Emperor Muk

by Art Arduous




"But we love your cocky bravado!" said Cosima as she sailed into the room and clapped twice like a Flamenco dancer. The temperature changed as she took the painting and held it out in front of her at arm's length. She looked it over very carefully and, thankfully, with admiration.

Blu brushed something lightly off Muk's lapel with one hand. With the other, she discretely undid the top two buttons of his shirt. She winked at him.


Cosima was overwhelmed, "Muk, thank you. This painting is gorgeous."

"A little token. I could not retrieve your jewelry like I said I would. And I think and I believe the sculpture belongs in your courtyard. I want that to happen."

"I agree," she said as she handed the painting to Blu. Turning back, her eyes got lost in the vicinity of Muk's exposed chest. "And I want to buy that painting from you. I appreciate the thought behind the gift but I want to buy it. I want to pay you for it."

"I'll give you the Sidewalk Sale price," Muk grinned. He leaned in and whispered something into her ear.

Her eyebrows rose, balking at the cost, then relaxed after a quick calculation that defined it as a very good deal. She said to Muk, "We'll cut a check and mail it to you today." To Hugo, she turned and confirmed, "We've paid Muk for his investigation expenses, No? We're set."

Hugo nodded. Muk agreed.

Bobby replied, "Yeah. We got a paper trail."


Cosima said to the artist, "Muk, your investigation is formally closed. Don't do anything more. Merci, mon ami. I've got to run. Pepper Daniels is going to be here in a minute and I'm not ready!"

"The jewelry designer?" gulped Blu. She worshipped the fluid style of Pepper Daniels. So did the media. Pepper Daniels had a big ad budget. 

"The very one," answered Cosima, as she air kissed Muk, shook Blu's Honey Fox hand, waved at Pedro and billowed from the room.


"What a gal," Hugo admired his sister.

"Wow. Pepper Daniels."

Bobby snorted a laugh, "Pepper's never designed anything in her life!"

Blu asked, "Cosima?"

Bobby nodded.

The sullied waters washed over Blu. She was impressed at Cosima's talent and bummed that Pepper was just a poster child. Another dream bubble burst.


Muk concluded the meeting, "Gentlemen, we are on schedule for the installation. I'm very excited about it. "

The brothers rose. Hands shook. Hugo and Bobby walked the crew through the store and onto Camden. After goodbyes, the brothers retreated into the pearl air conditioning of the store.



On the street, Muk did a fast dance, a body prayer to be released from the tensions of the meeting. The trio slid into the El Camino and headed east.

As soon as they crossed back into Los Angeles where law enforcement has better things to do, Muk pulled a joint from thin air and lit it. He shot a thundercloud out the window that perfumed the neighborhood. "What an odd day. But a lucky one."

Blu pulled her blonde wig off. It was hot.


Muk meandered, "It's all good. We sold a painting. We sold the sculpture. It's definite. The install is on schedule. I was afraid the Ali BeeDee business was gonna be a deal breaker. We're not sunk. We're set."

Looking into the rear-view mirror, Pedro added to Muk's Lucky List, "And a motorcycle cop just swung in behind us..."


"The base-base is ready." Muk continued, "Crew is committed." Muk leisurely wet his fingers and extinguished the roach that he then placed into his pocket. "The cradle is cast, polished and ready... After the install, Cosima wants to have an unveiling party. That's swell." 

Blu fitted her blonde wig back onto her head, tucking in the loose brown curls that sprang from her temples. Pedro was getting nervous, keeping a tight eye on the cop.

"Can you imagine," Muk asked, "Imagine if we invited Ali BeeDee to the party? Hell would break loose... That Ali!"


The siren of the police cycle whooped once. Pedro pulled over. After a license plate and registration check, the cop leaned into the window.

Pedro thumbed Muk and told the officer, "I'm clean. He's got a card."

Muk replied, "Hyper-tension. These are troubled times."


The officer agreed completely. It was a short ritual. Pedro got swabbed and passed. Travel resumed.



Look for the next exciting chapter of Emperor Muk!





Catch Muk on or






For the Love of Muk

Back in the Muk Again

Muk Fast Five



All Muk'd Up





All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.







© Gordy Grundy, All Rights Reserved


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