January 24: There's A Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven't Thought Of It Yet

Letter: P
CD Number: 1
Track Number: 24

Song: “There's A Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven't Thought Of It Yet” by Panic! At the Disco (without the “!” what’s the point?) off the album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out

Deep inside their secret mountain layer, the members of the super villain team The Zodiac Squad mill out, donning their costumes for their next great heist. Newest member, CANCER, is strapping on his gear while speaking to SAGITTARIUS.

... you think that means we’ll introduce an Ophiuchus to the team?

You understand that we are not actually representing the Zodiac in these costumes, right? We are a criminal syndicate with a theme loosely arranged around the names of the signs of the Zodiac, but we really have no fidelity to it?

CANCER (a bit embarrassed)
Well…yeah…I mean, sure, of course I knew that. I was just thinking another member is useful and, like, an Ophiuchus is a snake, right?

SAGITTARIUS (just audible grunting)

CANCER (feeling a bit better)
Snakes are pretty bad ass. People are scared of them, usually. Even little ones. So a dude…or lady, I guess…in a snake costume would be scary. And scary’s good in this business

SAGITTARIUS (thinking about it a moment, before nodding)
I see your point. Snake’s certainly scarier than scal—

LIBRA (at another locker, no visible. Shouts to be heard)
I can hear you!

Oh, man, don’t get me wrong, you totally make it work, Libra. But on the surface, scales just doesn’t sound that cool.

Long pause.

LIBRA (snorts, sort of mumbles his response)
Whatever...I think my costume’s awesome.

Cancer and Sagittarius visibly restrain their giggling for a moment, before returning to being composed.

So, yeah, anyway…Taurus, Aries, and Capricorn are our three most senior members so they are our leadership council. Run it by them. You explain it to them like you did me, I bet they’ll dig it. And you’ll get yourself noticed, too. Might got some good solo or partner heists out of it.

Oh, great. Thanks…so much. I wasn’t sure if I was going to fit in here. Honestly, my last gig, with the Limeys—

SAGITTARIUS (interrupting)
That the gang that always dresses up like Revolutionary War era British sailors.

Yeah, that’s them. Anyways, I didn’t really get on very well with any of them.

SAGITTARIUS (waving a “don’t worry” hand)
What American could? I’m sure you do a fine British accent, but, in the end, they really prefer to hire from within the UK, you know? Import their talent.

CANCER (shrugging)
Well, I know that now, but—

Don’t give it another thought. We aren’t a stodgy group like those guys.

I’m getting that. So, you know, thanks.

Costumed now fully on, Cancer turns to leave the locker room and walks right into Virgo.

Watch where you are going!

CANCER (again embarrassed)
Oh, jeez. So sorry. My peripheral…well, I’m still getting used to it in this helmet, you know?

VIRGO (coolly)
Not really, no.

For a moment both stand awkwardly. Then Cancer thrusts out his hand and Virgo looks at it with mild revulsion. Cancer pulls it back in and instead opts to just introduce himself without shaking Virgo’s hand.

So, I’m Robbie. It’s great to meet another teammate.

Who are you?

CANCER (adding confused to his current embarrassed, uncomfortable look)
Well, like I said, I’m Robbie. I’m the ne—

VIRGO (cutting Cancer off, rolling his eyes dramatically)
I mean, which sign are you?

Oh, right. I figured you knew. I’m the new guy. I’m the new Cancer. Replacing Greg now that he’s decided to start himself a family and get out of the business.

VIRGO (looking ill)
Costume looks different.

Yeah, they said I could alter it a bit when I came on. So I changed the color scheme and added some addit—

VIRGO (walking away, speaking a bit theatrically)
Liked the old costume. A lot better. But I’m sure the council knows what they are doing.

Cancer stares after the departing Virgo awkwardly for a moment before turning back to Sagittarius.

CANCER (gesturing toward where Virgo was)
Dude hates me!

The “dude” hates most of us. Especially these days.

CANCER (starting to be annoyed)
What the hell’s his problem?

Well, for one thing, he really wanted to be Cancer and he just realized he obviously did not get the job. For another, he’s The Virgin on a super villain team. So, that’s probably not easy. Especially as a guy. Super villains can be kind of cruel to others in the field and being a guy labeled as “The Virgin” makes you a pretty easy target.


I mean, it’s not Libr—

LIBRA (still out of view)
I’m still here!

‘Course you are buddy. Just having a laugh, is all.

Lowers voice to a whisper

Like I was saying, it’s not the worst identity on the team, but it has a lousy ring to it. And Libra’s right…his costume is pretty tough, especially considering he’s The Scales.

Plus, he’d never admit it, but he’s a bit of a sexist and it bugs him that “hard” signs like The Ram, The Lion, and… The Goat (?) are taken by women instead of men. Or, rather, instead of him.

So, why doesn’t he get a different sign? Why didn’t he get this one?

For one, his attitude sucks. For another, you can’t get very far being anti-woman on a team with the leadership council is two-thirds women. And, lastly, though I loathe to say it, he’s good at The Virgin. He plays innocent great, so he’s a talented con artist. Very talented. Even if he was the nicest guy in the world, it would still make the most sense to keep him as Virgo. Which he doesn’t like to acknowledge, of course, but it’s true.

VIRGO (at the end of the locker room, speaking to no one in particular)
And I say, “No, no, no. The Horoscope Group is not a good name. It sounds like one of those boring evil think tanks that are all the rage. Not a classy, old school robbin’ ring like we are.” And they nod and ask, “But do you have a better idea?” And I’m like, “Of course I do. How about the Zodiac Squad.” And they love. They fuckin’ love it. But does anyone give a damn? Nah. No lover for Mitchell. He can be the Virgin forever! And. That’s Just. Grand.

Virgo punches a locker and storms out the back door.

CANCER (shoulders slumping a bit)
So, he’s just gonna hate me forever now, huh?

SAGITTARIUS (pats him on the back as he walks past)
Yup. Pretty much. But like I said, he hates everyone, so…

I guess…

Come on. Let’s go rob that bank. That’ll make you feel better.

Cancer follows behind Sagittarius. They talk as they walk out of view

You think we’ll encounter any costumed do-gooder types there?

Slow down there. We walk before we run in this outfit. This isn’t the Doom Bringers you know.

That makes sense. Still can’t wait for that.

Who can?

How about ice cream after?

Oh, we will definitely get ice cream after. Me, I’m going to get a malt. Chocolate. I know that sounds old fashioned, but I tell you what, if people are honest with…

Sagittarius continues to extol the virtues of the malt as they walk off and out of earshot.

So, what do you think? Enjoy it? If so, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@UnGajje) for various bon mots and links directing you to the newest updates on this site as well as my other various writing gigs (Marvel, Complaint of the Week at the Living Room Times, and New Paris Press, set to debut shortly although information may be available before then here). If not it was not so enjoyable for you, feel free to tell me that too. And still check me out at all those things above. One of them you are bound to like more.

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