Guide to Survival, Series

Guide to Survival: A Movie Lieutenant

By Symon Kenny, Uganda:

Being a villain's second-in-command (thus, lieutenant) can be difficult most times, especially when you're one more person standing in the way between the hero and the villain. Yes, in most cases you're expendable. You may be in command of several underlings, but the villain commands you, so you should wield the power that you possess. The good ones do as much as they can to weaken the hero as much as possible before they meet the villain, so that the villain can make short work of a spent hero. Unfortunately, that's not normally the case, since the hero ends up winning anyway, rendering the efforts of the lieutenant moot. Therefore, to have a long, fruitful career as a second-in-command to a boss that will eventually be defeated, one must ensure to do the following:

Tip #1: Make sure you're THE TRUSTED LIEUTENANT. Yes, you can aspire to be the greatest lieutenant alive: being trusted means that you can disagree with the villain's plans and not get killed on the spot for it. But this comes after several months of showing how competent you are. Fear not, you'll be rewarded for those months of slavery. Just don't show too much ambition, or else it will be viewed as treachery and you'll be the sleazy lieutenant. That doesn't look good on a resume, if you survive.

Tip #2: Befriend the villain. Yeah, they may be heartless snakes, but they too need friends. In fact, you might very well be the only friend they have. Be there for them, even when their plans go sour. Be the one who carries him off the battlefield, if he survives. He'll owe you his life. You'll never collect that debt, but at least you won't be killed in a random fit of rage.

Tip #3: Avoid getting in the way of personal feuds, grudges, challenges, etc. When someone has a beef with the villain himself, don't offer to fight on his behalf. After all, what kind of villain will he be if he can't stand up for himself? Have it in writing that you are not allowed to interfere in personal grievances.

Tip #4: If your boss, the villain, isn't even half as qualified as you are in your field, kindly remind him that you exist to serve his goals in that particular field, and as such, he should let you work. No need for your boss, a businessman, to be advising you, a decorated soldier, about matters of warfare. That is how crucial battles are lost and the hero makes off with an important item/prisoner. Villains tend to panic when things don't go according to plan, so the best you can do is advise him to sit tight and let you handle things. After all, you won't be fighting duels on his behalf, will you?

Tip #5: Avoid showing the villain that you have great initiative. Don't go off on unsanctioned missions just so you can earn his approval. If you make a mess of things, you will not taste that juicy retirement package.

Tip #6: You must not accept the responsibility of guarding the hero's loved one(s). You can always delegate that to a lesser but competent minion, who will most definitely be dispatched in any rescue attempt. Such menial tasks are not suited for a lieutenant. You should know that.

Tip #7: If your boss, the villain, is outnumbered and seemingly at the end of his course, just let events play out as they will. Don't jump in at the last minute and stop a bullet meant for his heart. That's just delaying the inevitable. If you're at a safe distance, and out of sight, odds are that when the villain is vanquished the hero will be too busy celebrating to notice you. You can quietly slip away, transfer all your boss' monies into your own account and go to a remote island and become a bartender, or whatever tickles your fancy. That's what all the great lieutenants do, who don't want to live a life of villainy anyway.

Tip #8: If you and your boss encounter a strange glowing artifact, and the boss tells you to go and investigate, you should also delegate that task to a random underling. No need for you to be the first sacrifice/victim while the villain figures out what's safe and what's not safe to do.

Tip #9: You must not, under any circumstances, belittle the villain's family. Ever! Villains have a knack for random moments of irrational thinking where their family is involved. Only the coldest darkest villains will not act irrationally. When their loved ones say nonsensical things, be nice and take their stupidity in silence. Speaking out against them could cost you your life!

Tip #10: When your security guard says there was a glitch in the security footage, contact chief villain immediately, so you two may vacate the premises. If the villain is not in the building, you must order a full lockdown, while you vacate the premises. You can always report to the boss that you did as best as you could to stop the crisis, and even barely managed to escape with sensitive materials. Most villains would spare you for such a selfless act. In fact, a few cuts and bruises, and singed clothes, will sell your story completely.

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