View Full Version : An Udderly Ridiculous Story
08-27-2011, 09:58 PM
Here's a story that got a lot of laughs on the old site...
And now for something completely different...
Pete Granholm was tired, dead tired. Six hours on the road, and he was still in Nevada. From his estimate, he was somewhere near Las Vegas. No time to stop for gambling, however. Once across the state's southernmost point and he'd finally be in Utah with his shipment: six Jersey milking cows and one Black Angus bull, specially ordered from Central Califonia--fresh breeding stock for the DairyMaid company in Brightonville. Still, it was a long way to go, especially with a thousand-pound bull; from his rearview mirror, Pete could see that it was beginning to get restless. Shoulda shipped them by train, he thought. It'd been safer that way.
Hungry, tired, and in need of a toilet, Pete turned off the freeway to a truck stop he knew well from previous trips over his eighteen years as a driver. A quick trip to the men's room, a sandwich and a cup of coffee, and he'd be on his way again. It was a pity he couldn't do more for the poor cows inside the trailer, cooped up like that since they left the stockyards six hours ago. True, he couldn't simply turn them loose to let them stretch their legs, but still.
It was still early in the morning, but the truck lot was already full, their drivers getting their morning cup of joe for their own trips up and down America's highways. Pete found a spot farther back from the diner and parked his rig carefully so as not to upset the animals in the trailer too much. The strong stench of urine hit him in the face as he climbed out of the cab; that trailer was going to need a good hosing down once he reached Brightonville, he figured.
Pete walked stiffly toward the diner, glad to be out of the driver's seat. The smell of cow urine mercifully gave way to the welcoming aroma of fresh-brewed coffee and frying eggs. To hell with the sandwich; Pete was going for the breakfast special: two fried eggs, three strips of bacon, home fries, buttermilk biscuits and black coffee. That should hold him until Brightonville.
While the cook in the diner was busy preparing his breakfast, Pete retired to the men's room to relieve himself of his last thermos of coffee during the trip. Meanwhile, out in the truck lot, the Black Angus was getting claustrophobic after six hours being cooped up in the trailer with six cows. It kicked against the metal doors in the rear with its powerful back hooves. The securing bolt held firm. It kicked again, and again. The rivets popped loose, but the doors remained shut. Knowing freedom was close at hand, the Angus gave them one last angry kick. The doors flew open, and the Angus bull charged out of the trailer, free at last. The six Jersey cows followed one at a time, bewildered but happy to be free from their confinement.
The cattle trotted around the lot, looking for water, grass or anything else familiar to them. Instead they encountered noisy trucks and cars, their hooves landing on hot concrete and asphalt instead of the soft earth to which they were accustomed. In desperation, they trotted away from the truck stop and across the desert, southeast toward Las Vegas.
08-28-2011, 09:33 PM
A single motorcycle cruised down the long stretch of desert highway, the dull roar of its engine breaking the natural silence. Criss Angel, Las Vegas' famous illusionist, was enjoying one of his rare days off from performing, taking in the stark beauty of the Nevada desert as he rode his customized Harley along that lonesome road. It was good to get away from it all: the ringing phones, the cameras, the demands on his time from both producers and fans. Nothing but the sun on his face and the open road beneath his wheels--that was bliss.
He had been born in suburban Long Island, New York, almost an entire continent and virtually a world away from the arid desert of Nevada. Even in the oasis of Las Vegas (Spanish for "The Meadows" for its lush greenery among the dry scrub), there was precious little rainfall, about four inches a year: less than a single summer's worth of precipitation compared to the Empire State. But at least he didn't have to get up before dawn and shovel snow from the driveway anymore as he had in his early youth (there were extremely rare snowfalls coming from the mountains north of Vegas, but they melted away within a day or so), and he could count on clear weather for outdoor shooting of his television series, MindFreak. Despite the triple-digit temperatures in summer and the constant threat of flash flooding from the mountains, desert living had its advantages.
Criss rolled on, savoring his freedom and privacy. The chaos that had become his life had blown off his shoulders in the cloud of dust and exhaust he left in his wake. This was his moment, and his alone, to enjoy, and nothing was going to spoil--
A flash of white caught his eye. He slowed his Harley down to clarify whatever he had seen, if only for safety's sake. It could have been a white car, or a person walking along the shoulder, or--a cow?!?
Criss halted in the middle of the road, unable to believe his eyes. He removed his goggles to get a better view. Yes, it really was a cow, black and white, with an udder and everything. It glanced in his general direction and trotted away; from his point of view, it looked as if it was heading toward the city. Criss removed a bandana from his back pocket and rubbed his dusty face. "I must be losing my mind!" he said to himself.
Fearing for his sanity, he turned around and headed back toward Vegas. I did not see a cow in the desert, he kept repeating to himself firmly, I did not see a cow in the desert. I did not see a cow in the desert. I did not see a cow in the desert...
08-28-2011, 09:41 PM
While Criss was trying to convince himself he had not seen a cow in the desert on his way back home, another driver traveling the same highway to Las Vegas was about to have a bovine encounter of his own.
Geoge Strumpolis, cousin to the very same Criss Angel, was driving his SUV with his new girlfriend, Angela Honi, a first-grade schoolteacher, beside him. They had met purely by accident in the atrium of the Luxor Hotel when Angela's narcissistic sister, Bianca, had thrown her over the railing from their twelfth-floor hotel room in a fit of rage after she had won the Lucky Million Slots in the casino. Poor Angela had landed right on top of George, who had been taking a break from a planning meeting for MindFreak Productions. Bianca had been arrested for attempted murder and was taken into custody. Angela and George became better aquainted during the investigation and began dating right from the start.
School was closed for Columbus Day, so Angie, as George liked to call her, had the day off, and since George was also free that day, they decided to spend it together. George had planned to formally introduce Angie to the family that evening at dinner; he was confident they would take to her like ducks to water. This morning, however, Angie and he had visited her only surviving relative: her sister, Bianca, currently incarcerated in the Clark County Detention Center women's wing. It was not the most pleasant start to their special day, but Angie felt it was only fair since she would be meeting George's family that evening, an event she looked forward to with eagerness and not a little apprehension.
After an sullen, awkward, ten-minute meeting in the Visitor's Room (the regulated time limit for family members of prisoners), with Angie apologizing to Bianca (again) over not being able to post her bail, the pair left the CCDC quickly and quietly. Bianca was taken back to her cell, muttering curses under her breath. Now the happy couple were on their way back to Vegas, relieved to be outside the grim concrete fortress and back in the real world. Before them, the splendor of the Nevada desert stretched out as far as they could see, a postcard-perfect setting for a morning drive.
George reached over and drew Angie toward him. "You okay, babe?" he asked, caressing her skinny arm.
"I'm fine, George," Angie replied. "I'm just sorry about Bianca's...'reception' of you, that's all."
"Ah, don't sweat it," George said dismissively. "I knew she wouldn't welcome me with open arms."
"I think she's still mad that I didn't share the jackpot with her."
"I think she's still mad that she's sitting in jail while you're out here with me."
Angie sighed heavily. "I'll never understand her," she said sadly. "Never. Ever since we were little girls she always had to have the upper hand. If I got something nice and she didn't, she either stole it, tricked me out of it, or bullied me into giving it up. I was too weak to fight back, and she manipulated Mother and Daddy like a con artist. Children can be selfish as a rule, especially when they are toddlers and preschoolers, but they eventually grow out of it when they develop a sense of empathy for others by the time they start school. Bianca, however, seemed, well...."
"What you're saying," George said, "is that Bianca is still a child."
"I would say more in a state of arrested development," Angie said. "I learned a lot about child psychology when I was in teacher's college. When we got to early childhood development, the more I learned about possessiveness in three- and four-year-olds, the more I drew parallels with Bianca."
George shrugged. "Like I said, she's still a child."
"But very cunning," Angie added. "She's very intelligent, but she's used that intelligence against me and anyone else who crossed her. Like there was the time when she--"
Suddenly, George slammed on the brakes. "HOLY (BLEEP)!" he cried out.
The SUV screeched to a halt, nearly sending Angie and George through the windshield if not for their seat belts. A shaken Angie looked around herself wildly. "Wh-what happened?" she gasped.
She glanced out of the windshield and recoiled in terror. There on the highway was a large black bull standing defiantly before them. Despite George's frantic honking, the huge animal made no move to clear the way for them.
"How did it get there?" Angie wondered aloud, still terrified at the sight of the bull.
"I don't care how the hell it got there!" George fumed. "I want it to move its ass right now!"
He leaned on the car horn. "Come on, you (bleeper)!" he shouted through the driver's side window. "Move it or lose it!"
"Maybe we should back up?" Angie timidly suggested.
"Oh, no," George disagreed. "No way. I'm gonna get this (bleeper) to move one way or another."
He picked up an empty plastic water bottle, got out of the SUV and positioned himself between the bull and the driver's seat, shielding himself behind the car door. Angie pleaded with him to get back inside, but George was determined to show this oversized hunk of hamburger who was boss. He cocked his arm back and flung the plastic bottle at the bull with all of his might. "Beat it!" George shouted.
The flimsy plastic container bounced harmlessly off the bull's head, but it was enough to incite rage: the huge bull bellowed furiously and charged straight at the SUV. George, realizing his mistake and its consequences, jumped back into the driver's seat and threw the trucklike car into reverse. "We gotta move!" he cried, terrified as Angie cowering beside him.
The SUV sped backward, away from the charging bull, then one-eightied around the shoulder and tore off in the opposite direction. The huge animal chased after them for a while, then gave up the pursuit, exhausted from the desert heat. George sped on, too scared to look in the rearview mirror.
Angie turned and looked back. "It's okay, George," she said. "It's gone now."
George slowed down and glanced in the rearview mirror on the driver's side door. "Man, that was close!" he sighed with relief. "That (bleeper) was gonna do me in!"
"Well, if you hadn't thrown that bottle at him--"
"Well, if he had moved like I told him to, I wouldn't have thrown it!" George argued back.
Angie kept silent. She didn't want to jeopardize her relationship with the first man who had shown an interest in her by fighting, even if she was right. The important thing was that they were alive and well, she rationalized, and they had escaped unharmed. Besides, she couldn't help but admire George's courage to stand up to that bull like he did, idiotic though it was.
George slumped in his seat. "Okay, I admit it wasn't the smartest thing I ever did," he conceded, "but I got him to move, anyway."
He drove to the nearest exit and took the long way back to Las Vegas. "They're never gonna believe this when we get back," he said.
08-28-2011, 09:49 PM
Criss pulled into the motorcycle lot and parked his Harley in its designated spot. He removed his helmet and goggles, stored them away in the saddlebag, and walked toward the Luxor Hotel, craving a Martini from the lounge. Note to self, he said to himself, No more biking in the desert during midday!
He entered the air-conditioned comfort of the Luxor Hotel's famous atrium, the largest in the world. Around him, life went on: guests came and went, staff carried out their duties, the shops and restaraunts lay open for customers. Not a single cow in sight.
He did spot his mother, Dimitra, leaving one of the few boutiques that catered to women her age, her arms laden with shopping bags and shoe boxes. Laughing, Criss strolled up to her. "Whoa!" he exclaimed peevishly. "Someone's been doing some major shopping here! What'd you do, Mom, buy out the whole store? You're gonna bankrupt me at this rate!"
Dimitra looked at her famous son, annoyed at his facetiousness. Taking the nonverbal hint, Criss gathered up some of the bags. "Here, let me help you with those," he offered.
"Thank you, Christopher," she said, pleased with his change of tone. "You can just carry them up to my room."
Criss carried the plastic garment bags of new dresses and suits to the elevator bank. Dimitra followed with the shoe boxes tied together with white string. As they rode up the elevator to her suite, Dimitra asked, "I thought you were going riding today. What made you change your mind?"
Criss hemmed and hawed, not knowing how to explain what he had seen--or what he thought he saw--out in the desert, yet he didn't want to outright lie to his mother. "Well, y'see, Ma," he hedged, "it's, well, kinda hard to explain."
The elevator doors flew open. Criss was thankful for the brief distraction of carrying the bags into the hotel room and hanging them up in the closet. Once that task was done, Dimitra turned to him. "What is hard to explain?" she pressed.
"Well, uh, y'see, uh..." Criss made some helpless gestures, as if trying to conjure an answer. "I was out riding my Harley in the desert, see..."
"Yes, and...?" his mother prompted.
"Well, I looked to one side, and I see...something...out there that, well, looked pretty wierd."
"What was wierd?"
Criss drew a deep breath. "IthoughtIsawacowinthedesert," he blurted.
Dimitra was puzzled. "You thought you saw what in the desert?"
"It was a...a cow."
"Yeah, a real cow. You know, like in those TV ads? Black and white spotted--that kind of cow. Or, at least I think it was a cow."
Maternal instinct immediatly took over: Dimitra reached up and felt Criss' forehead. "Lie down," she told him.
"But, Ma, I feel fine, really," Criss protested.
