“Your face, so melancholic and phlegmatic”, the painter said. “I will paint it in shades of green, and greenish baby blue, with a bit of greenish red and greenish orange to hint at the choleric aspects of your personality”
I could not tell if the painter looked bug eyed because I had told her the surprising news, or because she actually had big bug eyes. Otherwise, her face was vacant, vapid, and blank. Her mouth, slack. Her jaw, also slack. Her nose and chin, fixed and unblinking. Her whole flat demeanor made her lips petulant and her skull, sardonic.
I turned to Claudette Akins. A range of emotions flickered through her simian face: from stolid to deadpan to straight, back to deadpan, and then on to glazed and inscrutable.
“I adore you so, my little, lovable monkey”
“I am not a monkey, Godammit” Claude huffed. “How many times do I have to tell you? I am an ape, and not just any ape but a great ape, a Silver Back Gorilla. Monkeys have a tail, and apes do not, for Christsakes!”
“You could get surgery. You could get a tail attached, and then you would be my lovable monkey.”
“Why are you always trying to change me. Can’t you accept me for who I am?” Claudette put her gorilla face in her gorilla paws and began to cry. Not just a little, but a heart-rending monkey—I'm sorry, ape—howl.
“Please, you are making it quite difficult for me to paint.” The painter stabbed at her palette with her brush.
Oh, here we go again, I thought. Truth be told, I didn’t really love Claudette. I was only dating her for one of her paws, so I could have my greatest wish granted. Eternal happiness. Which for me, was having a lifetime supply of silly putty.
Of course, her paw would need to be amputated before I could cast the proper wish-granting incantation. Not a huge sacrifice for her. She would still have three other perfectly good paws.
Most importantly, for the spell to work she needed to be a monkey. Not an ape. I knew very well what the difference was, but I had been totally rebuffed by numerous spider monkeys, howler monkeys, and marmosets on Tinder, Bumble, and OKcupid.
Claudette was the only primate who had any interest in me, but she could be so needy and clingy. This relationship was taking a real emotional toll on me.
“I’m so sorry, Claude, darling. Of course, I love you the way you are.”
”I need a hug,” she said. “I need a hug with everyone!”
So the three of us had a big group hug.
“I know what you’re all about,” the painter whispered in my ear while we were hugging. “Claudette, will be safe from you. I have a magical paint brush that was forged in the fires of Icelandic volcanoes by elves, and since I have painted your portrait with it, I can oblige you to truly fall in love with Claudette, even if you are completely unworthy of her, for her own happiness.”