SYOL (Take 1)
My first attempt at writing SYOL for NaNoWriMo 2012. An anxious but eager-to-please young adult known only as "Orange" applies for a job. Under the evil overlord who conquered his planet.
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He drummed his fingers on the magazine in his lap, too nervous to read it. Not that he would've understood a word of it. He couldn't read Spanish. But what if that was one of the requirements? What if he was supposed to be an expert in a variety of languages? He was doomed. His life was over.
"Next!" the blue-haired secretary called out. Was it normal for hair to be blue? Oh God, what if abnormally-colored hair was a requirement? Was his hair orange enough to be considered abnormal? Was that stubborn strand that refused to stay down silly enough?
The muscular man who had walked through the door at the secretary's call was suddenly flung back through it with enough force to break through the wall. The anxious boy looked through the hole next to him, watching as two uniformed people carried the man away. He swallowed hard. He was going to be that guy. That was going to be him.
He looked around to see who was next. Much to his dismay, he found that all of the other seats were empty. As he stood up and walked over to the door, all he could think was "At least the man before me was kind enough to make a hole in the wall for me".
All-Conquering Overlord Hadris Torant's interviewing room of choice wasn't exactly what he was expecting. No hellfire, no corpses hanging on the wall, no wailing of tortured souls…it was just a simple office that looked a little disheveled. He gingerly closed the door behind him – not that it mattered given the gaping hole in it – flipped the rolling chair in front of the desk right-side up, and quietly took a seat. Oh, damn it all! He hadn't said hello! He hadn't even flashed a smile! Hoping to make up for lost time, he grinned so wide he heard his face crack.
"I apologize for the mess…rebels, you know? Always trying to kill you." All-Conquering Overlord Hadris Torant chuckled, shaking his head. The boy almost allowed himself to relax when his future employer's – or so he hoped, anyway – demeanor turned on its head.
"You're not one of them, are you, boy?" the overlord asked sinisterly, his hair literally flaring up. The boy gulped and struggled to maintain eye contact. Under normal circumstances it wouldn't be difficult given that the overlord's right eye looked like a collection of ice crystals and the left looked like a little aquarium, but his nerves were determined to make him as big of a failure as possible.
"No, Mr. All-Conquering Overlord Hadris Torant, sir! Not at all!" he blurted out, saluting for reasons beyond him. "I'm here to submit to you and become a part of your empire, sir!"
Smiling with anticipation, the overlord extended his hand. Like the rest of his body it was pitch black, his spindly fingers reminding the boy of the branches of a dead tree. A dead tree that ate children. Not terribly jarred by the evil overlord looking evil, the boy performed the most important handshake of his life.
"I like you, Orange-"
The boy noted that his name was now Orange.
"-so why don't you tell me a little about yourself?"
Orange froze. He knew this question was coming, but never could find an answer to it. What was there to say about him? He had recently graduated from an insignificant high school with a B average and no notable awards. He had no hobbies aside from watching television and occasionally surfing the web, and he wasn't sure those counted as hobbies. He had no dreams and didn't like to imagine himself five years into the future, nor did he have anything of event to talk about from his past. Life was something he preferred not to overthink. His hair was really orange, but that had already been pointed out.
In all of his thinking, Orange failed to notice five minutes had passed. Amused but not having the leisure time to watch a potential employee slowly die of embarrassment, All-Conquering Overlord Hadris Torant decided to skip over the question.
"So, what do you know about us?" he asked, resting his head on his hands. Orange immediately straightened himself out and brightened up. This was a question he could answer!
"Well, Mr. All-Conquering Overlord Hadris Torant, sir, you aspire to conquer all of time and space! You go from planet to planet and attempt to take over through various means, then either respectfully leave when defeated – a rarity! – or succeed and begin altering various aspects of the planet to your liking. Worlds you've failed to conquer are typically revisited every thousand years or so depending on local myths, urgency, convenience, and personal interest." He answered enthusiastically. He wasn't excited so much about the prospect of serving a professional video game villain as he was about being able to show that he had done at least a little bit of preparing for this interview. On second thought, though, Orange realized everything he just said could probably be assumed from the name "All-Conquering Overlord Hadris Torant". Just as he was about to go deeper into the workings of the…company, he supposed, the all-conquering overlord in question spoke up again.
"And you have no qualms with this?" he asked.
