View Full Version : Beyond Belief
06-15-2012, 08:51 PM
Greetings, loyal readers! After a year of posting most of my old stories from the old site, I am announcing the arrival of (cue trumpet fanfare) a NEW Criss Angel tale! My latest creation, entitled Beyond Belief, will deal with such topics as space travel, conspiracy theories, and the end of the world in general. Plus, there will be a VERY special guest making his debut here on the site, so, don't miss it! V. ;)
06-15-2012, 11:24 PM
Can't wait! Just like all your other stories I know this one will be great! Always something new and different..........never the same old thing over and over again. ;) You're an amazing writer Veritas! :D
06-17-2012, 05:39 PM
East Meadow, Long Island, NY
Two young boys, JD and Costa Sarantakos, watched intently as the grainy televised image of the Saturn V rocket carrying the three Apollo 11 astronauts rose heavenward in a billowing plume of smoke and flame. In a matter of hours, if all went well, they would be the first men to fufill the late John F. Kennedy's goal of landing men on the moon by the end of the decade. The very prospect of traveling through space excited the two brothers and kept them riveted in front of the small twenty-inch television set in the living room. They were glad it was summer vacation: it would have been a shame to miss the Apollo moon launch just because of school. Even at their young age, this wasn't just a news broadcast--this was history in the making before their very eyes!
Their seventeen-month-old baby brother, Christopher, sat between them, oblivious to the significance of the event, despite his older brothers' enthusiasm. "Look, Christopher!" JD said, pointing at the screen, "See the big rocket ship? It's going to the moon!"
Baby Christopher's infant eyes darted from the TV screen to JD to Costa and back again. All he knew was that they were happy about something, and that gave him a sense of well-being. Even so, JD and Costa kept a running commentary to fill him in.
"Didja see that, Christopher?" Costa said excitedly as the first stage rocket of the Saturn V broke away, thrusting the third stage S-IVB rocket enging with the Apollo crew out of the Earth's orbit and into space. "Didja see that? That was so neat!" A big smile almost dominated his small face. "Yeah! That was neat, wasn't it?"
Christopher smiled only because Costa was smiling back at him. Whatever it was that made his brothers happy made him happy, too, though he was too young to appreciate the reason why. He could not comprehend the momentious occasion being played out on millions of television sets across America and the rest of the world. The dull, grey shadows on the TV set piqued no interest in him; he just wanted to be warm, safe, well-fed and loved.
Time wore on. The Apollo Eagle lunar module capsule was approaching the lunar surface, having broken away from the Columbia command module. Its pilot, Michael Collins, would remain in orbit to rendezvous with the Eagle, after Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin had spent almost a day on the surface of the moon. The two older boys were estatic. They were actually going to see the moon! What would when they got there? What would it look like? They had already dismissed the fanciful tale a neighbor of theirs had told them of the moon being made of green cheese, but the possibilities at that point in time remained endless.
Their baby brother, however, started to grow restless. He squirmed around in JD's arms and began to whimper. As much as he enjoyed his older siblings' company, sitting in one place for so long made him cranky. This irritated JD, who didn't want to miss one single moment of the moon landing. In desperation, he called out, "Mom! Christopher's being a pain again!"
The boys's mother, a sweet-faced young woman named Dimitra, entered the living room at once and scooped up the crying infant. "He's just tired, honey," she spoke in a heavily accented voice. "It's time for his nap."
She carried her youngest son into the nursery, leaving JD and Costa in peace. The two other boys remained transfixed before the television, holding their collective breath as the module drifted across the dusty grey lunar surface. They followed every staticky command, every acknowledgement, the word "copy" repeated over and over again following a high-pitched beep.
"Okay, engine stop. ACA out of detent."
"Out of detent. Auto."
"Mode control--both auto. Descent engine command override off. Engine arm--off. Four-one-three is in."
"We copy you down, Eagle."
"Engine arm is off."
Dimitra laid her baby son in his crib. "There you go, honey," she crooned. "Now you be a good boy and go to sleep now, okay?"
Lying in his crib, his mother's gentle face hovering over him, the sense of well-being returned, and baby Christopher drifted off to sleep to the words of Commander Neil Armstrong:
"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."
06-17-2012, 06:28 PM
why do I have a feeling Criss is going to be the first magician in space?
06-18-2012, 02:17 AM
Wait and see, dearie, wait and see ;)
06-18-2012, 03:25 PM
Great chapter :) looking forward to read more :)
06-18-2012, 09:22 PM
Las Vegas, Nevada
"Christopher?" Sandra purred.
No response from the huge lump underneath the silken coverlet of the king-sized bed. Sandra gently pulled the hem aside. "Chris," she cooed softly, "time to get up, honey. You'll be late for work."
A faint moan, then a shaggy mane of black hair slowly emerged from the depths of the coverlet. Two red-rimmed, bleary, hazel eyes struggled to focus on Sandra's soft, brown face as Christopher Sarantakos, aka Criss Angel, Las Vegas' hottest illusionist, gradually became vertical. He sniffed, snorted, coughed, rubbed his stubbled face and cursed under his breath. "What time is it?" he rasped.
"Six-thirty," Sandra said.
Despite his disheveled appearance and rancid morning breath, she kissed him full on the mouth. "Now, you'd better hurry up and get moving," she told him. "Your show's not going to tape itself, you know."
Criss managed a smile, then scooped Sandra up in his arms and smothered her with kisses from slender neck to her ample bosom. Sandra giggled and pushed him away. "Stop that!" she laughed. "You'd think you'd have had enough after last night! Save some for the honeymoon, willya?"
"Enough?" Criss sniffed in derision. "I can never get enough of you! And I hope I never do. And why wait for the honeymoon? We can have it right here and now!"
He nuzzled his face into her neck. The stubble from his unshaven face scratched Sandra's skin. "Ow!" she cried. "If you're gonna do that, at least shave, okay?"
Criss held up his hands in a placating gesture. "Sorry," he said, and got out of bed. "Not even married yet and already you're acting like a wife!"
"Is that a compliment or an insult?" Sandra shot back.
Criss pulled on his dark blue robe and padded into the master bath. "Is that a trick question?"
Sandra rolled her eyes in exasperation. She heard a steady stream of water splash on marble tile. "Plenty of room in here," Criss called out. "Wanna join me?"
The invitation was too enticing to refuse. Sandra grabbed a pink silk kimono that had been lying on a chair, pulled it on, and headed for the bathroom. She opened the door and stepped into the steaming shower where her fiance' waited for her sans bathrobe. "Come on in," he said seductively, "the water's fine."
Sandra removed her kimono, revealing her tanned, nude body, and embraced him. "So are you," she murmured.
(Sorry I got to cut this short, but I got to go to work. I'll pick it up later. V.)
06-18-2012, 10:54 PM
06-18-2012, 10:57 PM
Who wouldn't mind be a fly on that wall. PS After reading that I need a cold shower :o
06-19-2012, 03:32 AM
Sandra wrapped her arms around Criss's waist. A petite woman, she barely came up to his chin, but that did not deter her from reaching up and kissing his wet face. Criss caressed her smooth skin with all the dexterity he had gained from years of card tricks and sleight of hand. The billowing steam swirled around them, condensing on their melded flesh and dripping onto the tile floor. The hissing of the water from the shower, coupled with their moans of pleasure...ah, sweet oblivion!
All suddenly shattered by the irritating deedling of Criss' cell phone in the bedroom.
Criss shot out an expletive like a bullet from a gun, grabbed a towel, wrapped it around his waist, and stormed out of the bathroom. With a deep, disapponted sigh, Sandra turned off the shower, took another towel from the rack and dried herself off. In the bedroom, she could hear Criss babbling away about business with whomever had the temerity to call at the very moment of ecstacy in the shower. These constant demands of her finace's time had become a daily irritation. True, Criss' career allowed them to live the high life--the twenty-five million dollar mansion in which they lived; the expensive cars; the designer clothes--but the one luxury they didn't have was time to be together, alone. Everywhere they went, cameras flashed, perfect strangers called Criss by name and demanded his autograph, a picture, a magic trick or something from him. Even in the security of the estate he called Serenity there was seldom a serene moment with him alone: someone was always calling him on the phone, or knocking on his door. Such was the price to pay for being the bride to be of a celebrity.
Her amorous mood gone, Sandra blow dried her long brown hair and prepared to greet the day. Today, she and Criss would be going to the Luxor Hotel, his base of operations since his MindFreak days, to go over some changes regarding his live show, Believe. With any luck, she might be able to entice him into taking her somewhere for a quiet, private lunch. Yeah, and maybe the moon would fall out of the sky, she thought.
06-19-2012, 09:49 AM
Great Chapters :) really liking this story :) can't wait to read more :)
06-21-2012, 07:43 PM
Meanwhile, in the bedroom, Criss was sitting on the edge of the bed, talking to his manager, Dave Baram, on his cell phone, his wet hair dripping. "Do I really have to adjust my whole production schedule for this?" he asked. "I mean, can't we give the guy a couple of complimentary passes to the matinee or something?"
"Criss, this is Buzz Aldrin we're talking about!" Dave said, growing more anxious by the minute. "This guy's a genuine American hero, for God's sakes! We're talking Apollo 11, here; first man on the moon and all that!"
"Actually, Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon," Criss reminded him. "Buzz was the second."
"Who the (bleep) cares!" Dave cried. "He's coming here to the Luxor for a special exhibit and we gotta do something about it! Get him on MagicPlace dot com or whatever! This is gonna be big, Criss! This could be huge!"
Criss sighed. As much as he prided himself on being totally in control of his career, there were times when somebody or something usurped it, leaving him no choice but to adapt, be it the weather or visiting former astronauts. "Okay, fine," he grumbled, "I'll see what I can do."
Baram seemed to relax a little. "Fine," he said, "see you in an hour or so."
Criss muttered a simple "Later," and turned off his phone. Sandra emerged from the bathroom, tying her kimono around her. "What was that all about?" she asked.
"Well, it seems that Dave wants me to make room for Buzz Aldrin on my show this weekend," Criss explained. "He's coming to the Luxor for some sort of exhibit or something."
Sandra's big, dark eyes widened. "Buzz Aldrin? The astronaut?"
Criss nodded. "Yeah."
He rose to his feet and went back into the bathroom to shave. "So how come Dave wants you to get him on your show?" Sandra asked.
"Oh, I dunno," Criss replied as he slathered shaving cream onto his jaw. "Because he thinks it'll be good for ratings, I guess."
Sandra picked up a pair of panties and a lacy bra and began to dress. "Your ratings aren't that bad, are they?"
Criss dragged the razor across his face. "With Dave, anything below one hundred percent isn't good enough. The guy'll do anything to boost ratings short of--OWWW! Son of a (bleep)!"
Sandra stopped dressing. "You okay in there?"
"Ah, I just cut myself shaving, that's all," Criss grumbled. "Not the first time."
He daubed the tiny wound with a piece of toilet tissue and went on shaving. "Anyway, Dave wants me to book Buzz on MagicPlace for an interview. Don't know why--I mean, the guy's not a magician or anything."
"Well, you had other non magician celebrities on you show before, haven't you?"
"Yeah, but they were mostly friends of mine, entertainer types," Criss said as he wiped his face. "I don't even know Buzz Aldrin, personally. I mean, I was just a baby when he landed on the moon. Don't know how I'm gonna get him on the show."
Sandra slipped a silky tank top over her head. "Well, you promised Dave you would."
"I didn't promise Dave anything," Criss argued as he emerged from the bathroom, clean shaven save for a small round Band-Aid on his chin where he had cut himself. "I said I'd see what I could do, that's all. He probably won't be able to make it anyway," he added as he grabbed a pair of raggedy jeans and pulled them on over his CK briefs. "He's probably got a full agenda as it is."
"Well, you can try, anyway."
"Yeah, I can try, sure, but I'm not gonna promise anything definate."
He pulled a grey Affliction T-shirt over his still wet head. Once it passed his eyes he saw Sandra's shapely behind, ill concealed by a purple thong, presented to him in all its glory. Now there's a moon shot for ya! he thought laciviously.
He approached her doubled over form, making beeping noises. "Houston, we're approaching the Sea of Tranquility," he spoke in a staticky voice with his hand over his mouth. Then he grabbed her by the hips and ground his loins into her flesh. "Tranquility Base, here! The Eagle has landed!"
Sandra giggled and pulled away. "Will you knock it off?" she laughed. "I thought you had to go to work." She hiked up her shorts and grabbed him by the hand. "Now, come on, Buzz Aldrin," she said, leading him out of the bedroom, "we got to get some breakfast."
Criss hummed a few bars of "Fly Me to the Moon" as he allowed himself to be led downstairs into the dining room. His personal chef, Ed Bible, had already laid a light summer breakfast of fruit, whole grain muffins, and coffee. He would have preferred more substantial fare, but his last visit to the doctor reminded him that he was in his mid forties and should be eating healthier if he intended to keep up with the demands of his career. Wonder what the Apollo astronauts ate before they went to the moon, he thought as he sat down at the huge table. Better than this, probably.
06-21-2012, 10:23 PM
Criss' chef needed to add some Tang to the breakfast menu! :D Loving this story already Veritas! Post more soon! :D
06-21-2012, 10:41 PM
Criss is such a horn dog sometimes. PS Nice joke Smurf :D
06-22-2012, 12:17 PM
Criss' chef needed to add some Tang to the breakfast menu! :D Loving this story already Veritas! Post more soon! :D
Do they still make that stuff? I haven't seen it in a long time. :confused:
06-22-2012, 01:41 PM
I don't know if they still make Tang. :confused: Do remember drinking a lot of it when I was a kid. Of course that was many, many years ago! :D
Loyal Lady Dee
06-23-2012, 03:56 AM
Nice job as always, Veritas! Looking forward to reading the rest of the story! :)
06-23-2012, 07:51 AM
Great Chapter , looking forward to reading more :)
06-23-2012, 03:10 PM
Criss is such a horn dog sometimes. PS Nice joke Smurf :D
What joke? What'd Smurf tell you?
06-23-2012, 03:54 PM
What joke? What'd Smurf tell you?
It wasn't me that made a joke , it was loyal lee :) , can't wait to read more of this story :)
06-23-2012, 04:10 PM
Sorry wrong person :o
06-23-2012, 05:11 PM
That ok Sweetie :)
06-24-2012, 12:49 AM
Sandra picked up a muffin, broke off a tiny piece, and spread a daub of low-fat margarine upon it. "So, you really think you can get Buzz Aldrin on your show?" she asked.
"Hard to say, babe," Criss replied as he popped a piece of canteloupe into his mouth. "He's already here for his own exhibit, so he's probably got a pretty tight schedule as it is." He swallowed, and added, "I'd be lucky to get a photo op with him. I mean, the guy's an American hero, for chrissakes! I can't think of anyone who doesn't want to meet him."
Sandra sipped her coffee as she mused about the subject. "I know I would," she said. "I mean, someone who's actually walked on the moon--that would have to be a once in a lifetime experience!"
"Meeting him or actually walking on the moon?"
"Meeting him, of course, silly!" Sandra giggled. "Of course, actually going to the moon would qualify, too, but, well, I don't think I'm cut out for space travel." She looked at Criss. "Would you like to travel in space someday?" she asked.
"Me?" Criss mumbled through a mouthful of muffin. He hastily chewed and swallowed, almost choking as he did so. "(Bleep), I dunno," he said, taking a gulp of coffee to clear his throat. "It'd probably be fun for a while, but, tell you the truth, I like it here on Earth just fine. Why?
"Oh, nothing," Sandra replied airily. "It's just that I read about plans to set up space colonies, especially when the world comes to an end on December twenty-first--"
Criss held up his hand to silence her. "Sandra, please!" he groaned. "I don't wanna hear about it. The world is not going to come to an end on December twenty-first, no matter what the Mayans or the Incas or whoever the hell says it is! It's all just a lot of bull(bleep), so let's just drop it, okay?"
"Okay," Sandra said, backing off, "fine, whatever."
"Look, I didn't mean to--"
"No, no, you're right, it's all a lot of BS as you say."
"I'm just saying you shouldn't believe everything you read that's all. I mean, hey, I've been a victim of a few conspiracy theories myself."
Sandra looked up. "You?"
"Yeah, me. Some wack job started a website accusing me of being the AntiChrist, if you can believe it!"
Sandra burst out laughing. "The what?"
"Yeah, really, he accused me of being the AntiChrist. Can't go into too much detail about it, but he was pretty serious at the time."
"Did you sue him or anything?"
