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I've got a date with a Goddess, specifically a Muse, one of the Goddess of the arts. I'm nervous. We meet for lunch in the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Traffic was terrible and I arrive a half-hour late. She's already there, amusing herself in my absence by engaging in conversation with a waiter. Her shoes are fantastic, Ferragamo pumps, I think. She's wearing an elegantly tailored beige shantung silk suit with a shockingly short skirt. She also has a nice burgundy blouse and wire-rimmed glasses. Oh, and she's floating three feet off the floor. She spies me, and tosses her titian colored-hair and beckons for me to come over, a twinkle in her malachite eyes. I pull up a chair and we begin to chat, I discover that she's quite down to earth even when she's levitating and we have an interesting conversation. The transcripts of our chat appear below:

Me: So, You're a muse?

Omphalerastia:(Chuckling softly) Yes, yes I am. Have you tried the foie gras here? It's utterly divine.

Me: But aren't there traditionally only nine Muses?

O.: Well, initially there were only nine. But as concepts of art and artists broadened, we found ourselves diversifying. There are currently 917 different Muses in operation now, in various specialities. (She pauses to nibble a chocolate fondue strawberry) And actually, none of the original nine is working these days. Terpsichore held on the longest, but even she retired after that whole Riverdance fiasco.

M.: Okay, what's your speciality?

O.: I specialize in "Romantic Novels featuring Class Struggles". Some of my former clients include Jane Austen, Emily and Charlotte Bronte and D.H. Lawrence.

M.: What about the work of Jackie Collins and Danielle Steel?

O.: (she stares and pauses with a biteful of Creme Brulee halfway to her mouth) I don't like to talk about that.

M.: Fair enough. Okay, so what other arts do the muses patronize?

O.: We're very diverse. I'll give you some examples; Clittoria patronizes "lesbian feminist poetry" and Sarkastadiva inspires Heterosexual Fashion Designers who Hate Women...
(We both turn to stare at a label-whore carrying a gaudy and outdated Anna Sui bag and begin to snicker)

M.: Okay, what exactly does being a muse entail?

O.: Basically we fly around the world looking for appropriate people of artistic spirit and breathe fully-formed ideas, concepts, and even novels into them. Unfortunately, some of these artists get it into their heads to make their own renditions and ruin our fully-formed perfect images.

M.: So does that explain Jackie Collins?

O.: Well... (she raises an eyebrow and winks conspiratorially) Have you tried the quiche lorraine? It's to die for.

M.: Uh, no thanks. So, that's essentially it? magical inspiration?

O.: Oh, that's not it entirely. There are also religious and charitable aspects to our Work and.. (She suddenly looks distressed. Then glances down at a chic slim-line rolex that somehow replaced the pink pearl bracelet she was wearing only seconds before) Oh dear, that reminds me, one of my colleagues has la grippe and I'm supposed to take her place and appear in a tortilla in Mexico City at 1:30. Terribly sorry.. I have to dash off

Immediately after that she vanished in a Chanel #5 scented cloud of tangerine smoke. I was left with an enormous bill for lunch. I wondered how a perfect size 2 could manage to scarf down five helpings of tiramisu and devour two servings of lobster thermidore aux crevettes. She was right about one thing though, the foie gras was divine.

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