The scene: a large warehouse with a sign reading HENCHMEN ACADEMY. Inside the warehouse, a group of young trainees in matching jumpsuits stands at attention in rows. A drill sergeant paces in front of them.
“My name is Drill Sergeant Remey! You will address me as either Drill Sergeant Remey or Sir! Is that clear?”
“Yes, Sir!” yelled the trainees in unison.
“It is my job to train you to become the best possible henchmen that you can be. Those of you who make it through this program will have what it takes to become henchmen for mad scientists, drug lords, criminal masterminds, or any number of overlords with plans for world domination. In the meantime, you will obey my orders. Is that clear?
“I was once a henchman myself, and I will do my best to impart as much of what I learned as possible to you.”
Johnson raised his hand.
“Sir, why aren’t you a henchman anymore?”
“My boss was killed.”
“How did he die, Sir?”
“He was decapitated with a sword and kicked into a pit of acid. Are there any other questions?”
One of the female trainees raised her hand.
“Sir, are we still henchmen if we’re women, or are we henchpersons?”
“No, you’re still a henchman even if you are a woman, got it?”
“All right. First I’m going to teach you how to fight using your bare hands.”
Drill Sergeant Remey pointed to Wakowski, the biggest and most physically fit member of the group.
“You, get in the center of the circle.”
Wakowski moved to the center of a circle painted on the ground. Drill Sergeant Remey pointed to Johnson and Smith.
“Johnson, Smith, get on opposite sides of Wakowski.”
Johnson and Smith got on opposite sides of Wakowski at the edge of the circle.
“Now, before we start this exercise, you should know that it is very common for fighters to lose their shirts in hand-to-hand combat.”
The female trainees looked at each other nervously.
“Now, there are many…”
Wakowski started to take off his shirt.
“Wakowski, keep your damn shirt on!”
“Now, there are many reasons why a fighter might lose his shirt during battle. Your shirt might get badly ripped or it might catch fire or you might do that trick where a fighter takes his shirt off to wrap it over his opponent’s head and then knees him in the stomach. All these situations result in shirtlessness.”
Drill Sergeant Remey looked over to Johnson and Smith.
“Now you two, attack Wakowski.”
Johnson and Smith did not move. “Really?” asked Johnson.
“First off, did you forget that you are to address me as either Drill Sergeant Remy or Sir?”
“Second, you have now lost the element of surprise. Attack him now!” yelled Remy.
Johnson and Smith ran in to attack Wakowski at the same time.
“No, stop! Not like that. You attack one at a time. That’s proper etiquette.”
Johnson raised his hand.
“Why are we following etiquette? Aren’t we trying to kill him, Sir?”
“Are you a troublemaker, Johnson?” asked Drill Sergeant Remey.
“This stuff could save your life some day if you get into hand-to-hand combat.”
“Couldn’t I just carry a gun, Sir?”
“What if he knocks the gun out of your hand?
“I could carry a back up gun, Sir.”
Drill Sergeant Remey gave Johnson a stern look. “Let’s move on.”
The trainees moved over to a table with guns on it.
“Arm up, trainees. We’re going to work on your marksmanship.”
The trainees each grabbed a gun and moved over to the shooting area—a red line painted on the ground. Across from the line was a cardboard cutout of a guy in a tuxedo. Drill Sergeant Remey picked up a remote control with a red button on it.
“When I push this button, your enemy will move along a track from one side of the shooting range to the other. This will simulate your opponent running from gunfire. Your goal is to shoot toward your target’s feet, closely following his movement without hitting him.”
“Sir, why don’t we just shoot at him?” asked Johnson.
“Will you stop with all the damn questions, Johnson? First group move up to the line. Now get ready to fire!”
Drill Sergeant Remey pushed the button and the cardboard cutout started moving along its track. The first group fired. Sparks flew up right behind the target’s feet as it moved from one side of the shooting area to the other.
“All right, good. Second group, move up.”
The second group moved up to the red line.
“Get ready!” Drill Sergeant Remey pushed the button.
The second group fired at the moving target. Sparks flew up behind the target’s feet. Smith, however, sneezed while firing, which made him jerk a bit to his left. His gunfire took off the target’s cardboard head.
“Damn it, Smith! What the hell do you think you’re doing?” asked Drill Sergeant Remey as he quickly walked over to Smith.
“Sorry, Sir,” said Smith, looking at his feet.
“He hit the target, Sir,” said Johnson. "Isn’t that good?"
Drill Sergeant Remey looked from Smith to Johnson.
“Shut your face, Johnson. Smith here broke protocol. Let’s just move on to the next exercise.”