"Him?" Criss scoffed. "I wouldn't give him the time of day!" He glanced at his watch. "Speaking of time of day, we got to get going! We got a lot to do today!"
Criss wolfed down the last of his muffin, washing it down with coffee, then rose from the table. "I'll bring the car around," he shouted as he made his way to the garage. "You get the files!"
Sandra got up and walked to the office. The files for the week's production schedule lay on the desk in a flat leather binder, ready to go. She picked them up and carried them to the front entrance. Outside, she could hear the roar of a very expensive car engine. Several months of living with Criss had taught her which of his cars made what sound when revving up, and this particular one meant they would be taking the Viper to work. I hope he stays within the speed limit this time, she thought anxiously.
The gull wing door on the sleek black roadster flew open. "You got the files?" Criss shouted over the engine.
Sandra waved the black folder to show him that she did. "Okay," he yelled, "hop in!"
With not a little trepidation, Sandra slipped into the passenger seat, clutching the folder like a life preserver. No sooner did she buckle her seat belt than Criss shifted into gear and sped down the drive. "Aaaaannnnd Houston, we have liftoff!" he crowed as the Viper flew down the road and vanished over the horizon.
06-24-2012, 03:42 AM
I wonder how many tickets Criss has gotten for speeding?????
06-24-2012, 11:27 AM
If he got too many, he'd lose his license.
06-24-2012, 01:15 PM
Criss hardly drives himself anywhere. Tommy is safely behind the wheel most of the time making sure he gets where he needs to be. :)
06-24-2012, 04:54 PM
Cool chapter, I would love to go for spin in the viper , can't wait to read more :)
Loyal Lady Dee
06-25-2012, 01:30 AM
:) Looking forward to the next part!
06-25-2012, 03:24 AM
Cool chapter, I would love to go for spin in the viper , can't wait to read more :)
I wouldn't mind the lambo or the rolis royce :D
06-25-2012, 01:28 PM
06-25-2012, 06:43 PM
In the basement of a small, rundown ranch house somewhere in North Las Vegas, a shaggy-haired, bearded figure sat hunched over a red 1990s model Apple computer on a small metal desk. His blue eyes were bloodshot and watering from too much exposure to the glare of the monitor, but he continued to type furiously on the battered beige keyboard, refusing to let up no matter how tired he was. He was a man on a mission, and he would not stop until he had completed it.
The tiny basement bedroom was wallpapered with newspaper clippings, pages torn from magazines, and computer printouts from various websites. A crude bookshelf made from cinderblocks and two-by-eight planks stood in a far corner, crammed to the point of collapsing under the weight of dozens of paperbacks in various sizes, with such titles as The Roswell Cover-Up; Day of Shadows: How LBJ and the CIA Did Away With JFK; Nostradamus and the Mayan Prophecy; Big Brother in Washington: How the CIA Keeps Tabs on Everybody; What the Gov't DOESN'T Want You to Know! and so on.
The shaggy-haired typist, Boone Morris by name (aka the Truthteller on the Web) was entering his latest diatribe against what he called the thirty billion dollar boondoggle. According to his sources (consisting of a few paperback books and whatever he gleaned from Google), NASA had faked the entire Apollo 11 mission back in 1969. The so-called "moon landing" had been filmed in a Hollywood studio and passed off as the real thing. Careful studying of the film and the photos taken, however, revealed more than a few discrepencies: the shadows were not in sync, the flag fluttered in the "airless" atmosphere, and Buzz Aldrin's descent from the lunar module was too bright in the shadow of the capsule. These tiny details were concrete proof that the whole moon shot was a lot of moonshine as far as Morris was concerned.
"And now," the Truthteller said as he typed in the words, "after forty years, despite evidence to the contrary, the three so-called 'astronauts' are still hailed as American heroes! One of the conspirators--for conspirators they are--is coming here to Las Vegas on a lecture tour for his SpaceShare program. Yes, truthseekers! That publicity hound, Buzz Aldrin, is coming here to Sin City, live and in person, to perpetuate the myth of the Apollo moon landing! I say we must all band together and demand that Aldrin tell the truth about the hoax NASA has pulled for over four decades on the American people! Strip away the facade! Force him to admit the fakery! We cannot and will not be denied the truth! Stand up and be counted, truthseekers! Stop the madness! End the deceit! We will not be denied!"
With a sigh of satisfaction, Boone hit Send. His eyes burned and his head pounded, but he felt vindicated. Soon, everyone would know what a fraud Buzz Aldrin had been, along with all the other Apollo astronauts. There would be a hue and cry over it, but that was to be expected. The truth is always hard to accept at first, especially after having labored under a government sponsored delusion, but in the end, the light of knowledge would overcome the darkness of falsehood, and everyone would see the real picture as clear as day.
There was a knock on the flimsy wooden door. Boone's satisfaction turned to irritation over being disturbed. "Who is it?" he snapped.
"It's me," a woman's voice spoke from the other side, "Roxanne."
"Go away!" Boone shouted. "Can't you see I'm busy?"
"I can't see anything with the door closed," Roxanne retorted.
Irate, Boone shot up from his plastic desk chair and strode over to the door. "Whaddya want?" he growled.
Roxanne leaned against the door frame, crossing her tattooed arms. "Actually, I want a lot of things," she said. "I want you to get off your lame ass and do your share around the house for Mom's sake; I want you to pay me back all the money I gave you; and, I want you to give up all these (bleeping) conspiracy theories you've been spreading around all these years and get a life! But, right now, I just want to tell you that breakfast is ready and Mom doesn't like waiting."
"You know, that's the trouble with you, Roxie," Boone said. "You're too consumed with the trivial. You spend your time slaving away at some club while jamming away with your no-talent punk band, hoping to make it into the big time, which, by the way, you won't, that you fail to see the big picture. We're nearing the end times, Sis, and all you think about is your petty, physical needs for the moment. Me? I'm reaching out to people, telling them what's really out there!"
"If you don't come up with your share of the rent," Roxanne said, "it's your ass that's gonna be out there--on the street! Now, come on, at least get some breakfast. Mom's waiting."
(Have to cut this short again. Will be back later. V.)
06-26-2012, 03:24 AM
I hate these conspiracy nut jobs. They all should be locked up in a psych ward
06-26-2012, 08:37 PM
Boone huffed and followed his sister upstairs. He caught the smell of frozen waffles toasting in the oven (Mom never got the toaster fixed, and she refused to buy a new one because she was on a fixed income and needed to save as much as she could) and hot sausage grease. Another cheap meal in a cheap house in a cheap neighborhood.
The Morris family had never been prosperous as a rule, but things had gone from bad to worse since Dad died and his GI insurance ran out two years ago, leaving Mom with nothing to live on except her Social Security checks and whatever rent her children gave her. Roxy's gigs were few and far between, and when she and her band landed one, she would be lucky if she cleared a hundred dollars a night. By day, she worked at the desk of a local tattoo parlor for eight bucks and hour; the only perk she had were the tattoos sleeving her arms from wrists to shoulders, all free of charge. It was good for business, the tattooist had told her; it was like free advertising. For Roxy, however, it was good for her image as a punk rocker without the expense. And it was steady work, unlike her brother, Boone, who drifted through a series of dead-end jobs and was collecting unemployment--again--while he hunkered down in the basement on his computer, hacking out conspiracy theories that no one in their right mind would believe.
Their mother, Melody Morris, had been a real head-turner back in the day, with flowing strawberry blonde hair, a curvaceous figure that looked dynamite in a bikini, and blue eyes to die for. Now, after nearly forty years of marriage which ended in Dave's death from a massive heart attack, with two children in the interim, her body had thickened in the middle, and the strawberry blonde tresses had been clipped to neck length and turned white with age. She shuffled in a threadbare chenille bathrobe and dirty, worn house slippers, back and forth from the range to the table, laying out processed waffles and shriveled sausage links with a plastic spatula, resigned to a life of struggle and deprivation.
Her two children sat down at the table in their accustomed places, Boone to the right, Roxy to the left, while their mother sat between them at the end. The fourth chair at the head remained empty, a neglected, silent memorial to Dave Morris, husband and father. Three waffle squares and three sausage links were distributed among them, doused with a squirt of bargain brand syrup and spread with bargain brand margarine. A glass of instant breakfast drink stood beside each plastic plate, a token effort to provide some sort of nutrition to the household.
"So, what is it this time, Boone," Mom Morris said as she stirred Sweet-N-Low into her coffee. "JFK? UFOs? The Loch Ness Monster?"
Boone took a gulp of orange drink. "Mom, this is serious," he said.
"It's always serious with you, isn' it?" his mother said. "If you spent as much time looking for work--and keeping a job--as much as you spent on these harebrained ideas of yours, you could actually make something of yourself."
"They're not 'harebrained ideas', Mom," Boone argued. "There's evidence of a cover-up, and it's my duty as an American citizen to inform everyone about the truth!"
"About what, for chrissakes?"
Boone leaned forward. "About the Apollo mission, for example," he replied. "I've gathered mountains of evidence that the whole thing was faked."
Melody set down her coffee cup. "Boone," she said, "I remember the Apollo missions very clearly. I saw them on TV when I was a kid--"
"No, Mom," Boone argued, "what you saw was a hoax, a set-up in some Hollywood backlot. They shot the whole thing here on Earth--we never went to the moon!"
His mother rolled her eyes. "It's true!" Boone insisted. "The photographs, the film footage--everything was faked! If you looked closely at them, you'd see--"
"Boone," Roxy moaned, "give it a rest, willya?"
"No, I'm not gonna give it a rest!" Boone exploded as he rose from his chair. "I'm not gonna rest until the world sees that the Apollo mission was a big hoax! I have evidence, and I'm gonna use it!"
"Where?" Melody asked.
Boone sat down again. "This weekend, Buzz Aldrin is coming to the Luxor for a lecture on his ShareSpace program," he explained. "And when he does, I'm gonna force him to tell the truth once and for all."
Both Roxy and her mother stared at him in shock. "Oh, no, you're not!" the latter told him firmly.
"Oh, yes, I am," Boone shot back. "Somebody's gotta take a stand here, and that someone is gonna be me!"
He gobbled the rest of his meager breakfast, drained his orange drink to the last drop, and rose from the table. "Now, if you'll excuse me," he said, "I have work to do."
With that, he strode back toward the basement stairs. "Why don't you do some real work for a change?" his mother called out after him. "How long is your unemployment benefits gonna last this time, huh? Why don't you start living in the real world and get a job, for chrissakes? You owe me two months' back rent! I can't support the three of us forever, you know! I'm on a fixed income!"
But Boone was well out of earshot of his mother's tirade. He trotted down the wooden stairs and into the tiny basement bedroom, slamming the door behind him. There was much to do between now and the weekend. He had to assemble and organize his case against Buzz Aldrin and the rest of NASA. When he went into the Luxor, he was going in loaded for bear.
06-27-2012, 06:00 PM
I hate these conspiracy nut jobs. They all should be locked up in a psych ward
Some of them have proven themselves to be correct, you know. A few, but not all. Erin Brokovitch, for example, and the lady who exposed the Love Canal pollution, and Karen Silkwood.
06-27-2012, 07:48 PM
I meant the one like in your story those people need to be locked up
Loyal Lady Dee
06-28-2012, 05:23 AM
And the plot thickens! Can't wait for the next chapter :)
06-28-2012, 06:58 PM
Lucas "Big Luke" Macaffey, chief of security at the Luxor Hotel and Resort, watched as a hotel maintenance employee spread a large poster in one of the display cases, fitting it squarely into the frame and smoothing out the wrinkles. Normally, Big Luke would not concern himself with such a mundane task, focused as he was with enforcing law and order in the two million square foot pyramid-shaped hotel, but this one was different. Very different.
With your host: Buzz Aldrin
Our mission is to share the wonders of space
with children of all ages
and to foster affordable space travel opportunities
for all people.
We aim to facilitate space flight experiences,
expand human exploration
and advance space science education.
June ** to July**, 20**
The hotel staffer closed the glass door and turned to leave. He was startled to see the chief of security there, and instantly became nervous. "Oh, excuse me, Chief," he stammered, "I didn't see you there. Everything okay?"
Macaffey flashed one of his rare grins. "It's okay, son," he said in a genial tone, "everything's fine. Just wanted to see what you were putting up there, that's all."
The staffer respectfully backed away to allow Macaffey to read the poster. "Buzz Aldrin's coming to the Luxor to talk about his space program," he informed him unnecessarily.
Macaffey nodded. "Yeah, I see he is," he said. "Looking forward to it. It's not every day we get to meet a real American hero, right?"
"Right you are, sir," the staffer replied nervously as he picked up his tool box. "You'll excuse me?"
Big Luke dismissed him with an indifferent wave of the hand. The staffer made a hasty retreat. Even though Macaffey had been friendly enough, the presence of the hotel's top cop was intimidating to all who met him. Stories of his previous career as a guard at Nevada's super maximum security prison made their way through the hotel grapevine. How many were true or exaggerated was a matter of conjecture, but the sheer bulk of the man, coupled with his militant attitude toward keeping order in and around the hotel, kept everyone walking on eggshells whenever he was around. Being chief of security, of course, he was around a lot.
Macaffey continued on his way, mellow in mood but senses still on full alert. So Buzz Aldrin's coming to the Luxor, he mused. Won't that be something! Imagine, a real American hero coming here, live and in person, to talk about the Apollo mission! Beats hell out of strippers and magicians, that's for sure!
That last thought had barely faded out of consciousness when Macaffey spotted the Luxor's hottest attraction, Criss Angel, strolling through the lobby with his girlfriend by his side. "Hey, Big Luke," he said as he passed.
He greeted Criss with a perfunctory "Morning," and continued on his way. No time for pleasantries; he had a job to do, and he had to get to the security office to do it.
He barely had time to pour himself a cup of coffee and settle down at his desk when the phone rang. Macaffey snatched the receiver just after the first ring and put it to his ear. "Security, chief speaking," he barked.
"Uh, hello," a nervous woman's voice spoke over the line. "I-I-I just called to report...well, something that you should be aware of, I guess."
"Yes, ma'am," Macaffey said with cool, professional patience.
"Uh, you know that the astronaut, Buzz Aldrin is coming to the Luxor, right?" the woman said.
"That's right, ma'am. What about it?"
"Well, there's someone who's planning to...oh, how do I put this?"
"Well, I guess you could call him a conspiracy theorist," the woman blurted out finally. "He's coming over to the Luxor to cause trouble. He thinks the moon mission was a hoax, and he's planning to disrupt the whole thing while Buzz Aldrin's there."
Macaffey nodded understandingly. "Now, don't you worry about a thing, ma'am," he assured her. "If there's any trouble, we'll take care of it. You know who this guy is?"
"His name's Boone Morris. He's about five-eleven, long, brown hair, light brown eyes, pale, and has a small beard."
Boone Morris, 5'11", long brwn hair, lite brwn eyes, pale, beard, Macaffey scribbled on his notepad. "Got it," he said. "If we see him, we'll handle him.
"Thank you, sir," the woman said, obviously relieved.
"Glad to be of service, ma'am. Will that be all?"
"Yes, thank you. Good-bye."
"Yes, ma'am, have a nice day."
Macaffey hung up the phone and read what he had written on the notepad. Boone Morris, a pale man of average height with long brown hair and a beard and eyes to match, a conspiracy theorist nut job out to make trouble during Buzz Aldrin's visit. Well, not on Lucas Macaffey's watch! Even if that lady hadn't called, bless her heart, he would've made damn sure that wacko didn't cause any trouble around the hotel! Didn't believe the moon shot was real--geez! What had this guy been smoking?
06-28-2012, 11:07 PM
Five bucks that was his sister who just called
07-02-2012, 10:04 PM
The morning progressed uneventfully enough for a major Las Vegas hotel and casino: no fights broke out anywhere, no one had been caught cheating at the blackjack tables, no thefts had been reported--not even so much as a missing wallet or a set of keys had been turned in. The hotel staff performed their accustomed duties with quiet efficiency, whether it was carrying luggage, sanitizing the bathrooms in the suites, raking in or cashing chips in the casino, or mixing a Manhattan for an elderly man dressed impeccably in a tailored suit sitting at the bar of the hotel lounge.
Daniel "Springs" Springer, eighty-eight years old and feeling every minute of it, accepted his cocktail with a brief thanks and a ten-dollar bill, adding a mumbled "Keep the change," to the deep-bosomed bartender. His doctor had warned him to lay off the booze since his stomach transplant two years ago, but what the hell did he have to live for, anyway? No wife, no kids, no plans for the future--nothing. Just a big effing Tudor mansion cared for by a single housekeeper, the mother of his former caregiver, Cassie--or was it Casey?--who had been Mick's caregiver for years. Whatever. All he had was booze and blackjack to fill his time before his number came up and he would join his buddies in the Great Beyond, and to hell with what the doctor said.
