“Purple prose,” as they say, is the province of green writers, which I readily admit I once was. Purple and green were also the school colors of the continuation high school I attended for, like, half an hour, whose mascot was a goblin. In point of fact, it was the Green Goblin of Marvel Comics fame, which is probably one of the few times a learning institution employed a comic book villain as a mascot. Of course, this was due largely to the campaigning of the student body, a motley crew of small town malcontents, most of whom went on to become comic book villains themselves. In my experience, would-be comic book villains pale considerably when compared to actual villains, so I suppose I can’t fault my putative alma mater (or “trauma mater” as we would later joke) with unleashing any real woe upon the world. The villains hewn from my continuation school, were, like myself, merely bench-warming for darker personae. Our brand of malice manifested mainly in faked accents and hovering over a single cup of coffee at the café until the steam-queens showed us the door. Suffice it to say, there was nothing tucked into our black trench coats except for perhaps a Walkman and a mix tape of other bottle-black misanthropes who had the wherewithal to strap on a guitar. But those, alas, were simpler days, which likely accounts for the tepidness of our later villainy.
Consider my old pal, Gabe J., who spent the summers of both his freshman and sophomore years repeating the algebra class he habitually cut to spy on the girls’ swim class. Hypnotized by the balletic sploosh of young women cavorting aquatically inspired Gabe’s transformation into “Aquette,” a bikini top stretched across his shaven chest and a slitted swim cap pulled over his eyes. His evil superpower? Simply his costume, which caused motorists to compulsively honk at him.
Jake G. made a small fortune selling Now-And-Laters (taffy-like squares that were the cornerstone of pubescent diets in the 80s), but who knew the candy would become his calling card once he mastered the art of time travel? Well, not time travel as such -– Jake, or “Chronicas” as he came to be known in annals of criminal lore, developed a superhuman ability to be late. His chronic tardiness defied the laws of physics – even if he arrived early, he invariably managed to be late through some rift in the space-time continuum he had discovered. A suitably evil application of this talent has yet to be discovered, or if it has, Jake “jussst missed it.”
Annie B., the flannel-clad girl who reeked of mentholated cigarettes and colored styling mousse spent the entirety of her junior year suffering from terminal boredom. It was only later that she realized that she had developed the power to inflict boredom on others. Now known as “Anna Ennui,” the cat-suit clad “temptress of tedium” gives new meaning to bored stiff, often leaving her victims with an overwhelming desire to get between the sheets and sleep.
Raymond D. put the sin in cinephile – or at least tried to when he emerged from Continuation High, re-invented, as “BetaMan” who constantly trumpeted the superiority of Sony’s Betamax video cassette recorder over the more popular VHS. Betaman began stalking garage sales and thrift stores, ever on the prowl for orphaned beta tapes for – as he ominously says while tenting his fingers – “the collection.”
I, of course, devolved into Daedalus Howell, the “scrivener of doom,” whose penchant for writing overwrought and sentimental satires has been the bane of readers in several major markets. My evil genius is that I’m neither entirely evil nor a genius, but somehow, through machinations too lurid to recount, remain, humbly at your service.