The Following Evening…

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Bernie awoke to Artemis was sitting on his bed studying her slender right hand in the moonlight. Her fingers were electrified, buzzing with a green aura. She’d returned for the second night in a row. A healer’s’ work is never done.

Oh, this might be useful! she thought, looking at her humming hand — a  recent development.

Bernie was staring—in wonder, and beginning to salivate. Oh, that might be useful!

Suddenly she spoke: “Your little rental is a pigsty.”

“Gee, thanks. I only sleep here and…”

“That bathroom is atrocious. At least get yourself some decent towels. I can help you fix this place up, so it’s fit for human habitation. I’m afraid to see what you keep in your fridge. Are you listening?”

“Sorry, Artie, but I have to try this.” Bernie, held the goddesses face in the palms of his hands, pulled her close, and planted a tender smooch on her astonished red lips. He waited. No home run slap — yet. She didn’t kill me. Okay, that’s a good thing. However, after unlocking lips, he found his eyes seriously crossed and seeing double. Dizzy, he closed them, still anticipating a well-deserved ass whooping.

Artemis, feeling strange, changed the subject. “Hey, Bernie! How about them Mets!”

Baseball?

The towering goddess suddenly grand slammed Bernie across the face—hard. “That’s for calling me Artie and…and…insolently kissing me. How dare you, mortal! If it weren’t for your godly friends, I’d Babe Ruth your empty head out of the park and into orbit like space junk!”

There was a pause.

“Ah, *⦻⟐⧲⧻* it! Is this what you want your cherry-lipped Dauna to do to you?” Artemis grabbed the frightened Human by the ears and planted her lips, squarely, on his. 

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The deep kiss burned out star system (# HJ456), which was located over five hundred light years from our Milky Way. HJ456 had existed for seven billion years. All the life on its sixteen thriving planets had been fried! Immolated(!), as Bernie’s pain, on a scale of 10, hit 16.

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“That ought to teach you.” the goddess sat up straight and tall, all business — again. ‘All business’ only made her look sexier. Artemis swallowed and held her eyes closed to regain her composure. “I’ll let you live,” poker-faced, she finally said. “Enough foolishness. Bomba and I have to go. One day soon I’m going to take you shopping, buy you some better clothes, and fix this place up. Except for the old can of cat food, your refrigerator is empty. We’ll have to get some healthy food into you, Braden.”

“It’s Bernie.”

  “Whatever. Do you like ribs? I need to take you to Adam’s Ribs on Sawtelle. All that you can eat on Tuesdays. ”

“Ribs? Wait. Last night you told me that you were an animal lover.”

She smiled. “Yum.” Artemis closed Bernie’s speechless lips with two fingers vibrating in sync with Bomba’s powerful purr. “Now, quiet. Get some rest.” The long perfect fingers lingered like a kiss. “Whew!” She slapped herself. “Sun’s up. We gotta go, hot shot.”

Go ahead, Bomba, Bernie thought. Abandon me for this…this…wow. Go with her, you big dumb animal. Bernie, after watching his cat and his punching-bag-of-a-heart follow the six-foot-six braided dreamsicle out the door, he gave up, calmed down and tried really, really hard to fall asleep. Ow!

Bomba’s new-bestest-long-leggiest-goddess friend had left the half asleep human a souvenir. One of her signature golden arrows stuck out from Bernie’s pillow. The arrow was vibrating and still sticky with chili. The beautiful Artemis.

Half dreaming, Bernie heard the voices of his blue caped cat and the goddess, outside, laughing hysterically as they walked toward Artemis’ fine set of wheels. “Did you see the look on chew toy’s face?” the two said in chorus.

Bomba, looked down at a phantom of Bernie’s broken heart laying on the car’s front seat between them, and let out a sigh of surrender. Bernie’s cat’s new-bestest-long-leggiest-goddess friend EVER seemed to be amused by the imploded human they left behind. He’ll heal, she thought to herself.

The daunting goddess and the mighty Bomba took a sip from their root beer floats and sped off toward the setting moon.

“Calling you a big, dumb animal. The big sap.” She patted the growing kitty on his head and smiled. “He should talk.” Bomba spat a hairball the size of a baseball into the endless void (Within two days, Bomba’s projectile, traveling at a rate of 17,500 mph, would cause extensive and expensive damage to the Soyuz Space Station).

Perhaps, thought Artemis, my job is done. Tag and release. He’ll heal. “Why am I tingling, Bomba?”

“Meow?”

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