This is just one of a series of very daft one-shots exploring the past, present and future of our favourite Grimm characters - without committing myself to a plot ;) They don't connect into a story. Just a series of opportunities to be exceptionally daft. This isn't related to the series of stories I'm writing elsewhere - just an opportunity to offload my silly side from time to time.
Very grateful for R&R. Happy to consider silly ideas - if I can make them work! Anyway, hope you enjoy. Here's the first in the series: the early education of one Sean Renard...
National Academy for Studies in Tyrannical Yeomanry (NASTY)
64 Vincent's Square, LONDON, SW1P 4LL
Course: Introductory Strategy for Evil Overlords
Report: Year-end performance 1989-1990
Student: Sean Antoine Renard (DOB 07/06/1970)
Tutor: Dr Feer
Final mark: 76% (C). Moderately dastardly. Must improve.
The basis of this assessment
I have compiled this assessment on the basis of my observations of you over the last year and summarised the conversations we have had during our quarterly reviews. None of the following comments or my final recommendations should come as a surprise, unless of course you weren't listening during any of our quarterly reviews. As you do not often blink or apply your facial muscles during a conversation, it is difficult to know how much is being actively absorbed.
I also feel obliged to remind you, here, that you are being objectively obsessed in your own rights as a potential and future evil overlord and that my recommendations are in no way connected with your current status as a junior member of a sinister Royal Wesen family.
Your syllabus: a summary of results
* Charmless delegation: 75% (C). There is still some charm visible. This must stop.
* Evil laughter: 35% (fail). We have spoken.
* Moving the corporate goalposts: 98% (A+ and an all-time NASTY record. High marks given for adding extra objectives to lecturers' performance plans without them noticing. Two percentage marks lost for doing it to your lecturer. Again, we have spoken.)
Second and final semester:
Man-management dissertation – recruitment initiatives. Outstanding work, covered under 'highlights'. A.
Highlights of the Year
Your Masterclass in 'Stony Stares'. This was a highly over-subscribed event with excellent outcomes. It was a rather quiet class, which could have benefitted from some early ice-breakers. However, post-course feedback indicates that those attending have gone on to unnerve an average of eight more minions per week, which is a clear and measurable benefit and you demonstrated your own course material in a manner that left no one of any doubt of your natural flair in this area. We are grateful to you for sharing your singular skill with other students at NASTY.
Setting up the dark side of the canteen. Your initiative in doing this was widely appreciated. The NASTY management have long felt that the pastel shades, broad-panel windows, excessive sunlight and flower arrangements were counterintuitive to destructive thinking. Sectioning off a 'thinking' corner was inspirational: the combination of burgundy paint, Rothko paintings and three-hundred-year-old creaking furniture has made the area highly popular and has produced a great deal of sinister ruminations and high-quality work.
Man-management dissertation: recruitment techniques. A year highlight was unquestionably your outstanding performance on launching the "High Potential Dominators selection pilot". This was not just a personal triumph, but a NASTY one, which we can now sell to corporations across the world. The concept of setting up a series of roleplays to test a candidate's capacity to oppress at a moment's notice has been nothing short of game-changing, allowing careful selection of future evil overlords on the basis of their cunning and immoral fibre.
Of particular note was your highly inventive PollyAnna simulator, which very inventively tests a candidate's ability to withstand half an hour of oblivious, merciless optimism in the face of unpleasantry and death threats. The following testimony comes directly from the Professor of Nefarious Strategy:
"After hearing so much positive feedback from recruiters and applicants, I had to try out the PollyAnna simulator for myself. Although she was just a hologram, she severely tested my patience and I was ready to throw rocks through the laserbeams after her third sweet-natured smile. It is reassuring to find that I am still able to destroy morale within five minutes, but the simulator has rather exposed some rusty areas in my supposedly unflappable exterior. I can only imagine that young Mr Renard, the creator of this simulator, has by now hardened himself permanently from any outward expression of emotion during the test phase of this particular device. He has a fine career ahead of him."
Areas for Improvement
You have acquired a great many oppressive skills: your crushing asides and withering sarcasm are well-respected across the department.
However, we did discuss your interpersonal skills. In particular, the troubling way in which you speak to the minions assigned to you. On some occasions, you have been seen to be downright pleasant, which is entirely unacceptable.
In a recent example, you asked minion #32 for a cup of tea in a perfectly normal tone of voice. Having caught my eye, you hastily added: "AND YOU WILL DO MY BIDDING!", but your hesitation and reluctance to thunder were duly noted. If you are to attain a sufficient mark to continue beyond the first semester of your final year at NASTY, you must seek to instil a sense of disparagement and dread in your everyday communications as a matter of course.
Your grade for the evil laughter module is an insult to NASTY and the hard work that is invested in managing an evil overlord's public image. I regret to note that you are not taking this element of your personal development remotely seriously, and I must say that your attitude to this part of the syllabus has been little short of shameful.
Professor Elmo has told me that he is lucky to get more than a sardonic smirk out of you. The few marks you were able to scrape together for this course were the result of him (very kindly) grading the sinister chuckle you gave him when he threatened to throw you off the course.
Finally, please do not expose your Hexenbiest at the other students while you are showering after the gym. As much as you like your privacy, everyone has the right to a shower. Scaring them out en masse is ungentlemanly and expensive. To explain this to you in the clearest possible terms, mass startlement + slippery floors = expensive accident compensation claims. If there is another such incident of this kind, your father can pick up the bill.
Future career options
I'm not sure that your future lies in being an evil overlord. My view is that you are merely half-fiendish, and that your 'better' side, for want of a better word, reigns for the majority of the time. The fact that you have to battle with your dark side is not a sufficient reason to remain at NASTY. There are very many, very able students here with no good side whatsoever who may not have your intelligence, but certainly have the darkness required to work on the strategy and tactical element of things.
I believe that you will do better in a position of authority in an organisation that is set up to allow senior persons to operate with a great deal of secrecy. In this kind of environment, you would have the freedom to hatch dubious plans undetected (until you want them to be detected), travel for free, oppress at moment's notice, and of course look continuously grave, given the managerial weight upon your shoulders. It also means that you can – if the mood takes you – be pleasant from time to time without being conspicuous.
Your C gives you the right to continue for the first semester of the next academic year. However, if the improvement points above have not been addressed, I see little point in taking your education here any further. You may have better luck with the National Institute for Conflict Encouragement and if you are interested, I will refer you. They have branches in the states, and recruitment links into most US law enforcement agencies.
Have a good summer break and I'll see you in September.
Dr Daniel Feer.