- Here is a fact that only he knew: his surname was (had been) McElhenney.
- Here is a fact that a few people knew: his first name was Robin.
- Here is an opinion of Robin's that was known by everyone who knew his first name: "Robin" should never be shortened to "Rob."
- Here is a fact that was slowly becoming apparent to Robin: affixing fake facial hair was harder than most people thought.
Eyepatch, as he was going to be pitched to Goldman, was a master of disguise. Robin was not.
Robin was pretty sure there was eyelash glue up his nose.
It was two AM. The mirror had a thin crack in one corner and gray speckles from splashed hair dye. It didn’t have a skin-oil smudge from Robin gently and repeatedly hitting it with his forehead, and that was the work of enormous self-discipline.
His mustache was hanging at what could charitably be described as a jaunty angle.
Why the fuck am I doing this?
Though that was thought rhetorically, here is the literal answer:
An inventor, Goldman, had put out an ad for an assistant.
Robin knew this because he had been following Goldman's development of a microwormhole device. By his guess, that kind of tech could circumvent almost any security system... and with the opportunity he was being handed here, it would be criminal not to try and get his hands on it.
So he was applying to be an assistant.
Well, the word used in the ad had been “henchman", but for what shouldn't be more than a week's work, Robin was willing to ignore a few eccentricities. Hell, he was willing to buy into them; he’d chosen himself a villain name. Eyepatch. He was rather proud of it. It had a certain... villainous aesthetic.
He had used aliases in cons before, but usually they were usually something more like “Julian Brown”. Here there was still "Lance Azaria", but buried deeper--it was the alias behind the Eyepatch alias, for Goldman to find when he ran a background check.
- Here are a few more facts: Goldman would never run a background check. He wouldn’t so much as ask Eyepatch what his first name was, that year or the next nine.
Robin set the mustache back in its case, ground the heels of his hands into his eyes, and went to bed with the desperate assumption that things might go better when he woke up.
The mustache went better when he woke up. Robin wasn't entirely sure whether the henchman job had gone well or not.
He had gotten the job immediately, but. Well.
His first impression of Goldman in person had been that's a lot of eyeliner.
His second impression had been that's... a lot.
Robin Eyepatch wasn't sure if Goldman was an idiot or a really superb actor.
Eyepatch was sure that Goldman was an idiot.
Eyepatch found the blueprints for the microwormhole generator while he was cleaning Goldman's desk.
Eyepatch learned how to make a breakfast martini. And he was really sure that Goldman was an idiot.
When he went home, he took the blueprints with him.
He brought the blueprints back. He replaced them where they had been in Goldman's desk (not that Goldman would notice either way, with his organizational skills).
- Here is another fact: in the original plan,
EyepatchRobin was going to leave the day after he copied the microwormhole device plans.
He made Goldman a cup of coffee that was secretly decaf. He mopped the warehouse. And he went home.
He pocketed the blueprints for what looked like an improved laser pointer, because why else was he sticking around?
“Eyepatch, do you want to know why people call me Goldman?”
His kitchen table was nearly lost under a drift of copied blueprints. It was starting to look like Goldman’s desk.
Of all of them, he was fairly sure he would be able to figure out a use for… the microwormhole generator, definitely, and the… the… the bionic stapler. Probably. Yes.
Eyepatch finished organizing Goldman’s desk.
He enjoyed a surge of triumph for all of thirty seconds, then it occurred to him that this also meant he had finished copying the entire backlog of blueprints.
He considered going back and copying Goldman’s tax returns, then realized that would only be useful as a backup system for Goldman.
Then he considered doing it anyway.
That was about the point that he admitted to himself that he might have been trying to rationalize sticking around as a henchman--as an assistant. He was trying to rationalize sticking around as an assistant.
He was an assistant to the most ridiculous man he’d ever met, and he was having fun, God help him.
And he had health insurance. Which was the only real reason he was staying.
It’s not like he had a reason to leave. Steady work could be nice on occasion.
He didn’t have anything better to do.
It was possible that Eyepatch had a few better things to do.
Really, almost anything, up to and including spending the next year learning card tricks, would have been more productive than this.
So why, exactly, did he still...
Eyepatch had a quiet realization.
He set about repressing it immediately.
Just to be safe, he decided to not think about Goldman or any related topics for the rest of the day. That was a little difficult with the background noise of Goldman’s dramatic rambling--something about how best to invade a gold mine--but Eyepatch had always had enormous self-discipline.
The next difficulty would be keeping his mind off of that realization for the rest of linear time.
Eyepatch showed up to work without the mustache on.
He had been running late, and the smell of eyelash glue was kind of a lot to deal with when when you had a hangover, so he just… left the thing at home. He prepared a story about a new disguise for when Goldman asked about it, but Goldman didn't.
Goldman didn’t ask about it when Eyepatch showed up with the mustache on again, either.
- Here is a fact that Eyepatch would never acknowledge: it was the mustache that made him accept that he was planning on working for Goldman for… the foreseeable future.
Fake mustaches were acceptable on a temporary basis. If he was being honest with himself, he was no longer approaching this as being on a temporary basis.
He peeled off the mustache (and put it in his pocket instead of the trash--he was a matter of disguise, after all, and the thing had been damned expensive).
Goldman gave him a very bemused smile when he came out of the bathroom bare-faced, which Eyepatch supposed was the trouble with coming to realizations in the middle of mopping.
“I... shaved," Eyepatch mumbled.
Goldman's smile shaded slowly from bemused to amused. "Looks good!"
Eyepatch retreated into the kitchenette, mildly horrified, and no more was said about it.
- Here is another fact that Eyepatch would never acknowledge: the question of whether or not Goldman had known it was a fake mustache all along was going to nag him for the next year.
- Here is a fact Eyepatch had discovered awhile ago: Goldman sang while he planned.
Goldman sang while he thought, sometimes. Little vocal flourishes just to focus.
When he was planning something--something big--the vocal flourishes got proportionately larger.
For the last hour, he had been thinking his way through the entire discography of David Bowie. Occasionally, he'd stop to yell "RUINED!", or to laugh maniacally, or to dramatically ramble off his Plan to Eyepatch.
For the last hour, Eyepatch had been in the kitchenette. He wasn't sure that Goldman had noticed.
"EYEPATCH!" ...He'd noticed.
Goldman burst through the kitchenette door. His hair had come unslicked--curls of it were drooping gracelessly over his face. It would have made him look quite young, if it hadn’t been for the expression: his smile was on the razor line between "madly delighted" and "TEETH".
"...Yes?" Eyepatch asked, carefully.
Goldman clapped a hand onto Eyepatch's shoulder. "WE'RE GOING TO RAID A GOLD MINE."
They raided a gold mine.