This week I have a very special story: the one of how Gru found the Minions.
Or rather, how they found him.
It will make for something of a strange story, however, as I can't actually tell you the whole of it. You see, it's not that I don't know it, but some of it is actually top secret, and if revealed would have me banned from all the evil leagues in the country.
You're bound to be surprised by that, but I am telling the truth. Although generally a large group of beings, going by the collective title of 'minions', might strike fear in others (or at least a mild sense of alarm), these particular short, unfashionably denim-clad creatures are far too feather-brained to have ever really terrified anyone. On his villainous schemes (of which there have been many) they have sometimes been more of a hindrance than a help to Gru and I was personally informed by Dr. Nefario himself that when Gru once held a meeting and asked for their ideas on what the most evil things they could do, the two best suggestions were magnetising hair so that everyone would get stuck together and a device that caught onto the scent of candy from 10 metres away, to better steal people's sweets. Now, Gru had never intended to take their suggestions seriously but he did think they'd been onto something with that magnetic hair, if only they could get the equipment to work rather than simply burning hair off (which was actually the reason that none of the minions had very much hair, if they could still grow hair at all - but that's another story; not the one I mean to tell in this chapter).
You're here for the story of how they first met. The tale of how the minions came to be as they are - why they began to be called 'the minions', how they fell into their line of work, why some have two eyes and others just the one...
Well, actually, I can't go into detail on any of the latter two, except to say that 'fell' is really quite apt, but I can tell you that the term minions came into use rather ironically - but not by Gru.
No, there was a time when these yellow jelly-bean shaped creatures were minions to another Super Villain. And he was a truly dastardly villain.
Now, I can't actually tell you his name. Or where he lived. Or what it was he did to gain such a reputation - but let me assure you, he was bad.
So bad in fact that the poor minions, he had once relied so much upon became neglected. When this terrible villain had first been setting out on his life of crime the minions were all he had for company. He was good to them in those days, asking for their help in his schemes, making sure they were taken care of - even giving them days off! But he soon became successful, and the power went to his head. This particular bad guy had never been particularly well-liked, but when he started getting invitations to parties that only the baddest of them all were invited to, he realised just how far he had gone in such a short space of time and forgot that the minions had been there for him when no one else was.
The evil mastermind (this is getting difficult, so from now on I shall refer to him as Barry) then discovered that he had become so good at being bad, that when the minions tried to help him, they made his foul schemes better in a manner opposite to his intentions; by which I mean, sometimes they caused a result that was good for good people, and not the evil (and certainly not him). It was then that Barry (I would like to stress that this is neither his real name, nor his assumed Super Villain name - nor by saying that am I asserting that he is one of those Super Villain's that, unlike Gru, is born with too innocent a name to own to it when doing evil, only that the name has nothing to do with him) started referring to them as 'minions', and only ever as a collective, rather than their own names. He mocked them because he thought it amusing, and that it made him appear to be a better villain that he had minions that he no longer needed to carry out any of his bad deeds.
But that's enough about Barry. I'm sure you can tell by now he was never a very nice person. And I did say this was the story of how the minions found Gru: found him hanging upside down against a wall, held up only because the end of his shirt had caught in a nail that had once had a calendar hanging on it (but not anymore since Barry had failed to buy the minions one for the new year), as a matter of fact.
The minions took pity on Gru in his sorry state, long legs flailing about unable to see anything as his nose poked against the fading paint on the wall. (I would like say that if they had known at the time how badly Gru's attempts at villainy had been going hitherto they would not have waited the fifteen minutes it took them of staring at his disproportionate body to help, but as good-natured as they are, they really aren't the sharpest tools in the lair so perhaps it still would have taken them that long to stop "Oooh" and "Ahhh"-ing at the sight of the strange man and take action.)
The ceiling was high in the secret backroom of Barry's Lair that Gru had broken into (to steal an item which cannot be named, but had he succeeded it would have taken his career on a very different path) but a group of the minions climbed on top of each other until they reached the flat of Gru's head.
Trying so hard to reach his own feet, Gru had lost track of his surroundings while this was going on and only looked back down when he noticed a kind of squeaky mumbling. When he saw a small yellow head with one eye wearing goggles peering back at him he started so sharply he pushed himself off the nail and fell the rest of the way down. His back was saved from the hard ground of the floor only by the curiousity of the minions who had been gathered round to survey the scene, their heads proving a cushion of sorts.
The minions that accidentally formed Gru's safety mattress had squeaked quite loudly, causing Gru to scamper off them and stand upright as fast as he could. All around him the minions started to scurry about, not knowing what to do; the only ones remaining still being those who had climbed atop each other to reach him as they couldn't manage to get themselves down without the assistance of their companions who had abandoned them to run about the room.
Gru watched as some divided off into groups as they went about the lab. Some returned with machinery they couldn't operate with their short arms, others returned with a chair and clean clothes (his had dirtied a fair bit after crawling through the complicated vent system to get to the lab).
It was when one particularly short minion with just the one eye came up to Gru and offered him a glass of water accompanied by a toothy smile that Gru had his revelation: he had come to steal a prized evil object, but would end up leaving with something far more worthwhile.
The only problem was that, even though he had made sure Barry was out when he arrived, it would be difficult to take all of them away at once if they were unwilling. So Gru decided to simply ask them if they would like to join him.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
And will continue is next week's installment of A History of not-quite-so Despicable Evil: The Making of a Super Villain.