Springs had been a collector, the guy who went around picking up the cash from the hotels and casinos in exchange for "protection". When somebody refused to pay up, it was his job to put on the pressure until they coughed up the dough or faced the consequences. On the rare occasions when that happened, Springs made sure he was as far away from the action as humanly possible. The last thing he wanted was to be mixed up in a murder case; Nevada was one of the few states that still had the death penalty. Springs had never been charged with murder, then or now, though he knew where some of the bodies were buried, a secret he vowed he would carry to his grave. No one would ever call Danny Springer a rat, that was for sure! Oh, sure, there had been his book, The Guys of Glitter Gulch, in which he told all--or almost all--after fifty years or so. There were some things from the old days that were best left buried, for reasons known only to himself. Still, he wondered if keeping quiet was worth it after all these years. No one was around to whack him for anything, and the statute of limitations had run out, so there was no fear of prison. He was too old to be charged, anyway. That was one thing in his favor.
Then there was all the hoopla about the opening of the new mobster museum where he had been the guest of honor (he even got the cut the ribbon), but, in retrospect, he was just a has-been gangster, a rotting relic of Sin City's golden era. Despite the graphically real stories of mob hits, extortion, and the billions of dollars skimmed from casino profits (some of which were now sitting in Springs' various bank accounts and tax shelters), the public was still entranced by the glamour of it all. Everybody who viewed the exhibits of the museum saw only the wealth it bought, heard only tales of the danger and the murders of Bugsey Siegel and others. They never experienced the fear of every day might being your last that ate into your gut when you woke up in the morning, nor of going to bed wondering if you would die in the night, and not from a heart attack, either. Death stalked you at every turn. You were constantly looking over your shoulder, always keeping an eye out for someone with a gun in his coat pocket or a razor up his sleeve. You couldn't start your car without tensing up out of fear there was a bomb under the hood. The Guys of Glitter Gulch had been lucky: each member, save for Springs, had lived to die of old age, more or less. Pretty rare in those days, that was for sure. Springs could count on one hand every business associate who lived past sixty, and he was one of them.
It was a messy business, the rackets, but it had been profitable for all four members of The Guys. All four--Springs, Mick Piccucci, Bluesey and Shorty--had retired rich, thanks to Bluesey's creative bookeeping and near encyclopedic knowledge of the current tax laws. Springs himself was worth over ten million dollars; Mick had been worth close to nine when he kicked the bucket (Springs shut out the memories of the so-called Piccucci Affair, when Mick's greedy ex-wife, greedy son and even greedier daughter-in-law tried to rub each other out to get the estate), and Shorty and Bluesey had been pretty comfortable, too. In their case, crime not only paid, but paid handsomely. Now they were all gone, and Springs had been left behind to tell the tale. What a crock.
(I'm a little stuck here. Will finish later. I think I'm getting rusty in my storytelling skills. V.)
07-02-2012, 10:50 PM
Can't wait to see how Danny may play into this
07-03-2012, 06:58 PM
Springs turned around to see the smiling face of Criss Angel, with his pint-sized girlfriend under his arm (literally under it--she barely came up to his chest), both striding toward the bar. Seeing him dusted off a few memory cells in his aging brain: he remembered he was going to meet Criss' mother, Didi, for lunch that day at Adamo's. Lucky thing the guy came along, or Springs would have forgotten it.
"So, how's it going?" Criss asked.
The old man merely shrugged. "Can't complain," he said glibly, despite his past musings while he had been nursing his Manhattan. "Just killin' time before my lunch date with your ma."
"What time are you meeting her?"
Springs thought for a moment. "Twelve-thirty."
Criss glanced at his watch. "You've got half an hour 'til then," he said. "Like some company?"
"Hey, why not?" Springs said. "Pull up as stool and make yourselves at home, here. I always do."
Criss sat down on the old man's left while Sandra took the stool on the right. Immediately the bartender appeared before them. "Can I get you anything?" she asked.
Sandra ordered a Mimosa while Criss asked for a Martini. Springs declined another Manhattan. "Trying to cut back," he muttered in the way of an excuse. "Don't wanna be too crocked when I meet yer ma, y'know."
Criss chuckled a bit. "Say, you remember Sandra, my fiancee', don't you?" he asked. "Sandra, this is Springs. I told you about him, remember?"
"Yeah, you did," Sandra said. "Nice to meet you, Springs."
Springs tilted his glass in a salute. "Same here," he said.
There was an awkward moment of silence, then Criss found something to say. "So," he began, "how was the opening of the new mobster museum? Heard you were there for it."
Springs drained the last of his Manhattan. "Not only was I there, Angel," he said, "but you're lookin' at the guy who cut the ribbon."
"Wow," Criss said, "that must've been quite an honor."
"Yeah, well," Springs hedged, "it was no big deal, really."
"See anyone you knew from the old days?"
"Besides Oscar, not really."
"Who's Oscar?" Sandra asked.
Springs looked at her. "Whaddya mean, 'who's Oscar?'. Oscar Goodman, the mayor, that's who! Ain't you read the papers?"
Sandra was surprised. "You know the mayor?"
Springs nodded. "Oh, yeah," he said. "Used to be the defense attorney for just about everyone in the rackets back in the day. Damn good one, too. Kept me and The Guys outta jail. Oscar and me, we go way back."
"So, uh, did you have fun at the opening?" Sandra floundered, still stunned at this sudden revelation about the mayor of Las Vegas.
Another shrug. "I wouldn't call it 'fun'," he said. "I guess the best word would be 'bittersweet'. Lotta photos of what Vegas used to be, but there are a lotta things I'd rather forget."
"Like what?" Criss asked.
Springs turned and faced Criss. "A lot of things," he repeated more emphatically. "Things you're better off not knowing." He swirled the melting ice in his glass. "Take it from me, kid," he said, "ignorance is truly bliss as far as my past is concerned."
"But you told everything in your book," Criss argued.
The old man shook his gaunt head. "Not everything," he said. "There's a lotta stuff I've forgotten over the years, and there's a lotta stuff I wish I could forget. Things that not even old age can erase, y'know. The mob museum bought back a lot of it, unfortunatly. I dunno why they had to glamorize it like they did. They don't know the half of it, the half I lived through. The dark side."
"The dark side?" Sandra half-whispered fearfully.
"Yeah, the dark side," Springs repeated. "The fear you live with every day. The feelin' yer gonna get whacked any minute. Tensing up every time a car drives past you, thinkin' there's some hitter in the back seat with a gun, ready to blow you straight to hell. Never knowin' when either the cops or the Syndicate is gonna come knocking on your door, and not just for coffee, either. Fearin' for your loved ones, knowing they make easy targets for payback. That's what I'm talkin' about."
Springs sighed heavily. "How the hell I survived all that in one piece, I'll never know," he said. "Sometimes I wonder why I did. Why didn't I go belly up with Mick and the rest of The Guys? Why am I still around?"
Criss laid a sympathetic hand on the old man's leg. "Springs..."
"Nah, nah, nah," Springs said, brushing him off. "Don't gimme that! You know my life's story, Angel: two divorces, lost my only son in 'Nam, and that whole mess with Mick's will. Everybody I know is dropping like flies around me, but me? I just keep on goin'. They should have given that stomach transplant to someone else, someone younger with more to look forward to in life. Why the hell do the keep me around, anyway? I'm just an effing relic from the past."
Criss leaned forward. "Because we need you," he replied. "You're practically the last living link to Vegas' golden era. You're here to set the record straight, to look past the glamor and glitz of it all and tell the truth about what it was really like back then. We need someone who's been there, seen it all, and lived to tell the tale. That's why you wrote your book, wasn't it?"
Springs grimaced thoughtfully. "Yeah, maybe," he replied in a low voice.
"And you're also here to take my mom out to lunch, remember?" Criss reminded him. "It's almost twelve-thirty--you better get a move on!"
Springs glanced at his watch and hopped off his stool. "Holy (bleep)!" he exclaimed. "I'm damn near late! See to the tab, willya, Angel?"
(to be continued).
07-04-2012, 03:05 AM
07-04-2012, 11:33 AM
07-06-2012, 11:17 PM
Sorry I'm stuck, folks. Gimme time, okay?
Loyal Lady Dee
07-07-2012, 12:07 AM
It's all good, Veritas, take your time writing this-you obviously have put a lot of work into your fanfictions, and if it's time you need to keep up with the story, than it's time you should take! :) You are a great writer!
07-07-2012, 07:55 PM
Criss could only stare at Springs' retreating backside. "Uh, yeah, sure," he mumbled bemusedly. "Uh, have a nice time."
The old man walked out of the lounge and headed for Adamo's. His pace was brisk for an eighty-eight year old man, but it was slower than from his younger days, and he tended to shuffle a bit. At least he never needed to use a cane or a walker like many of his generation still living. So many people his age or younger were confined to nursing homes or assisted living facilities, unable to feed themselves or even go to the crapper without help. Springs gave his deceased friend, Rob Bluseman, the accountant of the Guys, a mental note of gratitude for helping him become financially secure enough to stay independent. Good ol' Blusey, he mused, don't know what we'd of done without him.
"Excuse me, sir."
Springs turned and faced a brown-haired hippie type in a dirty grey t-shirt and grungy jeans holding out a white sheet of paper. Unpleasant memories of anti-Vietnam protesters and civil rights activists flooded into his brain. He wanted nothing to do with this punk and whatever cause he was supporting, and besides, Didi was waiting for him at the restaraunt. "I ain't got time for all this," he grumbled, brushing away the flyer, "get outta here."
The hippie was not to be deterred. "Sir," he said, trailing behind Springs, "do you realize that NASA has been deceiving the American public for over forty years? They've created the biggest hoax in history with a phoney moon landing!"
Springs halted in his tracks and twisted his head around. "Whaddya mean, hoax?" he said.
"But it's true!" the hippie insisted. "The entire Apollo 11 moon mission was a fake! They didn't even go to the moon! It took place right here on Earth!"
Springs looked squarely at the shaggy-haired young man. "Son," he said paitently, "I don't know what dope you're on, but I think you need to sober up and reread your history books. You may be too young to remember the moon shot, but I was there, and I saw it. There ain't been no hoax, no way, no how, and they got the pictures to prove it."
"That's just it!" the hippie cried. "All those photos, all that film footage--they were all produced in a Hollywood-type sound stage! It was all a set-up from the start! If you look closely, you can see the fakery..."
Springs began to wish he did have a cane, so he could beat some sense into this nutjob. Instead, he grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him closer. "Listen, pal," he said in his best mob-enforcer voice, "I don't know what game you're playin' here, but there ain't been no hoax, got it? There. Ain't. Been. No. Hoax. The moon shot was real, real as we're standin' here. Now, if I were you, I'd get my sorry ass outta this hotel--or else!" He released him with a shove. "Now, beat it!"
The hippie stumbled away, muttering curses under his breath. Springs headed for Adamo's, muttering curses under his. Damn hippie punks! Gotta turn the whole effing world upside down, just to cause trouble! The nerve of that guy, saying the Apollo mission was a hoax! Why, that was a slap in the face of the whole country and everything it stood for! America busted its collective ass getting those three astronauts (he couldn't recall their names at the moment) to the moon and back, and this was the thanks they got? Buncha effing Commies, that's what they were! They should go back to effing Russia, if that's how they feel!
His sour mood did not lessen when he arrived at Adamo's, despite the professional courtesy extended to him by the staff. He sat down at his table with a grumbled thanks and ordered a glass of white wine. In spite of his irritation, he pragmatically chose to lay off the cocktails before lunch; God forbid Didi should think he was a lush.
His eye caught a list of events hosted by the Luxor. For lack of anything else to do besides drink himself into a stupor, he picked it up and skimmed it over idly.
There was that strip show, Fantasy, but Springs had long ago lost his taste for such erotic entertainment; age and two failed marriages had seen to that. There was that red-headed comedian, Carrot Top, a wierd looking character whose very appearance would have had an audience screaming with laughter; he would have been a hit in vaudeville. On the serious side, there was that human body exhibit Springs found too gruesome for his taste: he'd seen too many freshly killed bodies in his time to care about some dissected, preserved ones.
And, of course, there was Criss Angel's MindFreak with Cirque de Soleil. He had seen it with Didi when they had first met and he had been bowled over by it. Quite a show: it was big, it was loud, and it was snappy, a far cry from the old vaudeville pull-a-rabbit-out-of-a-hat-variety magicians he had seen back in Queens as a kid. Still, Angel could have done with a better wardrobe. Those ragged jeans and t-shirts--hell, he didn't dress any better than that hippie he had run into. Didi should talk to her son about his personal appearance if he was going to stay in show business, he thought.
Springs looked around the restaraunt. What the hell was keeping Didi? Did she forget? Nah, her memory wasn't that bad, even at seventy-five. Maybe she stopped to talk to her son after all. He smiled as he imagined the scene. Christopher! When are you going to get some decent clothes? Here you are, the most famous magician in Las Vegas, and you dress like a bum! I should have Danny introduce you to his tailor--at least he knows how to dress!
Springs looked up and saw Didi standing before him, a vision of lovliness in a light blue summer dress. His sour mood about the hippie sweetened at the sight of her. Ever since he had met Didi (her real name was Dimitra; she had a tongue twister of a Greek surname which he always had a hard time recalling), his long, lonely life had become brighter, or at least more bearable. They had gone out to dinner together, seen the shows (and not just her famous son's, either), strolled the grounds of Springs' estate. She had even been his escort for the grand opening of the mob museum. It wasn't romance they were after, not at their ages. Besides, Didi was a widow who still harbored feelings for her late husband, John, and Springs was twice divorced; love and marriage was out of the question for both of them. They were just two lonely old people seeking companionship.
Remembering his manners, he stood up and pulled out the chair opposite from the one in which he had been sitting. Didi took her seat, smoothing the skirt of her dress as she did so. Springs sat down across from her. "Sorry I'm late," she said.
"Oh, no, no, no," Springs said with a dismissive wave of his hand. "It's a woman's perogative. And, anyway, it was worth the wait."
Didi blushed. "So," Springs began, "howya been, Didi?"
"Oh, fine," she replied, "and you?"
"Well, I'm still kickin'," he said. "You're lookin' good, as always."
"Oh, well, thank you," Didi said, blushing even deeper.
A waiter in a starched white shirt with a black bow tie arrived. "May I take your order?" he asked politely. "Would you like something from the bar?"
"Uh, yeah," Springs said. "I'll have another white wine. Didi?"
"I'll have the same," she said.
The waiter gave a little bow and swept away to fetch their drinks. "No Manhattan today, Danny?" Didi asked.
Springs shook his head. "Had one at the lounge already," he said. "Met your son and future daughter-in-law over there."
"Yeah. She's a little thing, ain't she?"
"Oh, she's almost as tall as I am, really."
"So, when's the big day?"
"Well, they promised me to keep it a secret for now," Didi replied. "They want to avoid a media circus. But I promise to send you an announcement at least," she added quickly.
The wine arrived in flawless crystal goblets. Didi ordered a pasta salad while Springs went for the salmon fillet. "Doc says I gotta eat more fish," he explained. "Good for the old ticker, y'know."
They chatted about this and that as they waited for their orders, the tone of their voices blending in harmoniously with those of the other diners. Soon, the topic of conversation turned to the subject of Springs' little run-in with the hippie conspiracy theorist. "That guy had some nerve," Springs said, shaking his head, "saying the moon shot was a hoax. Hell, I saw the whole thing on the tube, and I'm tellin' ya, it was no Hollywood soundstage, that was for sure! You saw it yourself, didn't ya, Didi?"
Didi smiled. "I remember some of it," she began, "but I was too busy putting Christopher down for his nap. He was only a baby at the time, you know." Her tone turned more serious. "But I do agree with you, yes," she said. "I don't know where that young man got such a silly idea, but I'm sure Buzz Aldrin will straighten him out when he gets here."
Springs was puzzled. "Buzz Aldrin is coming here?"
"Why, yes, of course he is," Didi said. "It's right here on the program." She handed him the card he had been perusing earlier. "You can read it for yourself."
He looked at the program card more closely than he did before. Sure enough, there was the announcement of Dr. Buzz Aldrin's ShareSpace lecture and exhibit coming this very weekend to the Luxor. "Hm," he grunted, "how about that?"
"I'm sure Buzz can prove that it wasn't a hoax," Didi said confidently.
