Henchmen are presumed to be expendable bodies; no thought, no fear, no dreams. Leather bomber jackets, popped collars, an infinite supply of cigarettes. They are (or were, in most cases) the cool guy that didn’t catch a break and rise to the level of Mastermind or the Mastermind’s Accountant. Any action movie worth it’s miserable review is rife with henchmen.
I oftentimes wonder how these expendables found their way to this lowly fate, almost always at the hands of the hero with accidentally genocidal talent. More importantly, what cultural factors are at play with this leap of faith? What kind of jams could bring a man (as I have yet to see a movie with ‘henchwomen’, which is stupid. Hollywood, you hearing this?) with terrible aim and a bad attitude to think it a good idea to jump out from behind cover, fully exposed, and take a few double-tap shots at Rambo from 100 yards with an uzi from the hip?
It had better be fire. My track list and recommendations will come following each chapter.
This is the first of a multi-part story about henchman, in my best attempt to understand what makes them tick.
“Hey Carl, I got this cousin Vinny. He’s looking for work. Don’t ask about his shooting skills, I’ve been working with him. Also he has a weird habit of hanging out on shipping docks of warehouses and talking about the ball game late at night.”
Carl, the shipping manager,was intrigued. “Get him in there for an on the job interview. I have a few meat trucks that need loading tonight.”
Vinny landed the job easily. He was adept at palletizing boxes of frozen beef tips. The work fit Vinny; he had gotten lazy the last few months, mostly just surfing couches after 4 months upstate for an assault charge. It wasn’t the his first trip through the system, but this was his “wake up call,” as he put it. This was the first time he wasn’t the young guy in his cell block. He couldn’t use that as his excuse anymore.
Six days a week, Vinny would drag himself up two flights of stairs to his dilapidated studio apartment. He worked a few extra shifts to afford a place a little closer to work. The lock always stuck, and his key was ground to nothing.
Every morning he would wake up his neighbors violently jiggling the key to his place, then partially crashing through the door with a solid shoulder. He was the de facto morning alarm clock for the building, and he couldn’t tell if they appreciated that or not. He would be taking his boots off the same his neighbors above and to the sides would be getting coffee started and waking up their children.
A few weeks of this cycle and Vinny had had enough. Luckily he could do his work tired and to satisfaction, but the sleep schedule was affecting his aim. For some reason, his cousin that got him the job kept taking him out to the waterfront to shoot cans off of the pier.
Vinny decided to stop at an electronics store and get some new hi-fi headphones for his stereo (the ¼ jack with the curly cord). After the electronics store, Vinny shook down the pawn shop owner that had his stereo on hold when he got out of prison. His ex-girlfriend traded it and moved far, far away.
The stereo sat on the floor next to Vinny’s twin mattress. He did pay a little extra for a box spring, which he thought upgraded his place from quaint hovel to serviceable bachelor pad. He used his speaker towers for nightstands, but he had a lava lamp that hadn’t quite bunched up to the top; occasionally a small bit would still detach and fall to the bottom. The speakers were too loud to use in the mornings, which is why the headphones were made necessary.
On top of the massive single CD player that looked like a computer server lived a few of the albums that Vinny would use to wind down after a shift. He kept all of his other CDs in a monstrous case under his bed, just in case someone broke in.
Vinny went over and had a look at what he was going to play this morning. He had an auxiliary jack as well, plugged into his old IPod…
Title: B L E $ $
Artist: The Weeknd
Title: I Feel it Coming (Feat. Daft Punk)
Title: Night Birds (Feat. Wayne Snow)
Artist: Rufus Du Sol
Title: Say a Prayer for Me
Artist: The Best ASMR Therapy
Title: Arctic White Noise and Wind