This besets evil supervillains from time to time, is usually at first entertaining, but can occasionally prove to be an annoyance. Note that we are not referring primarily to the sounds produced by the quick, but the ones which adhere to one's recollection long after the deed has been done, long after any natural sound has ceased being produced. Besides the distraction they can cause, especially at moments when one would want to concentrate most fully, they can occasionally counsel the evil villain to take actions (or to refrain from action) in a way which would be inimical to his or her own best interest, a hindrance even to the most committed villain. Here are some measures which others have found useful in either preventing or curing these undesirable wails and moans at least to a tolerable level.
- Prevention. You could choose to victimize only those who lack voices to be replayed later: only mute, unconscious, or far-off individuals. Or perhaps you could do whatever dastardly deed you are up to with your ears stopped up with wax or with headphones on. Presto, nothing to remember!
- Lay down the law. At the moment of crisis, it may be possible to coerce the individual to make only the sounds of which you approve, either by assuring them that this will lead to their release (not likely) or by artificial means. If you supply strong enough encouragement to the one in question to whistle a happy tune and succeed, think of how much more satisfying a victory that turns out to be.
- Night, night. At the time of your misdeed, assuming you do not actually want to hear the wailing and pleading of the captive for whatever reasons of your own, and the evil aim is something other than to inflict suffering (i.e., this is not strictly speaking a torture situation), the best way to achieve this is to simply induce unconsciousness in any of the many ways at your disposal.
- Your internal mute switch. If you have been exposed to the voices of victims despite your best efforts, you can still avoid reliving them the rest of your life by working with an experienced psychiatrist. He or she will do this by displacing those thoughts from the forefront of memory using techniques of suggestion, accommodation, behavioral modification, or, in severe cases, erasure. Success in the talking cure will take place over a space of months or years typically during which time you may need to adjust your villainous work schedule around the therapy hours.
Strokes of genius
- Crank it. Marches and cannon shots are the traditional distractors, but you may prefer death metal or polkas instead. If you crank the good-times tunes up loud enough, you can usually dislodge any minor earworms.
- Run for it. A change of scenery sometimes refreshes the dark soul, removing the things and places that you associate with the unpleasant situation for the time it takes to develop the mental scabs. It works especially well if you are actually fleeing for your life, since you will typically find you don't have time to fret and brood.
- Desensitization. If you are handy with a high-quality digital recorder your victims’ pleas, cries for help, wordless scrreaming, keening moans, or stifled whimpers can be immortalized and played back when you are in your happy place. As a bonus, they can also be e-mailed to their bereaved family members for additional cruelty points.
- Embrace the din. The most self-actualized supervillains learn to embrace those things which they cannot do away with, including the anguished cries of helpless innocents. Recall that many notable fiends have expressed how much they esteem the helpless wails of those they have crushed and visualize yourself in their place.
Traps for mere fools
- Sedatives. Despite what you would expect, alcohol, barbiturates, and the like generally do not offer lasting relief. Some have reported good results, however, with leftover turkey (rich in tryptophan), warm milk, and a blankie.
- Battling auditory hallucinations. You might think that you could solve your problem with the voices of your victims by inducing an earworm of your choice to drown out the sensation, but this approach is more perilous than you realize. After days or weeks of unending repetitions of the Chicken Dance, you may welcome a return to the otherworldly shrieking that you had forsaken.
- Caffeine. Overindulging in coffee or tea can lead to perceptual hallucinations, owing to the powerful stimulant effect of caffeine, which causes the release of stress hormones which have an effect on the brain. Try cutting back gradually to see whether the quality or the volume of the voices changes for the better, and then if so cut it out completely.
- Pluggery. The din is generated internally, so shutting off the inputs to one’s ears is counterproductive. A better investment would be a pink noise generator to help push the perceived sounds down into the static.
Precious and needful
- Gags. The one kind or the other.
- Noise-cancelling headset.
- A good boombox.
- Slaves blowing vuvuzelas. Extreme, but effective.
- Secret mantra.
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- Image credit THE SCREAM! by 7E55E-BRN
- Image credit It's our "thing" by ohhector
- Image credit ici-même by Iolede on Zooomr
- Dedicated to the Youraagh!
- The Wilhelm scream and a compilation of these in film.