by Art Arduous


Nick the dog came in fast, his nose low to the carpet. He was zigzagging, abruptly changing direction, hard on the hunt. He leapt on the bed, walked over Ali who groaned at the weight of each paw step and jumped to the floor. The frisky snoop dodged twice and made a beeline into the closet.

Blu bounced into the room to check on progress and got a dismal answer. Pedro was at a loss. Muk replied by shaking his head dispiritedly. The emerald necklace squared with diamonds and a set of matching earrings were nowhere to be found.

Muk and his funk were suddenly sidelined by a funny thought. He brightened to his crew, "Remember when I told you that I hosed Ali BeeDee down with a garden hose?"

Blu nodded. She had been curious as hell but Muk wouldn't give up the story.

Muk crooked his finger and the three surrounded Ali, an odalisque on the bed. Her mind was still swimming in the warm Jacuzzi of the sodium pentothal truth serum. Muk leaned in close, "Ali, did you ever date a guy named Ham Bourdon?"

She replied with a dreamy enthusiasm, "Yes! Boy! I had a crush on him."

"Where did he live?"

"On Gardner, near Melrose. In Hollywood. It was a big, big apartment with a palm tree in the front and a big BBQ in the---"

Muk interrupted, "Did he live on the ground floor?"

"Naw, no, the top floor. Second story," she giggled.

"Who lived on the first floor?"

"I dunno... But that guy!" She was getting worked up.


With his thumb aimed at his chest, Muk let Pedro and Blu know that he was the guy who lived on the ground floor.

"Did you ever get jealous of Ham?" Ali began to breathe faster. "Did he date other girls when he was dating you?"

"Yeah," she drawled as memories took shape, "Yeah! He was a cheatin', no good..."

"What did you do, often, when he was hiding upstairs?"

"Well, I---I threw things. And I yelled up at him. And..."

"How did the neighbors react? Did they like it?"

"No!" Ali was getting worked up, "And that guy downstairs! He shot me with a garden hose!"

"Were you standing on the roof of his car?"

"Hosed me down..."

"Were you standing on the roof of his newly painted metallic silver 1968 Mustang?"

Ali began to blithely mumble a lengthy explanation.


Muk, turning to Blu and Pedro, said, "And there you have it! The reason I soaked Ali BeeDee. Anything you want to ask the famous rocker while she is telling the truth and nothing but the truth?"

Blu smiled mischievously and leaned in, "Is it true that you and Rihanna were mak---"

"Blu!," Muk laughed, "Have you no shame!"

"That's gotta be worth fifty grand to the tabs!"

"Only with a picture!" Sometimes Pedro could be brutally frank.


The banging from inside the closet was now loud enough that everyone had to finally take notice. Dog Nick was causing a commotion. He was on to something. His long snout was rooting ferociously through shoes and boxes. Deeper and deeper into the closet. Nora was dancing on her hind legs, eagerly awaiting her brother's discovery. The three conscious adults in the room looked at each other with hope.

"You never know!"

"Doggie, save our ass!"

"Find that necklace!"

"Wouldn't it be amazing if..."

Nick popped out of the closet, victorious and proud. A candy cane red and white-striped vibrator was clenched firmly in his jaw.


Crashing from a hope, Muk sagged. "OK. Let's get outta here."

Everyone leapt into action, returning the bedroom and the rest of the apartment to its previous un-Pandorian state. Music was silenced. Colored light bulbs were changed. Plates removed and bags packed.


"Whazz-up, Mister Guru Man?" murmured Ali BeeDee as she slowly stretched herself awake from a most beautiful and deep sleep. "What are you doing Prince Pandor?"

Muk was painting a small but elaborate bindi on her forehead between the eyebrows. Rather than the traditional dot, he was creating a detailed sunburst.

"I am wishing you great luck," he said earnestly in his clipped Pandorian accent. "Great luck for peace and happiness and true tranquility. This evening, you caught a glimpse, a moment's visit, of the eternal bliss of transcendence, a view of the natural order of the universe. June Cleaver, you must find a natural path to this heaven on earth. It is now time to be kind and good to yourself. All else will fall into place."

Ali closed her eyes for a better view. She smiled because she suddenly felt that anything was possible.


            Shelia Westwater yawned and stretched. She stood in the living room, looking in the mirror at her bindi. It was a small and intricate flower. "Prince Pandor, I love it! Thank you!" She held both his shoulders and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

Ali, calm and graceful, waved goodbye.

            With a swashbuckler's bow, Prince Pandor backed through the door and into the blue night.



Muk McKaylee and his crew loaded their gear into the Continental and hit the street. On the stereo, a heavy-handed Muse anthem made their defeat even more tragic. Blu was driving and she turned it off.

Absently, slowly, Muk peeled the pencil-thin moustache from his lip. Finally, he broke the gloomy silence and overstated the obvious, "Well... That didn't plan out."


Western Boulevard, heading north, was quiet with little traffic at this late hour. The palm trees were fuzzy dark silhouettes against grey velvet. As usual, there were no stars in the Los Angeles sky. The Lincoln Continental limousine turned right onto Los Feliz Boulevard.

"And, I don't think she stole the emeralds either." Muk said it to no one in particular.

Nora licked him on the cheek. Muk was grateful for the vote.


            The road became dark, as the trees that lined the road grew dense and tall. The antique street lamps were few and far between. In the purple of a magic night, footing the hills of Griffith Park, the west end of Los Feliz Boulevard can still feel like countryside California. Rambling and low slung, few and far between. Quiet and western. There was no music playing.


            Muk broke the gloom with an enthusiastic inspiration, "Let's go see Liz!" He clapped once. "I'm exhausted but I'm too amped. My mind is reeling. Why go to bed?"

            Pedro grinned wide and nodded. "Ya-ya."

            The dogs started moving, sensing an excitement.

Blu said, "I could use a few pops." Her eyes, reflected in the rear view mirror, met Muks. A consensus was made. This is a democratic crew.

"Let's go see Liz." Muk was referring to Liz Garo, the booker at the Echo. Her line-up is always sublime. The Echo is a club in Echo Park with live and mixed music. Dancing is always encouraged.


Blu had been driving at funeral speed. Suddenly the engine roared louder and the bow angled up as the limo accelerated. Just as sudden, she changed her mind. The front of the car angled down as the engine slowed quiet. "I could use a few pops but..."

"But what?," Muk was itching for a drink, wondering why she was slowing down.

"What if I meet the man of my dreams?"

"No worries."

"I'm dressed up like a little Indian servant boy."

 "I've seen you look worse."

"OK, then!" Blu laughed and pressed her foot down on the gas pedal. The huge engine roared and the limo lifted.



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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