Stone Telling

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Before I Kill You (An Arch-Villainelle)

by David Sklar

Although I'm not particularly vain,
I'm sure you'd like to know how you will die,
so, first, before I kill you, I'll explain

my brilliant plan. Don't bother to complain;
you won't escape, no matter how you try.
It's not that I'm particularly vain,

it's just that after taking all these pains
I would like you to look me in the eye
before I kill you, so I can explain:

a cistern in the mountain gathers rain
through ducts in my enormous statue's eye
(not that I am particularly vain).

It enters a robotic water main,
which, on command, can self-electrify.
Before I kill you, now, I will explain:

I've added some enhancements to my brain—
you'll nev— What's that? You're out? Good grief! Good bye;
good riddance. It's a good thing I'm not vain;
next time, before I kill you, I'll explain.

David Sklar is currently in flux, but probably lives in New Jersey. His published works include the anthology Trafficking in Magic, Magicking in Traffic, coedited with Sarah Avery (Tales from Rugosa Coven), as well as poetry and fiction in such places as Ladybug, Strange Horizons, and Nightmare. When he figures out where to relocate himself and his family, David may get back to trying to create the next great sitcom. For more, please visit

Photography: adapted from an unpublished photograph by Shweta Narayan; Alex M. modeling as supervillain. Used with permission.