The Wonderful World of Michael Spammy (How to be a Villain)


They’re everywhere, you know. All around us. Ready to close in on us at any moment, gnash us in their teeth like giant mice.

This isn’t a story about giant mice, though. Oh, sure, there are giant mice involved, but that’s not the focus of the story. No, not at all. So naturally, I’m sure, you’re wondering why you’d want to read something that’s not about giant mice. Let me just assure you, there will be a relatively interesting piece with giant mice in it.

That’s not what the story is about, though.

I’ve escaped for long enough to be able to write down this much; I hope to be able to finish the story, spread it among the population. Because, after all, this is something that the people need to know. It’s not like one of those haughty-taughty conspiracy theories that claims it explains away all the unexplained.

No, that’s not what this is, but it still needs to be explained.

This is a story of genetic engineering, a used bookstore, and a certain ocean-side resort hidden under the streets of a city called Glensbrook. There are a couple other key components of the story too, of course. Like a mad scientist, a sports car that is so ridiculously expensive and top-secret that it officially doesn’t exist, and the beginnings of a revolution.

Primarily, though, this is a story about villains.

Not necessarily in a bad way, though. After all, villains often get much more credit for being bad than they really are. It’s mostly bad press, is what it is. Villains aren’t really all that much worse than your everyday, run-of-the mill suburbanite neighbor; they just have higher standards and are more determined. Which is not to say that your everyday, run-of-the-mill suburbanite might not be a villain, of course. She might.

This is a story about the joy of villaintude, and some twisted heroes’ attempt to destroy it.


It all started, as you might guess, with a bit of confusion about ownership of a camera on a whale-watching boat ride out on the Atlantic Ocean.

Well, okay, so you might not have guessed that, but that’s more or less how it started. There I was, sitting on a cold and slightly wet, albeit comfortable, metal bench when I realized that was missing something. Something very close to me, it seemed, though I couldn’t quite place my finger on it.

Namely, because I had my fingers securely wrapped around a pair of binoculars, focusing on a particularly interesting patch of ocean, and didn’t particularly want to put down the binoculars. I had a nagging feeling that I should be looking somewhere else, though. Intuition that paid off when I put down the binoculars, because I saw someone else taking a picture with my camera.

“Hey!” I said.

“Hey,” the strange man said, continuing to snap off pictures of blue ocean with my camera.

“That’s my camera,” I said, pointing, indeed, to the camera.

“I don’t believe it is,” the man said, looking at the camera in question. “What’s your name?”

“Michael Spammy.”

“Oh,” the man said, looking again at the camera. “I guess it is your camera. Sorry about that, guess I got carried away.”

“That’s okay,” I shrugged, taking back my camera.

The other man, as you might’ve guessed, looked like your ordinary, run-of-the-mill casual whale-watcher: wearing a pair of fairly well-worn jeans, some relatively new white sneakers, and a blue and white golf shirt. Not what the typical person would consider a prime candidate to be an ultra-villain.

But maybe that’s too much foreshadowing.

Oh, and one more thing: he wore a baseball cap that said: “My Other Car Is A Porsche, Too.”

“Rupert Borga,” he said, offering a hand, which I reluctantly shook. “Sorry about the camera.”

“It’s okay,” I shrugged again, casting down a quick glance to make sure that he hadn’t permanently damaged it or anything. “I probably wouldn’t have gotten anything on it anyway.”

“You on here by yourself?” he asked.

“Well, er, yes,” I said.

“So no one would miss you if I threw you overboard?”


“Don’t worry, I wouldn’t actually do it. I was just wondering,” he said, shrugging with the sort of casual indifference that frightened me. This, I would come to find, is one technique utilized by only the best villains.

“Er, I suppose not,” I said, considering the question.

Suddenly, my attention was distracted from Rupert to a portion of the ocean that began to violently froth and foam, with water spraying high up into the air. Given that we were on a whale-watching tour and that I hadn’t really seen a whale before or known what to expect, I suppose it was logical for me to assume that what I saw was the surfacing of a whale of some sort.

It was not.

It was not a whale, that is. It was logical to assume that it was a whale.

“Oh, jolly good,” Rupert said, glancing down at his diamond-studded platinum and gold pocket-watch. “They’re actually on time for a change.”

“They?” I asked, raising an eyebrow as I glanced back at him.

“Want to come for a ride?” he asked, grinning as he took from his face the super chic sunglasses he had been wearing, revealing two silver eyes.

Realize that when I say silver, I don’t mean gray. If I meant gray, I would have said gray. No, his eyes were silver—as silver as the back of a mirror, and just as shiny and reflective. His eyes were just two big silver ovals, staring out at me from who-knew-where.

Well, his eye sockets, naturally.

“A ride?” I asked.

“Trust me, you want to come for a ride,” he grinned again as some of the other people on the boat began to grow nervous. And when I say nervous, I basically mean that they were running around, screaming—not that there’s really anywhere to go on a small boat.

