By Robert Lynch
Doctor Chaos sat on his high-backed skull throne as flashes from the lightning outside strobed the room.
Devious, Mrs Mayhem, The Wild Stallion, Moon Ranger, Dr Naughty, and Janice all sat around the large table.
“I have called you all here because I have terrible news,” Doctor Chaos said. “I have done a statistical analysis of our evil impact, and unfortunately, the news isn’t good.”
The table of super villains erupted.
“Calm down, calm down,” Doctor Chaos said. “I know that many of you don’t care for multivariate analyses, especially you Moon Ranger, after a multivariate analysis took your leg; but we must use the tools at our disposal if we are to conquer the world.”
“Very well, Doctor,” Moon Ranger said, “What has your –” he spat on the floor, “analysis revealed?”
“I wanted to measure our evil deeds against a group of randomly chosen peasants to quantify our evil regime’s impact.” Doctor Chaos said. “But I found that, in comparison to the randomly chosen group, our impact was negative. That is to say that the randomly chosen group was more evil than us.”
“How can that be?” Mrs Mayhem asked, “I stole the sun. I mean Speedikins McFastPants was able to steal back from me, but it was gone for like 15 whole minutes. How does a peasant stack up to that?”
“That’s a good example actually,” Doctor Chaos said, “How long did you spend making the portal technology that you used to steal the sun?”
“Well, about three years.” Mrs Mayhem replied.
“Yes, and after 15 minutes Speedikins had thwarted you and made off with the technology. Your evil portal technology has revolutionised freight across the world and has led to a two per cent rise in global productivity.”
“Yes, but all those freight drivers were put out of work.” Mrs Mayhem said.
“I like the way you're trying to see the glass half full of putrid slime,” Doctor Chaos said, “but the productivity gains have allowed the creation of a strengthened social safety net, not just helping the out-of-work drivers, but all of the lowest class. It simply doesn’t even out in evil’s favour.”
“How did the peasants best us?” Moon Ranger asked.
“Through repeated small cruelties.” Doctor Chaos replied. “Regular snarky comments add up. You would not believe how much evil is added by not separating the recycling, but the biggest mark in their evil ledger is the loss of opportunity cost.”
“Opportunity cost is theoretical; surely, it can’t add to the practical evil in the world?” Moon Ranger said.
“Ah, I thought so too,” Doctor Chaos responded, “but when they are sitting around binge-watching the latest reality TV show they are not doing anything productive. And every time we release a gas that turns people into rats, or steal the letter b from everyone’s vocabulary, or that time that Janice changed everyone’s taste buds so that everything tasted like spam; they become heroes, and go out and thwart us. If we stop doing evil things, they will stop becoming heroes.”
“What are we supposed to do?” Devious asked, “Sit on our hands and never release cockroaches into the local school’s air vents?”
“We must learn from the ‘normal’ people,” Doctor Chaos said. “Instead of large complicated evil, we must focus on the smaller cruelties.”
The group grumbled.
“Here is what I propose,” Doctor Chaos said. “From now on, we shall drive much slower than the speed limit, and only speed up when people try to overtake us. We shall stand slightly too close to other people. We shall wait until the cashier has told us the price of our order then order a new item; and then do it again! We shall only put the toilet seat down only if we know that the next person would want it up! We shall stand in the middle of an escalator so that people behind us cannot get passed! We will always park our cars right on the line, perhaps even a fraction over the line! We will forever put milk or other containers back into the fridge empty! We will only use the express checkout if we have more than 12 items! We will never replace the empty toilet paper roll! If there is a cycling lane, we will still ride in the car lane! We will put our bags on seats! We will click pens! We will use overly familiar nicknames, bring pungent food to work, we shall start sentences with ‘no offence!’ WE WILL TYPE IN ALL CAPS FOR NO REASON! And we will never be ready order when we get to the counter, no matter how long we have waited in line!”
The group clapped.
Doctor Chaos brought his fist down on the table, “Heroes rise up against us when we do big evil things, but no one stops you when you do mildly annoying things!”