Mona sat in her chair.

Mona twiddled her thumbs.

Mona frowned.

Mona was bored.

Roving her eyes around the spacious room (without moving any other part of her body, of course), she settled her gaze on Signor da Vinci, with his paint-splattered smock and his funky little artist's beret he got on that last excursion to Mount Martre in Paris, France, and would never stop rattling on about.

She sighed. Who did this doddery old fool think he was, anyway? Donatello? Michaelangelo? Raphael, even? The only reason he was painting her and not that other guy Bob Turtelli down the street was because Bob had this obsession with clothes. All clothes: dresses, shirts, ties, pants, socks, et cetera. He didn't like them, and he didn't like his models wearing any at all. Turtelli claimed it to be the latest craze, and that everybody would be doing it soon.

Painting naked people, that is.


Mona frowned again, wishing she were anywhere that was not near here, knowing she was completely powerless to change her location. Stuck, she was. Some crazy relative of hers told her to hire a painter because they had wanted one wall-size and twelve wallet-size pictures of her looking all serene and beautiful-like. As if she could ever pull that off. Pictures were such liars, weren't they?

The last she'd checked, her industrious, albeit messy as all hell, painter was almost finished with the portrait (the wallet-sized ones did not require her presence). Thank the gods! On both counts! One more day of this utter boringness and her mouth would have completely frowned its way off her face. And that fat relative of hers with the nasally voice and two chins and odd smell would have pitched a fit at da Vinci's depiction of how Mona looked like in actual reality at that point. What a mess that would be!

Her eyes were blankly focused on a spot on the floor in a dark, shadowy corner of the room when the other occupant said, "Mona, dear, I'm almost finished, but you need to look up and give us a big smile!"

She obeyed the first command with ease. As for the latter… Well… That pretty much took care of itself.

Wouldn't it be simply marvelous if, hundreds of years later, people knew that when Leonardo da Vinci painted Mona Lisa's infamous, beloved, mystifying smile, the great artist was clad in - not his three-piece suit, not his zoot suit - but his birthday suit?