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You would have thought that we would have thought that the ninja was getting incompetent around the time we had to send the sea turtle (and a big one) in to get Benjamin Franklin. Okay, yes, the ninja did all the requisite cutting and stuff, what with blood everywhere, but it takes a little bit more than some wishy washy mystical claptrap and some black pyjamas to take out the man who invented bifocals, the swimfin, and electricity. This isn't even some revisionist, steam punk Benjamin Franklin, either, just the normal one, although a normal one that is inexplicable living - and dying - in the year 2007. So we had to send the sea turtle in to finish the job. I don't know where the flipping ninja ran away to, to hide. That is the thing about ninjas - one moment, pure violence, and the next they are needing to go off on a retreat to meditate, and do yoga like they are some menstrual housewife getting in touch with her feelings. That shit is always annoying, but it isn't the ninjas' point of failure.

No, see, the point of ninja failure has nothing to do with grappling hooks that come loose, or even caltrops that cause about as much damage as legos on your bedroom floor at night. The problem with ninjas is that they are supposed to be secretive. And by now, ninjas have been in and out of fashion since the 1970s. First there is James Clavell, who alerted occidentals to the fact that along with being generally scheming and amoral, the little yellow people also could cut your throats in your sleep. Okay, that was a hit. In a way, the 1980s was perhaps a reprieve because the ninjas thrown into the public eye were so improbable that people started letting the ninja myth be just a myth: in much the same way that those wily Jews have fooled people into thinking that they really aren't controlling the world from Zurich, since everyone knows the Greys aren't real, and they never even think about the Saurians, who are not, of course, ninjas. But now, in the 2000s, ninjas are too far in the public eye: the ninja mask is more iconic that the crown of a king, a symbol that every young person knows and can refer to.

And this, you see, is the ninjas' failure. They could have been happy, skulking in the shadows, killing someone once in a while, and then sneaking off to do that damn meditating (at which they do to look serious) and then play jacks (which is what they really do for fun). But no, they had to go for the money. It might have been pogs that started them, something that broke up the ninjas happy off-duty recreational togetherness and sent them into a mad dash for money that left them looking for royalties for the appearance on any website that a stoned college kid could come up with at 3 AM---and trust me, they can come up with a lot! And then the greed and lust appears (as much as lust is a motivating factor among people who spend all their time covered up in black pyjamas and playing, if you forgive the innuendo, jacks.) And gluttony. Ninjas used to be lean and vicious, but after too much marijuana while thinking up for ideas for flash videos, they start coming home with the raw smell of Nutter Butters on them, and there you go. Okay, it might be still worthwhile to send a ninja after someone who you don't need a competent job done on---someone who isn't Ben Franklin, if you know what I mean. Just the other day, I had a contract put out on a county health inspector who was going to close down some restaurant in suburban Wisconsin, and three or four ninjas, after some prodding and succesories posters-style inspiration, were able to take him down. But mostly because the restaurant promised them free milkshakes. But for a Ben Franklin style job, or tracking down Bunyips, I wouldn't send a ninja anymore. Don't even get me started on the Victorian/Tasmanian border situation.

Now, what comes next you might wonder? Well, we are going to try to gently retire the ninjas, have them teaching "finding your inner warrior" seminars to businessmen and/or menstrual housewives (we might schedule one or two to appear on Oprah). Then, we find our new agents: Kangarobots, of course, in development for the aforementioned situation for raw muscle, iron and hopping, and for stealth: for stealth, we take My Chemical Romance, after teenage girls have rediscovered more normal infatuations, and we give them the biggest, most vicious weapons imaginable. Problem solved.