why we became henchmen in the first place. Yeah, maybe it’s a tough job, but at least we’re a part of something special, making a difference. We have steady jobs, with decent pay and benefits. And most importantly we’re carrying on the time-honored tradition passed down by our ancestors.”

He looked up and gestured toward the corner of the room. “Besides, no matter how bad our bosses may be, no matter how wicked, cruel, heartless, or despicable the treatment, it could always be worse.”

The other henchmen turned to see what he was looking at. Mounted on the wall was a television. Onscreen, a man in a crisply pressed suit waved to an enthusiastic crowd, a leering smile plastered on his face. Words scrolled across the bottom of the screen announcing the latest election results.

“Even I can’t work for an overlord that evil,” Igor said with a shudder.


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