His mother guided him to one of the beds in the suite. "Lie down!" she ordered, pushing him down on the mattress. "You've given yourself heat stroke from being out in that sun all day."
Realizing the futility of arguing, Criss lay down on the bed. Dimitra went into the bathroom. He could hear water running for a second or two, the his mother reemerged with a damp washcloth folded lengthwise. She laid the cool, wet cloth on his forehead. "There," she said. "Now you just lay there and get some rest. I'll get you something to drink. What would you like: water, juice, a soda?"
"How about a Martini?" Criss suggested. "Dry."
"No alcohol," his mother old him sternly. "That will only make it worse." She patted his hand and crossed over to the minifridge to find a bottle of water. "I'll get you some water instead. That's the best thing for you right now."
Criss lay on the bed watching his mother fetching a small bottle of water for him. So loving, he reflected, and so devoted. She was a mom's mom, that was for sure. Still, all this fussing over him wasn't really necessary. Okay, so he had a brief hallucination out in the desert--so what? It's not like he was going crazy, right? He didn't feel like he had heat stroke as his mother surmised; in fact, he felt fine. He removed the damp cloth from his forehead and sat up. "Mom, I'm fine, really I am," he insisted. "I don't have heat stroke or anything like that, so you can stop the Florence Nightingale routine, okay?"
Dimitra crossed back with the bottled water. "Here," she said, handing him the small plastic bottle. "At least drink this down. I don't want you sick tonight."
"Yes, tonight we're having dinner with George's new girlfriend, Angela, remember?"
Suddenly, Criss remembered. "Oh, oh, yeah, that's right! Yeah, sure, Mom, don't worry, I'll be fine." He leaned conspiritorially to her. "Just, well, don't mention this to anyone, okay? I don't want people to think I'm going crazy or anything."
Dimitra smiled. "I promise."
She took his face into her hands. "But you go back to your room and rest, okay? I don't want you going out into the sun again. You'll make yourself ill like you did before."
"Fine," Criss agreed. He gave her a peck on the cheek. "Love ya," he said, rising from the bed.
"I love you, too, honey," Dimitra returned, hugging him.
Criss hugged back. "I love you more."
Meanwhile, at the highway truck stop, two police cruisers surrounded the demolished remains of the cattle trailer in the truck lot. A police photographer took pictures of the bent, torn metal doors ripped from their hinges, the heavy steel guage bolt dangling from its bracket like a broken arm. The driver, Pete Granholm, paced nervously back and forth, protesting his innocence to the police sergeant and two other officers.
"Gawdalmighty! I just stopped for five minutes to take a leak and get some breakfast, wasn't gonna be long at all, and this happens! Boss is gonna hand me my (bleeps) on a platter for this! If they'd shipped them by rail, none of this woulda happened."
"Where were you taking the cattle, sir?" the police sergeant asked.
"Brighton, Utah," Pete replied. "DairyMaid company. They needed new breeding stock and milkers. I told them to ship 'em by freight train--they got their own rail, and it would've been safer that way--but nooo, they wanted to save money and have 'em delivered by truck! Damn pencil pushers! Don't know nothin' about livestock!"
"All right, Mr. Granholm," the sergeant tried to placate him. "We'll get the cows back somehow. They couldn't have gone far. We'll have Animal Control out looking for them."
"I made damn sure those doors were bolted shut!" Pete fumed. "I mean, that's solid half-inch steel there! I can't believe that bull would bust it down like that! I mean, he just kicked those doors all to hell!"
"You're not to blame for this, Mr. Granholm," the sergeant reassured him. "From the look of that truck, I'd say those cows wanted out pretty bad."
"It was the bull that did it," Pete told him. "Meanest son of a (bleep) you ever saw. They had to load him on last, he was so ornery. He was still kickin' when I left--thought he was gonna bust out right there in the middle of the road."
"Don't worry, Mr. Granholm, we'll find him; him and the rest of the cows. Animal Control will round them all up with no trouble at all."
"The cows ain't no trouble," Pete said. "It's the bull you should be worried about. It's gonna take more'n Animal Control to take him down. Hell, nothin' short of the National Guard is gonna bring down that (bleeper)! I'm tellin' you right now that bull is mean--one thousand pounds mean!"
08-28-2011, 09:53 PM
On his way back up to his suite, Criss decided to head for the lounge for that much longed-for Martini, his mother's orders notwithstanding. Maybe later he'd play one of his electronic arcade games in his suite, or go for a swim in the pool. He realized he hadn't gone swimming in a long time, at least not for pleasure; the few times he had been under water was during his escapes. Yeah, he thought, maybe he would hit the pool later. Wouldn't hurt.
He went into the lounge and ordered a Martini. Fran, the bartender, a woman almost as old as his own mother, mixed a Martini that James Bond himself would be proud of: easy on the vermouth, shaken, not stirred. Criss took the glass, paid Fran, and settled back to watch the local news on the large-screen television mounted on the far wall of the lounge:
Good morning. Our top story: seven cattle escaped a delivery trailer this morning after the truck driver who was shipping the animals stopped at a local diner. Police investigation revealed that a six-hundred pound Black Angus bull kicked out the doors of the trailer and escaped toward the metropolitan area along with six Jerssey milking cows.
(cut to shot of demolished trailer)
Pete Granholm, truck driver: "I just stopped for a quick bite to eat when they got out. I made damn sure that trailer was bolted shut tighter'n a drum! But that bull kicked down those doors, and they all got out."
Clark County Animal Control is on the alert to round up the cattle and send them to the DairyMaid company in Brightonville, Utah. The Black Angus is reported to be extremely dangerous. Citzens are advised not to disturb the animals in any way, and to report any sighting of them to the local authorities.
Criss almost dropped his Martini glass in shock. So it is true! he said to himself. I really did see a cow in the desert! I'm not going crazy!
He bolted out of the lounge and headed back up to his mother's suite. Wait'll I tell Mom about this! Now she'll know I wasn't having heat stroke!
Up the elevator, down the quiet hallway and to the door of his mother's hotel room. "Mom!" he shouted, pounding on the door. "Open up! It's me!"
The door swung open, revealing a surprised and irritated Dimitra. "What?" she demanded. "What's wrong?"
"Quick!" Criss cried excitedly. "Turn on the TV! Try to get the news!"
Dimitra turned on the telvision set. "What is it?" she wanted to know. "Another terrorist attack?"
"Remember when I told you I saw a cow in the desert?" Criss said.
"Well, it's true! I really did see a cow in the desert. I saw it just now on the news."
Mother and son faced the television set tuned to the local news. "See?" Criss exclaimed, pointing to the screen, "Right there!"
The anchorwoman behind the desk read from the teleprompter the story of the seven escaped cattle, a small insert of a cow's head to her left on the screen. "...animals were reported heading for the metropolitan area. Citizens are advised not to disturb the animals and to report any sighting of them to local authorities." "I told you I wasn't having a heat stroke," Criss said.
Dimitra could not help but laugh. "Cows in Las Vegas," she said, shaking her head in disbelief. "Oh, my."
Criss' cell phone went off. He pulled it out of its holster and answered it. "Hello?" he said.
There was a brief pause. "Oh, okay," he said drily. "Thanks."
The cell phone went back into its holster. "Who was that?" Dimitra asked.
"Oh, that was the animal hospital," Criss replied. "Hammie's ear infection cleared up and he's good to go. I gotta go pick him up." He gave her a peck on the cheek. "Later."
He turned to leave. "Don't forget we have dinner tonight," his mother reminded him as he walked out of the suite.
"And watch out for those cows out there."
Criss' knees buckled under him as he laughed. "Like I need reminding," he said.
08-28-2011, 09:55 PM
Wabeek Veterenary Hospital was a squat, square building sitting several blocks from Fremont Street, far away from the electronic extravaganza that was the Fremont Experience, with its overhead projection screens and dazzling light show. The only color the nondescript stucco cube was its sign posted out front, its logo accented with a picture of large South American macaw, its rainbow-hued feathers forming a forward-facing bracket around it.
Criss wheeled his Harley into the parking lot of the clinic. Behind him was a specially designed pet carrier, customized to fit on any of his motorcycles in case he wanted to travel with his cat, Hamlet, known affectionatly as Hammie. The gray and white tiger-striped tabby was beloved by Criss' fans, the Loyals, as much as Criss himself, so much so that his furry feline face was a favorite subject of online banners and fan signatures. Hammie was Criss' surrogate child, his main object of affection next to his mother; he was always cuddling him, giving him little treats, and giving him the run of the suite so long as he didn't scratch up the furniture and regularly used his litter box.
Two days before, Criss had taken Hammie into Wabeek Hospital for a routine check-up, only to discover that the cat had developed an ear infection that required treatment and observation. "We're glad we found it in time," the vet had told Criss. "If it had been left untreated, it could have damaged the inner ear." The infection would require regular doses of some special medication, he said; if it didn't clear up within forty-eight hours, surgery would be necessary.
A worried Criss had handed over Hammie, kissing him good-bye. "Take good care of him, Doc," he had said. "He's really special to me."
Now, forty-eight hours later, Hammie's ear had healed completely, and Criss was free to pick him up. He walked into the clinic, signed the release papers, paid the bill, claimed his cat, and walked out again, all within the space of five minutes. He slid Hammie into the carrier, mounted his Harley, and rode off.
On his way back to the Luxor, he noticed some sort of disturbance on Fremont Street. There wasn't any smoke, so it wasn't a fire, and there were no screams, so it wasn't a fight. Just some laughter and squeals from the crowd circling something. Criss pulled in closer to see what it was that held everyone's interest. He removed his goggles to get a clearer view--and nearly dropped them in surprise.
There, in the middle of Fremont street, was a black-and-white cow, just like the one he had seen in the desert that morning. It merely stood there bemusedly, its large head swiveling slowly from side to side.
08-28-2011, 09:58 PM
Bystanders gathered around the cow, but kept a safe distance all the same. They took pictures of it with digital cameras, camcorders and cameraphones, telling themselves and each other that "they'll never believe this back home!". Criss, meanwhile, made his way forward, trying to identify the cow as the same one he had seen in the desert that morning.
"Hey, cow!" some wannabe comedian among the gawkers shouted. "Got milk?"
This brilliant bit of clever witticism was met with resounding silence. Of greater interest was a curious little girl, not more than four years old, who stepped up toward the cow with wide-eyed wonder. She pointed at the giant bovine and said, "Mommy, moo-moo!"
Mommy, a slim brownette in a baggy cardigan, swept up her daughter in her arms. "Yes, dear, it's a moo-moo," she confirmed. "But don't get too close to it--it might hurt you."
"Ah, it ain't gonna hurt her!" an old man of about sixty or so spoke up loudly. "Cows are herbivores; they don't bite anything living."
"How do you know so much about cows, mister?" the young mother asked.
"Been around 'em most of my life," the old man replied. "Born and raised on a dairy farm for thirty years. And from the looks of 'er, I'd say she needs milkin'. That udder of hers is full to the brim." He turned to the crowd. "Anybody here got a bucket and a stool?" he shouted.
No one could fulfill the old man's request. No one, that is, except Criss, who spotted a nearby restaraunt, and, siezed with a sudden brainstorm, dashed in and asked if they had any plastic buckets in the back room. The restaraunt owner, recognizing the famous magician and thinking he needed it to perform one of his illusions, happily obliged and fetched a large commercial-sized pickle bucket, complete with plastic lid.
"Is it clean?" Criss asked.
"Just washed it this morning," the owner proudly replied.
Criss thanked the man and dashed out with the bucket. "Here's a bucket, mister!" he called out.
The sight of Criss Angel dashing to the rescue elicited rousing cheers from the bystanders. Criss waved to them while he handed the old man the bucket. "This big enough for you?" he asked.
The old man nodded. "Plenty big," he replied. "All I need is somethin' to sit on, and I'm ready to go."
A plastic milk crate was found somewhere. The old man sat down, positioned the bucket under the cow's swollen udder, reached under and began to draw milk. Criss stayed at the cow's side, offering comfort to the animal: "It's okay, he knows what he's doing. You're gonna be okay."
The cow's presence on Fremont Street had attracted the local news crew. A van with a large satellite dish on top drove up to the scene. Cameramen, sound men and the roving reporter, a fashionably dressed woman of about thirty-five armed to the teeth with microphones and radio equipment, burst out of the van like a commando unit on a raid. Meanwhile, a young Loyal approached Criss. "I think Hammie wants out of his cage," she told him.
Criss looked over the cow to the old man on the other side. "I'll be right back," he said.
The old man simply grunted, carrying on with his work. Criss strode to his motorcycle and retrieved Hammie from the carrier. "C'mon, Hammie," he said, hoisting the cat onto his shoulders. "Let's go."
He returned with Hammie, to the delight of his fans. Rarely had they seen Hammie in real life, and for Criss to bring out his beloved cat in public was a real treat. When he returned to the cow, however, he noticed the news reporter interviewing the old man while he was still milking.
"Good afternoon, sir," the reporter said politely. "I'm Amber Wakely, from Channel Six news."
