Columnist for Tuesday, 5/22 - jasona

Dear Jasona, part 2

Dear Jasona,

     First off, thank you for your keen advice last Winter (*). Work is proceeding nicely on the Great Vehicle mk II, and I managed to evade Victor Truethough just as you planned, although I decided at the last minute to replace the self destruct mechanism with a death trap. I flooded the engineering bay with venomous and explosive Volare Bile Tarantulas - the pride of my genetics workshop. Unfortunately that damnable Victor managed to get away with only a slightly singed eyebrow. On the other hand, no trace of my plan was left intact, so I'll consider it an overall victory.

     The reason that I write to you, though, is that I have a sneaking suspicion that my minions aren't entirely convinced of the worthiness of my cause. I'm sure most of them still hold me in the highest awe, but how can I be sure some lapse in moral, or worse, a blatant act of treachery will not snatch victory from my grasp?

- The Crimson Spider in his new Underground Lair

Dear CSihnUL,

     I'm certain you do have problems with your employees - everyone in this industry does. The root of your problem is the overall character of minions - they're three time losers. Really. Have you ever sat down and listened to your drones? They've never succeeded at anything. They migrate from one smashed secret cabal to the next with startling frequency. They never plan for the future. They're always waiting for that one big score that's going to make them rich (well, as rich as their tiny little minds can imagine). Go ahead... turn on the microphone you have installed in the employee lunch room. Listen for a bit... it'll sicken you. Always with the dreaming... either of that fateful day when theirs will be the hand that unmasks the Masked Avenger, or what they're going to buy with all the loot you've promised to give them.

     Don't worry to much about their lack of character, though... you can easily use that to your advantage. They will pin all their hopes on the big payoff, and as long as you keep mentioning it in front of them, they'll remain hooked. Take care to always vary the exact quantity and the make up of the loot though, as theirs is a limited imagination, and some simply oratorical spice will have them drooling with anticipation of the big day.

     Unlike your minions, your henchmen and lieutenants will have to be offered just a little more than the rank and file. You'll notice that the thuggish ones particularly will be tempted by offers of power. I find rationing out wardenships of some foreign cities and smaller states to your more loyal toadies works wonderfully (1).

     The real downside to your minions' greed is that they're always tempted by bigger payoffs or immediate cash. If you've got a side business going of knocking over banks or some other venture which keeps you cash rich, make sure that the minions are paid on time and in healthy amounts. If you don't have a steady source of income, you can still get the same effect if you have a nice initial bankroll and own the company store. If you never let the minions off the base ("For security reasons") you can control everything they need to spend their money on. Open up several "Company Stores" and other means to milk the money out of your minions and you can turn around and pay them with it next month. They're unimaginative, and if they think that you're paying them five times what they made on their last gig, they won't question that you're charging them five times more for basic services.

     If you can't keep your minions on the base 24x7, you will end up in trouble. They're notorious for shooting off their mouths when drunk, or getting it beat out of them by the local right-doer. Even worse, another player can buy their loyalty from you for the most ridiculous of sums. Ah, if only your letter had come a month earlier... Doctor Sanguineous would still be with us (2). If you let them off the base, be sure to employ some spartan bunch of zealots to watch over your men, ninjas or some other humorless agents. I find they work marvelously at keeping the careless from talking, one way or another.

     On a side note, I notice that you're still employing death traps. I realize that for you the conquest would not be worth the effort if your own touch wasn't applied to everything you do. I will continue to applaud the depths to which you will do things in your own individual style, but I must ask you what is more important - world conquest or reminding the meddlesome interloper just who it is he's dealing with? Remember that if you do kill Victor Truethough with a simple bullet to the back, you can just as easily arrange his corpse in some horrific spider motif after the fact... and only you will know that he wasn't killed with spiders (3).

     Good luck with the minions, I look forward to hearing news of your victory over the Forces of Good any day now.


1) On a really good day you can use the offer of a nice city as both a carrot and a stick. Say you discover that your chief engineer has been selling the plans to your newest death ray on the Internet. First praise him with his work on the Great Vehicle, publicly reward him with Paris. Then blow his head off - "Thus die any who would betray me," or whatever sounds most menacing rolling off your tongue. Then inform the rest of your stunned staff that "Paris is once again available as a reward."

2) I heard he was just two weeks away from husking all of Belgium with his latest scheme when some underpaid bozo in his motorpool sold him out to the authorities for a brand new TV and immunity from prosecution. Can you imagine? So close, and poof! All for want of a TV set. For the love of Mike.

3) I particularly like the work you've done with exploding spiders. Might I suggest his body packed with the beasties, flung through one of the windows of the United Nations building? It would be a fine harbinger of your conquest.

Previous day's column (Sun Ra)

Previous day's column (Wanton Hussy)