OK, so I broke a cardinal rule of being an Evil Overlord. 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 f#$@#ing chianti.

1A long story; suffice it to say that a jilted Demon Mistress thought me the fit instrument of her revenge.
2In a pouch right here around my neck.
3Plus, you never know when a pizza delivery boy is going to turn out to be a hero or something.

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