As none of you but my very closest associates know, for the last 30-odd years I have been one of America's foremost ninja assassins. I began training in the ninja arts when they first became known in the United States and have maintained one of the deadliest and least detectable ninjitsu operations in the world since then. As you can see from my business card (pictured below) my ninja email address is Chris@Ninjas.com. Not Chris1 or Chris21 or ChrisNinja, just Chris, plain ol' Chris, because that's how early I got into the game. It’s like email@example.com, if you follow me.
Sadly, these days, it seems everyone wants to be a ninja; every Tom, Dick and Sho Kosugi is opening a high-volume, cookie-cutter ninja assassination business and, to be honest, I'm tired of compromising my standards in order to compete. Do I fault these young people for their desire to enter the field of ninja warfare? Of course not. Am I sad that so many youths who used to become pirates and cowboys and even killer robots now seem to be pulling on the ninja's cowl? Not really. After all, who could understand the appeal better than me?
The problem is one of simple supply and demand. With so many ninjas now in operation there's been an unavoidable slackening in quality control. Whereas I used to spend weeks, even months, properly agitating and starving an asp before slipping it into a target's bedchamber or dripping its venom onto a sleeping victim's lips via long black kodan da, or "death thread," today's reckless new jack ninjas will take on as many drive-by shurkenings as will fit into the calendar functions of their Blackberrys. Where I once spend a decade mediating on the wrist technique involved in executing the perfect dho attack before even taking up a sword to attempt it, today's "Ghost Dog" ninjas, their gi pants sagging, wield their katana in a ridiculous sideways fashion with all the grace and gongfu of a peasant wheat reaper.
I am not blind to the need for change. I know that the pace of life today has increased. I know that these days more and more and more people need to be eliminated, and naturally a greater number of assassins are required to perform this work. I also know that today's ninja cannot afford the luxury of spending 15 years building a reputation as a stern but sage feudal landowner to cover the death dealing ways of his clan. Still, when I see these new jack ninjas deploying impact flash bombs in order to skip out on checks at TGIFriday's, I have to question the state of our profession.
And so today, with a small measure of sadness, but a great deal of excitement for the future, I am announcing a strategic repositioning of Connolly Ninja (a subsidiary of Connolly Death Dealing Global.) As of today I will no longer expend resources marketing, promoting or developing my Ninja brand. Connolly Ninja will, of course, continue to provide consummate "existence solutions" for my long-standing clients and a select body of connoisseurs, but hereafter my ever-shadowy enterprises will be conducted in absolute and impenetrable darkness. I am loathe to bring children’s literature into such a weighty announcement, but as the comparison is apt, it would be best for my devotees to think of my ninja operations as the Wonka Chocolate factory prior to the dispensation of the golden tickets--I will continue to operate and produce delectable sweet treats--but I will do so on my own time, by my own methods and free from public scrutiny.
“So, what's the good news?" I hear you asking. Well, the opening window which will accompany the closing door I've just announced is the launch of an exciting new Connolly Death product. As I have mentioned, the violence industries are currently awash with talent. There are more ninjas, samurais, pirates, corsairs, buccaneers, shootists and gunfighters today than ever before. Luckily, through extensive focus group testing and market analysis, I have identified an attractive and dormant market space into which I can expand. And so I announce that from this moment on I am no longer a ninja. I am...
Yes, I know that gladiators enjoyed a brief limelight period a few years ago when the film Gladiator made a splash, but my research suggests the field is relatively immune from the type of over annexation which has plagued the ninja arts. Despite the popularity of the film Gladiator, relatively few private sector individuals have exhibited the Spartan discipline necessary to become fully-formed gladiators. I, on the other hand, recently completed a grueling training period with the prestigious Ludi Gladiatorium Cracalla where I majored in retiarium (fighting with trident, net and shoulder piece, symbolic of the fisherman) and did a double minor in dimachaeri (two-sword fighting) and scholae bestiarum (combat with exotic wild beasts.)
So, one the one hand, today marks the end of era. But on the other, it's the beginning of something new and extremely exciting. Although a young gladiator, I have already proven my mettle in numerous combats throughout the provincial arenas. I'm beginning to make a name for myself with the mob, and, although my popularity grows with each bloodbath, I am as yet unblemished by the niceties and incessant politicking of the senate. I intend to make this inherent honesty my trademark. I am, in essence, a simple man. My story is not new, and this will be a key factor in my success. I am the son of a murdered father, the husband of a murdered wife, and I still prefer to earn my daily ration of swallow's eggs fermented in fetid bear's stomachs the old fashioned way: by gutting my opponent--be he free man, slave or beast—and holding the head aloft on the gore-drenched sands of the arena whilst the crowd bellows its bloodlust in my ears.
Are you not entertained?
Are you not entertained?