… illuminated the well-robed forms of Michelangelo Buonarroti and Leonardo da Vinci backing into each other at the napkin bar. Growling apologies at each other, they nodded in recognition and agreement to share a table. They were not morning people – but they were gentlemanly enough to tip the lute player as they passed.
Finally, after coming to terms with half a mug of java each – Leonardo’s was his own uncredited invention, cappuccino – they began to mumble greetings at each other.
“How’d the monastery fresco come out?” Michelangelo queried.
“What, that ‘Last Supper’ thing? Finished it ages ago. Turned out nicely, I thought. Maybe not my best work, but okay. How about your ceiling gig at the Sistine?”
Michelangelo snorted. “It took forever and wasn’t worth the paint. Now, give me a couple of tons of stone, a hammer and chisel, and I will discover the soul of the subject!”
“Perhaps,” Leonardo shrugged. “But it is more accurately portrayed with the colors God created …”
“Color is overrated! And God created in three dimensions, not two. You of all people …”
Their discussion was interrupted by a quarrel that had turned ugly at a table nearby. Martin Luther leapt to his feet, brandishing a wide butter knife dripping with the melted stuff, shouting: “Hymns, I tell you! They are all that God hears! The Creator needs nothing of your next-century innovation!”
George Frideric Handel rolled his robust form out of his chair to face his breakfast companion: “Oratorios, Marty, are within His aural range!”
The lute-playing ceased.
Whereupon Luther slapped Handel across the cheek with the buttery flat of the knife. The café’s bouncer – the lute-player, who looked remarkably like the Apostle Paul – intervened immediately, telling them both to take it outside.
“What, outside the café?” they chorused.
“No,” replied the bouncer firmly. “Outside the Gates of Heaven entirely.”
They quieted, and grudgingly sank back into their seats. The lute-player began strumming again, and conversations slowly resumed.
“What a couple of horses’ patooties,” Michaelangelo sniffed.
“Agreed,” Leonardo nodded. “As if God could be worshiped by something as mundane and secular as music.”