"How do," the old man grunted, still milking away.
"And you are...?"
"Clarence. Robert Clarence. Call me Bob."
"Okay, Bob, uh, can you give our viewers some information about the cow you're milking?"
"Sure, I can talk while I work."
"First of all, how do you know so much about milking cows?"
"Well, I'd been a dairy farmer for the first thirty years of my life. Had to sell the farm, though--wasn't turnin' a profit as much as it used to. Went into machine repairin' to make ends meet."
"And here you are, milking a cow right here on Fremont Street!"
"Had to," Bob replied. "She was full to the brim, and if a cow goes too long without milkin', she'll get sick and die."
"How much milk does the average cow produce?" Amber asked.
"Well, a good milker can go as high as ten or twelve gallons in one milkin'. Cows are milked twice a day, so we're talkin' twenty, twenty-four gallons. Of course, depends on the breed. This here's a Jersey--real good milker. They can fill up this bucket here easy."
"Well, thank you, Bob," Amber said. "And I'm sure the cow here appreciates your hard work."
"My pleasure, ma'am."
Amber turned her attention to Criss Angel. "So, Criss, what's your take on all this?"
Criss smiled sheepishly. "Well, first of all, this is my second cow sighting," he said. "I was riding my Harley out in the desert this morning, and I saw this cow--well, maybe not this particular cow, but it was a cow."
"And what did you do?"
"I rode back to the Luxor, and I'm like 'I did not see a cow in the desert, I did not see a cow in the desert.' I got back and told my mom about it."
"And what did she say?"
"She thought I was having a heat stroke."
"But you really did see a cow in the desert."
"Yeah, I did. Bugged me out, though."
While Criss was granting an interview to Channel Six News, Hammie slipped off his shoulders and padded to Bob. Criss looked down. "Hey, Hammie, where you goin'?" he said. "Hey, my cat's getting away from me!"
"Maybe he smells the milk," Amber suggested.
Criss trotted toward Hammie, who sat beside Bob. Bob turned and saw the cat sitting beside him. Amused, he said "Well, hello, there, kittycat! What's your name?"
"His name's Hammie," Criss answered for his cat. "He's mine."
"You want some milk, kittycat?" Bob asked Hammie good-naturedly. "Here."
He pointed one of the cow's teats toward Hammie's face and squirted out a steady stream of milk. Hammie lapped it up as soon as it hit his mouth. Criss doubled over laughing, as did those who saw it. The little girl who had first approached the "moo-moo" laughed and pointed at the kittycat getting a drink. Hammie merely licked his jaws and miawed.
"Oh, you want some more?" Bob said. "Here ya go!"
Again the stream of milk splattered in Hammie's gaping, lapping mouth. The cameraman with Channel Six News made sure to get a close up of the cat's milk-clotted face. The bystanders took their own pictures of Hammie's afternoon milk break to send over the Internet. Criss was still laughing over it all. Hammie, having had his fill of fresh milk, retired to wash his face in the manner of all felines: lick the side of his paw, rub it over his face, lick the paw, rub the face, and so on until it felt clean. Fascinated fans took more pictures: a few with camcorders taped it for posterity, vowing to send the footage to YouTube and other Web video sites.
Bob stopped milking and rose stiffly to his feet. "Well, that oughta do it," he announced. He turned to Criss. "Hand me that lid over there, willya, son?"
"Oh, sure," Criss said, handing Bob the plastic lid.
Bob clamped the lid on the bucket, leaning all of his weight onto it. "We got a good nine or ten gallons out of this one," he said proudly. "But my back is killin' me!"
"Good job, Bob," Criss congratulated him. "So, what're you gonna do with all that milk?"
Bob shrugged. "Goes to whoever owns this cow," he replied simply. "How the hell it got here beats my pair of jacks!"
Criss explained to Bob about the cow trailer that a bull had broken down, leading to the escape of half a dozen cows like the one he had just milked. "It was on the news," he said.
Police and Animal Control officers arrived to take the cow away. Bob, being the only one present with any experience with cattle, assisted them with loading the cow into the trailer. "C'mon, bossy," he encouraged the cow, "c'mon, bossybossybossy." The pail of milk was hoisted into the Animal Control van with instructions from Bob to get it into cold storage as soon as possible. "Don't let anyone drink it," he told them. "It's gotta be processed."
Criss had retrieved his cat and was about to leave, but the crowd would not hear of it. He and Hammie had to pose for pictures, then he had to sign a few autographs, and then levitated Hammie as a finale. It was a full hour before poor Criss could finally go home with his cat. With Hammie secure in his carrier, Criss strapped on his helmet and goggles (resulting in more photos for the fans), and took off, still amused over what had happened. Nice guy, that Bob, he thought. He really knows his cows. Funny the way he gave Hammie that milk! Can't get any fresher than that!
He arrived at the Luxor tired but happy. He couldn't wait for the local news segment on the cow on Fremont Street. Family's gonna get a kick about seeing Hammie and Bob, he laughed to himself as he lifted his cat out of the carrier. He turned to go into the hotel, but a loud mooooooo halted him in his tracks. He turned around and saw Carrot Top, the outrageous comedian and his good friend, standing behind him. "Got milk?" Carrot Top quipped.
"Hey, CT," Criss hailed him. "What're you talkin' about?"
"Saw you live on the news just now," Carrot Top said. "You and that cow on Fremont Street."
"Oh, that," Criss said dismissively as they strolled to the hotel entrance. "Well, hey, it was Bob who was the real star of the show--he did all the milking. I just stood there laughing when he fed Hammie."
"Bull," Carrot Top said.
"No, really, I didn't do anything."
"Bull!" Carrot Top repeated, louder this time.
"CT, what the hell is the matter with you?" Criss demanded, turning to face him.
His irritation faded as he saw the orange haired comedian's pale face paralzyed in terror, his finger pointed straight out in front of him. "Buuuullllll!" CT cried out.
Criss turned to where Carrot Top was pointing. There, right in front of the main entrance of the Luxor Hotel, was a giant black bull.
08-28-2011, 10:01 PM
Criss froze, clutching Hammie tightly to his chest. Carrot Top slowly drew himself closer to Criss, his eyes fixed on the bull's long white horns. The Black Angus stood there before them, staring them down, its huge nostrils flaring. "Don't make any sudden moves," Criss murmured to CT. "Just move real slow toward the entrance."
Carrot Top replied with a barely perceptible nod. Criss stroked his cat to keep him calm as both men inched their way toward the hotel. "Steady," Criss murmured quietly, "steady..."
Step by step, they made it just a few feet away from the Harley. The hotel entrance was several yards away, but in their predicament it seemed several miles distant. The bull didn't budge an inch from where he was standing, but kept watching the pair warily, as if waiting for the moment to strike. "We're almost there," Criss said encouragingly. "Just take it slow and don't run."
"Tell that to the bull," Carrot Top retorted.
Criss shushed him and kept on inching his way toward the hotel entrance, still stroking Hammie in his arms. They had reached the halfway point, but unfortunatly that particular spot left them wide open for attack. The bull seemed to sense this, for he broke into a trot toward Criss and Carrot Top, a prelude to a charge. Hammie suddenly shrieked and leapt out of Criss' arms.
"Hammeeeeee!" Criss screamed after him.
Hammie streaked for higher ground, in this case the top of the MindFreak Hummer. The cat deftly jumped onto the hood, then the roof of the tanklike vehicle, peering over the edge at the giant black bull below. Criss tried to make a dash to save his cat, but Carrot Top grabbed his arm to stop him. "Are you crazy, man?" he cried. "That bull will make hamburger out of you!"
"I gotta save Hammie!" Criss shouted.
"Never mind Hammie!" CT shouted back. "We gotta save ourselves!"
Heedless of his own safety, Criss bolted toward the Hummer. The bull spotted him and ran toward him, his horns lowered for the kill. Instinctively, Criss yanked open the driver's side door and dived inside, slamming it shut just barely in time to avoid impact from the angry bull. The Black Angus collided with the huge vehicle, causing it to shake on its giant tires. Where's Hammie? Criss thought frantically. I gotta save Hammie! He's on the roof--how do I get to him?
He looked around the interior of the Hummer. Passenger door, driver's door, rear door, all no good. Wait! The sunroof! He clambered into the back of the truck and fiddled with the manual latch of the black tinted glass dome (specially designed for emergency exits after accidents). "Come on, come on," he muttered impatiently.
Finally the glass dome released itself, and Criss climbed out through the sunroof. "Hammieeeeee!" he called out. "Where are you?!"
A flash of white caught his eye. He saw Hammie perilously perched too close to the edge of the Hummer. One good knock from the bull would send him toppling to the ground. Criss boosted himself up to the roof and began snaking himself toward his cat. "Come on, Hammie," he called to his cat, trying to control the terror in his voice. "Kittykittykittykittykittty! Come on, Hammie. That's a good kitty."
He reached out to grab the cat, but the Hummer was suddenly jolted by another blow from the bull. It took all of Hammie's feline skill not to fall off the roof: he hunched down on all fours, keeping his balance. Criss could only hang on, praying for some sort of deliverance for himself and his cat. With one desperate lunge, Criss grabbed Hammie by one of his rear legs and dragged him through the sunroof into the Hummer. Once inside, he slammed the sunroof window shut and secured the manual latch as securely as he could. "Safe at last!" he panted.
But how safe were they? There was still a six-hundred pound bull crashing against the half-ton Hummer. How long the armored vehicle could protect them was anybody's guess. He peered through a window and watched as the bull turned away and headed straight for the hotel. "Oh, my God!" Criss exclaimed.
His cell phone was out of his pocket in record time. "We got a bull out here at the Luxor!" he cried into the phone to the emergency dispatcher on the other end. "And he's (bleeped) off royal! Send the police! Send EMT! Send everybody!"
Meanwhile, Carrot Top had escaped into the hotel, screaming for help at the top of his lungs. "Mad bull! Mad bull outside! Somebody call nine-one-one!"
Felix Rappaport, the president of the hotel who just happened to be in the lobby, spotted CT. "What's going on?" he demanded.
"Listen!' CT cried frantically. "You gotta get help! There's a raging bull out there, and I ain't talking about Robert DeNiro! He's got Criss trapped in his own Hummer!"
Rappaport was incredulous. "A bull?"
"Swear to God, a real bull!" CT shouted. "And Criss is in the carport in his Hummer with him!"
As if to confirm the danger, several guests and hotel staff members came running into the lobby, screaming in terror. A large black object tried to break through the tempered glass dividing the hotel from the carport, causing it to spiderweb on impact. Sizing up the situation, Rappaport turned to the terrified desk clerk. "Call emergency," he ordered. "Tell them we got trouble."
The clerk snatched up the phone and pressed the emergency call button. "Please hurry!" she pleaded. "We've got a mad bull trying to break into the Luxor!"
Meanwhile, Rappaport tried his best to restore order out of the sudden chaos. "Everybody calm down!" he shouted over the din. "The safest place right now is in the Grand Ballroom. Please, everybody, move to the Grand Ballroom in an orderly manner."
The crowd moved to the Grand Ballroom, but not in an orderly manner--panicked, they stampeded into the large, windowless room, protected only by two heavy wooden doors with its gilded Egyptian carvings. Rappaport sent word to the rest of the guests and staff to take cover in the stairwells until the "emergency", as he put it, had passed and the all clear was given. Security personnel were to secure all exits and wait for furthur instructions, and in no way were they to try to engage the bull in any confrontation. "Leave that to the professionals," he ordered.
Outside, the Black Angus trotted around the main entrance, sending pedestrians and drivers fleeing in all directions. He could not chase them all, so he just remained where he was, laying siege to the hotel with his mere presence, almost daring anyone to approach him.
The wail of police sirens accompanied by flashing red and blue lights dazed and confused the beast, enraging him furthur. With a loud bellowing roar, the Black Angus charged at the first squad car he encountered, plowing headlong into the side of LVMPD Squad Car Number 208. Bulletproof glass cracked and splintered from the force, and the driver's side door caved in from the impact. The two officers inside were jostled like dice in a crapshooter's cup.
"208 requesting backup!" shouted one of the officers into the car radio. "We're gonna need a SWAT team to handle this (bleeper)!"
The bull, however, was not finished with Squad Car 208--it plowed again into its side, nearly upending it. Then the beast reared up on its hind legs and charged toward it, colliding with the radiator. The hood buckled upward; oil and radiator fluid trickled like blood onto the pavement. The few bystanders present screamed in horror at the sight of this demonic animal attacking one of Vegas's Finest. Police officers burst out of the other squad cars, weapons drawn but unable to save their comrades from the raging bull.
"What do we do now, Sarge?" a young police officer asked his CO as he witnessed the destruction of the cruiser.
"Tell 'em to fire up the grill and break out the A-1 sauce!" the sergeant retorted. "I want this (bleeper) served up on a platter!"
08-28-2011, 10:04 PM
While the LVMPD held the Black Angus at bay, Carrot Top and Felix Rappaport made a quick dash to the carport to try to rescue Criss. "He's in the Hummer," CT said, running up to the demolished vehicle.
