Super-Villain King (1)

        Being a super villain involves an astonishing amount of long division. It was one of the aspects of the job that surprised Bascom when he first got into the business. There’s swag, collected from raids the night before―that has to be assessed and divided among coconspirators. There’s booty, collected from heists, which has to be divided into its fencable and non-fencabe components, and sometimes divided again among several laundering operations so as not to raise suspicions. There’s protection funds, goods, loot, spoils of war, graft, haul, misappropriated government cheese, take, skimmed profits, accrued squeeze, and a wide assortment of items falling off of trucks, and each of them has to be apportioned appropriately to everyone involved. Bascom often thought had Mrs. Klester simply mentioned you could use long division for something more useful, maybe he would have paid a little more attention.        It was a valid criticism, but Bascom knew this wouldn’t have made a difference. Not in his case anyway. Villainy was something he had sort of fallen into. Not like Dock. Dock had a true mind for it, for as long as Bascom could remember.         Even when Dock was little, when they were in school together, he already had that look in his eye. It wasn’t that he really wanted an insurance policy on the school gymnasium, it was the the entertainment of convincing the salesmen to sell one to a 12 year old. And after he had it, well burning down the gym so he could collect the payout and steal the claims adjusters identity, the way it came together, it was like the gods were egging him on. His mind just worked that way. Bascom often thought it was that kind of predictable perfidy that made them friends in the first place. With Dock you knew where you stood, because it was always relative to Dock.         It wasn’t that Bascom didn’t like life as a super villain. Sure it was a little lower on the glamor side and higher on the long division side then he had expected, but at least it was steady. “A good stepping stone career,” he had said to his firends. But as time when on, Bascom could tell that his crimes, what few of them there were, just didn’t have the same shine as the other’s.         Having a mind like Dock was out of the question, but he was not the only role model. Gideon worked in the same building, just down the hall. She and her assistant Dante had a big office. Bascom had only been in it once, in fact it was his first day in the office and he was stumbling around looking for more paper for the copy machine. The entrance looked like all the other office, but inside Gideon had obviously had some work done. At the time Bascom couldn’t help being a little jealous. After a small front office with inlayed wood and stone walls was Gideon’s office, or was it chamber? Two-story ceilings, walls draped with heavy curtains and painted rich burgundies and deep velvety greens, an immense wooden desk that looked as if it had its own gravitational pull, a high-backed leather chair, and behind it all a gigantic open fireplace that would bring a fire-martial to tears.         Bascom’s visit was a brief one. Before he could even set foot in the room a command voice barked “Interloper! Seize him!”, and a half-dozen guards in smart matching coveralls and dark visored face masks stepped out from the walls. Bascom’s feet didn’t touch the floor once on the way out, it was just like a movie he had seen. A few minutes later sitting in a heap in the hall where the goons had left him a small balding man in a similar uniform tottered by and reached heading for the door when he noticed Bascom.         “Oh hi. You must be Bascom, Dock’s new friend right?” he said with a cheerful smile, “I’m Dante, Gideon’s assistant. Oh dear, she didn’t have you thrown out did she?” The little man huffed and stamped his foot. “I’m trying to get her to meet new people, but I keep telling her, your never going to meet anyone if you just keep throwing them into the hallway. Thats not why we hired the goons in the first place. They’re really very nice guys you know, the goons,” he began to chuckle to himself, “don’t tell Gideon I told you, but their all dance majors from the city college. Good lower body strength you know.”         Bascom later learned his intuition had been right. Gideon built the whole office out of set pieces from her favorite film, ‘Captain Stockwell and the Stones of Doom’. She kidnapped the entire cast and crew of some TV teen drama and ransomed the studio for the movie sets and costumes. Dante said she was even going to force the studio to bring in the actor that played Stockwell so she could reenact the fight between Stockewell and the super villain, but the night before she saw a program on the Science Channel about rock climbing and lost all interest. “All she could talk about for days was how she was going to steal Mt. Rushmore for her garden so she could go rock climbing on Teddy Roosevelt's mustache.” Dante said, “And get this, the next day, all the henchmen came in clean-shaven. I’ve got a great picture of all of us in the gym in front of our old pictures. We put them on the christmas cards that year.”