11-27-2011, 05:49 PM
A week passed. Criss made a $15,000 donation plus a gift package to the KLUC 98.5 FM 12th annual toy drive, filling the giant truck with toys from FAO Schwartz and dozens of his own magic kits. The deejay was so overwhelmed by this generosity that he almost collapsed from emotion.
And Criss kept on going! He later turned up for an appearance on Fox 5’s morning show More and spun a roulette wheel to match a gift to the Nevada Cancer Institute. It hit $250, but instead of just doubling it, he added another $5,000!
“I have been so blessed in my life,” Criss said later. “I never forget my own tough times, and now that I have the Mindfreak TV series and The Strip show, it’s my joy to help others, especially at this time of the year. We’re also reaching our 1,000th show and my birthday at the same time, so it’s great to include everybody in the celebration week and show my thanks this way.”
Joy and the Discount Toys crew watched all this unfolding on the small television in the staff break room. Joy could not help but admire such generosity. "Wow!" she sighed. "What a wonderful person he is, giving all those toys and money to needy children."
"Ah, I think it's all a crock!" growled Tory Bellamy, a skinny Sid Vicious-type whose collection of tattoos stood out in stark relief on his pasty white skin. "Like he really gives a (bleep) about those kids!"
"Why do you say that?" Joy asked. "He's making a lot of kids happy this Christmas, and fifteen grand is nothing to sneeze at."
Tory snorted derisively. "C'mon, Joy, you ain't buyin' that bull(bleep), are you? The guy's giving away a hundred of his own magic kits just to boost his own overblown ego! It's all a big publicity stunt! He ain't doin' it for 'charity', quote unquote, he's doin' it for himself, just so he can look good!"
Joy turned on her skeptical coworker. "Look, Tory, just because you're antisocial doesn't mean you should rag on those who actually care about their fellow human being! Has it ever occurred to you that he's actually being sincere in his efforts to help needy kids?"
"I still say it's bull(bleep)!" Tory argued.
"Okay, fine!" Joy retorted. "Believe whatever you want! Everyone's entitled to their own stupid opinions!"
The two fell silent as the news broadcast yet another looting of a charity donation box, this one sponsored by the Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign. "God!" Joy exclaimed. "Who is this guy, anyway?"
Sondra, who had kept silent while Joy and Tory were arguing, said with a mischevious smile, "Maybe it's the Grinch!"
Everyone laughed a little at Sondra's theory. Just then, Mr. Bernie stepped into the lounge. "So, how's everyone doing here, okay?" he said in his usual jocular manner.
"There's been another toy donation box robbery," Joy told him. "This time, they stole from the Marines."
Mr. Bernie gave a long low whistle. "Hoo-boy! The Marines? Once they find out about this, whoever did it is gonna get his keister kicked from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli!"
"We think it's the Grinch," Sondra said.
"Well, no Grinch is gonna come into this store, nosireebob!" Mr. Bernie said. "And, anyway, that's what I came in to tell you: we're going to be setting up our own toy donation box right outside the store, and I'm gonna need your help in setting it up."
"What about the Grinch?" Sondra asked. "The guy's been going around stealing toys right out of boxes all over the city."
"Not this one!" Mr. Bernie replied smugly. "I got it specially designed so that if this Grinch character does show up, we'll nail his green furry ass right on the spot! It's got an alarm and everything! Speaking of which--Tory, I'm gonna need your electronics expertise in setting it up. You up for it?"
Tory shrugged indifferently as he rose to his feet. "Yeah, sure, whatever," he mumbled.
He followed Mr. Bernie out of the lounge. Joy turned off the television set, and she and Sondra got up from the vinyl couch. "He's certainly in the spirit of things, isn't he?" Sondra said sarcastically. "Just overflowing with holiday cheer. You know, I don't think he's cracked a smile since he's been here."
"I don't think he's cracked a smile ever," Joy said. "Maybe he's had a rough home life or something."
Sondra shrugged. "Eh, whatever." She made a little laugh. "Sometimes I think he's more grinchy than the Grinch himself."
"Well, at least he doesn't go around stealing toys," Joy retorted.
Joy ignored the jibe. "C'mon, let's get back to work. Mr. Bernie needs us to set up his donation box."
The two girls left the lounge, chatting amiably. Around them, work went on as usual: customers lining up at the registers with shopping carts full of toys, the cashiers ringing up the purchases, and stock clerks restocking the shelves with more toys to be taken down again by more customers and stuffed into their carts, and round and round in a neverending cycle of supply and demand.
Meanwhile, at the Luxor Hotel, Chief of Security Lucas "Big Luke" Macaffey, a pit bull of a man with a take-no-prisoners approach to maintaining law and order in the hotel, was in the lobby examining the large donation bin set out for the annual holiday toy drive. He was all too aware of the thefts going on around the city, and he was taking no chances on the hotel's bin being the next target. There would be no thefts of any kind on his watch, or anyone else's watch for that matter. Not only was the bin locked and secured, but it was directly in sight of the overhead surveillance cameras; any suspicious activity would be immediatly detected, and the perpetrator would be dealt with in accordance to the law. Roughly translated, the thief would have to answer to Macaffey himself, a fate worse than death in anyone's opinion.
Satisfied that the bin was tamper-proof, Macaffey left the lobby and headed for the deli for a cup of coffee. The counterperson knew his habits and had his order ready before he even reached the counter: large, black, no sugar. Macaffey took his coffee with a perfunctory nod of thanks and settled himself in a booth to relax. Overhead, the large screen TV broadcast the news of Criss Angel's donation to KLUC's toy drive. Macaffey kept sipping his coffee. Angel was a nice guy, he reflected, not stuck up like a lot of celebrities. Took good care of his mother, too, a definate plus in his book. It was nice that he was sharing the wealth instead of splurging it on customized cars and motorcycles like he usually did. Oh, well.
The story changed to the latest theft from a Toys for Tots donation box somewhere in the suburbs. "Son of a (bleep)," Macaffey muttered, setting down his coffee. Stealing from the Marine Corps? That poor (bleeper's) ass is in a sling for sure! If I ever see him pilfering from that bin outside, I'll nail his sorry ass to the wall! What'd make a guy steal from charities, anyway? No, wait, I know the answer--it's greed, plain, old fashioned greed. Times get harder, people get greedier; they'd steal from their own mothers if they had a chance!
He glanced toward the toy bin, still under the watchful eye of the surveillance cameras. C'mon, you (bleeper)! he mentally challenged the thief. I dare you to even try to take anything out of that bin! You do, and it's your sorry ass on a platter! I guarantee it!