Unfortunately for John, Josiah was not like Claudius. Instead of relying on an archaic “spy-behind-the-arras” system, he had placed surveillance cameras all around the city, and he monitored them constantly. As a result, he was aware within minutes of John’s new plan to kill him: having Jeannine do it instead.
Josiah knew that he obviously couldn’t allow anyone to kill him, so the plan had to be stopped; but he was reluctant to waste so much time foiling a single assassination attempt. Instead he set to work devising a scheme that would kill two birds with one stone. The other bird, of course, was Mischa.
“Maybe if I…no, that won’t work,” he thought to himself. “There has to be a simple way to punish Mischa for his apostasy while simultaneously killing John and his friends!”
Cyprus, beautiful as ever, entered the room and sat down next to her new boss. She had brought him hot cocoa, his favorite beverage.
Setting it down in front of him, she said, “Perhaps you should make two plans, Mr. Malum. It would certainly be easier.”
“How did you know what I was – oh, right, the telepathy. I’m very uncomfortable with that, you know,” said Josiah.
“Yes, I know,” replied Cyprus.
“But how could you – ah, yes, of course…how silly of me. Anyway, no, I can’t just make two plans. What kind of loser would make two plans? That’s the coward’s way out, Cyprus. And Josiah Malum is no coward!” he yelled, lighting a cigarette.
“Is that why you sleep with a night light?” asked Cyprus.
“I don’t have a night light because I’m afraid, you fool! I just don’t want to trip if I get up and have to go to the bathroom, or something,” explained Josiah. “That would be inconvenient, and Josiah Malum does not like inconvenience!”
“You’re lying. I can tell,” said Cyprus.
“Ha! How would you be able to know whether I’m telling the truth or lying?” demanded Josiah.
“Because I’m psychic?” said Cyprus impatiently.
“I can’t believe I forgot that again. Well, the point is, I need to find one plan that will accomplish both of my goals: stopping John, thereby clearing the way for my evil plan; and tormenting Mischa, thereby making me happy,” said Josiah. “And I’m having far more trouble than an evil genius of my caliber should.”
“Come with me,” said Cyprus. “I know just the thing to give you back your inspiration. And don’t bother asking how I know. I’m psychic.”
Josiah said nothing, instead choosing – for the first time in his life – to obey an underling. He followed Cyprus down to the dungeon, the very dungeon Mischa still inhabited.
“That’s perfect! Terrifying Mischa always gave me magnificent ideas. I like the way you think, Cyprus,” complimented Josiah.
“You’re such a simple man, Josiah,” replied Cyprus. “You’re not going to terrify Mischa; you can’t! If you do it, you’ll be defeating the whole purpose of this excursion.”
“You have two goals: punishing Mischa and stopping John. You want to accomplish both with one masterful plan, to kill two birds with one stone. If you need to torture Mischa for inspiration, you’ll be killing one of those two birds already,” said Cyprus.
“Then why are we here, if I’m not allowed to torture Mischa yet?” demanded Josiah.
“I am going to torture Mischa.”
Cyprus smirked and opened the dungeon door. Inside they could see Mischa sitting there alone, staring at the courtyard. He was waiting for Cyprus to come into view again and was thus wonderfully shocked to see her walking through the door.
His elation was stymied, however, because Josiah walked in right behind her, a look of anticipation on his face the likes of which Mischa had never seen before.
“MISCHA!” he yelled. “Oh, that felt good.”
“Mr. M-malum!” shouted Mischa, terrified. “W-why am I b-being kept here? Who is that beautiful woman?”
“Stop asking questions, Mischa! She’s here to torture you, and I’m here to watch!” said Josiah, causing Mischa to cower away, whimpering. “I could do it myself, but I’m not going to, for reasons you’re not good enough to hear. Take it away, Cyprus!”
“Mischa, Mischa, Mischa: have I got a torture for you,” began Cyprus.
She reached into a bag and pulled out a rectangular box. Mischa’s eyes widened in apprehension, Josiah’s in joy.
“Do you know what this is, Mischa? It’s the movie Elektra. You’re going to watch it, beginning to end!”
His screams were heard for miles.