“A ride on what?” I asked.

“On that,” he pointed, and I saw that where the ocean had previously been frothing, there was now a sleek and sporty nuclear submarine, apparently waiting to be boarded by Mr. Borga.

“How…” I began, wondering exactly how we were going to get onto the nuclear submarine. At this point, despite all my other obligations—my job, for instance—I hadn’t really considered not going along. Once again, part of the special charisma utilized by ultra-villains.

“Right there,” he grinned, pointing to where a stairway was magically being raised to connect the side of the whale-watching boat to the nuclear submarine.

“Ah,” I nodded.

Rupert turned around to face the generally chaotic and utterly confused public that was still running around frantically on the top deck of the whale-watching boat. Mysteriously, something resembling a bullhorn found its way into his hands.

“Attention people,” he spoke into the bullhorn, his deep and calm voice having a bit of a cheery and reassuring effect on the rest of the people. “Do not be alarmed. This boat is about to be boarded for sinking further out in the Atlantic Ocean. Your captain will then instruct you once more on how to use the life-boats. No one will be harmed.” He turned to me and, covering the bullhorn with his hand, whispered, “they’re all going to die, basically.”

“Oh,” I nodded. At this point I was feeling pretty good about getting a ride on a nuclear submarine. “You, er, want my camera?”

“No,” he chuckled, “it’s your camera, after all. Don’t worry about the people, they’ll be fine. Well, dead, but it won’t be all that bad.”

“Ah,” I nodded again. I was getting pretty good at these one-word responses.

There was a high-pitched shriek—the sound of metal twisting—and I glanced over once more to see the stairway now firmly clamped on the side of the boat. And the top deck, at that.

“Right this way,” he nodded, walking towards the stairway.

So, placing a fairly high value on my life, I followed him, walking down the amazingly sturdy white stairway of metal-gridwork. As submarine-to-boat stairways go, I imagine that it was probably top of the line. Expensive stuff.

Not that nuclear submarines are particularly cheap either, of course.

Unless you steal them, of course.

A hatch on the top of the nuclear submarine opened up, allowing us to crawl through it as two men with white suits and leopard-masks walked past us, heading for the boat.

“Good day,” they said simultaneously, saluting—or so I would presume—my new best friend, Rupert.

“Yes it is, isn’t it?” he smiled, descending into the depths of the submarine. “Just for your knowledge, Mike, we don’t allow flash photography inside the vessel.”

The hatch closed behind me, and we were immersed in darkness.

“This is the UNV Pasta Ship,” Rupert declared, as the darkness was abruptly cut off by the eerie purplish luminescence of several black lights.

Even so, it took my eyes a little while to adjust to the relative darkness of the room we were in, after having been outside in the sun for a little over an hour. Once my eyes adjusted, I saw that we were in some sort of game room, complete with a pool table, a pinball game, a gambling corner, and a rather nice sound system.

“Pasta Ship?” I asked, looking around in awe.

“Yes, Pasta Ship, two words. UNV, unlicensed nuclear vessel,” he nodded grinning. “Feel free to make yourself at home—have a seat or whatever. Would you like a drink or something?” he asked as a section of the wall slid away to reveal quite a wide variety of drinks. “I can mix you something, or you can just have orange juice or something of the like if you prefer.”

“Um… Your choice,” I shrugged, sitting down in an absurdly plush armchair that was dangerously comfortable. “Wow,” I said, the word just escaping from my mouth.

“Like it?” he grinned, furiously mixing something with his back turned to me. Not that I could see whether or not he was grinning, his back being turned to me and all, but it seemed quite logical given his statement and the inflection on his voice.

“You could say that,” I nodded, taking in the sights of the room. “Wow.”

“So, you’re undoubtedly wondering, ‘why me,’” he said, undoubtedly grinning. “But of course, you don’t want to ask because you don’t want to chance that I might think about it some more and throw you back out into the ocean.”


“You don’t really need to answer,” he said, turning around wielding two highball glasses of something blue. “I’m psychic. I can read your mind. That’s one of my specialties. Anyway, you have nothing to worry about from me for now; you’re perfectly safe.”

“Well, in that case, why?” I asked, wanting to get up to check out the pool table, but also not wanting to leave the comfort of the chair.

“Here you go,” he nodded, handing me one of the glasses and taking a seat on the sofa next to my chair, simultaneously taking a rather long sip from his glass.

I smelled the drink rather cautiously, and then took a sip. For some reason, it reminded me of sitting next to a fireplace on Christmas Day, unwrapping packages. Not in a bad way, of course.

“I call it, ‘sitting-next-to-a-fireplace-on-Christmas-Day,-unwrapping-packages,’” he grinned.

“You read my mind.”

“I did indeed,” he grinned again.

“You still didn’t answer my question,” I noted, taking another, longer sip of the drink.