Felix could not believe the damage the bull had inflicted onto the giant truck: the entire driver's side was caved in; long gashes made by the bull's horns streaked across the mural surface; the windshield was a sheet of splintered glass. "God, I hope Criss is okay," he muttered anxiously as he ran toward the wreck.
CT tried to pull open the driver's side door, but it refused to budge. In desperation, he circled to the passenger side, still pristine in spite of the attack, yanked open the door and clambered inside. "Criss!" he shouted. "Criss! You okay?"
There was no sign of life inside the Hummer. The interior with its arsenal of speakers lining the walls had withstood the bull's attack, thanks to the heavy steel body surrounding it. CT looked around for any sign of his friend, but it was empty. Worried, he withdrew and closed the door of the Hummer. "He's not in there!" he called out to Felix.
"Criss?" Felix shouted. "Criss, where are you?"
"Criiiiiiiiiissss!" CT yelled at the top of his lungs.
"I'm right here, CT," came a calm reply.
Felix and CT turned to see Criss standing serenely before them, gently stroking his cat in his arms. Both men were relieved to see him unharmed, though CT could not help but feel a bit angry over his friend's demeanor. "I thought you got killed!" he said.
"We made it out all right, didn't we, Hammie?" Criss said, nuzzling the cat's furry neck. "Soon as the bull left, we slipped out the other side."
Felix shook his head. "Boy, Criss, of all the close calls you've had over the years--"
Criss shrugged. "Hey, this ain't the first time I escaped from a charging bull."
Surrounded by armed officers and squad cars, the Black Angus paced nervously up and down the walkway, growing more enraged by the minute. Beside it, the wreckage of Squad Car 208 lay like dead carrion, its two officers having fled for safety long since. The feeling of entrapment only fueled its paranoia, just as it did when it was confined in the shipping trailer. The figures in front of it were a threat, and all of its bellowing and pacing did nothing to send them away.
From the animal's frantic behavior, the CO knew they were in for another attack. He pulled out his radio mike. "Send Animal Control here ASAP!" he barked. "If this thing charges us, so help me, God, we're gonna shoot!"
The bull turned around and crashed headlong into the plate glass window of the hotel, shattering it with one blow. He charged into the atrium, sending guests and staff running for their lives. The huge snorting bull stamped and kicked furiously, toppling potted plants and anything else in its way. The desk clerk in the hotel lobby took cover under the checkout desk. Upstairs on the casino level, the pit boss rose heroically to the situation and instructed all gamers not to go downstairs but to remain inside the casino while alerting security staff to prevent anyone on the second level from using the down escalator.
The CO turned to his men. "Let's move!" he shouted.
The officers charged into the hotel like an invading army, ready to bring down the bull with all the firepower they possessed. The bull turned around, then suddenly reared up on its hind legs and charged straight at them. Before they could fire a single shot, one officer, then another, were caught between the bull's horns and flung aside like sacks of laundry. Shots exploded from police-issue handguns, but the huge Black Angus fled from the atrium, galloping away from the hotel and toward the Strip. The screech of tires and screams from pedestrians followed in its wake.
The CO got on his radio again. "Officers down!" he barked. "Officers down! Send EMS to the Luxor Hotel. And send backup--the bull is on the loose down Las Vegas Boulevard! Repeat! The bull is on the loose down Las Vegas Boulevard!"
He switched off his radio mike and glared at the carnage wreaked by the bull. The two injured officers lay where they fell, tended to by their comrades. Pieces of window glass lay glittering in the afternoon sunshine. Outside, he could see what was left of Car 208, beyond anything but the scrap yard.
"All right, you (bleeper)!" the CO growled. "You just earned yourself a trip to the slaughterhouse!"
08-28-2011, 10:07 PM
Our top story: The Black Angus bull which had escaped from its cargo trailer has been spotted heading east down Las Vegas Boulevard. Police had cornered the animal in front of the Luxor Hotel and Resort when it attacked a squad car--
(scene of demolished police car)
--crashed through the main entrance--.
(cut to video surveillance tape of bull charging into atrium and attacking police.)
--and then turned on the police squad, injuring two officers. It then ran out of the hotel and down the Boulevard. Citizens in the area are advised to remain indoors until the bull is captured. If you see the bull, do not try to capture it or provoke it in any way, but contact local authorities as soon as possible...
"Didja hear that, dawg?" D'Wan Rollins shouted over the thumping bass to his homies as they cruised the Strip in his pimped-out Camero. "There's some big-assed bull runnin' down the street! C'n you believe that, man?"
"Hey, dawg," Kev Weste spoke up. "I heard it on the news this mornin'. Mother(bleeper) busted out of its cage or somethin' and took some cows with him. They've been lookin' for 'em all day. Found one of 'em on a golf course."
"The bull or the cows?" D'Wan asked.
"One of the cows, mofo!" Kev replied. "They ain't found the others yet."
"Think we'll be able to see it?" Rory "Peep" Armand, a skinny youth in a grey hoodie, spoke up from the back seat.
"Hey, man, they said it was on the Strip," D'Wan said. "If we keep goin', maybe we will."
"What'll we do if we do?" Kev wanted to know.
"Maybe if we capture it, we'll get a reward or somethin'!" Peep piped up eagerly.
"Oh, yeah?" D'Wan scoffed. "How the (bleep) we gonna do that?"
"You got rope?"
"Oh, yeah, like I carry rope with me all the time! What the (bleep) do I look like, some mother(bleeping) cow--"
"HEY, MAN WATCH OUT!!" Kev screamed.
The bull stood in the middle of the boulevard, right in their path. D'Wan slammed on the brakes and skidded to a halt. "(Bleep)!" he exclamed in astonishment. "Lookit the size of that mother(bleeper)!"
Kev turned back to Peep. "You still wanna capture that (bleeper)?"
"(Bleep) that, man!" Peep shouted. "Let's just get the (bleep) outta here!"
The bull began to trot toward the Camero. "Backupbackupbackupbackup!" Kev frantically pleaded with D'Wan.
"I'm tryin', dawg!" D'Wan screamed back, throwing the car into reverse. "I'm tryin'!"
The Camero careened away backward from the bull, heedless of the lamppost behind it. It collided with a sharp bump, jolting it's passengers. "Hurry up, man!" Peep shrieked hysterically. "That thing's gonna kill us!"
D'Wan shifted into drive and floored it, peeling away from the dented lamppost, tires screeching on the pavement. The bull gave chase, galloping down the boulevard with its horns lowered for the attack. Around them, other drivers cleared the road for fear of being the next target. Pedestrians fled, though a few foolhardy souls stopped to take pictures or tape the pursuit for posterity or profit. Exhausted from the chase, the bull slowed down to a walk, then halted in the middle of the road. In the Camero, Kev whipped out his cell phone to call for help.
"Nine-one-one, what is your emergency?" the operator answered mechanically.
"We got a big-assed bull chasin' us down the Strip!" Kev shouted. "And, man, is he (bleeped)!"
Special Arms and Weapons Tactics Captain John Hondo briefed his men as they rode in the black armored truck toward Las Vegas Boulevard. "Our target is a large Black Angus bull," he said loudly so as to be heard over the roar of the engine. "Weight, six hundred pounds, pair of horns that'll punch a hole in you like a bazooka round. Our orders are to try to take him down alive, but if we have to, we shoot to kill. Animal Control's gonna come by with a trailer to ship him to the train yards. This (bleeper's) already taken down a squad car and two officers, and he's just trashed a hotel lobby. Clear the area of all civilians, and bring 'im down. Copy?"
"YES, SIR!!" the SWAT team chorused.
"And if we're lucky," Captain Hondo continued in a more genial tone, "we'll all be having steak tonight!"
The team whooped and cheered at that enticing promise. "Make mine medium rare!" one young officer quipped.
"All right!" Hondo barked. "Let's stay focused! We got a job to do, so cut the bull(bleep) and get it in gear!"
The team fell silent, not daring to comment on their captain's choice of expletive. The crackle of the speaker from the driver's cab drew everyone's attention. "Murray to Captain. Murray to Captain. Do you copy?"
Hondo pressed the speaker button. "Captain here," he said. "What've you got, Murray?"
"Uh, Captain, our target is in sight," Murray said a bit nervously. "In fact, it's right in front of us."
"Stop the truck!" Hondo ordered him.
The truck rolled to a stop. "Everybody out!" Hondo shouted. "Moveitmoveitmoveit!"
With speed and precision, the SWAT team filed out of the back of the van, their high-powered rifles at the ready. One team of four ordered everyone off the street while another team of four went into firing formation in front of the bull. Captain Hondo got on his walkie-talkie. "This is Hondo. We are on eastbound Las Vegas Boulevard and A-- Street; our target is in sight. " he radioed in. "Is Animal Control on the way?"
"Affirmative," the dispatcher replied. "Animal Control is on its way, ETA five minutes, over."
Hondo lowered his walkie-talkie and raised his rifle. The bull snorted and pawed the pavement, ready to charge at the slightest provocation. The first team paired off and flanked it on either side of the street, aiming their rifles straight at the animal's sides. "One false move," Hondo muttered, "and you're USDA prime beef!"
The standoff continued for five long minutes, a near eternity to the SWAT team holding their rifles aloft. The tension was broken by the dull hum of the Animal Control van rolling to the scene, towing a steel-lated horse trailer behind it. The Black Angus heard the noise, about-faced and charged toward the van. There was a loud POP from a single rifle, then the bull jerked up on its hind legs, trotted around in a semi-circle, then stood wavering on unsteady legs as if drunk.
"It's okay, Captain!" an Animal Control officer called out to Hondo. "We just tranquilized him."
"Stand your weapons!" Hondo ordered his men.
The SWAT team lowered their rifles. Hondo crossed over to the Animal Control officer, who was busy pulling out some ropes. "Need help?" he asked.
The AC officer gave him a length of heavy rope. "Here," he said. "Loop this around his neck. Do it quick before the tranquilizer dart wears off."
"How long we got?"
"An hour, maybe. He's a big one, so it might wear off faster."
Hondo took the rope. "A bullet in the head would've been better," he commented.
The groggy bull was lassoed around the neck and pulled into the trailer with little resistance. "Come on, you son of a (bleep)!" Hondo growled at the beast as he tugged and pulled it into the steel trailer. "Get in there!"
At last, the Black Angus was safely in custody. The AC officer slammed the steel doors shut and bolted them tightly, furthur securing it with an industrial sized padlock. Hondo heaved a huge sigh of relief. "Jezuz!" he gasped. "That's a first for me! I ain't never tangled with no bull before!"
"Well, thank you for your help, Captain," the AC officer said, shaking Hondo's hand. "We truly appreciate it."
"Hey, man, no problem," Hondo said. "Just doin' my job, that's all."
"Well, your job is finished," the AC officer said. "We still got half a dozen cows to round up."
Hondo looked up. "Cows?"
"Yeah, they were shipping this bull with six Gurnsey milkers to Utah. They got out when the bull busted out of the trailer." The AC officer smiled reassuringly. "But don't worry, Captain. They aren't nearly as bad as this one in here." He jerked his thumb toward the trailer containing the still drugged bull.
"They'd better not be," Hondo retorted. "I've had enough bull for one day."
08-28-2011, 10:12 PM
Back at the Luxor, Criss was surveying the damage the bull had done to his Hummer. A huge gash scarred one side of the large vehicle, disfiguring the artwork. The driver's side door was dented so badly it would not open. The windshield was opaque with splintered glass between the polymer weather-resistant sheeting. The thought of how much it would cost to restore it, even after filing an insurance claim, boggled his mind.
"Oh, man," he groaned. "Almost fifty grand to pimp this thing out, and now look at it! God! I can't believe one bull could inflict so much damage!"
Felix stepped up to him. "You think so, huh?" he retorted. "Take a look at what that (bleeper) did to the lobby."
Criss followed Felix into the hotel lobby. What he saw there made him drop his cat, Hammie, in shock: the entire main entrance had been reduced to its steel frame, the plate glass windows lying in pieces on the carpeting. Potted plants lay on their sides in trampled ruins. The only illuminaton was from the flashing emergency lights of EMS ambulances and police cruisers. News crews and cameramen created more chaos trying to report the incident to their respective stations. Meanwhile, the guests and staff who had taken refuge in the Grand Ballroom were streaming through the double doors in a state of confusion.
Two paramedics wheeled an injured police officer to the waiting ambulance, an IV bag dangling aloft from a hook. Another EMT tended to a second officer, bandaging his bleeding head with gauze. "I survive twelve years of shootouts, gang wars, drug busts, and high-speed chases without a scratch," the injured policeman murmured to the paramedic, "and I get done in by a bull in a hotel lobby. Ain't life a crock?"
Hammie, noticing the prone figure of the police officer, trotted over to investigate. The EMT smiled as the grey and white cat approached. "Looks like you got yourself a visitor," he quipped to the officer.
