All In The Name

Originally Published Online January 21, 2015

‘Mad scientists’ aren’t as mad as you may think!

“Out of my way!” Doctor Julius barked.  He was making his way through the corridors of his lair, bumping and shoving into people without abandon.  The lair was a busy place filled with soldiers, workers, and some scientists.  The doctor eventually arrived at his destination: a pair of metal sliding doors that had the word ‘Marketing’ painted on them.

He stopped in front of the metal doors and after a moment, they parted open.  He then walked into the office where three men wearing identical red uniforms stood around a table talking.  An object about the size of an ice chest sat on the table covered with a tablecloth.  Upon noticing their leader approaching, the henchmen stepped away from the table and turned to face him.

“Are you done?”  The doctor eagerly asked, smiling and rubbing his hands in anticipation.  “Have you given it a name as I had requested?”

Two of the henchmen nervously looked at each other, while the third, the shortest of the three, walked back to the table and said: “Of course, Doctor Julius!”  He dramatically pulled the sheet off the object to reveal a metal box adorned with controls and flashing lights.  He motioned to one side upon which was stenciled a single word in red letters:


The doctor’s enthusiasm quickly evaporated from his face and turned into anger.  “Is this some kind of joke!?” he yelled at the three henchmen who stood before him.  “You simpletons have christened my latest diabolical device of dastardly destruction the Doombox?”  If Julius had not been mad before, he certainly was now.

The first henchman, a tall man who possessed a large beard, pointed an accusatory finger at the others.  “It was their idea!  I wanted to name it the…”

The doctor rolled his eyes before interrupting him: “Yes, the Level-Town.  We know, Richard, you always want it to be called the Level-Town, just because you think it sounds cool.  For the last time: WE ARE NEVER USING THAT NAME!”

Dejected, Richard put his hands in his pants pockets and looked at the floor to avoid the doctor’s angry gaze.  “Well, I like it…” he sulked.

Doctor Julius stepped in front of the second henchman, a burly bald-headed fellow, and asked him: “And what about you, David?”

David flatly said two words: “New guy.”  He then nodded his head towards the third henchman, who had remained by the table, holding the sheet.

Casey dropped the sheet, confidently took a step forward and addressed the doctor in a curt, military-esque manner.  “It was my idea, Doctor!”

The doctor stepped in front of Casey and peered at his uniform to read his name before addressing him in a menacing tone.  “You.  Cayy-see.  Explain yourself.  Just how is the World Government supposed to take me seriously when I threaten them with something called a Doombox?”

“Simple.  They aren’t supposed to, Doctor.” Casey replied, matter-of-factly.

The doctor lowered his voice to reply with a sarcastic tone.  “Oh, well, that’s just fine, then.”  Raising his voice again, he yelled: “SO HOW ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO SURRENDER TO US?!”

Casey was unfazed by the doctor’s outburst.  He calmly answered: “Let’s assume the World Government does take you seriously.  What happens next?”

The doctor pondered for a moment before muttering: “They send some infernal spy or superhero to stop me.”

“Right.  And, well, they always do.” The doctor glared at him, Casey shrugged his shoulders.  “Just being honest, Doctor.” The doctor frowned, but relaxed.  Casey continued:  “So you go to the World Government and threaten to blow up a city in forty-eight hours with a Doombox that we have planted there.  Everybody laughs, and…”

The doctor became distraught at hearing this part of the plan.  He put his head in his hands, shook it back and forth a few times and then raised it.  He looked to be on the verge of tears.  “All those people, always laughing at me!  WHEN WILL IT EVER STOP?” he wailed.

Casey let out a sigh.  “Stay with me, Doc.  Not for much longer, okay?” He handed the doctor a handkerchief.  The doctor took it and sniffled briefly before blowing noisily into it.  He attempted to hand the now-soiled handkerchief back to Casey, who leaned back and away from the offering.  “You can keep that.” he said.

