Come Back When They’re Dead

The two henchmen were so small that they could barely reach the knob of their boss’s door. One had to hop on the other’s head and, while shaking, managed to knock on the door. The butler took two minutes to answer because he could not hear the tender tapping at first. The butler then ushered them into a room with a fireplace and a large chair, facing away from them, that cast a monstrous shadow over the henchmen. Their knees trembled, their fangs chattered and they turned white before they started stuttering.

“B-b-boss?”

“Argh! What do you want?”

The boss opened his massive jaw and blasted a huge fireball from behind the chair.

One of the henchmen scampered behind the other one. This hidden henchman, shaking, peered out from behind cover only to duck its head again after seeing the fire had not subsided.

“W-we came to give our report.”

“Did you take care of Mario and Luigi once and for all?”

“N-n-n no sir. They got away with all the coins.”

“What!”

A second fireball, which dwarfed the first and seemed to go supernova, scorched the ceiling. For a second, the fireball also illuminated the mantelpiece above the fireplace — where a row of milky white skulls sat like ducks in a row. The fire dissipated, but a small puddle of liquid had already appeared behind the henchmen taking cover, who now steeled himself for an attack.

“Where are they now?”, the boss demanded.

“We don’t know.”

“Do you think you can find them?”

“We don’t know.”

“How many gold coins did they get away with?”

“We don’t know.”

From behind the chair, the boss let out a thunderous roar. It shook the china in the cabinet until it fell to the ground and shattered. Then he issued his decree:

“Come back when they’re dead. Then I shall have another trophy to place atop my fireplace.”

“Y-y-y yes boss!”

They trembled all the way as they walked towards the door and stumbled out into the night. Soon a lightbulb went off in one of the henchmen’s heads, and he shared his idea with his friend.

“Hey, wait a minute. We don’t have to do this or take that from him. I mean, we could just take the gold coins I stashed in my pocket and run.”

“I don’t know… You heard what he said. I don’t want to end up on his mantelpiece because we didn’t finish this.”

“Oh, come on. He can’t tell us henchmen apart, and if we don’t use these coins then Mario will probably just steal and waste them. Look at these coins: they’re practically begging for us to spend them.”

“Alright, but we better start running now and never look back.”

As they dashed away into the night, they dropped some glittering gold that showed everyone their path.

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