This ebook is about several former super villains who are trying to turn over a new leaf and be the “good guys” for a change. It is NOT PUBLISHED YET and this is a pre-sale only. You will receive the actual ebook when it officially launches in 2018.
This is an experimental piece, combining “super hero fantasy fiction” with “self-help and personal growth.” The characters are fictional. The life lessons are real. Sit in on their therapy sessions and maybe learn a thing or two about yourself.
This is a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD EBOOK only.
World Domination is Never Enough
He sat there. A grown man wearing a full body blue spandex costume. Black cape. Green belt and gloves. Slightly unkempt hair. He looked a little awkward, slightly uncomfortable. Like he wasn’t quite sure what to say.
“Why don’t you start from the beginning, Doctor…” the professionally-dressed lady sitting next to him said, checking her notes for his name, “…Diptheria?” That couldn’t be right.
“Devastation,” he corrected with some bitterness.
“Sorry. I couldn’t quite read your handwriting.”
“People are always getting it wrong! Why can’t anybody learn my name for Christ’s sake!?” he whined.
“Sorry, sorry. So please, Doctor Devastation, tell me… what made you decide to become a super villain?”
He looked at her, sizing her up and down. Couldn’t be older than early to mid 30s. Geek chic glasses. A feminine, stylish outfit suitable for a professional office such as this. On the wall behind her was a Doctorate degree from the University of California, San Diego, in “Paranormal Psychiatry.”
Her name: Dr. Julia Stevens, PhD.
“Go on. This is a safe space here. You can tell me anything, I won’t judge you,” she said. “It’s okay.”
He still seemed reluctant to talk.
She decided to break the ice. “So, Doctor. Are you a medical doctor, PhD, or is it more of an honorary title?”
“I mean, in my line of work, I meet a lot of ‘Doctor This’ and ‘Captain That,’ but they’re not always actual doctors or captains. I’m assuming Doctor Devastation is your alias, not your birth name. A lot of heroes and villains adopt titles that sound cool, but weren’t actually, you know… earned through a traditional degree or military training, you know?”
“No, I have a degree.”
“Awesome. In what?”
“Is that how you got your powers?”
He seemed a little disheartened. “Actually, I don’t have any powers.”
“Ah, so you’re one of those genius super villains. You invent stuff then?”
He shrugged. “None of my formulas ever seem to work.” He finally started to open up. “I mean, yeah, sure… I can make a gas that makes people hallucinate and vividly experience their deepest fears or greatest desires. I came this close to an effective mind control drug. I even created a liquid that could burn through steel like it was butter. But every time I invented something, make some new formula, design some new solution… at first, it always seems like my plan’s working. That nothing’ll stop me. That soon, the world will bow to me and be all mine!”
“So what went wrong?”
“Captain Amazing,” he answered sourly.
“Your arch nemesis?”
Doctor Devastation nodded.
“Everybody’s got an arch nemesis.”
“But mine’s the worst!”
“So he thwarts your plans every time, I take it?”
“Him, and others, yes. But mostly him.”
“And how does that make you feel?”
“Sad. Yes. That’s a good word. Tell me more.”
He shrugged. “I dunno. Like I’m, like I’ll… like I’ll never get what I really want.”
“Well,” he said with a sigh, leaning back into the couch, “I used to think I wanted to rule the world.”
“But not anymore?”
“Okay,” he said, “you see, one day I ordered this magic mirror from Craigslist. Magic mirrors are supposed to be these all-knowing oracles who can tell you anything.”
“I wanted to find out Captain Amazing’s secret weakness, so I could finally defeat him once and for all, and then my diabolical plans would finally work, and at last, the world would be—”
“Yes, yes, I get the picture. So then what happened?”
“The magic mirror showed me my future. What it’d be like if I actually ruled the world. And I did it. I conquered it all. Everyone bowed before me. Worshiped me like a god. I wanted for nothing. Except…”
“Eventually I died, which I guess, we all do.”
“Save the immortals.”
“Yeah. Stupid immortals. Anyway, it was just this small little grave. Nobody cared. Nobody loved me. Everyone was glad that I was gone. I ruled them with fear and intimidation, and because of that,” he shrugged, “I guess I never got what I really wanted and needed all along…”
“Love?” she asked softly.
