I didn’t expect to be invited to this. It probably helps that I’d been laying low. Hatching new schemes. It probably helps that for the first time in my life, I’d done something helpful. That I’d caught the man who did it. For at least one day, I was a hero.
I’d been in my lair. It’s what we-Super Villains-do. I can still remember precisely what happened. One of my henchmen called me up and told me to turn on the news. I laid down my t-square on top of the heaping piles of drafting paper, most of them scribbled over with red ink, some of them crumpled into balls. I set it down and turned on the news. And there was the footage. My arch nemesis fighting another super villain. What’s more, he was losing.
Some people like to think there’s a code of honor among super villains. That we wouldn’t confront another’s rival. It’s a load of bullshit. If a super hero comes for you, you put up a fight with them. That’s not the way this played out. This guy had gone looking for my nemesis. He found him. I watched him in the process of killing my nemesis.
Sure, I had toyed with the idea of offing him before. It crosses every super villain’s mind. It would make life easier. What every super villain won’t tell you is that there’s a perverse pleasure in the struggle. I’m sure most super heroes feel the same way. We enjoy being challenged. Imagine Bill Gates without Steve Jobs. Imagine Bruce Lee without any one to challenge him. Do you think they would rise to such great heights without the challenge? That’s part of why we earn that honorary “super” in our job description. It’s the lengths that we go to in competition with others. So even though I’d toyed with the idea, my nemesis earned my grudging respect, and I’d like to think that maybe I earned his.
What I saw on the television flooded me with anger. I threw on my suit and headed out immediately. Unfortunately, I was too late. By the time I arrived, this other villain was standing over the corpse of my long time rival. Seeing his slackened body and the bloody tatters of his suit unleashed a primal fury in me. I gave chase to the cad who could murder in cold blood a man I respected so much.
We all know what happened with that story. The villain is currently serving multiple life sentences, and I’m here, speaking to all of you. But I can tell you this, even though my rival, my nemesis has been given the justice of having his murderer put behind bars, I still feel a heavy heart. There is a great super hero sized hole in my heart where my rival used to be. I’ll never be able to pit my abilities against him again. I’ll never be able to tell him what a great man he was. Nor will I be able to tell him what he really was to me. A friend.
Apropos of: This Prompt