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A Villain Turns Mad

This is James Beamon's sixth appearance in Daily Science Fiction, and a sequel of sorts to "A Villain Considers His Options." We are glad to be able to share some of his work.

I'm on the set of a big budget movie, mere moments away from destroying Hollywood, and not with one of my patented Doomsday devices either. No, my plan involves wrecking the industry from the inside by turning public opinion against it and its bogus propaganda. No one needs to manually cock the hammer back on a modern gun, bombs aren't built with differently colored wires and you can't crash through real glass and not expect serious injury.
I know about that last one from personal experience. Also from personal experience: medical insurance will not cover injuries sustained from jumping through a glass window, even if you claim you were escaping from a rogue murderbot.
Speaking of which, the Predictive Analysis Module, or P.A.M. Fantastic, is sitting beside me on a metal folding chair where all us movie extras hang out waiting to be extra. We have reconciled since her initial boot-up/murder attempt and have dedicated ourselves to ending the Hollywood propaganda machine. For reasons I'd rather not discuss, P.A.M. is cleverly disguised as a Teddy Ruxpin doll. Teddy P.A.M. looks up to me and gives the signature Ruxpin eye blinks I fell in love with as a kid.
"There's only a thirty-three percent chance of success, Mr. Fantastic," she says.
"Gimme some of that Ruxpin optimism, P.A.M."
"Glass one-third full!" P.A.M. cheers.
We take in the movie set. It's a cutaway of a hallway. When the director calls "Action," iconic megastar Tom Bruise will run at full speed through the hallway and crash through the window on the far end, the start of a typical action sequence. The thing is, the window is actually sugar made to look like glass. The other thing is, it won't be in a second.
I take out my Diaboliq ray (patent pending) and fire at the window. The invisible beam turns the sugar into glass. If you wanna know the science behind it, check the patent.
"Roll camera!" the director calls from his chair.
"Camera rolling," someone replies.
Tom Bruise gets into position. The guy is small in an allergic-to-protein kinda way.
"Mark!" the director calls. Someone steps in front of the camera with that box with the clapper thing on top and claps it together.
Meanwhile, my own camera is running in the form of P.A.M.'s recording function. I'm fixing to watch Tom Bruise catch a serious injury, sell the video to TMZ for some much needed cash, go viral and then step in to push for reforms in the Hollywood storytelling method, a hero of my own making.
"Action!" the director says.
"You're not getting away that easy!" Tom Bruise says to literally no one. He runs full speed at the window, jumps.
He bounces off the glass.
"Cut!" the director yells.
"This is bullshit!" I roar, standing up out of my metal chair.
Tom Bruise whimpers some. The director looks over to me. "Who the hell is this extra?"
One of the crew, a grip, a gaffer, who the hell knows, looks at me and I see recognition dawn on his face. "Hey, that's Dastard Fantastic!" he says pointing.
The other extras scurry away from me as if my name was Typhoid Mary, another person who undoubtedly hated her parents and went exclusively by her middle name.
I adjust my glasses, my fake mustache feels in place. "You're mistaken, sir," I say in a deep voice.
"You are too!" the director says. "You've been on TV more times than all my movie promos put together. You're trying to fool us with glasses and a mustache."
At this point, I realize I've fed into more subtle Hollywood programming by believing this disguise wasn't crap.
I'm ready to lie some more because, hell, no one denies the truth better than me when all of a sudden the skylight above explodes in a shower of glass. Like a comet streaking to Earth, my old nemesis Miss Radiant lands in front of me amidst the shattered glass kneeling in a pose I'm sure she lifted from a comic book. Her magnificent red and blue outfit and white mask elicits gasps from the crowd. I hate her so much.
"Miss Radiant!" Teddy P.A.M. squeals. "I've heard terrible things about you. Yay meeting you!"
Miss Radiant ignores my quasi-traitorous murderbot. "Your name reached my super ears," she said. "I'm here to stop you, Dastard."
I scoff. "From what? Being an extra?"
"I'm fine," Tom Bruise calls from the background. No one cares.
"I'm sure you have an outstanding warrant or two dozen," she says with a smirk.
"Just civil court cases. Unlike you, the world holds me responsible when I break things." I look up at the shattered skylight.
"Ho, ho--" Miss Radiant begins.
"Stop!" Tom Bruise shouts. Now all heads turn. I guess having heard this voice in some of your most cherished movies makes for an authoritative sound. Tom looks around the room as if he's Caesar surrounding by a legion of Brutuses, maybe the plural's Bruti, either way he looks like we're stabbing him.
"You think you can come to my movie and instantly outshine me with viral video?"
That's when I notice everyone has their phones out, aimed and me and Miss Radiant.
"Viral this," Tom Bruise says. "I quit!"
He storms off, and once again no one cares. Miss Radiant and I glare at each other for unending moments as is our tradition.
Eventually, the director comes over. "The studio just called," he says. "Dastard, they want you to be the new star in this movie. They feel you'll bring that dark edge this picture needs, and I agree. Sign with us!"
"Twenty million dollars!" the director says.
"Wait, what?" Those were some serious chips. Most folks don't know this, but it's not easy funding villainy. My only real revenue stream is patent trolling. These days I was cash poor. A payday like this could seriously get me back in the game.
"Twenty million, plus one percent royalty on gross. Sign right now in front of the best viral movie promo ever and we immediately pick up filming where we left off. How about it?"
Pick up filming where they left off. With me jumping through a window that's irrevocably changed to glass... for revenue I desperately needed.
Hollywood. It's enough to turn a villain mad.
The End
This story was first published on Friday, April 6th, 2018
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