Interview with a Supervillain, part 1

The following is a full transcript of Sterling Roche’s interviews with Anton Gardener, know to the world as the supervillain “Repton”. It took place in Visiting Room Eight at Highgate Hypermaximum Prison in Greem Oaks, Maryland. The interviews took place between May 17 and May 24, 2015.

Roche : Before we get down to business, I have a personal question to ask you, if I may.

Repton : You may.

Roche : Why did you pick me as the one person to interview you, after all these years of silence?

Repton : Because I admire your work, Mister Roche. The fact you have not risen to the top of your field yet is, no pun intended, downright criminal. I am particularly fond of your work with so-called “street gangs”. Those articles proved to me, beyond a shadow of doubt, that you are a man who can look directly into the heart of evil and remain objective.

Roche : I am flattered and honored by your praise. I am curious as to why you said “so-called ‘street gangs'”. What do you call them? And do you have a history with them?

Repton : I called them “self-organizing youth organizations”, and I have an extensive history with them. In fact, it was one of those organizations that began me on a life of crime, as it were.

Roche : Please explain.

Repton : Until I encountered my first gang at age 14, I was a happy little clean-cut private school drone like so many others. Got good grades, did what I was told, stayed away from anything that seemed socially embarrassing. I thought the best thing in life was to be respectable, and pursued that goal with diligence and focus.

Roche : I take it that changed?

Repton : Indeed it did. Once puberty took hold in me, I became restless, discontent, and sarcastic. Suddenly, the world I was brought up seemed incredibly drab and crushingly dull. And increasingly hard to endure. By the time I encountered my first gang, I was officially a “problematic” and “difficult” child in most people’s eyes. No one was more surprised by this than me.

Roche : Is that when the Bay Street Vipers recruited you?

Repton : It was the other way around. I wanted desperately to join them. I had encountered them on one of my frequent long walks, and to my young mind, they represented everything that was missing from my life. I absolutely had to join them. And they wanted nothing to do with me.

Roche : Why was that?

Repton : Let’s say that my entreaties to them were less than sophisticated. To them, I was some effete spoiled brat who wanted to do the equivalent of running away to the circus, and far more trouble than I was worth. They were probably right.

Roche : What changed that?

Repton : My first crime. I knew it would take something very impressive to gain their respect. I reasoned that anyone could steal candy from the candy store. I would steal it from the trucks it arrived on.

Roche : That seems quite bold of you.

Repton : Thank you, it was. So I hung around the back entrance of Lollipop’s, the Cadillac of candy stores in our neighborhood, and watched the trucks come and go till I found a pattern I could exploit.

Roche : And that was?

Repton : There was one delivery driver who always spent a long time chatting up one of the girls who worked behind the counter at Lollipop’s, leaving his truck entirely unguarded. It was quite simple for me to slip into the truck and boost an enormous crate of candy that was almost as big as me.

Roche : And that worked?

Repton : Like the proverbial charm. Once I showed up to school with a simply absurd amount of all kinds of chocolate and candy, word got around, and the next day I was told that the leader of the Bay Street Vipers, someone everyone called King, wanted to meet me ASAP.

Roche : And it was smooth sailing from there?

Repton : Mostly. I walked into his “office”, looked him straight in the eye, and said “Want to know how I did it?”. It turned out he did. Very much so. Negotiations for my entry into his gang went smoothly from there.

Roche : According to my research, you took King’s job soon after that.

Repton : Well yes, but not by design. I was just happy to be included. But it turns out that if you are the person with the best ideas and the most effective plans, people naturally start following you. I always made sure to show him deference and respect, but it was obvious who the de facto leader was, and it wasn’t long before it was made official.

Roche : And how did you feel about that?

Repton : Dizzy. Excited. Terrified. Wildly inadequate. Incredibly proud. And, most importantly to this narrative, I felt a feeling of true power. And I liked it. A lot.

Roche : What did you do with this new-found power?

Repton : At first, not much. But eventually, I grew into the role, and before too long, I was ruling Bay Street with an iron fist. All three blocks of it. To say we terrorized the citizens would be a vast overstatement. But we enriched ourselves and pissed off a lot of adults, and that made us very happy.

Roche : That doesn’t sound particularly evil to me.

Repton : The local shopkeepers would have vehemently disagreed. But yes, the worst we did was steal from shopkeepers that sold things kids and teens liked, then sell them at vastly lower prices. We never beat anyone up, we didn’t have anything we were trying to prove, and we made sure to spread our wealth around. We were far from the toughest gang around. But we were definitely the most popular. We thought of ourselves as a gang of merry bandits, like in Robin Hood.

Roche : So what turned you from a merry bandit into Repton?

Repton : That, my friend, is a long story. And judging by that guard’s glare, we are out of time.

End Transcript Part One

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