Sun: Wow. It looks like we're short a few people, Lady Moon. Attendance check, please?
Moon: [opens Erin Condren planner] I only have one absence noted, sir: Pluto. He sent a response to the meeting request with a stick figure making a rude gesture. I'm intuiting that as a no, sir, but I did not receive a direct reply to the question.
Saturn: That's incredibly rude! I think sanctions are in order, first for missing a meeting, and second for his lack of respect.
Sun: I made it clear that this meeting was optional, Saturn, so I can't fault him when it's outside of our regularly scheduled meetings.
Saturn: This place is going soft! Back when it was just the seven of us, before the dark times...
Sun: [SIGH] Not that again, Saturn. [To Moon] Your instincts are right on, I'm sure, Luna. So no Pluto. Neptune is retrograde too, right? So is he coming?
Moon: You shouldn't even bother asking. Neptune barely turns his phone on, much less reply to emails. So, unfortunately, I have no idea. And I don't know about Uranus, either.
Sun: Hmmm. That's interesting. Saturn is here. But no Mars? That's a little distressing. Venus? Any thoughts on his whereabouts?
Venus: The Olympics are finishing up, sir. I'm figuring he's in front of his TV doing squats in a stretchy leotard or something like that. His joy over watching the world's best compete is...well, practically orgasmic for him.
Sun: Yes, well...I can imagine. Hopefully, he'll be able to join us later on.
Mercury: So can we get started, sir? I'm hoping to level up today. Isn't that right, Lady Moon?
[The Moon blushes]
Sun: I don't think this meeting will take long, Mercury, and then you and Luna can go chasing after your imaginary monsters again.
Moon: Our agenda is a short one, Merc...I tried to make it that way so we could get back out there. [smiles]
Sun: This Pokemon craze is now affecting our business practices, Luna?
Moon: Maybe a little. [smiles at Merc]
Sun: [shakes head] We'll have to discuss this another time, Luna. But you're the one who suggested this meaning, so why don't you start us off?
Moon: Yes, sir. It seems our intrepid blogger will be challenged over the next few weeks. His beloved wife will be heading to her parents' home to help her mom and dad. What a fantastic girl she is to do that! Saturn has the rest of the details, I believe.
Saturn: Certainly, Lady Moon. It appears that John's mother in law is having her knee replaced. I know only too well what that is like; that's one of my parts of the body, after all. It's a very common procedure, but it will require lots of rehabilitation afterward. She'll have to take a page out of my book: Slow and steady, and work within the boundaries set by her medical professionals.
Mercury: As a former nurse herself, Jen's mom knows the drill. Speaking personally, I'd have done what John did and pulled up a YouTube video to see it.
Moon: [shudders] The video is NOT for the faint of heart.
Saturn: I agree, Lady Moon. The knee is a vital part of the human anatomy, but some folks would rather not know, and I can understand that.
Mercury: Who wouldn't want to know? That sounds ridiculous! Let's all take a look!
Sun: You can do that on your own, Mercury. And when it's your knee they're replacing, you can decide for yourself how cool it is. But you really can find everything on YouTube these days.
[Door bangs open. Mars runs in]
Mars: [chanting] U-S-A! U-S-A!
Sun: Mars, we're supposed to be neutral, remember?
Mars: Sorry, boss. The USA is kicking ass and taking names! [sits down]
Mercury: Except of course for the scandals and the disqualification...
Mars: Don't go there, crotch rot!
Sun: [Raises hand] Merc, let's not get into that now. So where were we?
Saturn: Jen will be away for a while, which will leave our intrepid blogger by himself.
Mars: That's right. His mother in law is getting sliced up! GO ME!
Venus: Sensitivity is not your strong suit, Mars.
Mars: Bitch, please! That's not what you motherfuckers pay me for!
[Everyone but Mars looks at Venus]
Venus: Please continue, everyone. That's just the testosterone talking. Clearly, he's writing checks his body can't cash.[Pause] Jupiter and I have been talking with Lady Moon, and we're sure that the surgery will go fine. But we are concerned that our blogger friend may not do so well.
Saturn: What do you mean by that?
Moon: Well, Saturn, we're wondering how he'll do emotionally.
Saturn: [waves hand] He will suck it up and soldier on, like he always does. He'll probably pour himself into his work...
Moon: And wait until the emotion goes away?
Saturn: Yes. So I'm not sure why this is even a problem we're discussing.
Venus: John doesn't do so well when his wife is away. She's vital to him. He likens it to a car that has three wheels. That's why he tries to keep busy, Saturn...to try not to focus on it.
Saturn: Well I admire his desire for productivity!
Jupiter: We also noticed an aggravating factor for him, sir. We almost missed it.
Sun: And what factor is it?
Jupiter: He's losing a work colleague who is very special to him as well, someone he's been mentoring for 18 months. She's leaving the office for good. Luckily, she'll be local for the foreseeable future...
Venus: She called herself his "work wife," sir. They had lunch together most days and spent a lot of time working on team projects at the office. And both of these events are occurring at the same time. So there's that.
Sun: Hmmm, that is complicated. [Pauses] Is there an action plan in place?
Moon: Not per se, sir.
Jupiter: I know John will be catching up on charts and doing some tarot reading and teaching. That should help.
Venus: He'll video conference with Jen often. And he'll keep in touch with his colleague as well. He could use some more relaxation to round out the picture, but with John, that's always a challenge.
Moon: Saturn, you rule John's Moon sign. We're going to need you to ease up a bit to help him out. That Cappie Moon's Hoover Dam needs to be able to let out that emotion.
Saturn: I'm not that flexible, Lady, and you know that you and I don't work particularly well together. And I resent being told what to do or how to be.
Moon: [SIGH] Of course. I understand. Whatever you can do, Old Man.
Mars: He needs to keep going to the gym! That will keep him feeling good!
Sun: That's true, Mars.
Mars: Then he'll be too damn tired to feel anything!
Mercury: He's got a new video game or three to play as well. The time will fly then.
Sun: I guess that's the best we can do for now. Any alibis? [Pause] I'm going to suggest that Mercury, Mars, and Saturn meet after this meeting to discuss Jen's mom's surgery. Luna, you, Venus, and Jupiter can see to an action plan for John's well-being. You can do that at the Moon's cubicle. I don't have any assignments for Uranus, who decided not to come, I figure. Luna, please type up any notes from this meeting as well as from your meeting; I'll need them tomorrow.
Moon: Yes, sir.
Sun: You have your assignments, folks. Thanks for your participation. We're adjourned.