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Posted on Dec 11, 2006 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features, TIAOW

The Incorrect Art of War [Episode 25] – It’s A Sinister Life

By A J Summersgill and Jim H Moreno

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Starring:

Doctor Sinister

Doctor Sinister. An evil Supervillain with an insane lust for power. Although his secret island base has seemingly been destroyed, the Doctor still plots to become future Emperor and Warlord of the planet Earth. Enjoys the company of cats and cloned genetically modified Dinosaurs.

And featuring:



General Menace. Graduated from West Point Military Academy with honours, served for twenty-five years in the US Army, reaching level of 2-star General in command of training facilities before being recruited by Doctor Sinister to command his New Model Army of World Domination. Has a penchant for cigars. Narrowly escaped the apparent destruction of Sinister Island with his lord and master.

EPISODE 25 – “It’s A Sinister Life

It is night-time in the small sleepy town of Dreadford Falls as thick heavy snow covers the ground in a freezing slippery white blanket of ice.

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As the wind sends swirls of snow back into the air, a black limousine skids around the corner of a narrow road and thuds into a tree. A darkly-dressed tall man wearing an eyepatch staggers from the car and tries to slam the door shut. Ignoring the protestations of the owner of the damaged tree, the man runs out into the street and heads toward an old iron bridge spanning the cold rough river below…

The man grasps the railing, apparently intent on throwing himself into the freezing water…when, to his astonishment, a second man runs from behind and falls from the bridge instead with an almighty splash.

Man: Help! Help!

Doctor Sinister: No way, I’m not fishing you out. You jumped in there, you stay.

But…<cough>…but…<splutter>…I only jumped in to stop you from jumping, now you’re meant to save me! That’s how this whole thing works…

Me? Jump into the river? Don’t be daft. That water looks mighty cold, even from way up here. I was just admiring the view…you can sort yourself out…bye.

(Doctor Sinister walks off, in the opposite direction, but the mysterious figure appears behind him in the road, as dry as a bone and hurries to catch up)

Well, at least I know I got the right guy – no-one else in the world would have left me to drown but you.

(Slightly taken aback at his sudden re-appearance, he slows, but continues walking through the snow) Yeah? What of it? Who are you anyway?

Why, I’m the answer to your prayers Doc’, that’s why I was sent here.

How do you know my name?

Ooh, I know everything about you, I’ve watched you grow up since you were a little clone.

What are you? A mind reader?

No, I’m Menace Oddbody, DS2.

Menace? Oddbody? Any relation to…nah, that can’t be right. And DS2? What’s that?

Devil, Second Class. (Flashing his collar to Doctor Sinister) See? Just got pinned.

Oh great, just what I need, some kind of crackpot guardian angel…

Devil…

Whatever…look why are you here? (Looks Menace up and down) And if you’re a devil, isn’t there something missing? What happened to your horns?

I haven’t won my horns yet, that’s why I’m a devil, second class. I’ve got to earn them – will you help me?

That depends. (Suddenly hopeful) Have you got eight billion dollars?

Alas, no, we don’t use cash where I come from.

(Crestfallen) Pity. I had a bit of a problem at the Sinister Swindle and Loan Company – that’s this bank I run, it’s been quite successful so far, but lately…there have been some problems…

I know all that stuff Doc’, remember, I know all about you.

You want to watch that kind of talk, I’ll have a restraining order put on you.

No you won’t, your Lawyer ran off with eight billion dollars.

Oh yeah. Well, that proves my point very nicely. As I speak, the combined forces of the United Nations are hot on my heels and the World Bank wants my head on a platter. Right now, I’m worth more dead than alive.

Hey, enough of that talk – I’ll not get my horns that way. Look, it’s a fairly straightforward deal: I help you, and you help me. You just don’t know all that you’ve done for this world…

Listen mate, I’ve had it with you, I don’t need it. I just wish I was never cloned…

(The Doctor walks off into the dark as Menace stops in the street, muttering) Well I suppose that might work… (He runs after the Doctor) Hey Doc’! Doc’!