The injured policeman could only smiled; it hurt too bad to laugh. "Hey, there, kittycat," he rasped, lifting his uninjured arm to stroke the cat's soft fur. "Where'd you come from?"
Hammie purred as the officer stroked his sleek head and scratched him behind his ears. "You're lucky that big, bad bull didn't run you over," the officer said. "You'd have been mincemeat if he did."
"That's because he was on top of my Hummer."
The EMT and the officer looked up to see Criss Angel standing over them. Criss knelt down beside the injured policeman. "I see the bull got you," he said simply. "You okay?"
"Ah, he just tossed me around, that's all," the officer replied indifferently. "I didn't get gored if that's what you mean."
"Thank God for that," Criss said.
The officer took a closer look at Criss. "Hey, ain't you that crazy magician on TV?" he asked.
"Yeah," Criss answered laughingly. "I'm that crazy magician on TV." He picked up his cat. "And this is Hammie," he said, petting him. "He was on top of my Hummer when that bull was in the carpark."
"Smart cat," the officer commented. "Where were you?"
"In the Hummer, trying to get him off the roof."
"Bull get to you?"
"He tried, but he trashed half of the Hummer doing it. Held up pretty well, though--just some scratches and dents."
"Hey, man, those things were designed for combat," the officer pointed out. "A Humvie can withstand anything short of a IED or a bazooka round. Bull ain't gonna do (bleep) to it."
Wanna bet? Criss retorted mentally. "Well, you take it easy, bro," he said. "We're all pullin' for ya."
The officer smiled again. "Thanks."
The EMTs bore the officer away on a gurney to the ambulance outside, its wheels crunching the broken glass underneath. Criss could only smile, wave good-bye to him, breathe a silent prayer for his recovery and head back to his suite. This last part of his plan, however, was quickly derailed by an army of roving news reporters, armed to the teeth with microphones and other communications equipment, with cameramen bringing up the rear. Criss clutched Hammie in one arm while raising the other in an effort to silence the interrogations of the reporters. "Everyone! Please!" he cried out. "One at a time! I can't answer you all at once! I'll tell you all I know about the bull, okay?"
The barrage of questions ceased. Criss launched into his impromptu press conference: "First of all, as you can see I survived the attack. I was in my Hummer with Hammie, here--" He held up his cat. "--so we were safe. You can go see for yourselves what that (bleeper) did to it: it's right out there in the carpark. Two officers were injured in the bull attack and were taken to the hospital. That's all I can tell you right now."
He turned to leave, but the press demanded more statements, following him to the elevator bank before being turned away by security. He stepped into the elevator car, still fending off the media until the sliding doors cut them off. Criss savored the silence for a moment, then reached over to the control panel to press the button for his floor. He hesitated for a moment--what about his mother? Where was she when the bull attacked? He hoped she had been in her room at the time. Maybe he should go check on her?
He pressed the floor button where his mother's suite was located and patiently waited while the Luxor's specially designed inclining elevator carried him to his destination. The doors slid open, and Criss stepped out into the hallway, Hammie still snug in his arms. He walked briskly toward his mother's suite, still hoping she was safe there. He knocked quietly on the door. "Mom?" he called out. "You okay? You still there?"
The door opened, revealing a perplexed but very much alive Dimitra. "Of course I'm still here, Christopher," she replied. "Where else would I be?"
"Oh, nothing," Criss said drily, "it's just that a bull trashed the atrium a few minutes ago."
"Was that why we were ordered to remain in our rooms?" Dimitra asked.
Criss entered the suite and let Hammie down. The cat leapt up onto one of the beds and made itself at home. Dimitra sat down beside him and stroked his fur. "And where were you when it happened?" she not so much asked as demanded.
"Hammie and me were in the Hummer," Criss explained. "I had just picked him up from the vet when me and Carrot Top saw the bull standing there. Hammie jumped out of my arms and onto the top of the Hummer. I went after him; I caught him through the sunroof. That bull banged us up pretty good, but we made it out in one piece."
Dimitra sighed. "Another escape from a mad bull."
Criss laughed a little, recalling his Raging Bull demonstration a few years ago. "Yeah, but that one was a Mexican fighting bull," he reminded her. "This one was just a regular bull from a farm."
"Still dangerous," Dimitra muttered. "But, anyway, I heard on the news they captured him."
Criss' ears pricked up. "They did?"
"Yes, it was on the news just now. It took a SWAT team to capture him."
"A SWAT team?" Criss echoed incredulously.
"Yes, that's right, a SWAT team."
"Did they shoot it?"
"Only with a tranquilizer gun."
Criss slumped in disappointment. "I woulda pumped him fulla lead."
"He's still a living creature, Christopher."
"Yeah, a living creature who trashed my Hummer and almost killed a couple of cops," Criss retorted. "God knows what other damage that thing did."
"Well, the important thing is that he's been caught," Dimitra said sagely. "They're still looking for the cows, though."
"Yes, you know," Dimitra prompted. "The six cows that escaped with the bull. You saw one in the desert, and that one on Fremont Street, remember?"
"I know about the cows, yeah, but the one on Fremont Street was already captured. Don't know about the one in the desert, though."
"Well, I'm sure they'll find them soon," Dimtra said confidently. "After all, how hard can it be to find a great big cow in Las Vegas?"
08-28-2011, 10:15 PM
Actually, searching for cows in Las Vegas turned out to be harder than anyone thought. The five missing Gurnseys seemed to have vanished from the area. It was believed they were still in the desert, not too far from the truck stop from which they had escaped. It was rumored that animal rights activists had hidden them somewhere to prevent their "exploitation" or "murder" at DairyMaid in Brighton (the local chapter of PETA denied this, though they did express concern for the cows' welfare).
The Nevada State Police were alerted to be on the lookout for the cows along the state highways, while the LVMPD were instructed to report any cows in any of the residential or business areas. Ranchers loaned horse and cattle trailers to Animal Control officers for containing the cows once they were found. Police and news helicopters were recruited for the search, the latter with their "eye in the sky" cameras ready to catch the cows for that evening's broadcast.
The local citizenry also took part in the roundup, mostly to videotape their cow sightings to download onto YouTube and other Internet sites for a brief fifteen minutes of online fame. Despite warnings from authorities not to try to capture the cows themselves, many overzealous would-be cowboys brought ropes and hitched up trailers and wagons to their vans or SUVs to bring in the first cow they spotted, in hopes of gaining some sort of monetary reward for bringing them back alive.
All day long, the cows were the top story on the local news. Radio deejays made much of the runaway bovines, making lame jokes while opening up their phone lines for callers with any information as to their whereabouts. A few related their experiences with the Black Angus bull wreaking havoc down the boulevard until brought down by Animal Control with the help of the SWAT team. They went on and on about how big "that (bleeper)" was, and how he took down a police cruiser in front of the Luxor Hotel. One caller reminded everyone about Criss Angel's Raging Bull demonstration: he was in a bullpen with a Mexican fighting bull and vanished just as it charged straight at him.
"Yeah, if I was in the same pen with a bull," the deejay said, "I'd disappear, too."
Criss sat on the sofa, watching the latest news developments about the cow crisis. His cat, Hammie, lay curled up beside him, dozing, oblivious to the broadcast. He decided to spend the rest of his day off in the comfort and safety of his suite. He had had enough of cows and bulls for one day. One encounter with a live bull was enough for him, he thought--let the pros handle the rest. He was just going to kick back and relax right where he was.
He had called the insurance company regarding the damage to his Hummer. The good news was they would cover the damage to the body itself. The bad news was that the repainting of the murals was considered "cosmetic" and therefore would have to come out of his own pocket. He then called Count's Custom Cars to have it taken to the shop for repairs; it was too big to tow, so it had to be driven there. His explanation for the damage had been met with surprise and disbelief, but since Criss was their star customer, they didn't make a federal case of it, and made the arrangements to pick up the Hummer and take it in for body work. It would be a week at most, they told him, but they promised it would be as good as new.
There were no new developments regarding the missing cows, so Criss turned off the TV. Silence. Dead silence. He could hear the blood rushing around in his ears and the air through his nostrils. The silence grew oppressive with every passing moment. He got up and crossed over to the large windows and looked out onto the Strip, gleaming in the afternoon sunshine. Out there, life went on. In here, he felt confined, trapped in his gilded cage. He yearned for the open road, the wide open spaces with the sun in his face. What was he afraid of, anyway? A few lousy cows? Get real!
"(Bleep) this, man," he muttered as he grabbed his denim jacket and headed out the door. Cows or no cows, he was going riding.
08-28-2011, 10:18 PM
Sixty-nine-year-old Rubielle Picher glided her battered blue Bissel carpet sweeper across the threadbare carpet of her living room in her North Las Vegas home, humming a gospel tune as she worked. Despite her advancing years and the arthritis that afflicted the joints in her hands when the weather turned cold, she was remarkably resilient, still independent at an age when most of her peers were confined to nursing homes or assisted living facilities. She drove her own car, bought her own groceries with the help of a wheeled trolley her granddaughter gave her for Christmas ten years ago, did her own laundry, cooked her own meals (and for the family on holidays), and cleaned her own house.
This last point was Mrs. Picher's proudest accomplishement. Ever since she was a young bride in Galveston, Texas, she had always kept the respective homes she lived in with her husband (now deceased),her three children,(now grown and married) and a succession of cats (Mrs. Picher always preferred cats over dogs because of their reputation for cleanliness) clean and tidy. In her opinion, cleanliness was next to godliness, a maxim she had drilled into her offspring practically from birth. When her children were growing up, housework was a daily routine; now that she was alone, just a weekly cleaning sufficed.
There, the carpet was done. Mrs. Picher picked up the Bissel sweeper to empty the dusttrays into the trashcan standing outside next to the back door. Still humming her hymn, she crossed the kitchen to the wooden storm door leading into the back yard. Upon opening it, however, she noticed a foul odor in the desert air, a dirty smell, a smell of some sort of excrement. Thinking the sewer lines had backed up, she set down the sweeper and went back into the living room. She knew the sewer lines ran down from the house to the drains under the streets. Maybe the problem lay there, she figured. If not, then she'd have to call City Maint--
Her reasoning crashed to a stop the minute she looked out the large living room window. What she saw scared her out of her wits. Outside her house were four monstrous black and white cows grazing on her front lawn. The biggest of the lot turned its head and looked directly at her. To Mrs. Picher's horror, it mooed at her.
Poor Mrs. Picher shrieked and ran for the phone on the side table next to the sofa. Her withered fingers shook as she punched nine-one-one on the keypad. "Help!" she screamed into the phone. "I got cows here! They're right on my front lawn! I'm trapped here all alone! Please, someone come rescue me!"
"Now don't panic, ma'am," the dispatcher assured her. "We got Animal Control on the way. You live at 7570 Dealy Street, is that correct?"
"Yes! Please hurry!"
"All right, ma'am, help is on the way. Just try to remain calm and stay in the house, all right?"
"All right." Mrs. Picher hung up the phone and took refuge in the rear bedroom. She needed to lie down for a while.
Meanwhile, the neighbors on Dealy Street emerged from their homes, curious about the cows grazing on Mrs. Picher's lawn. Some held their noses, unable to tolerate the smell of the animals--and their manure, which lay in clumps on the lawn attracting flies. Some parents warned their kids to stay away from them, so as not to "get hurt"; others allowed their children to see them up close, encouraging them to "say 'hi, moo-moo!'" or other nonsense. A brave few approached them, petted them, talked to them as if they were household pets, even posed for pictures with them. All, however, kept wondering how they even got here in the first place. Those who had watched the news recently informed the others about the trailer incident at the highway truck stop and the chaos that followed. "They must've just wandered over here," they said.
The cows, oblivious to the attention, kept peacefully grazing. The Dealy Street residents, still curious and amused at the sight of live cows in their neighborhood, kept nervously gawking. One concerned neighbor went up to Mrs. Picher's house to check up on her. Mrs. Picher answered the door cautiously, affirmed her knowledge of her uninvited guests, and quickly closed the door again, too terrified to go out.
Then came the sound of thunder. The cows started, their ears twitching and nostrils flaring. The booming came not from the sky but a pimped-out Pontiac Thunderbird cruising down the street with sixteen-inch woofers hammering out the latest rap music at paint-blistering volume. The cows took fright and stampeded away, the largest of them lumbering behind struggling to keep up. The neighbors cried out in horror, sweeping up their children and retreating to their homes for fear of being trampled. The occupants of the Thunderbird, reveling in the chaos they had created, chased the panicked bovines down Dealy Street, blaring the horn and laughing all the way.
Mrs. Picher peeked out of her living room window, staring helplessly at her ruined front lawn.
The cows ran mindlessly down the street until they came to the main road. They would have rushed right across the busy intersection if not for panicked drivers screeching to a halt and honking their horns in warning. Frightened and disoriented, the four cows wandered aimlessly up and down the intersection, blocking traffic and creating more tension for the drivers and themselves alike. Trapped, they reacted defensively by kicking out a few headlights within reach and butted their heads against whatever vehicle they came across. Unable to back up, some commuters abandoned their vehicles and made a run for it, calling for help on their cell phones.