"Well, I hope so," Springs said, setting the program aside. "I got a funny feeling in my gut that that hippie's gonna cause trouble when he gets here."
"Do you think we should tell security?" Didi suggested.
Springs thought about it. "Nah," he said. "This joint's got more cameras than a TV station. If that punk even looks like he's gonna make trouble, they'll nail 'im on the spot. Hell, they probably got 'im already, hassling people in here, handing out flyers--which, by the way, I know is against the rules here." He sat back with a sigh of contentment. "I don't think we'll have to worry about the likes of him anymore."
07-08-2012, 12:55 AM
I like Springs and Didi together
07-09-2012, 07:50 PM
The metal and glass door of the Luxor security office flew open with a bang. Two blue-jacketed security guards frog-marched a struggling young man with shaggy brown hair into the office, almost throwing him down on top of Macaffey's desk. The chief of security hid his surprise at this sudden intrusion under a steely demeanor and brusquely asked the guards, "All right, what's this guy in for?"
The guard on the right, Richler by name, slapped down a sheaf of crudely Xeroxed flyers. "We caught him handing these out in the lobby," he explained. "Plus, he was harrassing the guests about the moon landing or something."
"I wasn't harrassing anyone!" the brown-haired man protested. "I was trying to create awareness of the Apollo 11 hoax!"
Richler twisted his arm a bit tighter. "You keep quiet for now, okay?"
Apollo 11 hoax? That rang a bell in Macaffey's mind. He picked up one of the flyers and skimmed over it:
ATTENTION! ATTENTION! ATTENTION!
America's been deceived for over four decades of lies and forgeries
committed by its own government and "space program"!! The entire
Apollo moon landing has been FAKED!! The film footage and photos
are FORGERIES!! The ENTIRE so-called "moon landing" is a HOAX!!
Macaffey didn't bother to read the rest. He tossed the flyer aside and dug out his notepad from the bottom of the pile of papers covering his desk. He read the note from the telephone call he had received earlier. The guy seemed to match the description all right: five-eleven, brown hair and eyes to match. "You Boone Morris?" he asked.
The man was startled. "How do you know who I am?" he demanded.
Macaffey took that as a yes. "We got an anonymous tip this morning about you," he told him, waving the notepad. "Didn't expect to see you until this weekend, but, since you decided to show up early, you've just spared us a whole lotta trouble and yourself a good deal of embarrassment taking you into custody while Buzz Aldrin was here." He flashed a sarcastic grin. "Thanks for making my job a whole lot easier."
"Yeah?" Morris sneered. "Well, screw you, buddy! There ain't nothing that's gonna stop me from coming back here when he gets here! Swear to God, I'm gonna expose Aldrin for the lying son of a (bleep) he is! I'm gonna show everyone that that so-called moon landing--"
"Blah, blah, blah, big guy," Macaffey droned.
"--was nothing but a government sponsored hoax at the cost of several billion dollars coming out of the pockets of the American taxpayers!"
Macaffey leaned closer until he was nose to nose with Morris. "Listen, Boonie," he said, "I don't know where the hell you got this cockamaimie idea about the moon shot, but you're full of (bleep) as far as I'm concerned." He grabbed a handful of dirty grey t-shirt. "Now, you listen, and you listen good. The moon landing was not a hoax, there ain't no UFOs in New Mexico, flouridated water ain't a Communist plot, no one's planting microchips into anyone's arms, and Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. So, I suggest that you abandon all these nutty conspiracy theories of yours and start living in the real world. Okay?" He pulled him closer. "And," he added, gritting his teeth, "if I do see you here this weekend--or any other weekend for that matter--I'm gonna run your ass into jail so fast it'll make your head swim! Got it?"
He flung Morris away from his desk. "Get him outta here," he ordered his men. "He's cluttering up the place."
The guards turned Morris to the door. "And make damn sure he never sets foot in this hotel ever again!" Macaffey barked as they left.
Morris, however, did not go quietly. "You're making a big mistake!" he shouted. "We got to stop the fakery! You can't suppress the truth foreverrrrrrr!"
The metal and glass door swung shut, bringing a welcome silence. Macaffey picked up the stack of flyers and tossed them into the paper recycling bin, then returned to his computer terminal. He tapped on the keyboard at a slow but steady pace. He was growing more comfortable with a PC these days; pointing and clicking was a breeze. He wasn't much of a typist; he had to use the two-finger hunt-and-peck method, but after years of practice he became pretty good at it. He still let the more tech-savvy younger members of the staff do all the computer work, though--it was easier that way.
"Hmph!" a man's voice spoke. "What the hell was all that about?"
Macaffey stopped tapping and saw Rob Houghton, his second in command. "What are you doing here?" he asked. "You're not supposed to report for duty until six."
"Oh, nothing, really," Houghton replied drily, "just had to make some adjustments to my W-2, that's all. Stopped by to see how things were going." He jerked his thumb toward the door. "So, who was that guy?" he asked.
"Ah, just some conspiracy nut case going around, passing out flyers and bothering people," Macaffey replied. "Thinks the Apollo moon mission was a fake."
Houghton nodded. "Yeah," he said, "I've heard of these crackpots. Paranoid types who believe only what they want to believe in spite of everything. You sending him to the lockup?"
Macaffey shook his head. "Nah, I just threw him out on his ass. Ain't done nothing illegal, really," he said, "just breaking hotel policy about outside soliciting."
"Think he'll be back?"
"Not on my watch," Macaffey growled. "Or yours, got it?"
A single nod "Got it."
"And if he is crazy enough to come back here," Macaffey said, pointing a sausagelike finger at Houghton, "I'll bust his ass all the way to the county jail! I ain't gonna let no nut case like that bother anyone this weekend--especially Buzz Aldrin! It's not every day that a real American hero comes here to the Luxor, and I'm gonna make double-damn sure nothing goes wrong while he's here!"
Houghton's lips creased in a grim smile. "Don't you worry, Luke," he said, "Dr. Aldrin's going to have a completely trouble-free visit. I guarantee it."
Macaffey nodded in satisfaction and returned to his typing. Houghton left the office with a quick, "See ya." The silence returned, save for the clicking of the computer keyboard. The Boone Morris incident was forgotten for the time being. Other things concerned Macaffey now, and one of them was setting up the security detail for Buzz Aldrin's visit. He couldn't help but feel a bit of a thrill at the thought of one of the Apollo astronauts coming to the Luxor. Imagine! A real American hero, the first man to set foot on the moon (well, the second, really; Neil Armstrong had been the first, officially speaking), beating the Russkies into space and proving that America was technologially superior than they were! Like thousands of American boys back in the Sixties, he had wanted to become an astronaut just like Armstrong and Aldrin. He had even enlisted in the Air Force after high school. Unfortunately, joining the space program hadn't panned out for him. Instead, he had found himself grounded on earth, facing the gravity of being a prison guard among the toughest criminals in the state of Nevada, then here in the cushy surroundings of the Luxor Hotel and Resort.
Macaffey shrugged it off. He was too much of a professional to give in to daydreaming. The desire to be an astronaut was just a boyhood dream that had faded into the mists of time. At least he could make sure that Buzz Aldrin had a safe and pleasant stay here at the hotel, free from conspiracy freaks and other dangers which might present themselves.
Still, deep down inside, past the gruff exterior of the chief of security and former prison guard, was the skinny kid from Hoffman, Texas, with the freckled face and gap-toothed smile, wriggling with excitement over meeting Buzz Aldrin, live and in person.
07-09-2012, 11:26 PM
07-14-2012, 06:15 PM
Down in the housekeeping staff lounge, there were others who were just as excited as Big Luke Macaffey about meeting Buzz Aldrin. Lacey Keene, one of the senior maids, was passing around the snapshots her parents had taken of the Apollo 11 launch to her coworkers, explaining each and every one as they circulated around the break table. Mom and Dad Keene had arranged their vacation schedule back in 1969 to witness the momentious occasion first hand, traveling all the way from Lawrence, Kansas to Merritt Island, Florida by car. Lacey, their only child, hadn't been born yet (she would come along two years later), so they were free to travel unencumbered by family responsibilities for the time being. Armed with the latest model Kodak camera and a roll of high-quality color film, the Keenes stood within the crowd of onlookers, ready to record history in the making. It had been a long wait under the broiling Florida sun before anything happened, but the awesome power of the Saturn V SA-506 rocket roaring to life on launch pad LC 39-A at Kennedy Space Center, rising ever upward with the dreams and good wishes of the American people, had been worth it.
"Okay," she said, pointing at one of the faded, yellowing photos,"this one's the rocket before launch; Dad swore it was as tall as the Empire State Building. And this one's the loading elevator where the astronauts got into the capsule. That's one of the rocket boosters; Dad said his Buick could have fit inside it with room to spare. There's a shot of one of Neil Armstrong in there, somewhere."
Dorrie Lance held up a picture. "Is this it?"
Lacey looked at it. "Yeah, that's it," she said.
"You sure that's Neil Armstrong?" Dorrie asked.
"Oh, yeah," Lacey replied, nodding. "You see that red stripe on his suit? That's means he's the commander of the mission."
Dorrie was suitably impressed. "Hm, interesting," she said. "Learn something new every day."
"So, you going to see his show?" Tanisha Verrill asked Lacey.
Lacey's face fell. "Wish I could," she said ruefully, "but I'm scheduled to work this weekend. Be nice if I could go see him, but, well, you know..."
"Gotta pay the bills," Tanisha finished for her.
"Gotta pay the bills," Lacey echoed.
"Maybe you'll get lucky and get his room to clean on your schedule," Dorrie said hopefully.
"Yeah," Lacey sniffed, "and maybe the moon will fall out of the sky."
Lunch at Adamo's had been superb. Springs and Dimitra decided to forego dessert (for health reasons), and, having run out of topics of conversation, left the restaraunt arm in arm, smiling contentedly--just in time to see Assistant Chief of Security Rob Houghton haul Boone Morris to the exit.
Dimitra was startled at this raw display of brute force. "My goodness!" she exclaimed. "What was all that about?"
Springs merely shrugged. "Ah, just some chiseler they caught gettin' the bum's rush is all," he explained. "Looks like that hippie I told you about."
"The one who said the moon landing was a fake?"
Dimitra shook her head. "I don't know why anyone would believe it to be a fake," she said. "I mean, there were tapes, pictures, people were there to see it--why would he think it didn't happen."
"Ah, you know the type," Springs growled. "Conspiracy theorists, they call' 'em. Been around since the Cold War. Kennedy assassination was a hotbed for conspiracies--still is, as far as I know. People think what they want to think, believe what they want to believe. They see things that ain't there, and won't see what is. Like the man says, 'My mind's made up, so don't confuse me with the facts.' Show me anything that happens in the world, and I'll show you a nut job who thinks there's a government cover-up."
"Well, let's hope that's the last we see of him," Dimitra said.
"If I know Big Luke Macaffey," Springs said, nodding toward the security office, "it will be."
07-16-2012, 03:28 PM
Helloooooooo! Anybody out there?
07-16-2012, 10:48 PM
I am :)
07-17-2012, 04:21 PM
Melody Morris sat in the worn, faded pink Barcalounger, absorbed into the plot of the latest episode of The Young and The Restless showing on the twenty-inch console television in the living room. Daytime dramas, her "stories" as she called them, were her primary if not her only escape from the dreariness of her life. The dilemmas and intrigues of the fictional characters on the small screen made her own problems pale by comparison; the plot twists and turns on every episode stimulated her work-dulled psyche. Their sorrows were her sorrows, their joys her joys, their anger, fears and frustrations, all were hers as well. If she could not live a life of glamor and excitement herself, she could live it through the soaps.
A slam of the back door, followed by a man's cursing, jolted her back into reality. Melody hesitated, if only to wait until a commercial break so as not to miss out on the action on TV, then went into the kitchen to see what was the matter.
She found Boone by the fridge, guzzling down the last of the milk straight from the jug. She did not admonish him for it; indeed, she had long since given up trying to teach Boone any type of civilized behavior. Instead, she simply asked, "So, what's the matter with you?"
Boone stopped guzzling milk, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, slammed the empty jug on the counter, and turned to face his mother. "(Bleeping) security guards threw me out on my ass, that's what's the matter!" he snapped.
"What security guards?"
"The ones at the Luxor Hotel, that's what! Here I am, trying to wake people up to the truth about the Apollo 11 mission, and I get hauled in for 'unlawful solicitation' or some such bull(bleep) like that! And," he stressed, zeroing in on his mother's face, "it turns out someone tipped them off about me ahead of time! I'll bet five bucks it was Roxy who did it!"
"No, Boone," Melody said, shaking her head, "it wasn't Roxy who called. It was me."
"That's right, me. I found the number in the phone book, called them and told them you'd be around causing trouble when Buzz Aldrin was there."
Boone was dumbfounded. "Mom! How could you?"
"Because I didn't want to have to post your bail if you got arrested," Melody replied, her anger growing. "It's bad enough you spend every waking hour in front of that computer, hammering out nonsense about UFOs and JFK or whatever--"
"It's not nonsense, Ma! I keep telling you--"
"--it's even worse when you have to go out in public to do it! Do you know what it's like having a lunatic for a son? You're an embarrassment to both of us, Boone! You have no job, no money, nothing but your crazy conspiracies that nobody believes! I can't stand it anymore!" She straightened herself and stared Boone in the eye. "You have one week, Boone," she said firmly, "one week to get a job and start paying your share of the rent here! If you don't, then you are out on your ass, big time! I'm not going to support you anymore, Boone. You're a grown man and you need to start being responsible for your life. You need to wake up and start living in the real world, and that means going out and making a real living."
The TYATR theme music sounded. "Think about it, Boone," Melody said. "One week--that's all you got. Now, I got to get back to my stories."
Melody returned to the comfort of the Barcalounger and her soap opera world. Boone stormed into the sanctity of his basement bedroom-cum-base of operations. (Bleep) her! he thought ferociously. An embarrassment, huh? She spends her time watching those stupid-assed soaps and says I'm wasting my life? The whole (bleeping) world is coming to an end and she doesn't give a diddly-damn about it! She's an embarrassment if you ask me! Too brainwashed by the media to see what's really going on in the world! Am I the only person around here who knows the truth about everything?
He sat down before his computer terminal and turned it on. Get a job, he fumed internally. Become a wage slave for The Man. Give up your God-given intellect for a weekly paycheck that Big Brother in Washington chews a big chunk out of to keep hard-working Americans in the dark about their covert activities! If you ask me, I think it's time for a nationwide strike!
He paused as a light went on in his mind. He had a vision of thousands--nay, millions--of ordinary Americans, fed up with government cover-ups, dropping everything and walking out of factories, offices or wherever they were employed, united in a single cause, bringing the country to its knees. It was awe-inspiring just to imagine such a thing.
"That's it!" he exclaimed enthusiastically. "That's what we should do!"
Elated, Boone's fingers flew over the keyboard. "Greetings, truthseekers!" he spoke as he typed. "Over the years I have tried through the Web to convince everyone that we would not stand for the lies and deceit your government has dished out to us disguised as 'truth'. Now, it's time we take action! It's time for us to stand up and say that we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore! Therefore, I am calling for a NATIONWIDE STRIKE! Refuse to work at your job for The Man until the REAL truth is revealed! Bring the whole country to a standstill until Washington breaks down and confesses its errors! There is strength in numbers, and what is the government's few paltry thousand compared to the millions of decent, hardworking American citizens who are willing to stand up to them! WAKE UP, AMERICA! WE WILL NO LONGER BE DECEIVED"
07-17-2012, 04:28 PM
Can we say AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN
07-26-2012, 07:36 PM
Sorry for the delay, but I am just plain stuck here! I'm just not as creative as I was back on the old site. I will try my best to get back on track--don't want to leave you hanging. V.
07-27-2012, 03:16 AM
Sorry for the delay, but I am just plain stuck here! I'm just not as creative as I was back on the old site. I will try my best to get back on track--don't want to leave you hanging. V.
know the feeling
07-28-2012, 05:22 PM
Like most if not all of Boone's webposts, his call to action went unheeded. Everybody went to work as usual throughout the week, looking forward to their paychecks and their next day off. For the citizens of Las Vegas, it was just another week in Sin City; any conspiracy theories were light-years away from their minds. Nothing mattered but the weekend for residents and tourists alike.
