If you’re a big-time villain running a successful evil business, you probably have a lot of work that needs to get done–you know, putting cobwebs in the lair, shredding the pesky bills the phone company keeps sending you for your international calls, and beating up a good guy from time to time. And if you’re a big-time villain running a successful evil business, you totally don’t have enough time to do it all alone. You need help. You need henchmen.
Henchmen are a dime a dozen, truth be told, but good henchmen are not. If you want a lackey who’s going to get the job done right and survive a skirmish or two, you really need to invest in a good henchman. You need to know how to pick ’em and how to treat ’em, so here are a few tips for hiring goons to do your dirty work.
Always Do an Interview
Don’t trust ads. People can lie easily on the internet or in the newspaper, and the last thing you want is to hire a henchman who clearly isn’t fit for henching. By interviewing the henchman before you hire, you eliminate the chances of a scrawny, 90 lb synchronized swimmer telling you that he’s a buff, abs-of-steel pro wrestler. You get to see your soon-to-be henchie face-to-face and can (for the most part) tell if this wannabe is cut out for your evil business.
You Gotta Pay More than Minimum Wage
You get what you pay for. If you pay your henchmen the same wage that a burger-flipping fast food employee earns, you’re not going to get much loyalty. At the first hint of danger to your henchman’s life, she’s gonna bail on this dangerous job and go find something safer. You have to pay your henchmen well and make them want to keep their jobs with you, so that you aren’t constantly going through the tiresome process of hiring new help. Besides, if you ever run low on money to pay your henchmen with, you can just get them to rob a bank for you. Problem solved.
Dress Code’s Not Always the Best Code
Many villains force their henchmen to wear matching uniforms and even carry matching weapons. This is good in the sense that it creates a unified army, and you should definitely have some sort of uniform, but do not take away the individuality of the hired help. If you hire a henchman whose primary weapon skill is with a sword, don’t force him to use a gun just because that’s the “uniform weapon”. And if you hire a henchman who specializes in stealth and speed, don’t force her to wear a thick metal suit because that’s your army’s uniform. Consider choosing uniform colours instead. Let each henchman have his own style of clothing and weapon, to suit his strengths, but enforce that all outfits should be green or orange or whatever you fancy, and all weapons should be made of the same metal or wood. Don’t compromise the effectiveness of your henchmen just to achieve a desired image.
Give Proper Praise
Yes, you’re a villain, but no, giving praise isn’t beneath you. You don’t have to give your henchmen gold stickers every time they do a good job, or smile and pat them on the head at the end of the work day, but you have to let them know when you’re pleased. Try giving them a little nod every once in a while, or drop your scowl just a tad when you look at them. Just a little sign that they’re doing all right, to take the edge off their nervousness. Because let’s face it: if you’ve been disciplining them properly, they’ll be skittish around you and eager to please. So to keep them from becoming nervous wrecks because they don’t understand what you want from them, let them know when they’ve done well.
But Don’t Forget to Crack Down
Praise is nice and eases the tension in the lair, but never let the henchmen get too relaxed. The second one of them steps a foot out of line, swoop down upon him with unrelenting fury. You’re not done till he’s a sobbing mess curled up on the floor, and all of the other henchmen are too afraid to do so much as look at you, in case they’re punished too. Let them know who’s boss. Let them know where the boundaries lie. The last thing you need is for your henchmen to start testing the rules. A wise villain always asserts her authority using her greatest weapon: fear itself.
No More Than Three
While you want the general population of henchmen to be terrified of you and more or less expendable, it is a good idea to have a few elite henchmen who are given more privileges and freedoms than the others. These special henchmen could become your sidekicks in battle, or even your (almost) equal partners in evil, and are the few of your followers whom you can actually trust to stay loyal to you, no matter what. They should be the best fighters amongst your ranks, but you should always ensure that you have some sort of power over them, whether it be your strength or purely evil blackmail. These elite henchmen should be allowed to have their own unique uniform, should be paid much better than the other henchmen, and should get benefits like healthcare and vacation days. This heightened status should be a reward for several years of service to you. I recommend that you develop a good relationship with this henchman before awarding such status, and that you promote no more than three henchmen to this position–just in case.
Propaganda Never Hurts
The rest of these tips should ensure loyalty from your henchmen, but this tip is important for making them into a bloodthirsty, unstoppable army: tell them they’re the best in the world, and make them believe it, too. Pep talks work well for this tip. You can assign a day of the week to be the weekly motivational meeting, and gather together all your henchmen to deliver an enthusiastic speech about how great they are and all the evil they can do. Build up their spirits. Make them eager to fight. Get them believing they’re invincible, ’cause that’s when they’ll start fighting as if they actually are.
Henchmen are incredibly useful in your evil operations, but you have to be careful with how you choose and treat them. Senseless walls of meat may have their uses, but if you truly want your business to run with maximum efficiency, I suggest you spend a little extra time building your army properly. Trust me–it’ll be worth it when you’re running the world.
What would you look for in a good henchman?
May your henchmen all prove capable and assist you greatly in your evil endeavours.
Do you have anything villain or Halloween related that you’d like to share? Send me a link in the comments or at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to check it out!