In the kitchen of the Silver Rio, the dogs began to squeal and stir excitedly. Everyone looked to the hallway.

"Victoria, I figured it had to be you." His voice was graveled and hoarse. Muk stood, bracing himself in the doorway. The dogs danced around him. He was wrapped in a Chinese silk comforter, heavily brocaded with color and dragons. At quick glance, he looked like Ming the Merciless. Muk's hair was tangled. His eyes were the color of the American flag. His shoulders were slacked. "I shouldn't be standing."


Muk stepped out of his colorful silk cocoon and carefully went for the coffee pot. He looked tired and very hung-over. A four-day stubble offered no improvement. The handkerchief that he uses to cover his eyes when he sleeps was hanging around his neck. The bathrobe he wore was posh, long and monogrammed with an abstract logo of his own design.

He growled, "Lying in pain, I began to realize that those dogs would not get jazzed up unless it was anyone but you, Tricky Vicki." He pulled a spliff from behind the dirty blonde hair that covered his ear and pointed it at her. "Only you Tricky Vicki." Sweeping his hand over the tile countertop, Muk lit a match and then the joint. "I'm a little under the volcano."

"I can see."

"Always unfortunate. It's lovely to have you here."

Vicki patted Blu on her forearm and said, "I forget how much fun I have here.



"I suspect the news isn't swell." Muk was scratching his greasy head. "I just don't wanna hear it. I don't think I can hear it." Deep inside his cranium, a synapse fired and Muk noted that he was not hungover but actually still drunk.


Vicki stood up and sauntered around as if she were addressing a jury. "The Freemanis have a little problem, a sensitive problem."

Muk was massaging his neck. "I don't like the word sensitive." To Pedro, he asked, "Am I good on the install day after tomorrow? Do I know what's going on? Am I on top of it?"

"You're in the top of the glow, Boss."

Muk gestured his relief and confidence with a 'thumbs-up'. He took a gulp of coffee and was suddenly unsure if he could keep it down. He leaned heavily against the island in the center of the kitchen.


Vicki continued, "The Freemani's are flipped. They want to halt the installation because their money to pay for it is tied up in some missing jewelry. Like twenty-two million."

Muk turned a whiter shade of pale.

"The Freemani jewelry empire loaned Ali BeeDee some jewelry to wear on the red carpet. They loaned her six pieces and they got three back."


"No shit," stated Pedro, "Whaddaya expect?"

Everyone knew about Ali BeeDee, the talented rocker who had devolved into a reality rehab contestant and tabloid terror. 

Vicki continued, "Missing are a large pair of earrings and a hefty necklace."

Muk deflated as if he took a hook to the solar plexus.

Vicki continued, "The House of Freemani doesn't want to risk the bad press. They're buggered. Muk, they want you to get the emeralds back. Low key. They know how much you helped the Patels with their daughter."


"This is more than I can think about at this time and place," groaned Muk. He took a deep breath and laughed. "I hosed her down once, Ali BeeDee. We need that gig. We need the dough. Pedro needs to see the dentist."

"Wisdom teeth," Pedro reported to Tricky.

"What do you mean hosed her down?" asked Blu.

"I shot Ali BeeDee once. With a garden hose." Muk laughed painfully as he thought of the rocker to rehab celebrity. Her life was a tragedy. "Soaked her good."


"Tell ya later," he whispered, "I need..." Muk was fumbling. He looked nauseated. He closed his eyes and let his head fall back. "Okay." Muk began to wage an interior argument, debating both intractable sides, paddling his gondola through a foggy canal. He was forced to relent to the only practical solution to his salvation. A decision.

Muk grabbed a highball glass and opened the freezer. He filled the glass with ice and dropped just as much onto the floor. The dogs frenzied themselves with the frozen toys, playing loudly. Muk spun the cap off the vodka bottle and poured an aggressive drink. From the refrigerator, he removed a bottle of tonic water.


"Good God, Muk! Absolutely not!" Vicki stood. "It's too early for tonic. It's sugar water!"

Muk was halted. He recoiled on unsteady feet, slippered in black velvet and embroidered with skulls of his own design in silver thread.

"Orange or grapefruit. Juice is the only civilized mixer that can be served with breakfast. There are rules for a reason," she coughed theatrically, "It's bad enough with the liquid TNT."


Muk pondered the question and found her suggestion admirable. He replaced the tonic with a grapefruit juice container. He splashed a little into his glass. "Well spoken Mum. You should come for breakfast more often. I feel healthier already. And in defiance to your criticism, some situations demand extreme measures." He held up the highball. "Dire measures."

Muk shook his head, trying to find his authority. He tightened the sash of his bathrobe like a pirate before battle. "The install will happen on sched. We need to keep this project moving and the money in our pocket."

Muk focused his attention on Pedro and nodded an affirmation. Pedro slapped his chest, his open hand resting over his heart and a tee shirt that read Good Luck Cult. Mustering some enthusiasm, Muk turned to Vicki. "Tell the Freemanis that we will be in their office this afternoon at Four. We're gonna get their diamonds back."


"All of the above. We will get them back from Ali BeeDee!"


Muk massaged his temples. The world was asking too much of him. He felt like he was falling. Muk stood at six feet three inches but he appeared to be shrinking. The fuzzy synapses of his brain were firing irregularly along its corroded wiring. He pointed at Blu and told her "You'll be our driver. Give us some Aaron Spelling. Go for glam. Pedro, you're the lead O-P. Go obvious and pack the heat. Beverly Hills at fifteen fifty-five means we cut outta here at fourteen-fifteen." He was sinking.

Matthew 'Muk' McKaylee stood straight up, gaining six inches and inhaled deeply. "I have to go lie down."

Blu handed him a fresh drink.

Very quietly and quickly he said, "Nick. Nora. Andele."

Instantly, Nora leapt onto a chair, to the counter top and dove into Muk's arms. Nick circled his feet. The highball spilled nary a drop. "Lord spare me the pain of my sins!" he drawled, as he left the room.


Blu asked, "I wonder what he meant, hosed her down?"

"I don't know," said Tricky Vicki, "But I think we are going to find out."

Pedro clapped his hands together like a coach. "Let's make it happen."




Look for the next exciting chapter of Emperor Muk!





Catch Muk at 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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