"Not at all, Mr. All-Conquering Overlord Hadris Torant, sir! An all-conquering overlord does what an all-conquering overlord does. I figure it's in everyone's best interest to understand and accept that." Orange explained, unconsciously beginning to slouch again. Would it be better if he had pretended to be a psychotic murderer? He imagined a violent sociopath or a mad genius would be of more use to an evil overlord than a barely-legal young man with no brains or brawn to speak of.
"Good, good! That's what I like to hear!"
Orange's confident posture returned again. He did something right!
"However…would you happen to have any loved ones who might think otherwise? I couldn't tell you how many heroes I've had barge in here looking to rescue their family members and friends from the 'dark side'…"
Back to slouching. Orange tugged at his collar, already able to hear the blood pounding in his ears. He had really hoped this question wouldn't have been asked, but in retrospect it wasn't that surprising.
"I have no loved ones, Mr. All-Conquering Overlord Hadris Torant, sir." He stated bluntly, hoping he wouldn't be pushed any further.
"They were killed during my invasion of your planet." The overlord assumed, his voice not quite dark but not quite sympathetic.
"Correct, Mr. All-Conquering Overlord Hadris Torant, sir." Orange squeaked after a short pause. Memories of the incident weren't what bothered him, nor was the simple fact that he was sitting in front of a man who could kill so many – including people close to him – and view it like any other day. He was only concerned about getting the job, and he couldn't imagine telling his employer he murdered his family was helping matters. Honestly, he didn't care much about his late relatives and acquaintances. Was that wrong? Probably. Sick and twisted? Potentially. Maybe that's why he found himself here.
"And you're absolutely sure you don't want to kill me violently over it?" the overlord continued with a teasing smile. Orange wasn't sure if he was smiling because he wanted another hole in the wall or because he picked up on his nonchalance on the subject and was letting him know he would treat it the same way, or if it was for a different reason entirely. He quickly decided that trying to get into the mind of an otherworldly being bent on enslaving the universe was a silly idea and stopped avoiding the subject at hand.
"I would never dream of it, Mr. All-Conquering Overlord Hadris Torant, sir!" Orange assured him with a little smile of his own. "I'm really not much for revenge. That aside, I don't think it would be a good idea to get on your bad side."
Thoroughly entertained and not having anyone else who wasn't an assassin willingly apply anyway, the overlord extended his hand once more. Realizing what this meant, Orange's eyes widened as he sprang up and performed the second most important handshake of his life.
"Did I mention I like you, Orange? You're a funny kid. So, what the hell? You're hired!"
The girly shriek of glee that Orange narrowly managed to suppress was so intense that he was certain he had just developed a uterus.
"Really? Oh, thank you, Mr. All-Conquering Overlord Hadris Torant, sir! You have no idea how much this means to me!" he rambled, unable to control his happiness after all of the work it took holding back that girly shriek. "I'm so thrilled to be part of the team! When do you need me to start? I'll start right now! I'm sure you could fix that wall with some duct tape and strategically-placed motivational posters, or maybe you want me to call someone to fix it professionally? Does that plant need watering? Do the blinds need dusting? I think I saw a spider earlier but I might've been hallucinating due to stress, should I call an exterminator just in case?!"
Alarmed by Orange's sudden mood change and the fact that Orange was about to shake his arm off, the overlord let go and backed up ever so slightly. Orange took the cue and sat back down, too thrilled to express any sort of shame.
"Now calm down there, Orange. I appreciate the enthusiasm, but let's not get carried away." The overlord began, amused. "You'll start out just doing odd jobs around the place. Whatever needs doing, really, but I'm sure you won't get saddled with anything you can't handle. "
"No problem at all, Mr. All-Conquering Overlord Hadris Torant, sir! That sounds exactly like the sort of thing I'm cut out for, anyway!" Orange replied, brimming with confidence. He wasn't particularly good at anything, so doing random little tasks other people were too lazy to do themselves seemed ideal to him.
"Wonderful! Then I'll see you here tomorrow to get you set up. Until then, though…"
Out of thin air, the overlord produced a key and handed it to Orange. He accepted it and held it like a delicate flower. It was basically the most important thing to ever exist.
"Just talk to the secretary out there and she'll let you know where you'll be staying."
Orange nodded and stood up again, bowing out of impulse. "Will do! Thank you very much, Mr. All-Conquering Overlord Hadris Torant, sir! I'll see you tomorrow!"
As Orange turned to exit, the overlord spoke up once more.
"Oh, and Orange?"
"Yes, Mr. All-Conquering Overlord Hadris Torant, sir?"
"You can just call me Drew."