Sun: Good morning, everyone! Take your seats, please. Mercury, how many times do I have to tell you that we don't allow any technology out during meetings? Please put your phone away.
Mercury: [typing] Sir, I just need to update my status...there. All done. [puts away phone]
[all cell phones except Mercury's emit a sound]
Sun: Mercury...there's no real need for you to "check in" for these meetings, is there?
Mercury: Sorry, boss. I just think it's cool; that's all. And my fans expect it.
Sun: Oh, your fans. Riiiiiight. [opens Erin Condren planner] So let's see what's on tap for today. Hmmm...Lady Moon, who are we missing?
Moon: Well, sir...Jupiter is still in New Orleans, but Neptune has returned, as you can see. Other than the occasional Snapchat I get from Jupiter, he's been out of touch.
Sun: And I see we only have partial malefic representation as well. How bizarre!
Moon: Yes, sir. Saturn normally tries to "fulfill his planetary obligations" during his retrograde periods, so I honestly expected him. But I received a letter stating in no uncertain terms that he would not be here.
Mercury: "Snail mail"? [chuckles] How...quaint. [reaches for his pocket]
Sun: Merc, you touch that phone, and we will have a problem. As I've mentioned before, these proceedings are considered confidential. And I don't want to see any more stories in news outlets citing an "anonymous astrological source close to the Sun" simply because you can't keep your mouth shut. Don't try the semantic route, either..."mouth" in this case means any form of social media or communication, to make sure we're on the same page.
Uranus: But don't we want people to get to know us, sir? In many ways, Merc is helping with that...
Sun: Urnie, the "universality of information" argument doesn't hold water with me, either. I know you two are thick as thieves. "Information is the connective tissue of networks, blah blah blah." So don't bother trying.
Mercury: Well, why do we need the greater malefic here when it looks like someone else has taken over the role?!
[Venus and Neptune gasp; the Moon frowns deeply]
Sun: [Smiles] You're playing with fire, but I'm not rising to the bait, Merc. Your comment burns my ass, I'll admit, but not enough to flame you publicly. Perhaps you'd like to stop, drop, and roll, and report on John's upcoming travel?
Mercury: Shit. [Wincing] Yes, sir. Jupiter handed this trip over to me because John's making it for the second time and now it falls into my area of responsibility. He's heading out to Midwest School of Astrology to meet a very famous classical astrology expert, Dr. Lee Lehman. There shouldn't be any snow in the forecast for this road trip, and the route will be familiar to him now, so there shouldn't be any missteps like there were in January.
Venus: John's really excited, sir. He's a big fan of Dr. Lehman's. And he's got some other fun things on the schedule. I have it on good authority that his wife is coming with him for a mini-vacation. Jupiter even scored him some reservations at a casino hotel one night. At least, I think that's what the Snapchat said...
Neptune: Yes, Jennifer is planning to write while John's in class. That will give her plenty of time to play with me. And of course, what visit to Cincinnati would be complete without a stop at the local aquarium? Jen's a huge fan, and who can blame her?
Sun: Excellent! It sounds like everything is shaping up well. Mars, you've been remarkably silent today. Are you OK?
Mars: Yes, sir. I'm...going into retrograde this coming week, so I'm starting to think about slowing things down. But John hasn't; he's been working out like a madman, and I couldn't be prouder. Especially when he's working out in a place called "Planet Fitness" with my symbol on the men's locker room. It's really cool.
Sun: I'm glad to hear it. Other business to discuss?
Moon: Tax Day is approaching in the States, sir. That may explain the reason Saturn chose not to come; he always gets giddy around tax day.
Sun: Mars, where are you going on your retrograde?
Mars: Well, sir, I haven't really decided. I'm thinking Paris, though. It's been ages since I went to the Louvre, and since I won't be back at work until June 30, I'll actually have time to go through and enjoy it. The Frogs know their art. Musee d'Orsay and the Orangerie are also on my list.
Sun: That sounds lovely. It should give you some time to decompress. And Paris is such a walkable city. Are you doing anything...sporty?
Mars: That's the thing, sir. I don't feel very much like myself during my retrograde. [Looks at Venus] I've asked Venus to help me figure something out, so I don't totally...ummm...
Sun: [Puzzled expression] Yes? "Don't totally..." what?
Mercury: He's trying to say that he doesn't want to totally 'vag out,' sir?
Moon: [mouth drops open] I beg your pardon, Mercury?!
Sun: [places his hand on Luna's shoulder] It's ok, Luna. It's just a very crude turn of phrase. [glares at Mercury] And that will DO, Mercury!
Venus: If I may...what he's trying to say, sir, is that without saying something offensive [shoots eye daggers at Mercury], Mars is embracing the softer side of things. I did tell him, however, that he may want to re-engage a little bit to his usual routine from time to time.
Mars: So I decided that I'll score some seats for the FC Nantes game against Paris Saint-Germain in Paris on May 14. John will be totally jelly, but I'll be there in my bright yellow and green FC Nantes gear to cheer on les canaris! ALLEZ NANTES!
Sun: Well, I'm glad you've got your retrograde under control, Mars. Try to enjoy yourself! I'm jealous of your trip, Paris being the City of Lights and all. [makes notes in Erin Condren planner]. Venus, if you could make another round of stickers for our planners, that would be wonderful. They're so useful!
Venus: [beams] I'd be thrilled to, sir. What does everyone need?
Sun: Well I know I'll need a few more for "disciplinary meetings" [sidelong glance at Mercury], but I'll allow everyone to email you their various requests. Any alibis? [Pause] All right then...Lady Moon, please type up notes of the meeting and send it to everyone as usual.
Moon: Absolutely, sir. And we'll coordinate schedules for Mercury's disciplinary counseling session with you? [beams]
Sun: Yes, ma'am. You always seem to know what I'm going to say before I say it. [Pause] Let's adjourn. [to Mercury] I need not to see you for a while, young man. What is it you like to say? 'You'll be hearing from me'? Oh yeah. You will this time, that's for sure. Count on it! [Sun gets up and leaves]
Mercury: [sighs] Fuck my life.
Pluto: Hahahaha! [to Mercury] You dick. [Sings] "Here comes the Sun, doot n doo doo! Here comes the Sun, and I say, you're fucked, dude."
Neptune: I don't think those were the song's original words, Pluto, but I agree with the sentiment. [shakes head sadly]