Las Vegas had something else to look forward to that weekend: the arrival of Buzz Aldrin for his SpaceShare lecture and exhibit. The Grand Ballroom was set aside for the occasion: the lecture podium was decorated simply with a single American flag to the right and the NASA logo hanging behind it. A slender microphone attached to the lecturn was connected to a hidden loudspeaker, its volumne level tested and retested for the most comfortably audible level. Every available chair was positioned in front of the podium for maximum visibility and easy access (space was allotted for wheelchairs in keeping with ADA regulations) with a four-foot aisle in the center.
The ShareSpace displays, ten in all, consisted of enlarged photographs of CGI generated space stations, shuttle launches, and photographs of school-aged children wearing identical t-shirts with rocket ships printed upon the fronts, with Aldrin prominent in the center. This latter was to encourage the general public to support science education in American as well as for Buzz Aldrin's SpaceShare program. The glass-enclosed oversized posters were lined against one wall in a far corner of the ballroom, away from the lecture area. This was to ensure a smooth flow between the display and the podium, especially in case of an emergency.
All this was supervised by Chief of Security Big Luke Macaffey. He stood in the middle of the giant ballroom, overseeing the placement of the chairs, the hanging of the NASA logo, and the proper angle of the display posters, all the while nodding and grinning in satisfaction. Normally, he didn't care a fig about whatever special event the hotel was hosting; his job was to ensure that there was no trouble while it was going on, whether it was gatecrashers or a fire breaking out somewhere. This, however, was different: instead of a conference, a wedding reception, or the debut performance of some celebrity, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, a real American hero, was arriving to share his experiences and his hopes for the future. It was a great honor for the Luxor Hotel and Resort, and Macaffey was going to make damn sure everything went smoothly. He had cleared the emergency exits and tested the alarm systems; he had measured the aisle for maximum clearance; and he had briefed the video surveillance team to keep an eye out for any troublemakers, recalling the hassle with that hippie nut job, Boone Whatshisname, a few days earlier. He even made sure Aldrin's hotel reservations were free of snags. With Buzz Aldrin coming to the Luxor, everything counted.
It was Mackenzie Coulter, the events director for the hotel. She was a slim woman in a red business dress suit, her chest flat as the desert, with sun-bleached hair tied up professionally in a knot on top of her head. She handed Macaffey a sheet of paper. "Here's the itinerary for Dr. Aldrin's visit," she said. "You might want to go over it before he gets here."
Macaffey took the sheet with a brief word of thanks as Ms. Coulter walked briskly out of the ballroom to attend to other matters. He scanned the itinerary:
2:00 PM: Arrival and Check-in. No disturbance until official press conference.
5:00 PM: Dinner (room service only. Meal pre-ordered)
6:30-7:00 PM: Press conference in Grand Ballroom.
7:00-7:15 PM: Interview w/Criss Angel on MagicPlace.com
7:30 PM: Official opening of exhibit.
10:00 AM: Exhibit open to public.
11:00-11:30 AM: First lecture.
11:30 AM-12:20 PM: Meet & Greet w/public.
12:20-1:00 PM: Taping of exhibit for evening news.
1:00 PM: Lunch w/president.
2:00-2:30 PM: Second lecture.
2:30-3:30 PM: Meet and Greet w/Public.
3:30 PM: Rest break in hotel room.
4:00-4:30 PM: Third lecture
4:30-5:00 PM Meet and Greet w/public.
5:00 PM: Dinner w/ VIPs at Adamo's (no alcohol).
6:00 PM: Recreation.
8:00 PM: Final lecture for the day.
9:00 PM: Exhibit closes.
8:00 AM: Breakfast (room service only. Meal preordered)
10:00 AM: Exhibit open to public.
11:00-11:30 AM: First lecture.
11:30 AM-12:20 PM: Meet & Greet w/public.
12:20-1:00 PM: Recreation.
1:00 PM: Lunch.
2:00-2:30 PM: Second lecture.
2:30-3:30 PM: Meet and Greet w/Public.
3:30 PM: Rest break in hotel room.
4:00-4:30 PM: Third lecture
4:30-5:00 PM Meet and Greet w/public.
5:00 PM: Dinner.
6:00 PM: Recreation.
8:00 PM: Final lecture for the day.
8:30 PM: Final meet and greet.
9:00 PM: Exhibit closes.
10:00 AM: Check out and departure.
Boy, Macaffey thought, she's got every minute planned out for the guy! She should let him have a little fun while he's here, for Pete's sake!
07-28-2012, 08:55 PM
And we all thought Criss's schedule was busy :D
08-07-2012, 08:28 PM
The big day arrived. At exactly two PM on Friday, a black stretch Mercedes limo tooled up the main drive of the Luxor hotel. Every parking attendant on duty snapped to attention as it eased to a stop in front of the glass-encased foyer, while a blue jacketed security guard opened the rear passenger door, allowing the guest of honor to exit the vehicle. As if on cue, the bell attendants moved in to collect the luggage from the trunk.
Buzz Aldrin, Lunar Module Pilot of the Apollo 11 moon mission, climbed out of the back of the Mercedes, blinking at the harsh Nevada sun after nearly a half-hour's ride in the dim confines of the limo and giving his aging limbs a much needed stretch. He had been to Vegas many times in the past, but always stayed in a different hotel each time; in fact, some of them had been torn down years ago to make room for the new ones. Oh, well, it kept his visits exciting, always giving him something new to see.
He entered the refreshingly cool comfort of the lobby, followed by his assistant--his daughter, Janice, who was walking up to the front desk to check in. A bell attendant wheeling their luggage on a shiny brass cart brought up the rear. Buzz took a moment to size up his surroundings: the plush carpeting, the slanting terraces inside the giant black pyramid, and the spaciousness of it all, so unlike many other hotels in which he had stayed in the past. The Egyptian theme had been toned down, much to his relief. So many Vegas hotels, especially in the past, played up to the images they presented to the point of irritation; he just hoped he didn't have to meet some guy dressed as a Pharoh or something.
Instead, he and Janice were escorted by the same security guard to the elevators, or rather inclinators, as he soon learned. Due to the angular structure of the hotel, the cars ran on an inclined track along the slope of the building, something Buzz found very interesting. It was also a very smooth ride; he hardly felt any hint of g-force. Must be the angle, he thought.
The doors slid open onto his floor, and the Aldrins were shown their suite. Their luggage had arrived at the same time by freight inclinator. The bell attendant slid a keycard into the door slot and opened the door, standing back respectfully to allow the guests to enter first. The security guard, his duty fulfilled, took his leave in silence, leaving the attendant to make sure the Aldrins were situated comfortably in their suite.
The bags were unloaded from the cart and set carefully on the floor by the sofa. With customary deference, he showed Buzz and Janice the bedrooms, the baths, the phone system, the minibar (of which Buzz made a mental note to steer clear), and made the usual offer of assistance in anything they wished to make their stay more comfortable. Buzz gave a hasty but cordial refusal, gave the attendant a twenty, and sent him on his way with a quick word of thanks.
Once relieved of the fawning hotel employee, Buzz breathed a huge sigh and fell back on the giant king-sized bed. As much as he was dedicated to his foundation, ShareSpace, the traveling was wearing him out, especially at seventy-two years of age. One day it was Chicago, the next New York, then Dallas, then Phoenix, then Las Vegas. The total miles he had traveled around the country in the past decade alone would have equaled the distance between the Earth and the moon! Still, it was his purpose in life. If not for ShareSpace, he would have remained in the quagmire of depression and alcoholism that he had sunken into since his return from the moon back in 1969.
Janice held out a sheet of paper in front of him. "Here's the itinerary, Dad," she said.
Buzz took the sheet and glanced over it. It read like a pre-launch checklist, right down to meals and lecture times. The seven PM time slot caught his eye. "Interview with Criss Angel for MagicPlace dot com," he read. His brow furrowed in puzzlement. "Who the hell is Criss Angel?" he wondered aloud.
"Some magician who performs here," Janice replied drily. "He's their biggest draw, and his website's the Luxor's biggest free form of advertising."
"A magician?" Buzz sniffed.
"It's an interview with a call-in Q-and-A. You want to cancel?"
"Oh, no, no, I don't wanna cancel it," Buzz said. "I don't mind a few magic tricks if they're good enough. Might be fun."
08-07-2012, 11:01 PM
Nice to see u back Vertias and Buzz is going to be shocked when he sees what Criss has up his sleeve
Loyal Lady Dee
08-15-2012, 02:26 PM
Hey Veritas! Had a quick moment to get on before work-this story is looking good! "Who the hell is Criss Angel?" Nice! I'm sure in the real world, the only people saying that are the ones who still don't know! Can't wait to see what happens during the Aldrin's visit! Keep up the great writing!
08-16-2012, 08:15 PM
"Well, dinner's not until five," Janice said as she unpacked Buzz's suitcase, "so you've got some free time until then."
Buzz rose from the bed. "Yeah," he said, "might as well look around, get the feel of the place, check on the display while I'm at it."
"And no gambling," Janice reminded him.
"I know, I know, no gambling," Buzz said, waving his hand dismissively. It used to be "no drinking" until he quit completely in 'ninety-eight. Now there was a moratorium on gambling, what with finances, not to mention his schedule, being so tight. He didn't have the luxury of blowing a wad of cash on the blackjack tables or the slots; every penny spent was meticulously recorded. Despite his fame as an astronaut back in the Sixties, fortune did not follow it. All he had was his pension, his lecture fees, and the royalties from his books. That did not exactly make him a millionaire by anyone's standards. Still, it beat trying to sell cars.
Buzz grabbed his keycard and left the suite. It felt good to just walk around and see the sights without being yanked from this event to the next. As much as he wanted to share his passion for space exploration, the traveling was exhausting to say the least, especially at his age. He cherished the few free hours his itinerary allowed. It wasn't as much fun as, say, floating in zero gravity, but it was a pleasure all the same.
He entered one of the sliding inclinators, fascinated at how they worked. Never in his life did he ever ride in an elevator that went diagonally. He tried to get a feel of the movement by sensing the g-forces upon his body, but without success: it was too smooth a ride to feel anything at all. Still, the concept was a novel one--an inclining elevator that traveled on an angle. He stored the experience away in his memory--who knew when it might prove valuable in the future?
The doors slid open, and Buzz found himself in the lobby. Oh, well, might as well check on the display while he was there. He walked to the display area and looked around: the posters were in the proper sequential order, the seating was arranged for maximum viewing, even the NASA logo was hung at the right height. Great, he thought, nothing to worry about.
A loud, bellowing voice ordering somebody to keep the exits clear but secure startled him. He looked around and saw a huge bruiser of a guy in a navy jacket standing by one of the exit doors. Around him, other navy jacketed men scurried like mice to do his bidding. Buzz decided to steer clear of this character; God knew what this guy was capable of.
The bruiser, however, had spotted Buzz the moment he had stepped in the ballroom. Indeed, he did a double take, as if he couldn't believe his eyes. Buzz froze in his tracks as the blue jacketed prizefighter type strode toward him. The bruiser's tough demeanor, however, melted into surprise and some sort of hero-worship as he approached. "Say," he said, his voice lowering a few notches in volume, "you're Buzz Aldrin, ain't ya?"
Saved by fame. "Why, yes," Buzz replied genially, "I am."
"Lucas Macaffey, Chief of Security," the bruiser said proudly.
Buzz made a tenative move for a handshake. Macaffey siezed his hand and pumped it eagerly, a huge smile spread across his beefy face. "Sir!" he said, "it's an honor to meet you here! We're very proud to have you come and stay at our hotel! Yessirree, Bob! Mighty proud!"
"Oh, uh, thank you," Buzz said, rattled. "Um, I'm gonna need that hand back, if you don't mind."
Macaffey realized he still had Buzz's hand in his grip and released him. "Oh, sorry," he said, laughing with uncharacteristic embarrassment.
Buzz thanked him and rubbed his aching hand. "So," he said, "everything ready for this evening?"
Macaffey reverted to form. "Ready as it will ever be," he replied, his chest swelling with pride. "Everything's been checked and rechecked to perfection."
"Okay," Buzz said, "good. Then I'll be here for the press conference at six-thirty."
"Will do, sir!" Macaffey said, standing ramrod straight; Buzz was surprised he didn't salute. He quickly took his leave before Macaffey could crush his hand again in another handshake. He decided to seek the sanctity of the hotel lounge. It would be quieter there, he hoped.
Macaffey returned to bellowing orders to his staff, secretly thrilled that he had finally met his boyhood idol, live and in person, and even shook his hand. True, it was forty years after the moon landing, but Buzz Aldrin was still an American hero and always would be. Thank God he had lived to see it.
The hotel lounge was sparsely populated when Buzz arrived. No one bothered to glance up to see him come in, a relief compared to the hearty welcome Macaffey had given him. They all sat at their tables in twos and threes, chatting quietly with each other or on their smartphones. A waitress walked by with a small round tray of cocktails in one hand. It reminded Buzz of his years as an alcoholic; back then, the bottle had been his only comfort during his bouts of depression after the hoopla over the Apollo 11 moon landing had faded and he had nowhere to go, no plans for the future, uncertain of what to do with his life. It had cost him two marriages and his career as an astronaut, almost. It took the love of his third wife, Lois, to get him back on his feet again and found ShareSpace, his foundation to teach kids about space exploration.
Buzz shook the memories out of his head. Those days were past, he reminded himself. He was sober and focused on his mission here at the Luxor: his lectures about his foundation. He was in his seventies, yes, but he was going to be as active as he had been before the Apollo mission. His remaining years were going to make up for the ones he had wasted on booze and depression. He may have been down, but he had never been out.
He spotted an elderly man sitting at the bar, nattily dressed in a tailored suit with a matching fedora--a fedora, for chrissakes! Who wore those these days? It made the guy look like a mobster or something. Curious, Buzz walked up to him and sat down on the stool beside him. The old man turned his head, looked at Buzz, raised his glass in greeting, and turned back again. The bartender approached Buzz. "Can I get you anything?" she asked.
"Strawberry daquiri," Buzz told her, "virgin."
The old man turned toward Buzz again. "You ain't much of a drinker, are ya?" he drawled in a New Yorker dilalect.
Buzz shook his head. "Uh, no," he replied. "I had to quit a few years ago."
The old man nodded. "Yeah, I went on the wagon a few times myself," he said, swirling his cocktail, "and fell off of it a few times as well."
Buzz smiled. "Well, I've managed to stay on it for fourteen years," he said. "Figured I got better things to do than drink myself to death, like I'd been doing."
"Well, good for you," the old man said. "Uh, say, you look familiar. Can't place the face, though."
"Well, it's where it's always been, right here," Buzz replied, pointing to his face.
That bought a smile to the old man's withered face. He extended a gnarled hand. "Name's Danny," he said, "Danny Springer. Everyone calls me Springs."
"Nice to meet you, Springs," Buzz said, shaking his hand, a much more comfortable one compared to Macaffey's vise-like grip. "Buzz Aldrin."
Springs was startled. "The astronaut?"
The bartender set a foamy red beverage in a stemmed wineglass on the bar in front of Buzz. "Former astronaut, actually," he replied with a shrug. "Now I'm just a spokesman for NASA."
"Hmph!" Springs grunted. "Well, I'll be damned! So, what brings you here to the Luxor?"
"Promoting my foundation, ShareSpace, for the weekend," Buzz informed him. "I'm here until Monday."
Something registered in Springs' aging brain. "Oh, yeah, that's right," he said, suddenly remembering. "I saw yer ads out in the lobby." Something else clicked inside his mind. "Y'know, there was this hippie type goin' around sayin' the moon landing was a hoax, and--"
Buzz held up his hand to silence him. "Yeah, I know, I know," he droned. "I get it all the time. Conspiracy theorists who think the moon landing was filmed on a Hollywood soundstage, the photos were faked, and all of that BS. No matter how many times I try to convince them it was real, they just go on and on and on. I mean, they just won't quit!"
"Well, I believe ya," Springs said. "I saw the whole thing on the boob tube back in the Sixties. And believe you me, that was no Hollywood soundstage, not by any description! That was the real deal, I can tell ya that!"
"So, what happened to that hippie guy?" Buzz asked.
"Security gave 'im the bum's rush, is what," Springs replied. "He ain't gonna show his face around here no more, that's for sure--not with Macaffey around. He's chief of security, y'know."
Buzz rubbed his still aching hand. "We've met," he said.
Springs drained the last of his drink. "Well, I'd like to stay and chat," he said, "but if I don't get home soon, my housekeeper Sharon's gonna start callin' the morgue to see if I'm there. Nice meetin' ya, Buzz."
The two men shook hands, and Springs shuffled out of the lounge. Buzz turned to the bartender. "Quite a character, isn't he?" he commented casually.
