Doctor Ragnarok made an entrance. There were fireworks, blaring drum and bass beats, dancing girls with haunted eyes. It’s important for a super villain to make an entrance. ‘My weather machine, is it ready yet?’
Vincent Fisher had never made an entrance. He was the sort of man who could enter a room without anybody noticing. While wearing a flashing hat and screaming please, notice me! ‘Define ready,’ said Vincent Fisher.
An adjustment of the upper lip of Doctor Ragnarok made it clear that there were whips nearby, and he still hadn’t done his cardio today.
‘It works, my lord,’ said Vincent Fisher. ‘It’s just that it… well, it took the settings a bit… literally.’
Technically, Vincent Fisher was Doctor Vincent Fisher. But as Doctor Ragnarok was technically Mr. Ragnarok, it had become necessary for Vincent to downplay his PHD. Nevertheless, there lingered an air of furious insecurity on Doctor Ragnorok’s part that lent a crumbling rope bridge atmosphere to all their interactions. This was not improved on those occasions when Doctor Ragnarok was forced to admit his ignorance.
‘Explain,’ said Doctor Ragnarok, and inside, Vincent felt one of his feet go through a rotten plank.
‘Well, remember when you said that terms like ‘rain’ and ‘overcast’ were boring?’
‘I didn’t go into evil because I wanted to be a meteorologist,’ said Doctor Ragnarok.
‘Right. It’s just that now, when I turn the dial to ‘Raining Cats and Dogs,’ it, well, rains cats and dogs.’
‘No, I mean, actual cats and dogs.’ The railing on one side snapped.
‘I can’t rain cats and dogs upon my enemies! I’ll be a laughing stock!’ cried Doctor Ragnarok.
‘I wouldn’t worry about laughter, it’s actually profoundly horrifying. And some of the settings you demanded aren’t even metaphors for weather. Brainstorm, Baby Shower, Surf’s Up just sends the ocean rocketing into the sky.’
There was a very long silence.
‘It’s easy to not throw wasps at people if you don’t want to,’ said Doctor Ragnarok at last.
‘I beg your pardon?’
‘We forgive the wasps their stinging, but not the men who throw them. What’s the difference? They’re both only following their instincts. Is it nature? Is it nurture? Either way it’s not my fault! I didn’t ask to want to throw wasps at people!’
Vincent Fisher felt very much like a man standing before a door to Heaven, and a Door to Hell, unsure which is which, but compelled to walk through one. ‘Some people might say that the man is different because he has a choice.’
‘Does a weak man have the choice to lift a heavy object?! Does the stupid man have the choice to be a doctor?! We are all prisoners of our limitations. Some choices cannot be made. The evil cannot be good!’
‘I think this conversation might be better suited to a philosopher, my lord.’
‘What then, of the evil man who cannot be evil?’ And Doctor Ragnarok sat on the floor, where he began to weep. Deep, shuddering, howling sobs. ‘My weather machine cannot control the weather! My Death Ray decides he’d rather be Party Ray! My lair isn’t even in a volcano! This is a hot spring! Monkeys take baths in it!’
‘Perhaps…’ began Vincent, before trailing off sheepishly.
Doctor Ragnarok wiped his nose with a clawed gauntlet. ‘Say it.’
‘Perhaps you were never evil. Perhaps you’re only a dickhead.’ Vincent Fisher waited for the end.
But it didn’t come.
Doctor Ragnarok looked up with wet, hopeful eyes. ‘What’s the difference?’
‘A dickhead is unlikeable, but ultimately harmless, because their own personality prevents them from ever possessing any real power.’
‘So you’re saying, I’m not an evil failure…’
Vincent Fisher risked a smile. ‘You’re a successful dickhead.’
And Doctor Ragnarok, no, Mr. Ragnarok, no, Jason Ragnarok, wept again, but this time, they were tears of joy.