The room fell silent. The meetings had always begun this way, despite the evident discomfort of the female persons variously dotted around the giant onyx table, their faces stoically unmoved in the glow of the pulsating purple lights that sat impossibly deep in the thick slab of quartz. One female face was especially notable in its immobility, particularly as it consisted mainly of venemous bees. Her name was Eusociala, and she did nothing to display her displeasure of the ingrained sexism in the meeting other than gently nudge her coffee cup with mandibled fingers.
Professor Condemnation, the convener and host of the meeting, steepled his fingers together and stared down the table, making sure to shift forward slightly in his chair so that the purple lights lit him up form below to create, in his countenance, a sense of serious foreboding. It was a look Professor Condemnation had been practicing all week, mainly for the purpose of upsetting Admiral Doom, who was seated deliberately to his left, and whose illuminated nuclear zeolite chest cavity was cast from a vibrant green into a nasty fecal brown by the purple table lights.
“Thank you all for coming,” said Professor Condemnation, wishing he hadn’t used his evil finger-steeple quite so early in proceedings. “I appreciate your efforts in finding time to join me here in my secret sub-terrestrial haven, at the very heart of my Condem Nation.”
The Professor arched an eyebrow, squinting slightly. Those lights were a little bright, if you came right down to it. “Is something the matter?” he intoned.
An orange tentacle whipped across the table. “Are we all really the heart of your condemnation?” said the vertical mouth-hole of The Squid. “Are you not pleased to see us? Or is it a Condom Nation perhaps?” Grey ink sprayed across the table as The Squid talked, spattering the hem of Icilica’s snow-gown. Icilica, for her part, made an all-but-imperceptible shudder.
“No,” boomed Professor Condemnation, “I do not condemn you. Nor do I envisage a principality based around prophylactics. Condem Nation is the name of my vast underground empire.”
“Oh,” said The Squid. “Two words?” He held up two tentacles, one knocking over The Anagram’s bottle of sarsapirella.
“Calamity with a cobra!” exclaimed The Anagram. Everyone knew how he loved his sarsapirella. Or, as he often called it, Real Liar’s Sap.
“Pardon?” said The Squid.
“I think what The Anagram was trying to say,” came the voice of Tierra del Cranium, “was: Watch it, Calamari Boy.”
“Who asked you and your shiny head?” The Anagram retorted.
Tierra’s head began to hum. Her curt answer was: “A hardheaded sinus honky, you, yow!”
Professor Doom winced. The meeting was rapidly turning into a worse farce than their last: a now infamous get-together aboard Minotaurus’s Electric Zeppelin, which ended in the unfortunate expulsion of Mole Man from the International Alliance of Supervillans, as well as a two-month ban from attending all trivia nights. Which was a shame, as Mole Man was so good at English Royal History.
It was then that the Professor’s purple table lights blew out, one by one, leaving the room lit only by Admiral Doom’s chest cavity, returned to its former gorgeous evil green.