The bartender looked up. "Springs?" she said. "Oh, yeah. He used to be a former mobster back in the Forties and Fifties, y'know. Part of a gang called the Guys of Glitter Gulch. He's the only one left, by the way."
Buzz pricked up his ears. A mobster? Well, that would explain the fedora and the suit. He wondered just what Danny "Springs" Springer did during the Forties and Fifties when he was in that gang of his? And how many bodies did he leave behind?
08-17-2012, 12:34 AM
If he likes Danny wait to he meets Criss Angel
08-20-2012, 07:57 PM
While Buzz was pondering the controversial life of Danny Springer, Boone Morris was reconnoitering around the service entrance of the hotel. If he could just slip inside, unnoticed, he could still reach the exhibit area and confront Buzz face to face before the hired muscle kicked him out again. It was a huge risk, but it would be worth it if he could expose the truth about the Apollo 11 hoax.
The service entrance, like every other private entryway into the hotel, had no door handle on the outside and was accessable only with a keycard. Boone would have to wait until somebody came out, then slip inside before the door shut. The rest he could take care of himself. He just needed to be patient...
The dull, clunking sound of metal striking metal, and Boone was on his feet, ready to spring into action. He flattened himself against the wall on the hinged side of the metal door, waiting for it to swing open. Then he would grab the door, rush inside quickly and quietly, and hide again inside before whoever had gone through it would notice him. With luck and good timing, no one would be the wiser.
The heavy metal service door approached him from his right, coming straight at him. For a moment, Boone thought he'd be crushed against the wall. Quickly, he came back to his senses and grabbed the edge of the door, just as he had planned. He heard a scraping sound across the pavement. He peeked from behind the door and saw a pimply-faced kid in white kitchen garb dragging a load of broken down cardboard boxes to the dumpster a few yards from the entryway.
Boone whipped around from behind the door and through the service entrance in one fluid movement. From what he could see, he was in some sort of storage/receiving area next to the kitchen. He ducked behind a row of folded banquet tables standing upright by the door and waited for the kitchen helper to return, taking the moment to catch his breath. Another clunk of metal, the door opened, and the helper's acne-scarred visage came into view. Boone ducked behind the tables, but the helper didn't even glance in his direction, let alone spot him. Blessing his good luck, Boone emerged from his hiding place and began to look around for a way into the hotel proper.
There was another door on the opposite side of the storage area. It might be a a way in, or it might be just another closet. Since the only other way out was through the noisy, bustling kitchen, he dashed for the door, pulled it open, and ducked inside. Again, no one noticed, but he was trapped in total darkness. Fumbling around the wall, he located a light switch, turned it on, and found himself in the linen closet. Boone sighed in disappointment. Okay, he wondered, how the hell am I gonna get out of this one?
He looked around the shelves of freshly laundered table linen, neatly stacked and bound in shrink-wrap. There was a canvas hamper for soiled linen, but it was empty. Then he spotted a stack of white aprons, and, next to it, white cotton caps. A desperate plan hatched in Boone's mind. He grabbed an apron, put it on, tied it around his waist, then he pulled on one of the caps, stuffing his long brown hair underneath it. Suitably disguised, he emerged from the linen closet and began to stroll casually through the kitchen, keeping his head low and his pace steady so as not to draw attention to himself.
"Hey, you!" he heard a loud voice echo throughout the kitchen.
Boone froze in his tracks while a short, burly man in the same apron and cap approached him. I am so (bleeping) dead! Boone thought in his panicked state.
The burly man, however, thrust a grey plastic dishpan into Boone's hands. "Get over to Conference Room A!" he ordered him. "We need it cleaned up and cleared out in twenty minutes!"
He thinks I work here! "Uh, yes, sir!" Boone replied with fake enthusiam, half-saluting as he spoke. "I'll get right on it, sir!"
The burly man simply turned and left. Boone took the dishpan and left the kitchen. Well, at least he had a cover to get into the hotel, though he didn't have a clue as to where Conference Room A was.
(Uh, oh, gonna have to cut this short again! Will return later. V)
08-20-2012, 09:01 PM
oh boy someone call the guys upstairs
08-25-2012, 08:05 PM
We interrupt this story to bring you the following news bulletin: Former Apollo 11 astronaut, Neil Armstrong, passed away at the age of 82. We have lost a great American hero. He will be missed.
08-25-2012, 09:39 PM
Boone walked out of the kitchen and into a service corridor, looking around carefully for any sign of security. The hallway was empty. So far, so good. He strolled casually down the corridor, not looking up at the black bubbled security cameras overhead--to do so would be to invite suspicion and the certanity of arrest. But no one accosted him as he went. It had been a smart move to stuff his hair under his cap, or he would have been dead in the water if someone, especially that big goon of a security chief, recognized him.
He found the entrance into the lobby right at the end of the corridor. He pushed open the heavy metal door and stepped into the plush interior of the lobby. All around him, people walked about, some slowly, taking in the ambience of the luxurious surroundings, while others moved briskly, hurrying to their destinations. Among them, hotel staff hauled luggage of varying shapes and sizes on gleaming brass carts to and from the main entrance to be loaded or unloaded into or out of the waiting cars and taxis outside. No one, however, took notice of Boone in his apron and cap, carrying his dishpan. As far as they were concerned, he was just another lowly hotel employee doing his job.
Trying to be as unobtrusive as possible, Boone made his way to the exhibit in the main ballroom. Once there, he looked around for any sign of Buzz. No one was there. The ballroom was dark and empty--even the audio technicians had gone. Disappointed but not discouraged, Boone turned around and walked away. Maybe Aldrin was in the casino or something.
He went back into the lobby. Dozens of faces passed him by, but not one of them belonged to Buzz Aldrin. Boone decided to check the casino level, so he stepped onto the escalator leading up to it. Again, no one paid him any mind; everyone totally ignored him. Boone congratulated himself on the brilliance of his makeshift disguise. His stolen apron and cap seemed to give him full access to the whole hotel. So long as he kept his head down and his movements casual, he could avoid detection from the eyes in the sky.
The casino level loomed into view. He could hear the chiming of the slots and the murmurs of the gamblers--and it was swarming with blue jacketed security guards. Any one of them could recognize him and bust him on the spot. Boone thought of concealing his face with the dishpan, but that would have been too obvious. No, the sensible thing to do was to keep acting casual, like he had been working in the hotel his whole life. If asked, he would simply state that he was sent to pick up any dirty dishes and glasses to take to the dishroom. That seemed plausible enough.
Boone walked into the casino, picking up an empty cocktail glass here, a small buffet plate there, and placing them in his dishpan, all the while keeping an eye out for Buzz Aldrin. He knew what he looked like from the dozens of photos he had stashed in his files: round head, white hair, blue eyes. He wouldn't be difficult to spot, even in a crowded casino.
There! Over by the snack table stood his quarry. Buzz Aldrin, the biggest charlatan in American history, was helping himself to shrimp cocktail. Boone fought the urge to rush forward and denounce him loudly to the public--that would get him tossed in jail for sure, or at least punched in the face like that other guy he had heard about on YouTube. No, he had to be discreet, subtle, cunning. He had to be--
A sharp jab on his shoulder blade and a curt "Hey, you!" startled him. Instinctively, he turned around and saw a security guard (a young black guy he hadn't seen before, luckily) standing before him. Boone looked at him in surprise, fighing back his initial panic. "Ain't you supposed to be in the dish room, buddy?" the guard asked.
Boone took a deep breath. His disguise had protected him again. "Uh, I was sent up here to clean up," he explained as calmly as he could.
"What the hell you mean, you were sent here to clean up?" the guard demanded. "That's the wait staff's job, not yours! You get back to the dishroom where you belong before I report you!"
"Okay, okay, fine," Boone said, beating a hasty retreat back to the escalator, but the guard stopped him again. "Where you going?" he asked again.
"Uh, back to the dishroom," Boone replied innocently, "just like you told me to."
"You're supposed to take the service elevator!" the guard snapped, pointing to the rear of the casino. "The escalator's for guests only! What is this, you're first day on the job or something?"
"Well, gee," Boone retorted, shrugging. "Sorreeeee!"
The guard left, shaking his head in bewilderment. Boone waited until he was out of sight and resumed stalking his prey. But it was too late--Aldrin had disappeared from the buffet table. In fact, he had disappeared from the casino altogether. Mentally dammning the security guard who had detained him, Boone stormed toward the service elevator, setting aside the dishpan on a nearby tray jack, and returned to the kitchen area. Once there, he strode to the exit at the other end of the service corridor, stripping off his disguise as he went. With one angry push of the door, he was outside of the hotel, right where he started. Unfortunately for Boone, the door he had opened was an emergency exit and had triggered an alarm in the surveillance room. His image, sansdisguise, had been caught on tape and stored into the hotel's computer records for future reference.
None of this mattered to Boone Morris, however. Infuriated over his thwarted attempt to confront Buzz Aldrin, he drove his battered Chevy van back home to reassess his situation. One way or another, he vowed, he would come face to face with that big phony Aldrin and make him confess once and for all his forty year long deceit of the American people. He may had lost the battle, but he was going to win the war. He just needed a better plan, that's all.
When he arrived home, however, it looked as if his mother had made plans for him. The minute he turned into the cracked concrete driveway, he spotted his belongings piled up on the weedy, dry front lawn: his clothing was bundled into two large cardboard cartons, his books were piled in an old trunk, and his computer monitor was sitting on top of it all.
At first shocked, then dejected, then furious, he stormed up to the front door and tried to open it, but found it locked. Boone began to pound furiously on the shabby wooden door, shouting, "Ma? Ma! Open up! Lemme in!"
The door did open, but only about eight inches, limited by the brass chain that secured it. His mother Melody's face peered out from inside the house. "Go away, Boone," she said evenly, "you don't live here anymore."
Boone was dumbfounded. "What the hell do you mean I don't live here anymore?" he demanded. "This is my home, too, you know!"
"I warned you, Boone," Melody said, still calm and cool. "I gave you a week to find a job and pay your share of the rent, but you didn't listen. You went on and on and on with your crazy ideas about NASA and the rest of your conspiracy theories, not even bothering to make something of yourself. So, now I'm evicting you. From now on, you're on your own."
Boone was about to make a protest of some sort, but the wooden door closed in his face. He heard the brass deadbolt sliding into place, confirmation of his exile from the family home. He slammed his fist on the siding of the house, causing the flimsy metal mailbox to fall from its moorings and clatter to the stoop. He was alone, with nowhere to go.
Then he turned around to see an even greater humiliation: some dirty-shirted bum had boosted his computer terminal and was at that moment shoving it into the rear of a battered yellow Chevette, along with the keyboard and the monitor. Furious at this latest outrage, Boone dashed toward the Chevette, shouting, "Hey! Gimme back my computer!", but it was too late--the bum had slammed the hatch door shut and was ducking into the driver's seat. Boone caught up with the guy just as he slammed the car door and started the engine. He hammered on the roof, demanding the son of a (bleep) return his precious PC, but all he got in reply was a smug grin and an extended middle finger as the bum drove away, leaving a cursing, raving Boone Morris in his wake.
08-26-2012, 02:47 AM
Karma's a :mad:
08-26-2012, 08:05 AM
I think you mean "karma".
08-26-2012, 04:29 PM
I think you mean "karma".
Thanks I really got to pay attention but thank god for editing
09-03-2012, 01:46 AM
The ShareSpace lecture had gone well. Buzz had been greeted with a standing ovation, and his lecture had been well received. The only somber note was the announcement of Buzz's fellow Apollo 11 crew commander, Neil Armstrong, having passed away the preceding weekend. Many offered Buzz their heartfelt condolences during the after lecture meet and greet session; though he understood how everyone felt, to Buzz, the whole event felt more like a wake.
At precisely seven-fifteen, Buzz was ushered out of the ballroom and into the Magic.com studio. He had barely enough time to wipe the sweat off his face and freshen up in the dressing room before the briefing with Criss Angel, whoever he was. All Buzz knew was that he was a magician of some reknown; he had seen his posters in the lobby and in the lounge where he had met that gangster, Danny Springs or whatever he called himself. Buzz debated with himself about mentioning it on the show, but decided against it. The last thing he needed was to be linked to organized crime.
A spiky-haired girl arrived in the dressing room with a blue tackle-box-like case. She introduced herself as Melanie, the makeup artist, and she was here to "prep" Buzz for the show. Buzz merely said, "All right," and sat down in the chair by the brightly lighted mirror. This wasn't the first time he had been made up for a public appearance. He'd been making television appearances since the Seventies, and he had long since learned that makeup made him look better on camera. It was a bother, but it was necessary.
Melanie opened her tackle box and laid out the powders and rouge she would need. "It's a real honor to meet you, Colonel Aldrin," she said politely as she covered Buzz with a protective sheet. "I've never made up an astronaut before."
"Yeah, well," Buzz mumbled, "we're all human, after all. Same face, same skin as everybody else."
"You really wowed 'em at your lecture today," Melanie went on as she mopped Buzz's face dry. "Even the chief of security, and he's not an easy man to impress."
"Uh, yeah," Buzz said. "We've met."
Melanie set aside the wipe and picked up the powderpad."You did?"
"Yeah. Guy was reall happy to see me--damn near crushed my hand shaking it."
"You should see him when he's dealing with someone he's not happy to be with," Melanie said as she powdered Buzz's face.
"I'll pass, thank you," Buzz said.
Melanie giggled a little and decided to change the subject. "You know, I wasn't even born when you and Neil Armstrong landed on the moon," she said, "but I saw the film footage on YouTube. It was awesome! And, personally, I don't care what those wacko conspiracy theorists say--the whole thing was real as far as I'm concerned."
"Of course it was real," Buzz said, closing his eyes to avoid getting powder in them. "I was there, remember?"
This set Melanie to giggling even more. "Of course you were! It's just that, well, I don't understand why some people insist the whole thing was a hoax, that's all. I mean, we got the pictures, the films, the rocks and moon dust--why would anyone dispute it?"
"Well, people believe what they want to believe," Buzz said sagely. "They see things that aren't there, perceive things from a different angle. Like the man said, 'My mind's made up, so don't confuse me with the facts', that sort of thing. Me, I just ignore them."
"But what about--" Melanie suddenly clammed up, but Buzz immediately divined what she was going to say.
"About that guy I punched back in 2009?" he finished for her. "Okay, I admit I went a bit too far, but under the circumstances, well..."
Melanie brushed a light layer of rouge on Buzz's cheeks. "Sorry I bought it up," she said.
"That's okay," Buzz said, "I've put it behind me." Then he decided to change the subject himself to put Melanie at ease. "So tell me about this Criss Angel guy. What's he like?"
This simple query startled Melanie. What's he like? Hadn't he heard of Criss Angel, the MindFreak, the five time winner of the Magician of the Year award? Where has this guy been, the moon? she thought. Then she realized to her embarrassment that yes, he had. "Oh, he's great!" she replied, patting flattener over the foundation powder. "He's really awesome! He's done stuff you wouldn't believe! It's not as impressive as walking on the moon, of course, but still!"
A knock on the door and the words, "Two minutes, Mr. Aldrin," followed.
Melanie became a bit miffed. "It's Colonel Aldrin!" she half shouted to the stagehand who had just left. She sighed in irritation. "Guy's a moron," she muttered.
Buzz merely shrugged. "Hey, I've been called worse," he said with a smile.
Melanie pulled the sheet away from Buzz. "There!" she said triumphantly, "you're all set."
Buzz rose from the chair. "Okay," he said. He glanced at himself in the mirror. "Looks good."
Melanie packed her makeup materials into her box. There was another knock on the door. "Mr. Aldrin," the same ignorant stagehand spoke through the door, "you're on!"
"Well," Buzz huffed, "time to go meet the 'awesome' Criss Angel. Thanks, Melanie."
"You're welcome, Colonel Aldrin," Melanie replied politely.
"Call me Buzz."
"You're welcome, Buzz."
Buzz turned to leave. "Oh, and Buzz?"
"I saw that video of you punching that guy back in 2009," Melanie confessed. "Personally, I think that he had it coming to him."
09-03-2012, 03:48 AM
This is going to be interesting with Criss and Buzz
10-04-2012, 06:17 PM
Okay, I am having some trouble here. I know how to end this tale, but I don't know what to do between now and then. I need some filler material. Any suggestions are welcome. Thank you.
10-04-2012, 09:08 PM
Think about how Buzz and Criss are going to interact and if that kid gets to talk his nonsense to Buzz
11-09-2012, 12:54 AM
I know it's been quite a while since I updated this story, but my creativity seemed to have had dried up for a while due to work schedule changes and other problems. I promise to finish this story before the world comes to an end on December 21. My apologies for any delays.