He continued:  “Okay, so the World Government foolishly laughs at you, and then does, wait for it…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!” Casey exclaimed, clapping his hands.  “That gives us time to plant the remainder of the Doomboxes without any interference.  Nobody will be alerted to stop our plan.”  Everyone gasped at the thought.

Enthused by his audience’s attention, Casey continued, pointing at the doctor: “And then, two days later, you ask the World Government if your demands have been met.  When they laugh again, you blow up a small city to let them know you’re serious.  At that point you’ve got them right where you want them, because the Doomboxes are planted and ready to destroy more cities.  Game. Set. Match.  Can I have Hawaii?”

Silence filled the room.  After a few moments, the doctor shook his head and addressed Casey:  “What are you, insane?”

“Excuse me?” asked Casey.

Doctor Julius, clearly displeased at the plan, started to wring his hands together, struggling to find the words to respond to Casey.  Finally, he asked him, “You want me to blow up an entire city?

“Well, yes!  Isn’t that the whole point of this?” Casey asked back.

“Well, no!”  Doctor Julius retorted.  “The ‘point of this’ is to force the World Government to surrender their authority to me, not kill millions of people!”

“Come on, Doctor, you can’t make an omelet without breaking…” Casey started to say.

“No.  No.  No.  Stop talking.”  The doctor shook his head and waved his hands to interrupt Casey.  “You see, people, this is why I’m the evil genius and you are the henchmen.” The doctor said in a condescending tone.  “Okay, let’s say I go with your insane plan.  What happens next?”

“Uh, we win?  Casey answered, shrugging his shoulders.

“In the short term, yes.  I win.”  The doctor said, nodding his head.  “But guess what?  I’m now the guy who just murdered a few million people.  Sure, I’m in charge, but who’s going to want to be ruled by an insane mass murderer?”

“Oh.”  Said Casey, his previous enthusiasm now gone.

“If, on the other hand, I am able to conquer the world without a single death, save for perhaps some aforementioned do-gooders that try to stop me, I can then demonstrate to the people of world how much better their lives would be underneath my rule.”  Doctor Julius explained.  “Once that has been accomplished, they will never want to go back to their democracies or monarchies or communism or anything else ever again!”

“Okay, but how are you going to prove to the World Government that you’re serious?”  Casey asked.

“Simple!  I destroy a monument or a building or a wonder of the world that people hold dear, thus demonstrating my destructive capability without killing a few million people, you sick puppy.”  Doctor Julius explained.  “Now, while I won’t be using your plan, I do appreciate your enthusiasm and creativity.  Yes, I think I know exactly where you can help us the most, Casey.  Report to Human Resources for your promotion.”

“Yes, sir!”  Casey said with a grin.   He saluted and exited the room.

The doctor walked over to a nearby desk.  He picked up a phone, pressed a few numbers, and waited for a few moments before speaking:  “Hello, Human Resources?  Doctor Julius here.  A ‘Casey’ is on his way to you, please assign him to perimeter security…yes, I know.  Thank you.”  The two remaining henchmen gasped, they knew that was as good a death sentence as any.

“Well, that takes care of that.”  He stated, hanging up the telephone before turning to the two remaining henchmen.  “Now, we still need to do something about that name, ‘Doombox’ sounds just a bit too scary.”  He said, pacing about the room.  “It’s also too ambiguous; we need to be more specific as to what kind of doom we are going to inflict?  We need something more straight and to the point, you know?”

The henchmen waited for a few moments and finally Richard spoke:  “You mean, like level a town?”

“Yes, exactly!”

“So why not call it the…Level-town?” Richard hesitated.  He winced, expecting the doctor to scold him a second time.

Doctor Julius scowled for a moment, and then threw up his hands in resignation, “Oh, why not?  The Level-town it shall be!  Erase that ‘Doombox’ nonsense and put ‘Level-town’ on there, gentlemen!”

“Doctor…” Richard began to speak.

“No.”  The doctor said, cutting him off.  “Hawaii is mine.”