What now?

You got your wish, you’ve never been cloned. (There is an ominous breeze and suddenly, it stops snowing) You don’t exist, you haven’t a care in the world. No worries, no obligations, no World Bank, no eight billion dollars…

Hang on… (Removes his eyepatch) I can SEE! My eye! It works properly! I haven’t seen anything through that eye ever since…well…I don’t like to talk about it…

I know…

Of course you do. And hey, it’s stopped snowing. You know, I need something to eat, come on, let’s get back to the car. (The two men trudge back to the tree where the limousine was "parked" to find…) Hey, there’s no car. Where’s my car?

You don’t have a car – you don’t exist, remember?

But…my cats were in there.

You don’t have any cats, you were never cloned!

(Distraught) I think I’m losing my mind…devils, disappearing cars…disappearing cats…I’m hungry, come on…let’s find a burger bar.

* * *

(Half an hour later, the two men are seated in the corner booth of the Dreadford Falls Burger Emporium…)

You know, I’m sure this used to be a White Castle…

Oh, you’ll see a lot of different things from now on Doc’. And not just because you have use of both your eyes now.

I never really noticed before, but what’s with the Viking helmet and the World War I army fatigues?

Oh, these, it’s been a while since my last mission, I’m out of touch with local fashions. This helmet comes from the gift shop in Valhalla.

I wish I hadn’t asked… (The food arrives, and Doctor Sinister takes a bite of his burger) Oh my…

Something wrong?

The food – it’s gorgeous! I’ve never tasted anything quite like it!

Well there’s a reason for that. In 1979, using illegally acquired funds, you invested heavily in a chain of international burger stores whereupon you undercut the prices of every other burger chain in the world in order to make even more money by taking the whole market.

SinBurgers, yeah, they were great…

Actually, they were pretty vile, but the result was that everyone had to buy lower quality meat to sell in their burgers or they’d never make any money. As a result, every burger bar on the planet sold foul-tasting food that made everyone fat.

Yeah, I called it "Operation Obese". I figured if everyone was too large to fly fighter planes, I could take over the world.

Well, it was a sound plan, but of course, since you don’t exist…all the food here is not only tasty, it’s nutritious too.

Hmmm…that doesn’t sound too good.

(The two eat their food in silence. Over by the cashier, there is a ringing bell)

Oh cool, someone just made it.

Made what?

Every time you hear a bell, someone just got their horns.

Is that right? (Under his breath) You really have lost it… (On the far wall, a TV catches Doctor Sinister’s eye) Hey, what on Earth’s going on there?

That? Oh, three years ago, the UN outlawed all forms of war and set up a world government. The final nations signed their powers over to the legislature this morning. There is now one government, one leader, and soon mankind will be heading out into the stars, in peace.

WHAT?!

Well, you don’t exist, so of course there was no-one to blackmail the UN every week, no-one to foster secret little wars around the globe behind the scenes, no-one to spread mistrust and suspicion wherever he trod, so as a result, everyone got on famously with everyone else. The whole world is a lot happier. It’s really rather pleasant…

This is ridiculous. Even when I was on the run I was able to make vague threats to world security on my cellphone. (Pats his pockets) Hang on, where is my cellphone? Where’s my ‘phone? I must have dropped it!

You don’t have a cellphone Doc’. You don’t exist. Don’t you understand? It’e because you were never cloned. You’re nobody. You’ve no identity.

What do you mean? I’m Doctor Sinister!

There is no Doctor Sinister. You have no papers, no cards, no driver’s licence, no social security number, no insurance policies, no loyal followers. You know, you’ve been given a great gift Doc! The chance to see what the world would be like without you…

I’ve had enough of this, you’re insane, I’m going home…

What home? You don’t exist!