Criss: Good evening, and welcome to MagicPlace. We have a very special guest with us tonight. It's my honor to introduce to you former Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin. (turns to Buzz) Buzz, it's great to have you here on the show.
Buzz: Thank you.
Criss: You're here at the Luxor through Sunday for your lecture series about your foundation. Care to tell us about it?
Buzz: It's called ShareSpace, first of all. It's to educate and raise awareness about the space program. We want to boost science education in this country so we can continue space exploration, even to colonize the moon, Mars, and/or other planets.
Criss: Wow, that's really far out. (laughs) No pun intended.
Criss: Would you like to go back into space? Maybe revisit the moon again?
Buzz: Sure, I'd like to go. I got the experience, so...
Criss: On a more serious note, we received word of Neil Armstrong passing away this weekend. We're really sorry about that. Would you like to share any thoughts about him, any memories?
Buzz: All I can say is that Neil was a true professional, and I am proud to this day to have known him and flown with him on the Apollo mission. We remained good friends and collegues throughout his life. He will be missed.
Criss: I know you get asked this a lot, but what was it really like on the moon? I mean, I was only a baby when you and Neil landed there, so I kinda missed out. How did you feel when you set foot on the lunar surface?
Buzz: Well, just landing there was touch and go. We had to find a suitable place to land the capsule, and we weren't even sure the surface would hold--we thought we'd sink into it like quicksand. Once we touched down, we discovered it was solid enough to hold us. Neil went first, of course, since he was the one closest to the door, then I followed. As for how I felt, the only two words I could think of at the time was "magnificent desolation".
Criss: And that became the title of your book.
Buzz: That became the title of my book.
Criss: Magnificent Desolation
Criss: We have some callers on the line who want to talk to you. Caller One, you're on the line.
Caller 1: Hello, Buzz?
Caller 1: Oh, wow, I can't believe I'm talking to you! Uh, I just want to know one thing: how did you get the name "Buzz"?
Buzz: Well, that came from my sister when we were little. She couldn't say "brother" very well--it came out "buzzer". So, I became Buzzer, then Buzz. It kinda stuck, you know.
Criss: Okay, Caller Two, you're on.
Caller 2: First of all, I'm really sorry about Neil's passing. You have my condolences for losing such a close friend and collegue as you put it.
Buzz: Thank you.
Caller 2: I know the space program is important to you, and I know a lot of scientific advances have been made because of it, but don't you think we should concentrate on saving this planet instead of colonizing other planets? In other words, I think we should forget about the moon and get down to earth about these things.
Buzz: Well, it's like you said: a lot of technological advances have been made thanks to the space program. You also have to understand that the more we explore space, the more we can understand our own world and its part in the universe. The subsequent missions took pictures of the Earth from the moon. It was because of those pictures from beyond that we saw our world as something beautiful, something worth saving. The Apollo missions were chiefly responsible for the launching of the environmental movement.
Criss: Wow, that's deep!
Buzz: People are curious creatures, you know, and we'll never stop exploring, whether it's outer space or the depths of the ocean. It's our thirst for knowledge that keeps us going. I know a lot is wrong with the world, but the more we learn about the universe around us, the more we'll realize we're all in this together.
Criss: Okay, Caller Three, you're on.
Caller 3: I just want to know when you are going to admit that the "moon landing" was a hoax!
Criss: Come again?
Caller 3: You heard me! The so-called Apollo mission was faked! There was no trip to the moon, and you know it! The landing was faked, the photographs were faked--everything was faked! You've been deceiving the American public for years!
Criss: Hey, how can you tell it was faked?
Caller 3: Oh, come on, Criss! Anyone can tell it was faked! Look at the photos! The shading is off kilter, the flag they planted moved in a slight breeze when there's supposed to be no atmosphere on the moon--open your eyes, man! The whole thing took place on a Hollywood sound stage! TThe three of them--Buzz, Neil and Michael Collins--are the biggest scam artists of all time! It's the biggest hoax in history, and you're letting him get away with it!
Criss: Is there oxygen on the planet where you're from?
Caller 3: Ha, ha, very funny!
Criss: (nervously) Buzz?
Buzz: I get this all the time, don't worry about it. (to Caller 3) Listen, whoever you are--
Caller 3: Name's Boone.
Buzz: Okay, Boone, you can blather on about moon hoaxes until you are blue in the face. I'm not going to waste my time, or Criss Angel's here, arguing with you, but I'm gonna say right here and now that you are dead wrong. Neil and I did, in truth, walk on the lunar surface in July of 1968, and those photos are solid evidence of that mission. The Apollo mission was not--repeat, not-- a hoax, and that's all I'm gonna say on the subject.
Caller 3: But you-- (dial tone)
Criss: Man, what was with that guy?
Buzz: Like I said, I get it all the time.
11-09-2012, 01:38 AM
Some one needs to get a life
11-25-2012, 08:28 PM
Boone slammed down the receiver. The nerve of that guy! Here he was, trying to expose the greatest hoax in American history, and the son of a (bleep) cuts him off, just like that! And he had been so close, just a hair's breadth away from victory. That (bleeper) Angel, who was no angel in his opinion, didn't even give him a chance to present the evidence he had painstakingly gathered for the occasion. Now, it was over. There was no convincing the American public that their big hero was a charlatan.
He slumped down on the chocolate brown overstuffed sofa in the tiny living room of his friend Charley's house, dejected and angry at the world. After he had been thrown out of the family home, Boone had called up Charley Haines, the only friend he knew he could count on, to help him out. Charley, bless him, came over in his camoflaged Jeep, piled Boone's few possessions into the back, and drove him to his house, allowing him to stay as long as he liked. He gave him use of his PC to continue his website, and even provided Boone with a part-time job at the gun range he owned, stretching his unemployment benefit check a little further.
Charley was a survivalist, a doomsday prepper ever alert to any sign of Armageddon. He was gaunt fellow in his mid thirties, with wispy black hair that grew thinner every day, looking more like an accountant than a military man. He was also a fellow conspiracy theorist, a believer in government coverups and the like. Ever since the Mayan prophecy of the world's end on December 21, 2012, he had been stockpiling canned food, storing water in a converted boiler--no plastic, he warned Boone, because of the near fatal chemical reaction in the PVC if let to sit too long--and upgrading his basement bunker to withstand anything from a fifty-megaton bomb to an extinction-triggering asteroid strike. Boone helped as best he could: filling sandbags, digging a trench for waste storage in the backyard, filling the air vents with charcoal to filter out harmful dust, debris, bacteria and radiation, and maintaining the generator. Charley was grateful for the help, and for the company. He didn't want to spend the last days on Earth alone, of course. Boone was simply grateful just to have a roof over his head, and to have Internet access for his website, with no nagging mother on his ass telling him he was wasting his life with conspiracy theories she didn't believe in. Like the moon shot hoax he would have exposed if not for that (bleep-bleep) Criss (bleeping) Angel.
Charley entered the living room carrying a large, flat pizza box, and noticed his new housemate sitting glumly on the brown sofa. "Hey, dude," he said, "why the long face?"
Boone looked up at Charley and sighed. "I had the biggest opportunity of my life to prove to the country that its biggest so-called accomplishment, quote unquote, is a hoax, and I get shot down before I even get a chance to tell them!"
Charley set the pizza box down on the flimsy wood coffee table. "It's about the moon shot, huh?"
Boone nodded. "Yeah, it's about the moon shot. I had Buzz Aldrin right there on the line, demanding he come clean about it, and that son of a (bleep) Criss Angel cuts me off right in the middle! I could kill that mother(bleeper) for doing that!"
Charley patted Boone on the back. "Look, it's ancient history, okay?" he said assuringly. "Why dwell on the past when we got the end of world coming right around the corner? We got more important things to think about right now, like surviving and restoring the human race." He grabbed Boone by the shoulder in a comradely fashion. "After the world ends, no one's gonna give a diddley-damn about who went to the moon or not. They'll be too busy rebuiling civilization. And we, my friend, are gonna be the new leaders of the world, because we will have the edge over everyone else."
Boone looked at him. "Why?"
"Why? Because of how well we prepped for Doomsday today, that's why! We'll be the new millionaires because we'll have more food and more supplies than anyone around. If anyone wants anything, they gotta come to us. And they'll do anything, anything at all, to get them. Not that we're gonna be despots or anything, mind you," he addded hastily, "but you and me, dude, we're gonna reshape the world after it's over. And I promise you, we're gonna do it right. We're talking a new Heaven and a new Earth, Boone! No more fat cat politicians! No more tax breaks for the rich! No more limp-wristed liberals crying and wetting their pants over every little violation of, quote unquote, civil liberites. Gun control will just mean having a steady hand, and crime will be dealt with by a bullet to the head--or a rope around the neck. I'm telling you, Boone, Twelve-Twenty-One won't be the end, but a new beginning--the beginning of a better world for both of us. For all of us. Just you wait and see." Charley playfully stroked his fist under Boone's chin. "Now buck up and some pizza," he encouraged him. "you can't change the world on an empty stomach!"
Charley opened the pizza box, releasing a tempting aroma of garlic and oregano, sausage and melted cheese. Boone put aside his outrage and picked up a slice. For all of Charley's pontificating about the benefits of Armageddon, he knew he was right about one thing: it was time to let go of the past and focus on the future, however brief that future would be in the coming months. If people want to be idiots and believe Buzz and Neil walked on the moon, fine! Everyone had a right to their own stupid opinions. Perhaps in time--maybe not in his lifetime, but someday--they would discover he had been right all along. He had more pressing matters to attend to, matters of life and death after the end of the world.
For Danny "Springs" Springer, sitting in the lounge of the Luxor Hotel with a Manhattan for company, the matter of life and death had become even more pressing. His latest trip to the doctor had revealed an irregular heartbeat, and he would need to have a pacemaker installed to keep it going. Didn't that beat all, he thought. First a stomach transplant, now some mechanical doohickey to regulate his ticker. The things he did to keep his run-down old carcass functioning!
He began to wonder if it was really worth all the time, effort and expense to do so. He was a year shy of ninety, for God's sake; he had outlived just about everyone he had known from the old days, even those who didn't get bumped off. After his book had been published, he had nothing to do, nowhere to go except here at the Luxor for the Manhattans and home to TV and the New York Times crossword puzzles. He had no family, except for Casey's twin babies, Chris and Nicky, and they didn't come over that often, and almost no surviving friends except Didi, and she didn't come over all that often either. Even golf had become an ordeal for him even with a golf cart. Back in his day as a gang enforcer, he had been thrilled to be alive even with the prospect of death right around the corner, whether it was a drive-by shooting or a carefully orchestrated "accident". Now, the thrill was gone. He was just a tired old man with one foot on a banana peel and the other in the grave. Why worry about the future when your days were numbered and there was nothing left to live for, anyway?
11-26-2012, 12:15 AM
I don't believe 12/21 nonsense also Danny has Criss for a friend
12-01-2012, 07:52 PM
Springs looked up at the giant TV over the bar. He watched a commercial for the History Channel's Doomsday Countdown beginning in December. There would be nonstop programming about killer asteroids, nuclear war, diseases, zombies taking over the earth and all that BS. Oh, yeah, something to really look forward to, all right. Of course, there'd been a lot of hoopla about the world coming to an end on the twenty-first of December lately. Hell, you would have to have been living under a rock not to notice it!
Naturally, Springs didn't believe any of it for one minute. Cynicism came with age, and he had plenty to spare. Besides, there'd been nut cases running around saying the world was going to end ever since Billy Sunday. Bearded hippie types bearing picket signs that the end was tomorrow, or overzealous religious freaks blathering on and on about the Last Judgement--he'd seen them all through the decades. Yet the human race still lived on, bringing about the next generation, and the next, and the next, going about its business as usual.
Still, the doomsayers persisted, babbling about The End, calculating the exact time and date the world's number came up, warning everyone to prepare for the end of the world. Just when, and how, it would end had been anyone's guess. The usual scenario had been a big storm, with thunder, lightning, hail, earthquakes and fire falling from the sky--big Day of Judgement stuff like that. Floods, fires, famine, etc., etc.--just one big natural disaster after another.
Then, when they dropped the A-bomb on Japan, all bets were off; they could bring about the end of the world with just a push of a button. That had hit home to him during the Cuban Missile Crisis back in Sixty-Two: the Commies had their nukes lined up right in our backyard and were just one flick of a switch away from total annihilation. He remembered sitting with Mick, Blusey, and Shorty at Mick's mansion when the crisis was at its peak, drink in hand, wondering if the Russkies would ever be crazy enough to pull it off. Thankfully, the Commies agreed to pull out of Cuba in exchange for the US's withdrawl of its missiles from Turkey, ending the stalemate. It had taken some quick thinking on JFK's part to dodge that bullet. All in all, there had been a few close calls in the course of his lifetime--the Crisis, the civil rights movements that resulted in violence, Nine-Eleven--but somehow the world always managed to pull through, and he managed to pull through with it.
Springs turned back to his Manhattan. Yeah, he managed to pull through, only because he had something to live for back then, his son, Brian, being number one on the list. When he received the telegram from the military regretting to inform him of the loss of Brian Joseph Springer, PSC, in a minefield somewhere in the middle of Vietnam, it was as if the world had ended for him right then and there. From that moment, life had spiraled downhill. His second marriage ended in divorce, just like his first. His "business partners" passed away, one by one: first Blusey, then Shorty, then, finally, Mick. When he had suffered that bout with stomach cancer, a part of him had wished he would die soon, just to end the dreariness and the lonliness of his life.
Now, here he was, drowning his sorrows with one Manhattan after another. The doc said he needed a pacemaker, though at his age the odds of his surviving the operation were risky at best. Well, so what? He had taken bigger risks than that ever since he joined The Guys in their business operations in Vegas. And even if he did kick the bucket finally, well, again, so what? He had lived a good, long life (though much of it hadn't been so good, relatively speaking) and he was tired of living, anyway. Maybe he should just bide his time and wait for his number to come up, just like Mick did. Why go through the time and expense of prolonging it?
Springs looked up at the TV screen once again. It was broadcasting some big deal about the Mayans prediction about the end of the world in December again. So the world's number was coming up, too. Well, one thing was for certain, he thought: one of them wouldn't make it to see the New Year.
12-21-2012, 12:28 AM
Sorry this took so long. I'll do my best to finish this before the end of the world...someday.
Roxanne Morris knocked on the back door leading into the kitchen. "Mom?" she called out. "You home?"
"In the living room, hon," her mother called out.
Roxanne turned to the skinny, tattooed young man with black spiky hair dressed in black leather standing behind her. "Okay," she said, "come on in."
The two entered and went into the living room where Melody Morris was folding laundry while watching her soaps. She looked up briefly at her daughter and her companion. The sight of the latter did not alarm her; she was accustomed to seeing Sid Vicious types since Roxie had been in high school. She simply said, "Hi, hon, who's your friend?"
"Mom," Roxanne began, "this is Pierce. He's our new drummer for the band, and he needs a place to stay. Would it be okay if he stays in Boone's old room in the basement? He works days as an electrician, so he's got a steady income. He can only afford three hundred a month, so..."
Melody thought it over. Guy's a friend of Roxie's, he's got a steady job, three hundred a month--not too shabby. "Works for me," she said with a shrug. "So long as he cleans up after himself and doesn't bring the cops pounding on the door, he's welcome to stay as long as he wants."
Pierce and Roxie smiled. "Thanks, Mom," the latter said. "We really appreciate it."
"Yeah, thanks Mrs. M.," Pierce said. He jerked his thumb toward the kitchen. "Hey, I'll go get my stuff."
He left the living room to fetch his belongings. Roxie turned to her mother. "Don't worry about a thing, Mom," she said. "Pierce is a good guy, really. Doesn't do drugs or nothing."
Melody went on folding laundry. "Well, that's good to know," she said, flicking the kinks out of a pillowcase. "So long as he comes up with the three hundred a month, his affairs are none of my business." She gave a depreciating little laugh. "Compared to your brother," she said,
"this guy's a Boy Scout. At least he doesn't go on about all those crazy conspiracy theories, like hoaxes and UFO's and the end of the world and all that."
Roxie smiled a little, then started a bit. "Oh, that reminds me," she said, snapping her fingers. "We got a gig at Menage's on the twentieth of December--the big End of the World party they're giving. It's six weeks from now, and they're paying us a fifteen hundred bucks for one night's show! Isn't that great?"
Her mother was impressed. "Fifteen hundred, huh? Not bad. Split four ways, that's like, what?"