It was during all this mayhem that Criss Angel made an appearance on his Harley. No one noticed him, much less cared--they were all trying to escape the rampaging cows in the intersection. Fearing for his own safety for once, Criss retreated the other way, dodging cars lining the road. The minute he got his bearings, however, he found himself in familiar territory: the grounds of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.
As he gazed at the lush green lawn surrounded by an wrought-iron fence, a plan began to formulate in his mind: if he could somehow herd the cows onto the lawn of the church, then they'd be penned in long enough for the AC officers to capture them. The grass should be enticement enough for them, he rationalized, and the fence was high enough and strong enough to contain them. And he had had some experience in herding from his brief stay at that dude ranch where he had taped the Burning Man episode, so he felt confident in his ability to carry it out. It was a long shot, but what else was there to do?
Determined to save the cows and the city, he roared off back to the intersection. He reflected in hindsight that he should have consulted with the priest before herding a bunch of cows onto the church's lawn, but time was of the essence. He had to reach those cows before it was too late.
08-28-2011, 10:20 PM
Back at the intersection, the cow crisis continued. Four frightened cows huddled together in the street, mooing piteously, surrounded by angry, impatient drivers leaning on their horns in an effort to get them to move. Worse, piles of stinking manure lay on the pavement around them, forcing pedestrians to seek refuge behind closed doors to escape the stench.
By now, motorcycle police officers had arrived onto the scene: they rerouted traffic while struggling to keep the cows under control and away from oncoming cars. From the looks of things, they were obviously better trained in the former than the latter--the cows refused to comply with the officers' wishes to move out of the street. Besides, if they did move, where would the police take them? The city lockup wasn't big enough to hold even one cow, let alone four. There was nothing anyone could do but wait until Animal Control showed up.
Criss roared up to the nearest motorcycle cop he found. "Hey!" he shouted over the din without even bothering to introduce himself. "I got an idea on how to get those cows out of the way!"
"What??" the officer shouted.
"I said I got an idea on how to get those cows out of the street!" Criss shouted even louder.
"You with Animal Control?" yelled the officer.
"No, but I wanna help!" Criss yelled back. "You wanna move those cows or not?"
Willing and open to suggestions, the officer responded, "Okay! I'm listening!"
Criss told him his plan on herding the cows to Holy Trinity, pointing down the street where the church was located. "It's got a tall iron fence and plenty of grass," he explained. "They'll stay there as long as you want."
The officer looked at the cows blocking the intersection. Realizing it was by far the best plan he had heard in handling this situation, he agreed. "You stay here!" he ordered Criss. "We need you to lead the way!"
"Got it!" Criss complied.
The officer got on his radio. "Attention all units!" he barked. "We're going to herd the cows to Holy Trinity Church down B--Street! Repeat, herd the cows to Holy Trinity Church down B--Street!"
The cops got the message quickly. Thus began the strangest roundup in the history of the American Southwest: they circled the cows with their motorcycles, leaving a gap facing B--Street, then slowly approached them, forcing them to trot through the gap, down the street in the direction toward the church. The cows trotted onward, flanked on both sides and the rear by their police escort, with Criss Angel leading the way. People cheered and waved as the peculiar little parade passed them by; news crews broadcast it live on television. Some recognized Criss as he rode by: they whistled and shouted his name, extending their hands for a quick high-five as he passed. Ever eager to please the fans, he complied, weaving from one side of the street to the other, reveling in the attention but still mindful of his mission.
Several blocks later, Holy Trinity came into view. Criss signaled a right turn with his arm and turned into the parking lot. The motorcycle officers on the left flank narrowed the cows' avenue of escape by cutting them off, forcing them to turn right. The bovines offered little resistance; they could smell the fresh grass from the street and couldn't wait to start grazing. The foursome trotted right onto the lawn, the largest of them plodding behind. Soon the were munching on the church lawn contentedly, creating an oddly pastoral scene in urban North Las Vegas.
Criss dismounted from his Harley and whooped in triumph. His plan had worked! The cows were safe! He had saved the city! He was a hero! With visions of receiving a commendation from the mayor dancing in his head, he trotted to the front lawn to survey his success. Yessir! Criss Angel had saved the day!
His bravado vanished like smoke from one of his live shows when he came face-to-face with a peeved Father Stefan Mykolos. Suddenly his failure to clear his plan with the good pastor came home to him. Beet-red with embarrassment, Criss stammered out a greeting and fumbled through an explanation about the uninvited guests noshing on the church lawn. Father Stefan merely stood there, arms crossed, an irritated look on his usually serene face. Oh, God, I'm screwed! Criss moaned to himself.
The irritation gave way to a relaxed smile. "All right, Christopher," Father said. "The cows can stay until Animal Control picks them up."
Criss was relieved. "Oh, thank you, Father," he said. "I really appreciate it."
"But on two conditions," Father continued sternly. "One: the next time you want to involve me in one of your schemes, you call me first."
"Got it," Criss agreed.
"And second," he went on, pointing to the front lawn, "you pay for the damages to the property."
Criss looked out at the lawn, pitted by hooves and ripped by the cows' voracious appetites. "Got it," he repeated.
The priest was satisfied. Criss was about to return to his Harley and subsequently the Luxor when a cry for help pulled him back. "One of the cows is sick!" someone shouted. "Get a vet!
08-28-2011, 10:23 PM
Criss and Father Stefan dashed to the front of the church where they saw the largest of the cows lying on its side, mooing in agony. People stood around the animal helplessly, wondering what was wrong with it. The police waved away the gawkers, warning them not to get too close. "But you gotta do something!" they pleaded with the officers. "That poor thing is in agony!"
"We've contacted Animal Control," the police assured the worried crowd, "and they said to just let Nature take its course."
"But what's wrong with him?" a concerned youngster wanted to know.
"First of all, it's a her, not a him," an officer corrected the kid, "and she's gonna have a baby, that's all."
Upon hearing this news, some parents immediatly took their leave, taking their children away for fear of their seeing something "inappropriate" or "traumatic". The less squeamish positioned themselves around the cow's rear, cameras and camcorders ready to record the blessed event when it happened. A few wags called out "Boil water! Tear sheets!" to the amusement of no one. The news crews remained on standby, gathering POVs from the bystanders in the meantime.
Criss turned to Father Stefan. "You know any prayers for a pregnant cow, Father?" he asked.
"I'll think of something," Father replied.
A roving reporter immediatly spotted Criss and rushed over to him, microphone in hand. "We're here live at Holy Trinity Church," she spoke eagerly into the microphone, facing the camera, "and with us is famous illusionist Criss Angel. Criss, any statement about the runaway cow situation?"
Criss merely shrugged. "What do you mean, 'statement'?" he retorted. "Buncha cows get loose, bull tears up the city, and now we gotta calf on the way! What happened, happened, that's all. I got no opinion on it. I'll just be happy when they're all rounded up and back where they came from."
"You led these cows here to the church grounds," the reporter pressed. "Was it your idea, or--?"
"Originally, it was my idea," Criss confirmed, "but the police were the ones who carried it out. I just led the way to the church."
"But why here?"
"Well, it's got grass, and a high fence--perfect place for a cow. I mean, we had to get them out of the street, right?"
The reporter turned to Father Stefan. "And you're the priest here, I assume?" she asked.
"Yes, I'm Father Stefan Mykolos," he introduced himself.
"And what's your take on all these cows on your property?"
Father Stefan rubbed the back of his neck thoughtfully. "Well, I wish Christopher here had consulted with me first before he brought this herd on me," he replied, still a little miffed. "But he meant well, and once the cows are back where they belong, everything will be all right." He thumbed toward Criss. "He's paying for the lawn, though," he added with a smile.
Criss nodded sheepishly, smiling in embarrassment. Meanwhile, out in the makeshift pasture, the mother-cow-to-be lowed as she fought to expel the newborn calf from her womb. The bystanders cheered her on, delivering a blow-by-blow description of the birth:
"I see it! I see it! There's the feet, see?"
"Oh, God, I hope it's not a breech birth!"
"It's a calf, not a human baby! It's got four legs, not two!"
"Come on, cow! You can do it!"
"Breathe! Breathe! Breathe!"
"I see the head! I see the head!"
"It's coming! It's coming! Oh, this is sooo cool!"
With one mighty effort the newborn calf slid out of its mother, still shrink-wrapped in the placenta. The bystanders cheered, took pictures and high-fived each other. The police officers merely smiled. "Well, that made my day," one sergeant commented. He patted his pockets. "I'm afraid I don't have any cigars, though," he laughed.
Dazed, the calf struggled onto its tiny hooves, its spindly legs wobbling unsteadily underneath its weight. Though weak and exhausted from the ordeal of birthing, the mother cow also rose to its feet, its udder swollen with milk for the newborn. It licked the calf from stem to stern, washing away the placenta with its giant tongue. The calf took a few unsteady steps toward its mother's udder and immediatly began nursing. Meanwhile, a group of giddy teenage girls got together to discuss a very important issue. "What are we gonna name it?" they asked themselves. "We gotta give it a name."
"How about 'Daisy'? That's a good cow name."
"That is soooo lame! We gotta name her something cool."
"You know, Criss Angel is here."
"Yeah, right over there. He's the one who brought them here, remember?"
"Hey! Maybe we could call it 'Crissy' or something after him?"
"How about 'Angel' instead?"
Elated with their choice of name, they sprinted to where Criss and Father Stefan were standing. "Hey, Criss!" they called out.
Criss turned to the girls. "Oh, hi," he said, "what's up?"
"Guess what!" they blurted excitedly. "We decided to name the baby calf 'Angel' after you!"
Criss didn't know exactly how to react to this singular honor. "Uh, well, gee," he hedged, "uh, that's really nice of you, I guess."
One of the girls held up her digital camera. "Come on!" she pleaded. "We'll take your picture with 'Angel'!"
"Uh, I'm afraid I gotta get back to the Luxor," Criss explained hastily. "Thanks anyway."
The disappointed girls turned and walked away. Criss shook his head in disbelief. "As if my day wasn't wierd enough," he said to Father Stefan, "suddenly, I'm godfather to a cow!"
Father Stefan could only laugh. "You've had a busy day," he said jovially. "Go home and get some rest--oh, and send my regards to your mother. I'll send you the bill for the lawn later."
Criss was only too happy to go home and get some rest. He bade Father Stefan good-bye, hopped on his Harley and took off. Of all the crazy days in his life, he reflected, this took the prize. Cows running in the streets, a bull trashing his Hummer and half the Luxor--what a day, geez!
Animal Control officers led the docile bovines into their trailers, one at a time. Angel the calf accompanied its mother into the largest of them, completely innocent of whatever fate awaited them at DairyMaid in Brightonville, Utah. The police, meanwhile, cleared the area of all news crews and other civilians. "Show's over, folks," they barked, "nothing more to see. Clear the area, please."
The cow trailers threaded their way down B--Street with their living cargo. The media packed up their gear into their vans and headed back to their respective stations. Ordinary people with personal video or digital footage headed home to forward their experiences to friends and relatives, or to download them onto their favorite websites. Finally, even the police left the scene, leaving Father Stefan to survey the damage done to the church grounds: patches of grass had been ripped out, mounds of manure dotted the landscape, and a slimy mess puddled the spot where Angel the calf had been born. Well, at least Christopher's paying for it, not me, he said to himself.
08-28-2011, 10:25 PM
By the time Criss returned to the Luxor, the atrium had been fully restored: the potted plants had been replaced, the carpeting had been swept clean of broken glass and dirt, and new plate-glass windows had been installed. Criss guessed that Felix Rappaport had made a few quick phone calls after the bull had first escaped, so quickly had the repairs been completed. The atrium was quiet; guests and staff went about their respective business as always. Except for the empty space in the carport where the Hummer had been parked, it was as if the bull had never been there.
Grateful that things were once again back to normal, Criss quietly retired to his suite. A hot shower, a drink or two, a little foosball and an afternoon nap--that was all he wanted. He didn't even feel like watching TV, because he knew that they'd be broadcasting the cow crisis (and his involvement in it) on the five o'clock news by now. He just wanted to put all that behind him and get on with his life. I never want to see another cow as long as I live! he vowed silently. From now on, the closest I want to get to 'em is in the dairy section of the supermarket!
Up the elevator, then into the blissfully quiet hallway leading to his suite. Criss pulled out his keycard, slid it into the slot, and entered the suite, looking forward to enjoying what was left of his day off.
"Hey, cowboy!" a familiar voice called out to him.
Startled, Criss whirled around to see his brothers, JD and Costa, sitting casually on one of the sofas, their feet propped up on the coffee table. "So, you rounded up the cattle," he quipped. "What's next? You gonna plow the back forty?"
"Har, har," Criss sneered, peeved at this invasion of his privacy. "So what are you doing here, anyway?"
JD smiled. "Came to see you, of course," he replied. "Saw your little roundup live on the news this afternoon. What is it about you and cows, anyway? First Fremont Street, then this."
