OK, so I broke a cardinal rule of being an Evil
. So sue me
It's long been known among young aspiring Evil Overlords that having
your heart surgically removed leads to a more fulfilling career, and has
been known to confer immortality. Most importantly, it helps
when you collect overdue rent from your tenants.
So, when I finally graduated from my apprenticeship1 as a
fawning henchman, that was the first thing I had done. The question
was, who should guard the impregnable vault underneath the glacier high
in the Mountains of Aversion where such things are kept?
Now, Rico wasn't my first choice for the job. But we'd known each
other since St. Hieronymos's, where we learned the giving of terror firsthand
from Sister Estelle. It also didn't hurt that his Uncle Vito
was a heavy investor in my Evil Overlord Corporation and had rather forcefully
suggested employment for his nephew. Frederico was a "good boy."
So off he went to the Mountains of Aversion along with 100 handpicked Doom
Troopers to guard the One Weakness every Evil Overlord is required to have.
Everything went fine for awhile. I was busy setting up a
reputation as an Evil Overlord; I didn't have time to pay attention.
It wasn't until one of my Fawning Henchmen, bless his soul2,
drew attention to the really, reallly high long distance bills and expense
reports coming from the Fortress of Aversion that I was aware of any trouble.
So I called Freddie up. "Look, the phone company charges extra
to run lines into the Mountains of Aversion and pizza delivery boys won't
come up here unless you give 'em a $1,000 tip.", he said. "They're the
freaking Mountains of freaking Aversion!" I knew I had a problem.
The next call was, of course, to Uncle Vito. "You gotta do something
about your nephew. He's eatin' up all the profit!"
"I promised my dear sister on her deathbed that I would take care of
her dear Frederico.", said Uncle Vito in his gravelly voice. "He's a good
boy. You don't want pizza delivered up there, build him a pizza oven."
So I had to send stonemasons, Masons, mind you, up to the site
of my greatest vulnerability and build a pizza oven for bored Doom Troopers.
And I still had my problem. Delivering pizza dough was going to be almost
as bad for profits as delivering the completed pie.
Then it occurred to me. The spirits of 100 dead, angry, hungry-for-pizza
Doom Troopers, not to mention a lazy nephew, would cause just as much Aversion
as the living doom troopers themselves. And no pizza to boot.
I made sure the next delivery of pizza dough had enough strychnine in
it to do the job.
Of course I'd have to deal with Uncle Vito, an Evil Overlord in his
own right. No idea where he kept his heart of course. But I had
that covered; delivering photos of Vito cavorting with his Demon
Mistresses soon fell into the hands of the late Rico's Aunt Angelica. I
wasn't sure if that was going to work, but apparently Vito's heart was
in her jewelry box somewhere. Her heart was figuratively broken,
his was, literally.
So I worked things out with the other junior Evil Overlords. Without
too much bloodshed, mind you. Business was fine for awhile.
And then the son of the doomed pizza chef figured things out.
He trekked up to the Mountains of Aversion all by himself, with 10 extra-lage
pepperoni-and-sausage pies. Those distracted the ghosts of the Doom
Troopers while he pried open the vault containing my heart with one of
those flat things you arrange pizzas in the oven with.
And the damn kid didn't even have the courtesy to demand ransom for
the thing; he went straight back to the wizards he was working for.
A quick spell and here I am stuck in this chianti bottle. I hate
A long story; suffice it to say that a jilted Demon Mistress
thought me the fit instrument of her revenge.
In a pouch right here around my neck.
Plus, you never know when a pizza delivery boy is going
to turn out to be a hero or something.