Friday, January 8, 2016

Friday Fiction: The Henchman Chronicles

"This is not what I signed up for!" said L-34 as a laser blast whizzed by his ear and blew a hole in the wall behind him.

"Oh?" answered J-29 as he fired his own blaster in the direction of the intruders. "What exactly were you expecting?"

"I wasn't expecting to be dodging laser fire on my third day on the job!" shouted L-34. He had to shout so he could be heard over the explosions coming from the sub-basement.

"Don't be such a wimp," yelled J-29. "You new guys are all the same. So whiny!"

"I am not whiny!" whined L-34. "I just don't want to die, that's all."

"Did you sign up for the life insurance?" asked J-29.

"Of course," said L-34. "The benefits were one of the best things about this job."

"Which life insurance option did you choose?" J-29 asked the question, then rolled to a more secure position behind a desk as the wall he had been using as cover crumbled to dust.

"I think I picked Option B," said L-34.

"Oops, rookie mistake," shouted J-29. "Always choose Option C. It's the best one, and it pays out immediately. With Option B your family won't get the payout for about six months." J-29 reloaded his laser and fired off a few rounds.

"Are you crazy?" L-34 screamed. "I don't care about the insurance options! I just don't want to die!"

"Oh, come on," said J-29 as he fired off another three rounds. "You knew the risks going in. You read the same brochure I did. It said that henchmen for Professor Pyro have a 36% mortality rate. That's why the insurance is so good."

"Yeah," replied L-34, "64% seems like good odds when you're reading it in a color pamphlet, but not so good when you're dodging laser blasts."

"Hey, at least you're not working for DeathMaster or Crazy Bob," said J-29. "More than half of their henchmen die each year!"

"Oh, I know. I wouldn't touch either of those guys with a ten-foot electric incapacitator pole! But, you've got to admit, it's pretty scary out here." As he said the words some concrete debris fell onto L-34's shoulder from the ceiling above.

"Hey, if you don't like it you should go be an accountant or something," J-29 said.

"I am an accountant," replied L-34. "At least I was until last week. When I saw that brochure and how much Professor Pyro pays, I just couldn't resist. And those benefits!"

"Yes, Professor Pyro pays well. He takes care of his people," J-29 responded. "As long as they survive," he added.

L-34 reloaded his blaster and shot haphazardly at the intruders. "When I saw the pay and benefits, I couldn't turn it down. I really want to be able to provide for Jane and...."

J-29 cut L-34 off in mid-sentence. "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" he shouted. "No names! No names! That's one of Professor Pyro's biggest rules! If we don't know each other's names or the names of our family members, they'll have a harder time making us testify against each other in court! How else do you think Professor Pyro is able to maintain that low 29% conviction rate for his henchmen?"

"Sorry," said L-34. "So sorry. I just forgot in the heat of the battle." The battle really was heating up. The temperature in the room had gone up at least thirty degrees, and both men were sweating profusely in their full-body coveralls.

"Just don't forget again," replied J-29, "or I'll be forced to shoot you."

"Don't worry. If I refer to her again, and I probably won't, it will be as her designation of L-34-B."

"Good," said J-29. "I'd hate to have to shoot you."

"Not a problem," said a booming voice from above. "You won't be shooting him or anyone else with that gun ever again!" J-29's gun was ripped out of his hand before he could even look to see who was speaking to him. Sgt. Swift had taken his gun, and the rest of the Action Squad was with him.

Upon seeing the super-hero team, L-34 immediately dropped his gun and put up his hands. Captain Courage gathered L-34, J-29, and the other surviving henchmen of Professor Pyro and marched them toward the waiting police transport van.

"Dang it!" said K-82 as they loaded into the van. "Why did it have to be the Action Squad?"

"Well," said J-29, "when you work for Professor Pyro, you have to expect a super hero team every once in a while."

"I know," said K-82. "I was just hoping for the Hero League instead. I've always wanted to meet Mighty Maiden in person."

L-34 chuckled for a moment. Then he looked around the police van. L-31 was grimacing in pain, and had a two-inch round hole through the middle of his left thigh. "Ow," L-34 said, "that's gotta hurt!"

L-31 nodded and let out a small scream. "Don't worry," J-29 said. "The insurance will cover that."


Please choose a title that best fits the story.

O A. The Henchman Chronicles
O B. The Job Stinks But the Benefits Are Great
O C. Professor Pyro Is a People Person
O D. The Insurance Will Cover That
O E. Harry Potter and the Quantum of Solace

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