Officer Brice looked as helpless and abashed any officer might without support, sitting all alone on a stool in as greasy diner with cold coffee and a piss-wet leg.  If ever there were a candidate for a good sharp tasering it was this stupid dog, he thought to himself.
     “Probably wouldn’t be a bad idea for Bliss herself,” he muttered, realizing too late he had gone ahead and spoken out loud what he had only been thinking.
     “What wouldn’t?” asked Bliss.
     “Nothing,” said Officer Brice Sweetman, draining his clammy coffee and standing up to go.  “What’s your interest in these two?” he asked, turning to Michael.
     Michael shrugged.
     “He thinks Homer is some genius painter,” said Bliss proudly.  “Isn’t that right, Mr. Zorba?”
     Michael started to answer her and then decided against it. 
     “Yeh , Brice—Homer.  What’s so friggin hard to believe?”
     “Well, geez, Bliss, he can hardly scramble eggs!  How can he be a genius painter?  I doubt if he’d even be a good house painter,” he added, glancing into the kitchen.
     Homer poked his head around the doorway.
     “What’s the talk about?”
     “You, genius,” said Bliss, “and whether you’re paintings are any good.”
     Homer spat onto the grill—which sizzled contemptuously.
     “They’re good enough,” he said to nobody in particular.
     “Actually, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about, Homer,” said Michael, walking out to the kitchen.
     “What?’ said Homer, slapping three slices of greyish ham onto the grill.
     “Your painting.  It looks pretty good to me too.  What I’ve seen of it.  Which,” he added meaningfully, “isn’t  much.””
     “Well, it’s what I do,” Homer replied.  “And it suits me.”
     Michael explained to Homer—who seemed infinitely more interested in the progress of his sullen ham slices—that he wrote a lot about art for magazines and for art galleries and that he wanted to take a look at what Homer did because he thought his work might be exciting to write about.  He tried to explain to Homer that some art dealer might possibly be impressed too, and want to give him a solo exhibition.
     “You mean like that Lucy Crater friend of yours who showed the guy with the cellophane paintings?”
     “Yes, maybe.”
Homer spat again onto the grill, only just missing the sizzling ham slices.
     “That was total fucking crap.”
Michael was a bit taken aback.  
     “You didn’t like Rubel Force’s Cellophane paintings?
Homer spit again, this time catching a slice of ham on its flank.
     “Anybody could do it.”
     “Oh I hardly think that’s true,” countered Michael, “Could you paint those paintings?”
     “Sure I could, if I wanted to waste my time.”
 Bliss came sauntering out to the kitchen to join them, dragging Fish after her on his leash.  Offended by such high-handed treatment, the dog promptly peed on a cardboard box full of hamburger buns.
     “I told you, Zorba, my Homer is a genius,” boomed Bliss.  “He can paint anything he wants to.  But what he likes to paint, as I told you once before, are copies of the Old Masters.  Right, Homer?”
     “Raphael, Titian, Veronese, Caravaggio,” said Homer.
     “No Leonardo?” asked Michael.
     “He’s too weird and difficult.  And too faggy.  I don’t paint pictures by, like queers.”
     “Caravaggio was gay,” Michael pointed out helpfully.
     “Well, maybe,” conceded Homer, “but not queer!”