Shut up!! (The Doctor heads out into the night)

* * *

(Some hours later, Doctor Sinister is walking inconsolably along the main road heading out of town. Menace slips quietly into step behind him)

So how was home?

It was horrible, my elegant mansion was nothing but a ruin, everyone I met professed never to have heard of me and all throughout the town, there were happy smiling faces everywhere, people without a care in the world. Did you know they solved the problem with the ozone layer? That there’s no global warming? No famine, no war, no disease, it’s all…perfect!

Of course it is Doc’, you were never cloned, you aren’t around to screw things up. It’s amazing how one life can touch so many other lives – when a man isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole doesn’t he?

I don’t believe it, you’ve got me in some kind of a spell. Well I know how to get out of it, I’m going to meet a friend of mine, the REAL Menace, not some devil, this one’s the real deal – General Menace, he’ll know what to do.

Really? You know where he lives?

Sure I do! Come on!

(The two men round a corner, but facing them is a massive graveyard, clearly not what the Doctor was expecting)

Is this where he lives?

I…I don’t know. What the…

(Ahead of the Doctor is a gravestone marked "General Menace – 1952 – 2002, RIP)

Your friend General Menace died in a secret mission for the US Government four years ago Doc’.

That’s a lie! He was recruited by me for my secret army! He fought in my wars! He got the Sinister Medal of Honour! He single-handedly made my island base more secure and helped me gather the most stupendous weapons of mass destruction the world has ever seen!

Your island was never your island, you don’t exist, it’s actually a dinosaur theme park, Menace wasn’t there to help you in your dreams of conquest because you weren’t there for Menace. You see Doc’, you’ve had quite an insidious life, don’t you think it would be a waste to throw it away?

(Doctor Sinister collapses to the ground) Noooo! My dreams of world domination! I can’t bear it! Everyone is so happy! It’s just not right! Help me Menace, help me get back to where I was before, I don’t care about the eight billion dollars, I’ve got more stashed away in the attic anyway, help me, please! Please! I want to live again!

(There is an ominous breeze and suddenly, it begins snowing again. Doctor Sinister finds himself back on the bridge, staring at the water below. A figure appears behind him)

Doc’?

Oh no, not you Oddbody, I thought I was back…

Doc’? Who’s got an odd body? It’s me, General Menace, you OK?

General? It’s really you? Wow, thank the stars for that, I thought I’d never see you again…it was horrible…I was dead, only I wasn’t, and you were an angel, well, a devil, but you didn’t have any horns, and…oh…to heck with it, it’s good to see you.

Yeah, and the Police rang…

Uh-oh…

They picked up your Lawyer and the missing cash, everything’s OK, the Sinister Swindle and Loan Company is back in business! It’s great news.

That it is.

It’s like you always said boss, "No man is an enemy who has money".

Or cats.

(Off in the distance, a church bell rings) You hear that? Every time a bell rings they say a devil gets his horns…

They certainly do…Merry Christmas General, let’s go and get a burger…

* * *

(Watching them leave, the other Menace, Oddbody, watches with a smile on his face. He looks up at the sky) Oh, quit whining. I got the job done didn’t I? Is it a crime to impersonate a devil? You know Sinister wouldn’t have wanted an angel. So sue me. I just hope you’re right when you say that even someone like him deserves a break every now and then. (He removes a huge cigar from his pocket and lights it with a satisfied grin on his face) Now give me those wings before I get mad.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our readers!

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What will Doctor Sinister get for Christmas this year?

Has this whole episode been some kind of weird hallucination?

Or have the writers completely lost the plot?

Find out in the next exasperating episode of…The Incorrect Art of War!!

A J Summersgill and Jim H. Moreno, with apologies to Frank Capra whom we would like to thank for such a great film, and for his inspiration.

andrew@armchairgeneral.com

jim@armchairgeneral.com

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It’s a Wonderful Life

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