"Don't forget the bull that trashed the Hummer," Costa reminded him.
"Oh, yeah, that's right!" JD suddenly remembered. "And Mom said you saw one out in the desert this morning, too."
"That was this morning," Criss told him. "And anyway, I wasn't the only one who saw them, you know. CT was with me when the bull attacked us."
Costa turned to JD. "Tell him about George," he said.
"What about George?" Criss inquired.
JD chuckled a little. "Well, this morning, George and Angie were coming home from seeing her sister, see, and they see the bull right there in front of them on the highway. George gets (bleeped) off, gets out, tosses a water bottle at him, hits him on the head; the bull gets (bleeped) and charges after him; George gets back in the car, backs up and turns around and heads back the way he came. So you weren't the only one who was attacked by a bull."
"JD, that (bleeper) took down two cops and a police car!" Criss said sharply. "I was in the Hummer when he went after me! God knows how many other victims that psycho bull got after he ran off!" He tossed his jacket aside. "I'm gonna take a shower," he grumbled. "I've had enough of cows and bulls for one day--hell, for one lifetime!"
"Don't forget we got dinner tonight!" JD reminded him.
Criss grimaced. Oh, (bleep)! I forgot! "Yeah, okay, fine," he called out from the bathroom. "Whatever."
He stripped off his clothes, reeking of cow, and tossed them into the hamper as if banishing them for life. He turned on the shower and lathered himself from head to toe, deeply inhaling the scent of the soap to purge his nostrils of the smell of cow manure. The warm water massaged his skin, rinsing away the stress as easily as the dirt and grime from the day. He began to feel better about himself and life in general, just like he did after every shower.
Light wisps of steam eminated from his body as he emerged from the shower stall. He dried off, went to the vanity, slathered shaving cream on his jaws and carefully shaved away his five o'clock shadow. He didn't want any nicks or cuts on his face, especially tonight--George was bringing in his new girlfriend, Angie, and he wanted to make a good impression for his cousin's sake.
08-28-2011, 10:30 PM
Freshly showered and shaved, Criss dressed for the evening's dinner: black long-sleeved dress shirt, black dress slacks, off-black suspenders (for contrast) and a simple jeweled cross to accent the ensemble. It didn't do to go overboard with the bling: this was a family affair, not the MTV Video Awards. Besides, he didn't want to draw attention away from George and Angie. After all, they were the reason this dinner was being held in the first place. He smiled at the thought of his cousin finally having a girlfriend after all these years. He smiled even more at the way they had met: Angela getting tossed over a balcony by her greedy sister (may she rot in Hell!) and landing right on top of poor George who happened to be standing below her. The sister went to jail, and George and Angie became a pair. Talk about poetic justice!
Hammie lay idly on the bed while Criss finished dressing, totally uninterested. Criss gave his cat a final pat on the head and left the suite for his dinner engagement. I just hope they don't bring up the cows, he said to himself as he made his way to Andamo's.
Unfortunatly for Criss, they did bring it up. No sooner did he step into the foyer than his two brothers began jeering at him.
"Hey, cowpoke!" JD drawled. "Back from the roundup?"
"Zip it, JD," Criss grumbled.
"So, get the milking all done?" Costa joined in. "From what we saw on Fremont Street--"
"Just zip it, both of you!" Criss growled.
Dimitra stepped in. "They're just teasing you, honey," she said.
"Look, I had enough of cows for one day!" he snapped. "I just wanna enjoy dinner in peace, all right? No more cow talk!"
"Now just settle down, will you?" his mother pleaded. "I don't want you in a bad mood when George brings in his new girlfriend."
"Yeah," JD chimed in. "We don't want you in a bad moooooooood." He lowed like a cow on that last one.
Criss was about to punch him when George came in with Angie on his arm. "Hey, everybody!" he called out the minute he spotted his relatives gathered in the foyer. "You remember Angela Honi, the girl who fell for me--literally!"
Everyone was struck by how skinny the woman was. Her brownish-blond hair--"dirty blond" some called it--seemed stringy and thin despite being swept up formally with a fake jeweled comb. Her plain face took the shape of her skull, making her doelike eyes appear larger in their sockets. She wore a pastel pink dress nearly two decades out of fashion; it hung on her frail frame like a drycleaner's hangar. Her long, bony fingers nervously clutched a small beaded evening bag. She seemed timid, shy, almost withdrawn. From George's earlier reports about Bianca's brutal treatment of her, it should not have been surprising. She was polite, almost deferentially so, and smiled sweetly when George reintroduced her to his aunt Dimitra, his cousins, Costa and JD, with the latter's wife, Lynn, and daughter, Little Dimitra. Still, Criss could not figure out just what attracted George to this poor, plain, reticient woman in the first place.
"And, of course, you know my cousin, Christopher, also known as Criss Angel," George said to Angie, sweeping her up to his side. "Criss, this is Angie."
Angie shyly extended a bony hand to him. "Hello, Criss," she said softly. "Uh, may I call you 'Criss'?"
Criss took the proffered hand delicatly, for fear of breaking any bones. "Sure, you can call me 'Criss'," he replied. "Nice to meet you, Angie."
The hostess informed them that their table was ready. The family followed her to a secluded corner booth where they would not be disturbed, per Criss' instructions. For this one evening he wanted to shed the Criss Angel persona and just be Christopher Sarantakos enjoying a meal with his family. Fame and fortune had its advantages, but privacy wasn't one of them, he had learned to his regret. It had taken a great deal of persuasion on his part to insure an uneventful evening for his family's sake, and his own--something other people take for granted in their everyday lives.
"So, what do you do, Angie?" Criss asked casually.
Angie blushed prettily, bringing some much needed color to her pallid cheeks. "Well, I teach first grade at Applewood Elementary School," she replied, "and I volunteer at Sanctuary Shelter once a week. That's basically it, until I met George, of course," she added.
"How very nice!" Dimitra gushed. "You know, Christopher did a show at that shelter, didn't you, dear?"
"Uh, I'm sure Angie knows about it already, Mom," Criss said patiently. "She was there during the taping at the time."
"Well, I'm sure the people there enjoyed it," Dimitra said confidently.
"Oh, yes," Angie agreed. "It was quite a treat for the residents, and the staff, too. When is it going to be on TV, anyway?"
"Sometime next summer," Criss replied. "July, maybe."
Angie was perplexed. "July? Why so long?"
"Well, it's a long process, you know," Criss explained. "Editing, pacing, things like that. I mean, we gotta squeeze it all in forty-five minutes of tape. And our season is very brief, just a couple of months at most. It's hard to come up with new material for every new episode. And I'm a perfectionist--I can't churn out crappy magic tricks just to meet a deadline. When I do a show, I make sure it's the best, no bull."
"Speaking of 'bull'," JD spoke up, "I heard you and George had a little run-in with that escaped bull on the highway this morning."
Angie flushed even deeper. George leaned his head on one hand, embarrassed. "Oh, Geez," he groaned.
Dimitra, however, became concerned. "What happened?" she demanded.
"Oh, nothing," George replied drily, "just that there was this bull in the road blocking our way, that's all."
"George threw a plastic bottle at it," Angie told her. "He tried to drive it away, but, well, it drove us away instead."
Dimitra was surprised. "You threw a plastic bottle at a bull?"
"Well, I had to do something to get it to move!" George argued. "That (bleeper) just stood right there in the middle of the road, right there in front of us."
"Yeah, you got it to move, all right," Criss jeered. "Throwing a plastic bottle at a bull--nice going there, George!"
"Look who's talking!" George jeered back. "A guy who went into the ring with a Mexican fighting bull!"
"At least I didn't throw anything at it!" Criss shot back.
Dimitra silenced them both. "Christopher, George, no fighting," she admonshed. "Remember where we are, and why we're here."
Criss muttered an apology. George fell silent. No one spoke again until the waiter brought their preordered dinner to their table: prime rib with baked potatoes and side salads for all. Angie stared wide-eyed at her plate. "Oh, my! I don't know if I can eat all this," she gasped.
"Ah, sure ya can, Angie!" George encouraged her. "Eat up! You need to put some meat on those bones!"
Criss stabbed a piece of beef on his fork and held it up. "This had better come from that bull that trashed my Hummer," he said, and slid the meat into his mouth.
"Nah, I heard they're shipping him to some dairy farm in Utah," JD informed him. "Same with the rest of the cows as soon as they round 'em all up."
George laughed. "Oh, yeah, I heard about your little cattle drive at the church today!" he said to Criss. "Bet Father Stefan wasn't too thrilled with you turning the church into a dairy farm!"
Criss ignored his cousin and turned to his brother. "Wait a minute," he said. "What do you mean 'as soon as they round them all up'? They did round them all up, all four of them!"
"There were six cows altogether," JD informed him. "The one was caught at Fremont Street, then the four at the church. One's still reported missing."
"How do you know all this?" Criss asked.
"It was all on the news today," JD replied. "You just had to tune in and find out."
"So we still got a missing cow."
JD nodded. "Right."
Costa turned to Criss. "Well, pardner," he drawled, "y'all' had better mosey on out there and lasso that critter."
"Will you just stuff a sock in it, Cos?!" Criss hissed.
"Boys! That's enough!" Dimitra warned them. "Remember where we are, and why we're here."
Another muttered apology from Criss, with a threatening glance thrown at his brother for good measure. Costa smirked back at him, then returned to his prime rib. It was times like these that made Criss resent the fact that he was the youngest of the family, the baby brother subject to his siblings' jibes, even though he was the most successful and they worked for him.
"I hope they find that cow soon," Angie spoke up. "Poor thing's probaby starving to death out there, lost in this great big city."
"Ah, they'll find 'im," George said optimistically. "I mean, where can a cow go without being noticed?"
08-28-2011, 10:32 PM
Patty Cohen circled the cow in her backyard with a plastic cleaning bucket, wondering how was she going to get the milk from it. Her two children, Sasha, four, and Ryan, two, sat under a dead tree some distance away, clutching each other in terror of the huge beast their mother had bought home with them. Patty had told them it would give them milk, but so far she had been unsucessful. She had been born and raised in urban areas all of her life, and though she took for granted that milk came from cows, the process of getting that milk was a mystery to her.
Still, she was determined to try for her children' sake. She was desperate: the welfare check wasn't due for another two weeks, and the WIC benefits didn't start until the beginning of the month. Her part-time job barely covered the rent of the tiny ramshackle structure she and her children called home. She had given up hounding her boyfriend for child support--the lazy (bleeper) had ridden off into the sunset on his motorcycle, never to return. It seemed all her life Patty Cohen had lived on the edge of homelessness from the day her father abandoned her and her mother, leaving them as destitute as she herself was now.
After paying what bills she could afford and their pantry practically empty, Patty was desperate to do anything to feed her kids. When she saw the five runaway cows plodding along the road, she quickly overcame her initial shock and saw a golden opportunity to save her kids from starvation. With a head of wilted lettuce as bait, she succeeded in luring one of the cows to her backyard, leaving the other four to wander where they would. One was enough, she thought rationally; the backyard was way too small for the whole herd.
Once she corralled the cow in the yard, though, the problem of how to get milk from it rose up before her. She looked under the tail several times, even jerked it up and down like a pump handle in an effort to get the milk flowing. No luck. The cow twitched its tail and just kept munching the sparse grass in the yard. Undaunted, Patty kept trying. She lowered herself onto the ground and looked under the cow to get some sort of clue. Then she saw the udder, tucked underneath with its four teats sticking out like soft fingers. Maybe that was where the milk came from, she reasoned.
She carefully reached under the cow and took hold of one of the teats. She stroked it gently, then tweaked it. The cow started, mooing irritably. Patty shrieked and jumped away. Sasha cried out in horror, clutching Ryan closer to her. Too frightened to try again, Patty picked up the plastic bucket and walked over to her kids.
"Did you get any milk, Mommy?" Sasha asked.
Patty sighed. "Not today, baby," she replied. "Maybe tomorrow. We'll just let the cow get some sleep tonight and try again in the morning."
Defeated, the Cohens trudged back into the house. Patty remembered there were some ketchup packets she had filched from the local McDonalds restaraunt lying in the kitchen drawer. Mixed with a little water, they could at least have some soup for dinner that evening. It was better than nothing. Maybe tomorrow they'd have better luck with the cow.
Unbeknownst to Patty Cohen, her neighbor, Royce Shavers, had been observing her efforts with the cow. Having seen the news broadcast that day about the runaway cattle, he, too, saw a golden opportunity for himself concerning that very same cow: call the cops, turn it in, and collect a reward for its capture. The first step was easy--a quick two-minute phone call was all it took. Of course, he couldn't very well claim the reward for himself when it was in the Cohen's back yard; he had to make it appear he had captured the cow himself. And that meant doing a bit of cattle rustling on his part.
He found some bungee cords in the back of his Firebird and made his way to the Cohen's yard. Royce was a bit intimidated at first by the size of the cow, but his greed for reward money emboldened him. He approached the animal cautiously, holding up a bungee cord fashioned into a noose. "Nice moo-moo cow," he crooned softly. "Easy now. That's a good moo-moo cow. Don't be afraid. Just gonna put this around your neck and take you home."
