Evil threw the package onto the desk, gnashing his teeth till they squeaked so badly he woke the weredingoes in the basement.
'A bomb. It's gotta be a bomb. Or poisoned. Or radiocative. Or worse.' His pince-nez catapulted from his face. 'It's one of those freakin' minions, out to get me. I know it. Or what if it's all of them? Like Murder on the Orient Express?'
With an uncanny haste belying his years/girth (just), he dashed into the Shredding Suite and retrieved his most ferocious devourer of manuscripts: the Katana 750 Gore Maw Deluxe — complete with flailing whip attachment.
'See how you like this, you cabal of the damned,' he screamed, feeding the package whole to his mechanical pet.
Strips of wrapping paper burst from the shredder like confetti, quickly followed by guillotined cardboard and bubblewrap, but before Evil could savour his usual climax, tiny slivers of metal began hurtling from the blades, forcing him to pull the plug.
Gasping for breath, he noticed a handwritten letter, dangling uneaten from the jaws of the still purring shredder. He read it.
To Our Dearest EE
In recognition of everything you've done for us in 2008, please accept, with our heartfelt thanks, this gold plated fountain pen, inlaid with diamonds and filled with your favourite blue ink.
Your Ever Loving Minions
Evil collapsed onto his Grisham bean bag. As he stared down the swirling tunnel of anguish threatening to consume him, his eyes fell quite by chance on the spine of an old paperback, nudged an inch out from its neighbours on the bookcase as if by some unseen force.
'A Christmas Carol,' he muttered, permitting himself a smile that pricked up his muttonchops like pine tree boughs. 'Wordy, yeah — but I get the message.'