“Well, first of all, your last name’s Spammy.”


“Well, I couldn’t let someone die who had a last name like that. Jacques, or Vladimir—well,maybe. But with a last name like Spammy, you can’t go wrong.”

“I see.”

“Besides, I’m looking for a new student.”

“Student?” I asked. “For what?”

“Well, I’m not immortal, you know. Some day I’m going to die, and when I die, I want to have someone to replace me. There are all sorts of other people who could do the job, but I don’t know if I really want them to. I don’t really think they’d be up to it.”

“So you’d pick me instead?” I asked, skeptical for obvious reasons.

“Part of it is that you have powers you don’t even realize,” he said, downing the remaining contents of his glass in a single gulp. “Not powers in the typical comic-book sense of the word, but powers nonetheless.”


“Well, for one, you have no relatives. I know that you think you have relatives, but they’re not really your relatives. You are not your parents’ progeny,” Rupert said, setting the glass down on a coffee table that consisted of a flat pane of glass sitting on top of a large dinosaur skull. “This is probably the first you knew for sure, but can you seriously tell me that you didn’t have questions before?”

“Well, no…” I began, wondering whether I had stumbled into a dream-come-true or a nightmare.

“Exactly. So let me just affirm: you do not have any relatives. And—”

“How is that a power?” I asked.

“The rest of your powers you’ll have to either buy from the catalog or discover on your own,” he said, clearly dodging the question.

“I don’t think you really introduced yourself to me,” I said suddenly, wondering just exactly what it was that Mr. Borga did for a living. “Well, you introduced yourself to me, but didn’t really say what it was that you did.”

“Ah, yes. Good point, Spammy. I am Rupert Borga, but you already know that. What you don’t know is that I’m an ultra-villain—a member of the elite class of only the best villains. We are a rare breed, you and I.”


“Yes, really.”

“What if I don’t want to be a villain?” I asked hesitantly.

“Oh, you’ll want to be a villain, trust me.”

“What about my job? My career? My family?”

“You don’t have a family,” Rupert pointed out, standing up. “Besides,” he nodded, pacing the room dramatically, “we will become your family. Villains have the same needs as normal people, you know. Somewhere out there, there’s a nice villainess for you. And career? Pah. You work—or worked, rather—as a guide at a modern art exhibit, for crying out loud. You think people who go to see that are mentally, shall we say, stable? Socially well-adjusted?”

“Er, not particularly, I suppose.”

“Precisely,” Rupert grinned.

“Well, in that case, where are we headed now?” I asked. “And what are we doing?”

“So glad you asked, so glad you asked,” Rupert said, beaming. “We’re going to my secret underwater headquarters, where I’ll introduce you to a few of my colleagues and where we’ll decide on my next brilliant scheme.”

“I see. And where would this underwater headquarters of yours be located?”

“Under water, of course.”

“Of course,” I nodded. “Where else?”


“Come right this way,” Rupert said, the pool table sliding out of the way with a flourish to reveal a secret stairway that was apparently lit by Christmas lights. “I think you should be able to see our destination by now. We have a rather wonderful observation deck on this little beauty,” he nodded, apparently in reference to the submarine, running down the stairs quickly enough that I almost tripped and fell no less than twenty-three times as I tried to keep up with him.

At the bottom, as I was wheezing and gasping for breath, he calmly stepped onto an elevator-like device, a tad bemused at my condition.

“Don’t get much exercise, do you?” he intoned, waiting until I had stepped onto the platform to press a bright red button clearly labeled “DO NOT PUSH.” The button then began to flash while a klaxon sounded, and the platform—and hence, Rupert and I—was sent lunging downward and through an inky darkness to who-knew-where.

Well, obviously Rupert knew, but I certainly didn’t have any idea. I still didn’t have any idea once we were doused in light, because the surroundings seemed so alien. Not in that there were a bunch of short, gray-skinned humanoids walking around, but in that it just seemed extremely odd.

Or at least bizarre. Peculiar, you might say.

Most observation decks I’ve been on in the past—especially ones in submarines (not to give you the false impression that I’ve been in terribly many submarines)—have somehow incorporated Plexiglas or something of the like to allow an unrestricted view of the surroundings.

Not the UNV Pasta Ship, though.

When the lights came on, we found ourselves in about two feet of water.

“Since you’re undoubtedly wondering, this is my observation deck, intended to model the surroundings. This water, quite naturally, represents the ocean. And this,” he said, kneeling down to point to a tiny plastic train, “is the UNV Pasta Ship. This,” he said, pointing to a small model of the Statue of Liberty situated on the floor of the ‘observation deck,’ “represents where we’re going. My secret underwater base, as it were.”

“So this is to, ahm, scale?”

“No, not particularly. But after a while you get a feel for these things. Like right now, for instance,” he said, pointing to the tiny plastic train as it moved through the water, “I can tell that we’re about five minutes away from the base.”