by Art Arduous




            The three lay on chaise lounges by the pool at Rancho Silver Rio. They were separated by small tables that were covered with smoothies, fresh fruit, half-eaten club sandwiches, trashy magazines, a bong and a selection of craft beers. The sun was high overhead but it wasn't hot. A smooth Westerly wind blew the heat inland, away from the LA basin, far from Los Feliz and the privileged confines of the Silver Rio. The view of the Pacific was as clear as Mother Nature had intended it. Emperor Muk McKaylee

Unlike the humans, the dogs preferred the shade of a striped umbrella. Always trying to keep a vigilant eye, Nick was hypnotized by the dancing light reflected off the pool. He looked stoned. Nora was sleeping deeply, kicking and making quiet 'yip-yips' at the fast action in her dream.


Muk, Blu and Pedro had achieved a heightened state of Relaxed. Prone was the position. Listening to music took all the strength they could summon. The sun stole the rest. Emperor Muk McKayleeMuk wanted to turn over but decided it wasn't worth the effort. Blu was thinking that she felt naked without her emeralds. The thought made her laugh. She was going to say something but words were too much work.The sun was warm and thick and sensational, heavy like a blanket. Pedro rolled off his chaise and slapped onto the deck. It was easier than standing up. The colored Catalina tiles were warm against his skin. He crawled with his arms, pulling himself across the deck, greased by suntan lotion. He slid into the cool blue pool. The water felt like silk. The caress cooled his skin. Resurfacing at the other end, Pedro sighed loudly and honestly. His "Ahhh!" was the most sincere exclamation of satisfaction and contentment that mankind has ever uttered.



            "I am having drinks with Will at the Mocambo tonight at ten. Anybody wanna go?" No one answered. "He wants to give me the scoop on the fate of our Silver Rio."

            Blu looked at Pedro. They had grown quite attached to their luxury lifestyle with a panoramic view. The loss of it was unthinkable. Blu answered, "In."

"Me too," echoed Pedro.

"Free drinks. Will is buying. Mocambo! We'll put off our Crew Booty until we get some scoop on the ranch. I don't like the uncertainty of where we're gonna live next. And Pedro, we've got your dentist appointment in an hour."

"I was just thinking about that."

"Dreading that," said Blu, "You should really be freaking out. God knows what they'll do. The pain will be intense."

"Thanks. I appreciate that."

"I'm just trying to be helpful."

"Yes. You are."




Pedro was driving the El Camino. He was speaking with earnest, "But I don't see that anything ended or concluded."

"You're right," said Muk.

"It was a series of unusual events---that happened for a reason. For someone's reason. And now it's all forgotten?"

"Yeah," said Muk, fiddling with the radio dial, "A whole series of events happened and we don't know much about it."

"That's that?"

"Yeah. We don't know much. And I don't think we need to know. I don't think it will advantage us in any way to know what went down. It doesn't matter to us."

"Like who put the jewelry on the dog?"

"Yeah. I don't know. Someone did, for a reason. But it won't matter if I know or not. I still got the doggie."

"Who got Ali tossed in jail?"

"I dunno. Maybe her old boyfriend Bobby. I dunno, maybe Cosima wanted something that--who knows? Maybe the maid did it. Follow the money."

"Always follow the money."

"No one got hurt. Laws were eventually unbroken. The loot was returned." Muk was still thinking. "Now, if someone did get hurt...That would be something else entirely."


"With all of our resources," Muk cleared his throat, "We would, uh, engage with all of our talents."

Pedro understood. Muk played lazy but he was scary tenacious and committed loyal. He knew Muk was crazy enough to commit to a cause to the mat. "That would be a story that would have a conclusion."

"Exactly. Yeah," said Muk, "The bad guy gets it in the end. Justice. This one doesn't. This story will just keep floating along. We're friends with all parties. It's all good. Life marches forward." Pedro seemed a little less frustrated. Muk continued, "Do you know? Ali got a talk show out of it and Phantotastique is her first guest. We sold some art. We made some money. We got a tan. Cosima has a nice sculpture. We had a wild party. It's all good."

"All good." Pedro was still having a hard time shrugging it off.

"Plus, it wouldn't be worth all the clever effort to find out who put the jewels on the dog. It'd be painful. Like getting your wisdom teeth removed."

Pedro massaged his jaw. He was just thinking about that.




Six hours later, Pedro massaged his jaw and didn't feel anything. His cheeks were swollen. The Vicodin and the cocktails had been very effective. Pedro was sailing along with the music and the lights and the vibe. He was too happy and painless to follow the conversation. Mocambo

The Circus Room at Mocambo is made of three circular dining rooms, the last being the place of prestige. The gang had the center table. Windy, Wills mistress and their waitress, secured the exclusive spot. Will was feeling like one hip dude in a room of celebs and models. Unfortunately, he wasn't celebrating. He threw up his hands. "It's out of my control."

"Let's tell them its haunted. It worked before," asked Muk.

"No. This is my boss's client. My boss is coming with the guy. I'm out of the picture," said the realtor, "My hands are off."

"That was funny when we changed the address," reminisced Blu, "They just kept on driving by." She was referring to the time when an Asian family was going to look at the estate. They changed the house number from lucky 888 to the unfortunate 444.

"And the mezuzah," snickered Muk. When they heard an Egyptian buyer wanted to see the house, they hung a Jewish mezuzah at the front door. The buyer never even went inside. "We've been lucky."

"I think this is a goner," whined Will, "I swear, I swear I will find us a new pad."

"No," said Muk, "We really, really like this one."

"Croquet. Tennis. The kitchen," pleaded Blu.

"The Bar-B-Q. A pool big enough to swim laps in. A jacuzzi to make love in. Pedro, what do you think?"

Pedro gave the thumbs-up sign. He had a stupid grin on his face. He hadn't heard the question.

"I'm afraid this goose is cooked," said Will sadly, "He's an Arab prince who gets what he wants. We show the house tomorrow at four. They'll sign papers at five. They come here at seven to celebrate."

Muk tapped his highball glass, "Never, say never."

Windy sashayed to the table. Muk raised his empty glass, "Windy, sweet Windy, I think I'll have another. And then I want you to join us."


 Emperor Muk McKaylee

Muk was looking jaunty. He juggled the car keys between his hands. "I'm leaving the suicide mission to you. I can't bear it. I'll see you this afternoon. Blu, play the maid. Pedro, you're the gardener. Hang around when they show the place. Maybe something will pop up and you'll get lucky. See what you can learn. At the least, just for fun, Blu, paint me a big   ass foundation crack on the west wall. A lethal horizontal, earthquake crack that looks like it'd cost a fortune to fix. Maybe that'll scare 'em. All right. Adios."

"Yes, boss."

"Drive safe."

"Nick. Nora." Muk whistled and the dogs jumped into the El Camino. Muk headed to Santa Barbara for lunch with old friends. He took the coast.



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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