He nodded. “That’s what my magic mirror tried telling me too. So he—the mirror—suggested I give up world domination altogether and ask out this girl I always had this huge crush on in college. We were the best of friends. Hung out all the time. We did regular movie nights at my place. Talked about everything. Especially all the boys she went through. One after another. But we never dated.”
He wasn’t sure. Until he finally admitted, “I guess, I never asked her out.”
“Were you afraid she’d say no?”
“So anyway, continue. Your magic mirror…”
“Right. He said to ask her out now, all these years later. And you know what? I did! And she said yes!”
“Yeah. It was. For a couple years. But then… lately… I dunno, we just lost that ‘spark,’ ya know, and I couldn’t seem to ever make her happy. Nothing I ever said or did was good enough. She wanted me to get a ‘real job’ working as some corporate slave somewhere. As if. And apparently I wasn’t very good at ‘listening’ to her feelings. But all she did was ramble on and on and on about the same things, day after day! I offered to create her a potion that’d make her feel happy all the time. So she’d never need to complain again. And she actually got mad at me! For offering to help her feel good!”
“Oh, Doctor Devastation,” the therapist said compassionately, “I think you’re missing the point. She didn’t want you to fix her feelings. She just wanted you to listen, to feel connected with you.”
“Huh? Why wouldn’t she want to feel good?”
“Talking about her feelings with you did make her feel good. Or would have. You see, a lot of women don’t share their feelings so someone to ‘fix’ them, but rather, they just wanted to feel heard and seen. They want to know someone cares. That they can connect on an emotional level.”
“Women are strange.”
Julia laughed. “You won’t got an argument from me. Then again, men are strange in their own way too. We’re just different. And that’s okay. The trick is in understanding what each other wants and needs in a relationship. It’s not always the same thing. So we should never assume. Talk to her. Just listen. Pay attention. Make her feel seen and heard. Be present. And don’t offer to try to fix or change anything, unless she specifically asks. That’s it. Can you do that?”
He thought about it. “That’s it?”
“Are you sure?”
“As a woman myself, I’m pretty sure. But talk to her. Ask her what she wants and needs from you. And trust whatever she tells you.”
“Well, okay. But you’re sure a happiness potion wouldn’t solve everything?”
“I’m sure. No one wants to feel happy artificially. Well, I take that back. People do all the time through drugs and TV and other substitutes. We always do the best we can with whatever we’ve got. But my guess is that she’ll feel happier—naturally, authentically—just sharing her life and experiences and feelings with you, feeling listened to, connected to you. She obviously loves you. She’s still with you, right?”
“Then you’re good. The answer to your relationship problems isn’t some chemical formula you can invent in a lab. It’s in your heart. Be present and listen. Connect. Feel her. Empathize. Let her know you care and you’re there for her. Only take action if and when she tells you she needs it. Otherwise, your being there for her is all the action she needs.”
“I dunno, doc. Sounds too easy, too simple.”
Julia smiled. “Just give it a try.” She glanced up at the clock on the wall. “Looks like our time is just about up. See you next week, same time?”
“And Doctor Devastation?”
“Your mirror was right. World domination is never enough. That’s the ‘happiness potion’ you were trying to give yourself. But the real fix, the thing you really need, is connection, to know someone cares. We don’t achieve that through achievement or performance, enslaving others, ruling the world, or even making a million bucks. It’s a simple, down to Earth, honest heart to heart connection with another human being that fills that void. You don’t need to be ‘super’ to find love. You just have to be present and really see and hear another person exactly and completely as they are.”
He thought about it. “Okay, thanks doc. I’ll give it a try.”
She smiled. “You’ll do great.”
“So, uh, do I pay you now, or your receptionist, or do you send me a bill online?”
“My receptionist will handle it. Thank you. Be sure to schedule your appointment again for next week. I’ll see you then, Doctor D.”
As he meekly got up to leave, Dr. Julia Stevens gave him a friendly smile and jotted down some private notes from their session today. She had hope for him. One less villain endangering lives and scheming to take over the world. One less battle in the city streets inevitably causing billions in collateral damage. One more soul, finding redemption, finding hope… for a better life.
She loved her job.
But they weren’t always this easy. Doctor Devastation was actually trying to be good. Sometimes, like the client coming in next, they were here by court order. And sometimes they made her feel a little more uneasy than she cared to admit, even to herself.