The trainees moved on from the shooting range to an obstacle course. “The point of this exercise is for you to learn how to take cover. There will be many times when people will be shooting at you. Knowing how to properly take cover will keep you from getting killed.”
Drill Sergeant Remey moved some of the trainees into positions behind different objects on the course.
“In the event of a shootout, you should keep as much of your body behind something as you can. Any questions?”
Johnson raised his hand. Drill Sergeant Remey sighed.
“What is it, Johnson?”
“Sir, in this scenario, are they wearing what they have on now?”
“No special body armor or flack jackets, just the jumpsuits?”
“Well, Sir, it seems like a bullet would go through just about everything they’re using for cover.”
The trainees taking cover behind various objects started looking carefully at what they were hiding behind.
“Wakowski is hiding behind an old picnic table. That guy’s behind a couch. Hell, you have Smith taking cover behind a white picket fence…Sir,” said Johnson. Smith stopped crouching behind the white picket fence and looked to Drill Sergeant Remey.
“Damn it, Johnson! Do you want to teach this class?” asked Drill Sergeant Remey.
Johnson was quiet.
“That’s what I thought. Now shut up and pay attention. Next we’re going to learn about self-destruct buttons. Come on.”
Johnson rolled his eyes as Drill Sergeant Remey began to move on to another part of the warehouse. Smith lightly kicked the fence, which fell over. He shook his head and ran to catch up with the other trainees, where Drill Sergeant Remey stood by a pedestal with a big red button on it.
“Your typical base or hideout will usually be equipped with some kind of self-destruct device.”
“Why, Sir?” asked Johnson.
“It’s a good way to quickly destroy sensitive information before it falls into enemy hands. It’s also a good distraction for a speedy getaway. This is an example of your typical self-destruct button. Now, this will…”
Johnson raised his hand.
“Is that all, Sir?”
“What do you mean, Johnson?”
“It’s just some button? Anyone could just push it? There aren’t any security codes?”
“Well, smart ass, of course there’s security for this.”
Drill Sergeant Remey reached to the back of the pedestal and pulled up a clear cover, demonstrating how it fit over the button.
“Is that bulletproof?” asked Johnson.
“It looks like Plexiglas,” said Smith.
“This is a certified protective cover,” said Drill Sergeant Remey.
“You can probably shoot through it,” said Johnson.
“Actually, you could probably break it just by hitting it with the butt of a gun,” said Wakowski.
Drill Sergeant Remey began talking louder.
“If the self-destruct system is somehow activated, it is important that you learn how to run away from the explosion. This technique will also be useful to you if you happen to encounter a wall of water rushing toward you—for instance, if a damn or giant aquarium should break.”
“You expect us to outrun a wall of fire? You can’t outrun fire; it moves at the speed of … well, fire,” said Johnson.
“You run away. Then when the explosion happens, you jump and the force of the explosion knocks you to safety,” explained Drill Sergeant Remey.
“What about shrapnel? I mean, you’re more likely to get killed by shrapnel than the force of an explosion. Wouldn’t it be better to take cover?”
“You know, Johnson, you really make my life difficult. Fortunately for me, your training is complete.”
“That’s all? That’s it?”
“There’s a high demand for henchmen. We have to be quick to meet our clients’ needs. Any final questions?”
Johnson raised his hand. Drill Sergeant Remey leaned his head forward and rubbed his eyes as he sighed. “What is it, Johnson?”
“Isn’t there like a zero percent success rate for henchmen? I mean, isn’t one of the reasons why the demand for henchmen is so high because there’s such a high mortality rate? Heck, I’ve even heard stories where one really muscular guy took out like over 50 henchmen. And to make it worse, he would even come up with puns as he killed some of them. Also, just about every guy that hires henchmen has plans to take over the world, right?”
“Not everyone, but a lot, yes.”
“Well, since the world isn’t taken over yet, doesn’t that mean that they have all failed?”
“Johnson… Are there any other questions, from anyone but Johnson?”
“What’s the health care plan like?” asked Smith.
“There isn’t one. Is that all? Well, then I officially declare you all henchmen. Luckily I was able to pair you guys up with a job very quickly. I would like to introduce you all to your new boss, Dr. Carnage.”
A man in a nice suit walked out while holding a cat in his arms.
“Let’s move along now. The helicopter is waiting outside to take us to my island,” said Dr. Carnage.
Smith ran up to Dr. Carnage.
“Is there a volcano on your island?”
“That’s so awesome.”
The henchmen followed Dr. Carnage out to his helicopter.
“I don’t care what he says, I’m carrying a back up gun,” said Johnson.
Copyright 2010, Spencer Carvalho
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.