“The Knights Nefarious” by Rod M. Santos from The Lavender Menace: Tales of Queer Villainy, Northwest Press, 2013. Edited by Tom Cardamone.

Muse has gotten it into his head that if he can find the right birthday gift for Dr. Schadenfreude he can make the other man fall in love with him. He decides the best way to do that is to capture one of the doctor’s worst enemies. He can’t do it alone, though. He needs a team. How does one assemble a super villain team? Why, by holding auditions, of course.

This is a very humorous piece. The rejects are great, and the rag-tag team he ends up with seems to make no sense at all, but you know their diverse abilities must, somehow, be capable of working in unison, so that Muse can achieve his goal. It was fun to watch it all slide into place. There’s also the factor of one character’s superpowers giving Muse a glimpse of his future, which ups the ante for the author, to be sure. And of course how great is it that Muse achieves his end by finding the right individuals and then inspiring them to be the best versions of themselves? You have to love that.