When the Bliss Carmen’s cell phone rang, Homer Rubik was carefully adding telling touches to a small wooden panel he was painting based on Giorgione’s The Tempest.  
     He’d taken a few liberties with it.  He wasn’t a maker of persuasive old Master copies, after all.  The painting may have begun life as a Giorgione, but Homer was intent upon giving it a second existence—as a Homer Rubik.  
     To that end, he was painting the seated woman at the right into a slim black Chanel suit from the 1930s, unbuttoned to the waist so she could go on nursing her infant.  The young man over at the left of the painting, casually loitering in her vicinity though not profoundly tethered to her, was now clad in a cyclist’s spandex shorts and top—tight as sausage casings—an outfit so convincing that one looked, in the shrubbery on his side of the painting, for evidence of a bicycle parked nearby.  Just as the phone rang, Homer was beginning to re-jig the lightning that angled sharply through the unsettled sky—lightning far fiercer and more threatening than Giorgione’s. 
     “If that’s for me, I’m not here,” he barked at his voluminous friend and part-time lover, Bliss Carmen.  
     “How could it be for you?” she asked him irritably.  “It’s my cell phone.”  Bliss picked it up.  The call was indeed for her.        
     “You say you might have my dog?” Bliss bellowed into the phone.  “What makes you think so?”
     Her voice was as loud as a public address system.  Coal Blackstone, scarcely used to being boomed at, was a bit taken aback.
     “Well there was this poster,” said Coal, ‘with a phone number on it….”
     “That’s my cell number. That’s where you’re calling!”
     “Yes, well it mentioned a dog named Fish…”
     “My dog,” boomed Bliss.
     “Well, perhaps,” said Coal.  Who knows if the dog I found is Fish or not?”
     “Does he like chocolate?  Fish likes chocolate.”
     “I haven’t really noticed.” 
     “Well, try some on him.  Fish likes chocolate bars—like Crispy Crunch bars and Skor bars.  The crunchy ones.  Try one of those.  If he loves it, it’s probably Fish!”
     There was a pause on the line.
     “The fact of the matter is,” said Coal, “I called not so much about the dog—though if it is Fish we’ve got, we’ll be happy to get him back to you.  I called about the poster.
     “The poster?”
     “Yes. Your phone number is printed on a really quite exquisite painting—some Old Master or something—and I was curious about it.”
     “You were, huh?” 
     “Yes.  Who painted it?”
     “My boy friend.”
     “Yeh, Homer.”
     “Homer?”  Coal quickly typed the name into her I-pad.  “Homer what?”
     “Like the cube?
     “Yeh,” said Bliss.  Several stupid jokes about cubism jostled into Coal’s mind but she decided to let them go.
     “I’d like to come and see more of Mr. Rubik’s paintings sometime soon,” she told  Bliss.
     “That might be hard to arrange.”
     “Why is that?”
     “Because he doesn’t like having visitors.  He doesn’t like to be disturbed when he’s painting.”
     “But,” replied Coal, “he can’t paint all the time!”
     Bliss let out a huge and rather savage whoop of fake amusement.
     “Pretty near,” she said.     
     Michael and May were strolling back to the rooms she had rented on Huron Street.
     “I wanted something close to the School of Architecture,” she told Michael, as they quietly mounted the steps to the third floor.  “I was lucky to find this place.”  Michael was pleased she had finally agreed to let him visit her here.   She had been a bit reluctant about it before, and he hadn’t pushed her. 
     May unlocked the door and went in to turn on a table lamp that was near the door.  The light gave sudden shape and texture to the tiny two-room flat that, Michael could see, was attractively enlivened and enriched with books and pictures.  There was a drafting table in the first room. Nearby was a galley-sized kitchen—with a huge bright red espresso maker on the counter by the miniature sink.
     The second room was very sparse.  A bed.  A night table.  A lamp—a paper and wire Noguchi lamp—on the night table.  A big red and black Le Corbusier lithograph hung on the wall above the bed. 
     “Shall I make us an espresso?” May asked him. 
    “That would be great.” Michael told her.
     They sat on a small lime-green divan placed opposite the drafting table. Michael supped his espresso.  May had rested a bright curl of lemon peel on the top of each one.  The flat smelled refreshingly of coffee, lemon and some insinuating fragrance May was wearing.
     “What’s that wonderful scent you’re wearing?” he asked her.  May smiled.
     “I’m surprised you can smell it through the espresso.  It’s Issy Miyake.   L’eau d’Issey, to give it its full name.  Toilet water.  You like it?”
     “I love it.  It’s disturbingly…well, disturbing.” 
     “My goodness, Michael, I don’t want you to be disturbed!”  
     Michael grinned.
     “I can assure you, it’s a nice disturbance,” he said, leaning over to her and brushing her cheek with a kiss so ethereal it felt to May as if a butterfly had alighted momentarily upon her and then flittered away again.  She shivered, and then regrouped by taking another sip of her espresso.  Then she put the cup back on the table in front of them.
     “Michael,” she said, turning towards him, “will you stay here with me tonight?” 

     “Yes,” he told her.  “There’s nothing I want so much.”