Try to Dismember Doctor September

An essay by Minister Sinister, as provided by Daniel Coble
Art by Justine McGreevy

Helen thinks that the schoolbus thing was the first sign that Doctor September was turning “good,” but I disagree. I mean, it was a bus full of little children, for Christ’s sake. If it had been me, I probably would have saved them, too. That would have been better, actually. If I had been there, I could have telekinetically lifted the bus out of the water without anyone spotting me and ruining my reputation. But September, with his obscenely bulgy muscles and that ridiculous, horned helmet, was not exactly inconspicuous as he hauled the thing onto the river bank. But whatever. Do I wish it hadn’t happened? Yes. I’m just saying that saving a bunch of helpless moppets from drowning doesn’t mean you’re turning non-villainous.

I hate the term “altruism,” and I even hate what social scientists call it: “pro-social behavior.” But the notion is applicable here, in a negative sense. You see, if he had been at some risk, you might call it “altruism,” although “stupidity” is the more accurate term. But when he’s all hyped-up on his Formula S, September can’t be harmed by anything short of a multi-kiloton explosive, although I’ve sort of wanted to try a plasma beam at super-solar temperatures, say 10,000 Kelvin. I think that could give him a nasty burn. But a cold river and a 14 ton type-C Thomas Built schoolbus loaded with soggy third graders? No hazard at all, and so hardly an instance of self-sacrificing daring.

I’m not disputing that Doctor September did eventually lose his shit. But it happened more recently, and more gradually.

The signs were there during the Lincoln Memorial project. Doctor September was as enthusiastic as any of us about blowing up that hideous temple to the gods of hypocrisy, and in fact his Hadron Imploders were the method we eventually chose for the task. And everyone has seen how beautifully it worked. They may turn the huge crater we left there into some kind of sappy museum, but the government fools and their various childish, masked stooges know as well as we do what it really is: a monument to our genius and villainy. Mostly mine, of course, but it was a team effort. And September was a key part of the team back then. But one conversation we had worried me a bit, and perhaps should have worried me a lot:

“So, Doctor,” I said to him, “have you calculated the damage this will do, in economic terms? Have you factored in the possibility of a stock market crash triggered by the panic and psychosexual angst we will cause?” I had explained to the whole League how the lounging, hypertrophied Lincoln was an anthropomorphized phallic symbol central to the delusions of the sheep-citizens. And Doctor September understood this, but he was distracted by trivialities.

“What if there are guards or maintenance personnel still in the building?” he asked, his voice low and almost timid.

Try to Dismember Doctor September

Helen witnessed the next clear warning-event herself. September had just finished a classic solo gig–robbing the diamond exchange–with his usual panache. But then, as he strode down 47th Street, carrying his haul in two of those damned, huge, dollar-sign emblazoned sacks he always brought, several paparazzi scurried out from the alley next to Club Monaco and started snapping pictures of him.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2015 collection.

Minister Sinister is a costumed professional criminal rumored to possess dangerous mental abilities. He has been characterized in the press as “pretentious,” as well as “homicidal” and “confused.” Speculation that he lives in an almost continuous dissociative state characterized by self-reinforcing delusions and free-floating, narcissistic rage must remain conjecture until he can be captured and assessed by psychiatric experts. No clear photos of Minister Sinister are known, but images that have been captured by traffic and ATM cameras show a receding hairline, an aquiline nose, and a narrow, slope-shouldered frame. He is rumored to enjoy half-caf soy lattes.

Daniel Coble lives with his wife, daughters, and sister in southern California, where he develops Web applications in the light of day and commits his literary crimes under cover of darkness. Those abetting these offenses include River Lit, Spank the Carp, Third Flatiron anthologies, Halfway Down The Stairs, Fabula Argentea, Frostfire Worlds, and the Zombies in Japan anthology from Dreamscape Press. He enjoys 1,354 other hobbies, but like some kind of sad, bespectacled prose shark, he cannot stop writing, lest he perish.

Justine McGreevy is a slowly recovering perfectionist, writer, and artist. She creates realities to make our own seem slightly less terrifying. Her work can be viewed at and you can follow her on Twitter @Fickle_Muse.

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