Artemis —previously referred to as “Whoa!” — arrives.

The largest full moon that Los Angeles had ever seen lit the way for the five-thousand-year-old moon goddess and huntress, Artemis, daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister of Apollo. Dauna, the shark goddess, had asked her long-pinned, pure and porcelain friend to visit Bernie, as a favor. Artemis had promised to keep Bernie healthy, awake and out of danger. Dauna was confident that she could trust the five-thousand-year-old virgin to look after her special ‘Cupcake.’

The cannibals scattered when they heard Artemis made her earth-shaking entrance from above. When they heard the goddess’ unmuffled flying Barracuda, they dropped their grey suits, and disappeared into the fog while sprinting down Lincoln Boulevard toward the Santa Monica Pier. The discarded well-tailored shiny suits would later be recycled among the homeless, some of whom would go on to successful careers in politics, law and/or organized crime.

It was weeks earlier that Artemis had found her foodie soul mate, Bomba, while casing Bernie’s rental home. She took the hunter of giant rats on moonlit drives. MacHeath’s cannibals wondered about the knockout chauffeur with the name HUNTRSS on the plates of her old Plymouth. It had been the aroma of a single spot of double chili cheeseburger on Artemis’ tiny tunic that lured Bernie’s cat away from his old master’s home.

Earlier that evening…A Conspiracy of Goddesses

“Quick, Bomba! The game is afoot!” announced Artemis as she gunned the gas and scraped the bottom of the Plymouth Barracuda on the curb, showering the Beverly Boulevard pavement with sparks. The supernal hunters screeched into the last available parking spot at Artemis’ latest and favoritest food find.

No one ever cleaned the “Eternal Grill” at Tommy’s. Not once since it was set alight in 1949. God bless their clogged little hearts.

Doctor Artemis’ First House Call

Top 40 radio blasted from the cloudless night sky. MacHeath’s startled savages, standing in Bernie’s driveway, decided to call it an evening and disappear, once again, into the early morning fog. Bernie was sweating. His right hand moved to toss away the old bed sheet. The edge of the cheap cotton now felt like fine silk. The light of the setting full moon was beaming through the open curtains. Bernie exhaled and closed his eyes again.

“A dazzling blend of homemade chili, tangy American cheese, fruity floral onions, crisp kosher pickles and magnificent beef accords.”

I should consult with Dauna tomorrow, Bernie thought as he tried to slumber. What would Dauna the dispatcher say about the suspicious actions of my cat? What new delicious visions would she plant in my head to torture me? Yes, a consultation about—uh, what was I going to ask Dauna about? Official business. Bernie drifted off toward a brief sleep. Soapy puppies? 

At 5 a.m., a sizable presence had joined Bernie on his bed as he slid into the land of nod. Warm and soft, moving silently across his legs pushing down the edges of his sheet. The visitor, gentle as a cloud, lowered ‘itself’ across his knees. Slowly, the ‘mystery guest’ edged carefully toward his injured flunker-wagger schnitzer (Henceforth to be referred to as FWS, or not).

Bernie whispered, “Bomba?” No. This was softer than his big kitty, and bigger than his big kitty, and had lowered itself carefully atop his thighs. ‘It’ was also warm and welcoming and … Whatever or whoever it was, it was not his fifty-pound cat.