"Three seventy five each," Roxie answered. "Our biggest take yet!"
He mother sniffed. "Well, let's just hope the world doesn't come to an end before you can collect it."
For the Eastern Seaboard, the end of the world almost came before Thanksgiving of that year when Hurricane Sandy slammed into it with a vengeance. Thousands of homes were destroyed from Baltimore to New York to New Jersey and beyond, displacing millions of people.
It was with great relief to Criss Angel, a native New Yorker, to have his mother staying with him at his estate, Serenity, when it happened. Dimitra, however, was in a constant state of anxiety over the welfare of family members still on the East Coast who may or may not have been affected by the storm. Days of endless attempts to reach them by phone or email proved fruitless; phone wires and cellular antennae were down, and there was no electric power for computer terminals to function. It was all Criss could do to reassure her that everything would be all right.
By the end of the first week after the disaster, Criss decided she needed to get out of the house, so he got on the phone and called the first person he could think of to help.
"Hello, Springs? This is Criss Angel."
"Oh, hey, Angel, how's tricks?"
"Good. Hey, would you do me a favor? Mom's here at Serenity, and she's been worried sick about everyone back in New York being hit by Sandy, so I was wondering if you could take her out sometime. You know, somewhere nice, so she can get a load off her mind about the storm and all."
"Well, I'm happy to oblige, Angel, but I'd been kinda under the weather with my heart and all. How's about she come to my place for a visit. She'd keep me company for a while."
"Okay, Springs, you got it. I'll make the arrangements for, say, this Friday?"
"Friday sounds good to me, kid."
"Okay, Springs. Later."
"Yeah, bye, kid."
12-21-2012, 12:43 AM
Hope Springs all right this is probably send Dimitra over the edge if Spring dies
01-01-2013, 03:04 AM
As much as I hate shortchanging my readers, I don't know how to continue this story, so I'm just going to skip to the final act.
"Hi, Mom! How's it going?"
"Oh, hello, Christopher, how are you?"
"I'm okay. You coming to my End of the World birthday party this weekend?"
"Mom? You okay?"
"Oh, I'm fine, honey. It's just that Danny's not doing very well, that's all."
"Is it his heart?"
"Oh, you heard about it?"
"Yeah, he told me before."
"Well, I'd like to keep him company this weekend. You know, just in case."
A pause, then, "Okay, Mom, you do that."
"You don't mind, then?"
"Nah, I think Springs needs you more than I do."
"Thank you, Christopher."
"No prob. Hey, give him my regards, okay?"
"I'll do that."
"All right. Have fun at your party. Love you."
"I love you more. 'Bye."
"Boone? That you?"
"Yeah, it's me. Just wanna know if you're preparing for Friday."
"Why? What's Friday?"
"What's Friday? Ma! It's the end of the world! You know, the Mayan prophecy? It's been on TV practically all year!"
"Boone, you know perfectly well I don't believe in that stuff!"
"Boone! Wake up and smell the coffee! It ain't gonna happen, okay? People's been predicting the end of the world since the beginning of time, and so far nothing's happened--we're all still here!"
"But the Mayans--"
"I don't give a rat's ass what the Mayans say! There ain't gonna be no end of the world, and that's that!"
"Ma, for God's sake, just listen--"
December 20, 2012:
"This is Sharon Worth, Mr. Springer's housekeeper?"
"Oh, yes, Sharon! How are you?"
"I'm fine, thanks, but I'm calling about Mr. Springer."
"Danny? What's wrong?"
"He had a bad siezure last night, and they had to take him to the hospital."
"Oh! Oh, dear! Is he all right?"
"Well, he's in a pretty bad way. I think you should go and see him; I think he'd like you to be there with him."
"I'll be right there."
"What room is he in?"
"Room 3874, cardiac wing, Rose Hospital."
"I'll be there as soon as I can. And, Sharon?"
"Thank you for telling me."
"You're welcome. I'll meet you there."
"Good. I'll see you later, then."
In the sterile atmosphere of Rose Hospital's cardiac wing, two women kept vigil on either side of a blue-sheeted hospital bed where the frail form of Danny Springer lay, a resperator tube clipped under his nostrils. There was no sound save for the gentle beeping of the EEG measuring the old man's heartbeat. Outside, the hospital staff went about its business, quickly, quietly and efficiently as usual.
Sharon and Dimitra had been sitting beside Danny for the better part of the day. They each held a withered hand in a desperate attempt to comfort him in what they feared would be his last moments on earth. Neither spoke, but they could not help but recall the circumstances which had bought the three of them together: Mick Piccucci's will, leaving Casey Worth, Sharon's daughter, his entire fortune; Dimitra's son, Criss Angel, getting himself unwittingly mixed up in the fallout of the battle for the estate; the casual meeting of Dimitra and Danny Springer which had blossomed into friendship (no more, despite the tabloid photo of them together, hinting of romance); and the probate trial settling the notorious Piccucci Affair once and for all. Sharon went to work for Danny, at first to help out Casey, who had been hired as caregiver, then full time when Casey married Jordan and had the twins, Chris and Nick.
Over time, her duty to her employer had grown to something more profound. It wasn't that she was attracted to him, but her concern for his welfare had deepened to a kind of love for him, as for an elderly relative. Indeed, the twins considered Danny their grandfather. Danny himself never had any grandchildren, having lost his only son in Vietnam, so being a surrogate grandparent to Casey's children had cheered the old man greatly. That, in turn, pleased Sharon. The twins made Danny happy, and that made her happy, too. It was like starting over with a new family, especially after the dismal thirty-odd years she had spent with Phil and Benny.
Sharon looked over at Dimitra. She had known Danny almost as long as she herself had, but she had been his companion of a different sort: a social one, a friend who went out with him on occasion, someone who loved him in a different manner than she did. There was no sex involved, not at their ages, of course, but Dimitra had provided an affection that Sharon could not give him. Sharon was the housekeeper, the caregiver, the one who provided the physical comfort Danny required, but Dimitra had provided the emotional and social support he needed. Sharon felt no jealousy toward Dimitra about it, nor did Dimitra about Sharon; it was just the way things had worked out, and they had accepted it. Sharon and Dimitra had become good friends through their relationship with Danny Springer. Together, they were like a wife to him.
Now they were together, keeping a silent vigil over the man they both cared about so deeply. Except for an occasional sigh, there were no words between them. No words were necessary, for they both knew what they were thinking. They were losing the man who had bought them together, watching him sink away into oblivion.
A snort startled them out of their thoughts. Danny turned his head, first at Dimitra, then at Sharon. "Why the long faces?" he rasped. "Somebody die or somethin'?"
Both women managed to smile at Danny's off-the-wall remark. "We just wanted to keep you company," Sharon said.
Danny gave them another quick glance. "Hey, I don't mind," he said. "I love being surrounded by beautiful women."
Dimitra blushed. Sharon giggled like a schoolgirl. "I'd sure go for a Manhattan right about now," Danny said.
"Sorry," Sharon said, "but they don't have a bar here at the hospital."
Danny's lips grimaced in a shrug. "Ah, well," he said, "they're better at the Luxor, anyway." He looked at Sharon. "How long you two been here?"
"Almost all day," Sharon replied. "I called Dimitra this morning, and she came right away."
Springs looked at Dimitra. "You did that, Didi?"
Dimitra nodded. "Geez," Danny said, "neither of my two ex-wives woulda done that for me."
"Danny," Dimitra said, "don't talk. Rest."
Danny sneered, "Ah, I'll rest in my grave. When I'm with company, I wanna enjoy it."
A soft voice came over the PA system. "Attention, please. Visiting hours are now over. All visitors must leave the facility in five minutes."
Dimitra looked grieved. Danny just smirked. "Hmph! Time flies when you're having fun."
"We still have five minutes," Sharon said eagerly. "Anything you want to say, you want to talk about?"
Danny thought about it for a moment. "What's to say?" he rasped. "I said it all in my book. I ain't got nothin' to say that's worth sayin'."
The PA gave another gentle reminder for visitors to vacate. "Guess it's time for for me to go," Danny said.
Dimitra looked at Danny, startled. "What did you say, Danny?"
"I said I guess it's time for you to go," Danny said.
Dimitra shook her head. "No, Danny," she said, "you said 'it's time for me to go'."
Danny looked perplexed. "Did I say that?"
"Yes, you did," Dimitra replied.
As if to confirm what Danny had said, the EEG began blipping erratically. Danny's breathing became shallow. "Oh, Christ!" he gasped. "Oh, Christ!"
"Danny!" Sharon cried.
The old man shuddered in his bed, grimacing in pain, then his body relaxed, his head drooped to one side, his mouth agape. Danny lay still as a stone on the bed, not breathing, no sound except the steady whine of the EEG flatlining.
Dimitra approached the bed and touched Danny's neck. "Is he...?" she murmured.
Sharon nodded, bursting into tears. "I'm afraid he is," she said softly.
The two women stood there, staring at the body of Danny Springer, not knowing what to do next. Only when two attendants from the morgue arrived with the gurney to take him away did they move out of the room. Sharon mumbled something about calling Casey, and Dimitra nodded. They embraced, and Sharon left for the elevator bank. Only Dimitra remained, fighting back tears unsuccessfully. For the second time in her life, she felt like a widow.
December 21, 2012:
"Oh, hey, Mom, how's it going?"
"Mom? You okay?"
A sniff, then, "It's Danny."
"Danny? You mean Springs?"
"Well, last night, he took a turn for the worse...he's gone, honey."
"He died? Springs died?"
"I'm afraid so, honey."
"Oh, geez, Mom! I'm so sorry."
"Well, he was almost ninety, and he lived, well, maybe not a good life, but..."
"A long one."
A pause. "You want me to come home?"
"Oh, no, no, no. You got your show to do. I'll be all right."
"I'll be fine, don't worry about me."
"Does Sharon know?"
"She was there, too."
"Oh. Anything I can do?"
"Not right now."
"Well, keep me posted."
"I will, honey. Love you."
"I love you more."
Criss flipped off his phone and stuck it in his pocket. Springs was gone. He had joined his former partners in crime in whatever afterlife he had gone to. He remembered how jealous he had been when his mother had begun seeing Springs on a regular basis. It had been foolish of him, granted, but the thought of his mother remarrying, especially a former mobster, had repelled him. In hindsight, her relationship to Springs had been good for her, and vice versa. Maybe having Springs for a stepdad wouldn't have been so bad after all...
He had been the last of the Las Vegas mobsters, practically the only one who had seen it all and lived to tell the tale. Now, there was no one, nothing left of the golden era of Sin City but memories stored in Springs' book and the exhibits at the mobster museum. Criss' eye fell on a calendar on one of the desks in the production office. December twenty-first. Doomsday according to the Mayans. Well, it may not have been the end of the world in general, but after the passing of Daniel "Springs" Springer of the Guys of Glitter Gulch, it was the end of an era.
The Mindfreak staff attending the production meeting could not help noticing the somber look on Criss' face that afternoon. Criss's elder brother, JD, ventured to find out what was wrong by asking if everything was all right. Criss simply nodded, then said, "Mom went to see Springs last night. Not at his house, though."
"Where is he now?" JD asked.
"Having a brandy with Mick and The Guys."
Everybody in the room was startled. "He died?" JD gasped.
Criss nodded. "Mom and Sharon were there with him when it happened."
"So, what're we gonna do now?"
"Oh, I dunno. Wait for the funeral, I guess."
Meanwhile, cooped up in the underground bunker, Boone and Charley played yet another hand of cards. It was the Day of Doom prophesized by the Mayans, and they sat there waiting patiently for the apocalypse that was sure to come. They were well prepared with food, bottled water, and other supplies needed for survival after whatever cataclysm would strike the earth. It would be just a matter of time, that was all. Just a matter of time...
A loud banging on the heavy metal door of the bunker interrupted their card game. Boone instinctively rose to answer it, but Charley stopped him. "Don't go out there!" he warned. "They could be after our supplies."
Boone sat down again. The banging persisted. Unable to concentrate on the game, Boone got up again and went to the door in spite of Charley's protests. "Who is it?" Boone yelled.
A faint, familiar voice made its way through the metal door. "It's me, Roxie! Come on, Boone, open up!"
Boone turned to Charley. "It's Roxie," he said, "my sister. Can't I let her in? I mean, she's family and all."
Charley pondered for a minute, then nodded assent. Boone heaved the heavy beam securing the door and pulled it open. Outside, Roxie stood there, her tattooed arms crossed over her tiny bosom. "Whaddya want?" Boone asked.
"I just wanna tell you the world didn't come to an end," Roxie told him. "You and your friend can come out now."
One week later:
The funeral service for Daniel Springer was a simple affair, attended only by Sharon Worth; her daughter, Casey; her husband, Jordan; Dimitra, Criss, JD and Costa. A reporter and a photographer from the Sun was there to cover it for next morning's edition; the loss of the last surviving mobster from Las Vegas' shady past was newsworthy as far as the editors were concerned.
There was only one bouquet of flowers, unlike the lavish floral displays of mob funerals of yesteryear. The eulogy was brief and to the point, sprinkled with admonitions of the wages of sin and the seeking of redemption. Criss got up and read the poem, "Old Gangsters Never Die" from Springs' book, a fitting tribute to the old enforcer's criminal past. (1) Then Springs was laid to rest in a mausoleum next to his son, Brian, per his last instructions. The photographer snapped a few photos of the coffin, the herse, and those in attendance, especially Criss, being the only celebrity present, making the event even more newsworthy. A final prayer for the deceased was delivered, and everyone dispersed. The reporter approached Criss and asked for a statement.
"What can I say?" Criss said, shrugging. "I know the guy had been a mobster, but really he was a nice guy in the time that I knew him. What's past is past, that's all I can say. He was good to Mom, and that makes him all right in my book."
(See "A Mobster's Halloween")
From the last will and testament of Daniel William Springer, dated October 12, 2011:
I, Daniel William Springer, being of sound mind and body, do hearby make my last will and testament, all others being null and void.
To Sharon Worth, my housekeeper, I bequeath the total sum of three million dollars, plus the house and all its contents.
To Casey Worth Mellon, I bequeath the total sum of three million dollars, plus the royalties of my book in perpetuity.
To Dimitra Sarantakos, I bequeath the total sum of four million dollars, liquidated from any and all stocks and bonds I hold in possession.
To Christopher Sarantakos, aka Criss Angel, I bequeath my 1959 Porsche and my 1998 Lincoln towncar, in appreciation for saving my life.
I name Richard Close, Esq., as executor of my estate.
Signed this day, October 12, 2011.
Daniel William Springer.
JD and Costa stared at Criss in astonishment. "Four million dollars?" they gasped.
Criss nodded. "That's right," he said, "Springs left Mom four million dollars from his estate. Didn't know the old man was that loaded."
JD shook his head. "Four million bucks," he said. "Mom's set for life!"
"Well, we gotta see what's left after taxes," Costa pointed out.
"Well, yeah," JD concurred, "but still, Mom's gonna be sitting pretty after this." He turned to Criss. "And all you got were his cars," he said.
Criss shrugged. "I can live with that," he said. "I just think it was nice of him to remember me in his will, that's all."
"A rather nice belated Christmas present, if you ask me," JD remarked.
"Yeah," Criss murmured, nodding, "but, you know, I'm really starting to miss the old man. I really liked him, y'know."
"Yeah," JD chuckled. "He was a real character."
"Mom's gonna miss him, too," Costa added somberly.
"She already does," Criss said. "She's gonna go to his crypt this Sunday. It's like she acting the same way when, you know..."
JD divined what Criss was going to say. "When Dad died?" he hinted.
Criss nodded. "Yeah, kinda like that. I mean, it's tough losing one man in your life, but two? That's really rough."
"Well, life goes on," JD said in a philosophical tone, "in spite of everything, whether it be war, disaster, or even Mayan doomsday predictions, we just keep on going, no matter what. She'll get over it in time, I know she will."
"Yeah," Criss agreed. "She'll get over it. We all will. It's tough to lose someone close to you, but it's not the end of the world."
His two older brothers shook with suppressed laughter at that last remark. Criss suddenly realized what he had said and began to laugh as well. It felt good, he thought, it felt good to laugh. After all the doom and gloom prophecies of the past year, it felt good to laugh. It made them all feel alive. The world was still here, and they were alive to live and enjoy it, and that was all that mattered.
01-02-2013, 05:37 PM
I apolgize for the shabby ending to this tale. It was late, I wanted to get it done, and, well, I short shrifted it. Maybe someday I'll rewrite it so that it comes out better. Thanks for taking the time to read it.
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