To mark the 1st anniversary of Indies Unlimited, the Evil Mastermind allowed some previously sealed records from the IU bunker to be released to historians. Among them, this rare transcript of the first ever IU meeting…
Stephen: Right, settle down, I’m calling this meeting of the Writers Unlimited Finding Force to order.
Ed: Hang on, who are you to call us to order? Why can’t I call us to order?
Stephen: Because I’m the Evil Mastermind, so I’m in charge.
Ed: Who says you’re the Evil Mastermind? Maybe one of us should be the Evil Mastermind.
Kat: Yeah, come to think of it…
Stephen: Look, it was my idea. And I’ve got the swivelly chair.
Cathy: You haven’t got the English accent though.
Stephen: Keep talking lady, I’m working on it.
Kat: And you don’t have a long-haired cat.
Stephen: I don’t need a long-haired cat. I’ve got the chair, I’ve nearly got the accent, these are writers we’re recruiting, they’ll appreciate the lack of cliche.
Kat: I suppose you could use Mr Pish.
Ed: Oh, that’s just stupid. We bring terrified authors into the bunker, take off the manacles and blindfolds and the first thing they see is Stephen in his creaky old office chair, doing an impression of Cathy, with Mr Pish on his lap. We’ll be a laughing stock.
Stephen: Be that as it may, it was my idea. Now do you want your job descriptions or not?
Cathy: Writers Unlimited Finding Force, it spells WUFF. If they don’t laugh at Stephen they’ll laugh at that. They’ll think Mr Pish is in charge.
Stephen: We won’t be called that when you’ve finished recruiting, we’ll just be Writers Unlimited.
Kat: WU? Still sounds silly.
Ed: I’m not going around recruiting people to WU.
Stephen: Writers and independent publishers?
Ed and Kat: No!
Stephen: Umm, independent writers and authors collective?
Kat: IWAC, sounds like a military signalling system…
Stephen: Mwahahaha, even better!
Cathy: You really have to work on that laugh, I thought Mr Pish was being sick.
Ed: IWAC still sounds kinda rude.
Stephen: Right then, let’s keep it simple, Indies Unlimited.
Cathy: IU isn’t a word.
Kat: True, but it’s not rude or silly either.
Ed: IU. I can live with that, gets my vote.
Stephen: There won’t be no stinking voting, I’m in charge.
Kat: I’ve got the dog though.
Cathy: And I’ve got the accent.
Ed: And I sourced that death ray thing from Antrobus.
Stephen: Well, just this once. IU?
Kat: Yeah, ok.
Cathy: Works for me.
Stephen: Right, can we please get on? I want to hand out your duties.
Kat: Can I be in charge of the death ray?
Stephen: You’re in charge of everything Kat, you’re my right hand person. This bunker is your domain, accommodation, weapons, food. You can call yourself the IU quartermistress!
Cathy: Not a word.
Stephen: Shut up.
Kat: Ah yes, food. I have a shopping list here that I don’t fully understand.
Stephen: It’s simple enough, blindfolds, shackles, gruel, spoons, straws, electrodes…
Kat: It’s just that I don’t know what gruel is.
Cathy: Oh Kat, everyone knows what gruel is.
Kat: Yeah, what is it then?
Cathy: It’s, well it’s sort of like, um…
Ed: Oh please, it’s thin and runny and you eat it.
Kat: But what’s it made of?
Ed: Well, you know…
Kat: No I don’t.
Stephen: Your first task Kat, will be to find out what gruel is. I insist that our writers eat nothing else, the deprivation will sharpen their wits. Mwahahaha.
Kat: Mr Pish, are you ok?
Ed: What’s my job?
Stephen: You will be my Initial Finder General. I want initials! The best writers have initials. We’ve got an Antrobus, a Herzberger and a Devitt, all serious names with international cachet, but I want a JD and a KD, an LA and a TD too. I want a stable full of initials and you are the man to find them. Spread our net worldwide and bring me the finest from every continent.
Ed: Do I get laser guns and death rays?
Stephen: But of course.
Cathy: What about me?
Stephen: Ah Cathy, you will be the IU disciplinarian.
Cathy: What, with whips and boots and handcuffs and stuff?
Stephen: If you like, but more importantly, if one of my henchmen steps out of line you will always have the final punishment ready at hand.
Cathy: What’s that?
Stephen: You will Review Their Book!
Kat: Hang on a minute, henchmen?
Stephen: Yes, an evil mastermind always has henchmen.
Kat: But they can’t all be henchmen, there won’t be room behind your chair.
Ed: And there’s only so much henching to be done anyway.
Cathy: I’m not sure if I know how to hench.
Kat: Quite. Lots of people don’t know how it’s done. I’m your henchperson, the others should be something else.
Ed: I know how to hench.
Kat: Yes, but it’s tiring, if you’re touring the world dragging unconscious people with initials back here all day you’ll not be wanting to hench all evening now will you? What else do evil masterminds have?
Ed: Of course they do, we’ll make them minions.
Cathy: I’m not sure minging is any better than henching, the Brits won’t like it.
Stephen: Objection overruled. Indies Unlimited will tour the world, collecting independent wordsmiths, calling them minions and feeding them gruel. Now place Mr Pish on my lap as I swing around in this chair and practise, “Ah, writerly minion, we’ve been expecting you.”
Mr Pish: Mwahahaha.
(With sincere apologies for playing fast and loose with the truth and for some truly terrible Photoshopping. Happy Birthday Indies.)