The cow kept on grazing, oblivious to Royce's presence. This is gonna be easier than I thought! he gloated. "Now, just slip this over your head," he said in a patronizing tone as if the cow was an infant, "and everything's gonna be all right. Yeah, just slip it over your h--"
A sharp burst of pain in the back of his head interrupted him. Royce whirled around and saw Patty Cohen standing there, clutching a straw broom in her hands like a rifle. "Stay the hell away from my cow!" she ordered him angrily.
"Your cow?!" Royce exploded. "This ain't your cow, (bleep)!"
"It's my cow and I'm keeping it!" Patty insisted. "Now get off my property or I'm calling the cops!"
Royce laughed derisively. "(Bleep), I already did!" he said triumphantly. "I saw that cow, I called the cops, and I'm claimin' the reward! You ain't gettin' (bleep), (bleep)!"
"We'll see who gets (bleep), you (bleeper)!" Patty shot back.
She swung at him with her broom. Royce grabbed it and tore it out of her hands, flinging it away from her. Then he siezed her by the wrists and wrestled with her. Patty screamed as she struggled to free herself. Royce pinned her to the side of the house. Trapped, Patty kneed him right in the groin. Royce withdrew, doubled over in excruciating pain, cursing her as he went down. Patty ran to fetch her broom, her only weapon against her opponent. Royce recovered enough to chase after her. Patty took her position between him and the cow, her broom firmly in her hands. "Back off!" she ordered him.
"(Bleep) you, (bleep)!" Royce retorted, lunging at her.
Patty hit him squarely in the face with the broom, sending him reeling. The cow, sensing trouble, trotted to the other end of the yard, away from the all the action. Royce swore at the top of his lungs and resumed his attack. Patty fended him off with the broom as best she could. "Stay away from my cow!" she shrieked at him. "It's mine! I need it to feed my kids!"
"That ain't your cow, (bleep)!" Royce shouted back at her. "I'm gettin' the reward for it, and that's that!"
Their fight quickly ended by order of the LVMPD officer who had just arrived with the Animal Control staff. Royce smiled triumphantly. "Now you're in trouble, (bleep)!" he gloated. "I get the reward, and they gonna haul your ass to jail!"
"We'll see about that!" Patty retorted.
The sergeant walked over to the feuding neighbors. "Okay, what's going on?" he demanded.
"This man's trying to steal my cow!" Patty replied indignantly.
"This ain't her cow, man!" Royce argued. "I was just doin' my civic duty and returnin' it to you!"
"Civic duty, my ass!" Patty sneered. "He just wants a reward!"
"Shut up, (bleep)!" Royce snapped.
"You shut up!" Patty snapped back.
The sergeant and his partner separated the pair, each taking one of the parties aside for questioning: the sergeant with Patty, the partner with Royce. "Okay," the sergeant said. "Now, how did you come across this cow?"
"I saw it with four others, just going down the street over there," she said, pointing toward the main highway. "Seriously, there were five cows just walking down the street!"
"We know, ma'am," the sergeant said. "How did you get this one home? Did it follow you or what?"
Patty sighed deeply. "Look, I got two kids inside," she told him. "There's no food in the house except some ketchup packets from Mickey D's. They're hungry, and I ain't got no money to buy food or anything else for them. I just wanted to get some milk for my kids, that's all. When I saw this cow, it was like a miracle for me--for all of us. So I found some lettuce in the fridge and lured it here. I tried to find a way to get the milk out of it, but, well..."
"You don't know how to milk a cow," the sergeant finished for her.
"No," Patty confessed, "not really, but I was still trying to figure it out when that guy over there came into my yard and tried to steal it from me!" She looked up at the sergeant piteously. "I just want to feed my kids, officer!" she wailed. "I ain't got nothin' to feed them with! It's either the cow or go to bed hungry!"
"I understand your plight, ma'am," the sergeant said sympathetically. "But you can't keep a cow here. There are ordinances against keeping livestock in residential areas. Now, we can arrange for the local soup kitchen to get you and your kids something to eat, okay? But we have to take the cow."
Patty nodded resignedly. "Okay," she whispered. "Just remember one thing--I did it for my kids."
The sergeant went to assist the Animal Control officers in loading the cow into the trailer. Sasha and Ryan came out of the house and toddled up to their mother's side. "Mommy?" Sasha spoke up, "where are they taking our cow?"
"It's okay, baby," Patty assured her daughter as she gathered Ryan into her arms. "They're taking the cow back to his mommy and daddy."
Sasha seemed satisfied with that explanation. Animal Control took the cow to the trailer and struggled to load it inside. The cow had either some past memory of being confined in the original trailer or a sense of claustrophobia; it simply refused to go into the trailer, despite the pushing and pulling from the sergeant and the AC officers. After several frustrating minutes of forceful persuasion, the cow finally entered the trailer. The sergeant slammed the doors shut and bolted them quickly, for fear the animal would escape. "Well," he panted, wiping his brow, "that's the last of 'em!"
The AC trailer drove away quietly. Meanwhile, the sergeant's partner had his hands full with Royce and his side of the story. "I'm tellin' ya, that lady stole that cow!" he insisted. "I tried to take it back for ya, but she kept hittin' me with that broom of hers! I'm the one who called ya! I'm the one who turned it in! She wanted to keep it for herself! She's the criminal here, not me! You should put her in jail for it! I was just doin' my civic duty as a law-abiding citizen, that's all!"
"We'll take care of your neighbor, sir," the officer said. "The important thing is that we got the cow back."
"Yeah, that's the important thing," Royce agreed. "So, when do I get the reward money?"
"The reward money?"
"Yeah, you know, the reward for turnin' in the cow," Royce reminded him. "There's gotta be a reward, right?"
"Uh, sir," the officer hedged, "there was no reward posted for the cow's return. Never has been."
"But I called it in!" Royce protested.
"Yes, sir, and we appreciate your co-operation, but there's no reward for reporting a missing cow."
Royce was aghast. "You mean after all the trouble I went through to get you people to come here and get that cow outta here, I ain't gettin' nothin' for it?"
"Afraid not, sir," the officer calmly replied. "But we appreciate the call, anyway." He turned to leave. "Thank you and have a good day, sir."
Royce's rage boiled over. "You sons of (bleeps)!" he exploded. "You (bleeping) ripped me off!"
He kicked the flimsy chain-link fence separating his house from Patty's. "You (bleepers) owe me!" he screamed at the top of his lungs. "I but my ass helpin' you find that (bleeping) cow, and you (bleep) me over! You lyin' mother(bleepers)!"
The sergeant and his partner rushed back to subdue the angry man. Royce swung his fists to fight them off. Patty, meanwhile, grabbed Sasha by the wrist and ran into the house, Ryan clinging to his mother like a baby monkey. She slammed the door behind her and watched the police tackle Royce Shavers from the safety of the living room.
With practiced ease, the two officers pinioned Royce's arms behind his back and handcuffed him. "You're under arrest for assaulting a police officer!" the sergeant told him as he and his partner hoisted him up to his feet. "You have the right to remain silent; anything you say can and held against you in a court of law. You have the right to counsel; if you can't afford counsel, one will be provided for you. Understand?"
A grunt for a reply. "I'll take that as a yes, then," the sergeant said as Royce was frogmarched to the cruiser and shoved him inside. With their prisoner secured, the sergeant turned to his partner. "Quite a day, wasn't it?" he commented.
"Yeah," the partner agreed. "So, what'd she tell you about the cow?"
"She wanted to feed her kids," the sergeant told him. "Says she ain't got no money to buy food for 'em, so she lured the cow to her house to get some free milk. Thing was, she didn't know how to milk a cow."
His partner laughed. "Anyway," the sergeant continued, "I promised to get hold of a soup kitchen somewhere to get her kids some food. She's not a bad lady, just desperate."
"So, I guess the big Las Vegas roundup is over."
"Yeah, I guess it is," the sergeant concurred. "Six cows, one bull." He nodded to Royce sitting in the cruiser. "And one jackass."
08-28-2011, 10:36 PM
LAS VEGAS HAS A COW!
HOLY COW! LOCAL CHURCH BECOMES PASTURE FOR RUNAWAY CATTLE
SWAT TEAM TAKES BULL BY THE HORNS
RUNAWAY BULL MAKES HAMBURGER OUT OF LUXOR
BULLFIGHT ON THE BOULEVARD: SWAT TEAM TAKES ON HALF-TON BULL
CALIFORNIA COWS TAKE ON VEGAS
Criss stretched out in bed that morning with the daily paper, reading about the Great Las Vegas Roundup, as the media called it. According to news sources, the six cows, including the calf, making seven in all, and the bull were taken to a freightyard and shipped to Brightonville, Utah, to their original destination of the DairyMaid company; insurance took care of the damages, they stated.
There were photographs galore of the cow on Fremont Street (with Criss himself posed next to it; Bob Clarence, the former dairy farmer, was barely mentioned); the herd at Holy Trinity, with the newborn calf nursing at its mother's udder; and the missing cow found at the Cohen residence. There were more graphic photos of the bull's damage to the Luxor Atrium, Squad Car 208, Criss' Hummer, even the trailer at the truck stop where it had escaped. It seemed the whole city had gone cow crazy, he thought.
Patty Cohen's plight, featured on page four, was the only somber note in an otherwise hilarious event. Criss could understand why she wanted to keep the cow for herself and her kids. With so many people out of work and with practically no money to support their families, a cow would have been a godsend for a single mother with two young children. The police had contacted a local food pantry to aid them, which was a relief. That (bleep)hole, Royce Shavers, who had demanded a reward for the cow's capture, ended up facing a charge of assault on a police officer and taken into custody. Well, he got his reward all right, Criss thought.
He flung the paper and the bedclothes aside and got out of bed. He had rehersals scheduled for today, then his live shows. After the insanity of the day before, it would be good to get back into his normal routine of performing live, planning new demonstrations, casting, rehersing, and producing. Once at work, he could put all thoughts of cows behind him.
Showered, shaved and dressed, he gulped down a breakfast drink and left his suite, going down to the lobby. The theater was in the pyramid of the Luxor Hotel, so it was just a quick walk through some corridors between buildings. It was less conspicuous that way; he would not be distracted by roving bands of overeager fans demanding autographs or photos. He had work to do, and he had no time to play celebrity that morning.
In the lobby, there were no fans, no paparazzi, just the desk clerk taking a phone call. Criss casually made for the main passageway toward the pyramid. Outside, he could see the new plate-glass window of the main entrance glittering in the morning sun. He was amazed at the speed in which the repairs had been made; he wished his Hummer could be restored so quickly after that bull--
Criss stopped in his tracks. From inside the corridor, behind the lobby furniture and even the front desk, black-and-white cows began to emerge--or, rather, people dressed in black-and-white cow costumes began to emerge. They approached him menacingly, mooing as they came closer, their rubber udders jutting out obscenely from groin level. The desk clerk giggled nervously. Criss, however, was startled, then irritated. "Oh, for chrissakes!" he groaned. "Oh, geez! C'mon, guys! Knock it off already!"
The moos turned to laughter as the cow heads were removed, revealing Criss' own brothers, JD and Costa; his cousin, George; his consultants Gerard and Joaquin Ayela; and, of course, Carrot Top. Criss looked at them, annoyed. "Real funny, guys!" he sneered. "Really, really funny!"
The cow crew still laughed, enjoying their little joke. "You shoulda seen the expression on your face!" Gerard guffawed. "You were like--" He mimicked a shocked look, then broke down laughing again.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, like, whatever," Criss said irritably. "Look, I've had enough cow jokes to last a lifetime! I don't wanna hear any more about cows or bulls or whatever! I'm just gonna go to rehersal and forget all this bull(bleep)!"
"Ha! Ha!" CT jeered. "You just made a cow joke of your own, there!"
"When you said 'bull(bleep)!"
"Oh, forget you, CT!" Criss snapped. "I'm outta here!"
"What's with him all of a sudden?" George asked.
"I dunno, mad cow disease?" CT suggested.
"Will you knock it off already!" Criss shouted angrily.
"Hey, don't have a cow, man." CT said placatingly. "We're just shooting the bull!"
"Oh, Lord!" Criss groaned. "How long do I have to put up with this?"
"Hey, you know Carrot Top," JD spoke up. "He's gonna keep milking this until the cows come home!"
Criss threw up his hands in exasperation. "GAAAAAAAAAA!" he screamed. "That's it! I can't take it anymore! I am out of here!"
With that, he ran out of the lobby, howling like a madman.
08-28-2011, 11:04 PM
lol lol I'm glad u brought this one over.
09-05-2011, 09:33 PM
Thanks. Any suggestions on which stories I should bring over? I don't want to bring all of them because some of them aren't very good. Which were the more popular ones in your opinion?
09-06-2011, 12:42 AM
You brought over two of my favorite but what about the one you were working on before the switch
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