Even Henchmen Working for Organizations Dedicated to World Domination Can Suffer from Existential Nihilism and Inadequate Health Insurance


“Hey, Stan, who are we shooting at this time?”


“James Bond again.”


“I have a bad feeling about this.”

“Why? We’ve got Bond outnumbered ten-to-one.”

“And every time he manages to come out on top.”


“No way! We’ve got him cornered.”


“Over by the 100 canisters of liquified oxygen and pile of oily rags.”

“I still have a bad feeling about this…”

“Look, he’s got just six bullets left and all he has is a chair, a deadly cobra, a bungee cord and a spray can full of a flammable substance. How is that going to help him?”

“He’ll get out of this somehow. And we’ll die some horrible, pointless death.”


“We’ll be okay.”

“Stan, I see it all the time. Last week, Bruce got yanked out of moving train with heavy barrels tied around his neck, Remember Harry? Death by flaming kabobs. Rajiv, he got bit in the face by a poisonous octopus. Do I have to mention Diego and the glass chandelier?”

“It’s a living.”


“It all feels so … empty. What’s the point?”

“No point? You work for an organization dedicated to world domination. It’s our mission statement.”

“I know, I know, I remember the orientation film they show to new hires. ‘Working for SPECTRE means taking control of your life. Why waste your time working in a demeaning cubicle, slaving for a faceless corporation when you can have a life filled with glamourous adventure and intrigue? You’ll wear lots of black, drive sinister cars, travel to exotic locations where you’ll shoot expensive guns and keep fit using parkour on slippery-tile rooftops in the Middle East and northern Africa. You’ll improve your driving skills chasing British agents through crowded, third-world markets. You’ll be surrounded by beautiful people and ruthless dictators in opulent mansions and snooty casinos, obscenely large yachts, and evil lairs full of computers and blinking lights.’” 

“It hooked me when I saw it at a jobs fair.”

“What they don’t mention is that all the really good stuff goes to Bond or the big guy upstairs. They get the jokes, the catchphrases, theme songs, and the cinematically dramatic deaths.”

“That’s true.”


“But it shouldn’t be that way. I was reading this book call Das Kapitalby a guy called Karl Marx. He says that the problem with modern capitalism is that it often leads to a condition of poverty in the midst of plenty. We sacrifice ourselves, but the plenty ends up in the hands of the big guy upstairs.”

“I never thought of it that way.”

“It gets worse. Did you ever notice that we’re all supposed to kill Bond, but no one ever does?”

“What do you mean?”

“Think about it. He’s been shot at close to 5,000 times and no one’s managed to eliminate him.”

“You have a point, there.”

“We’re supposed to kill him and make it look convincing because our organization doesn’t tolerate failure. But the real story is that we’re not supposed to really kill him because our evil leader wants to torture him in some homoerotic manner, followed by a complicated, sinister death which never takes place because 007 always gets away. You see, our work is meaningless.”


“You have a point there, but in their defense, the big guys live the good life for a while, but eventually, they all die, too. Blofeld, Goldfinger, Dr. No, Le Chiffre —all dead.”

“Yes, but they got to die in a spectacular way. But us, the guys who do all the work, we just get killed. No dramatic buildup. We’re disposable.”

“Like I said, It’s a living.”

“That’s another thing. Have you ever gotten a paycheck?”

“Well, no. But management always says that evil is its own reward.”

“They say that so they don’t have to pay us.”

“You have a point.”


“Let me ask you a question: Has SPECTRE ever offered you health insurance?”


“Long-term disability?”




“See? We just don’t count here. I think we should go protest to Mr. Big upstairs. I think he’ll appreciate the feedback from some disposable underlings.”

“You’ve got some valid points there. Okay, I’ll go with you. Let me get in one more round here before we go.” POW-POW-POW-BLAM! “Okay, we’re off.”

“I wonder what Mr. Big is going to do with that shipment of piranhas and that huge fish tank he got in the other day?”

“No idea.”