12-22-2011, 04:12 PM
"He's not in his office, he's not in his suite, he's not anywhere!" Mifflin fumed at his assistant, a skinny, bespectacled youth named Max, as he paced up and down the set. "Did anyone contact his manager, what's his name, Baram?"
"We contacted Mr. Baram, sir," Max answered deferentially. "He claims not to have seen him all day. Mr. Angel has a live show to do in two hours or so, he says, and wants you to find him ASAP."
"Oh, he wants me to find him!" Mifflin retorted sarcastically. "As if I don't have enough to worry about, I gotta play baby-sitter to a magician?" He spun on his heel to pace the other way. "You tell Baram that--"
His tirade was abruptly cut short with his near collision into Dave Baram himself. Mifflin halted just in time to keep from crashing into him. "Tell me what?" Baram wanted to know.
Mifflin drew a deep breath to calm himself. "Baram! Thank God you're here!" he gasped in relief. "You found Criss yet?"
"That's what I was gonna ask you," Baram replied. "No one's seen him since this morning."
Mifflin threw up his hands. "Oh, Geez!" he groaned aloud. "We've had to shut down the whole day's shooting because of Criss' little disappearing act! Everything was right on schedule until this happened! God! I am so pissed!"
"You're pissed?" Baram shot back. "Criss has a live show to do in two hours, and if we don't find him, we're gonna have to cancel! Do you know how much money we stand to lose if we do?"
Mifflin glared at Baram. "You!? We're the ones who are gonna lose our shirts over this if we don't get this thing made!" He turned to Baram again. "You'd better find that guy or we're gonna sue him--and you!--for breach of contract! Got it?"
Baram stood firm, unintimidated by the irate director. "Are you threatening me?"
"I ain't threatening you, Baram!" Mifflin replied. "I'm telling you!"
"Do your damndest, Mifflin!" Baram challenged him. "Do your damndest!"
Meanwhile, the cast and camera crew watched as the situation grew more tense by the minute, fearing the two men would come to blows; a few retreated for whatever safety they could find in the shops or restaraunts in the atrium. From the service corridor, Chief of Security Macaffey had witnessed the altercation between the director and the manager and strode over to put and end to it once and for all. His mere presence partnered with his foghorn voice restored order in an instant. "All RIGHT!" he bellowed. "Break it UP! What the hell's going on here, anyway?"
As he was better aquainted with the hotel's top cop, Baram fielded the chief's question. "We can't find Criss Angel, that's what the hell's going on here," he replied. "He disappeared after filming a scene for the movie Mifflin here is making. You know the hotel better than anyone: have you seen Criss anywhere?"
"No, I ain't seen him," Macaffey replied. "And I ain't got time to go looking for some celebrity having a hissy fit over some movie he's making! We got homeless bums runnin' all over the hotel, and Mr. Rappaport don't want them scaring off the guests! I just chased one outta the hallway over there, tryin' to use the men's room."
Baram was bewildered. Mifflin was livid. "You MORON!!" he stormed. "That WAS Criss Angel!! He was in costume for the movie!!"
"Are you sure?" Macaffey asked, still not quite grasping the severity of the situation.
"YES! I'M SURE!!" Mifflin screamed. "You just threw out our biggest star because of your INCOMPETANCE!"
"Listen, don't you talk to me like that, mister!" Macaffey warned him. "I'm the chief of security here!"
Baram came between Mifflin and the chief. "Look, Big Luke," he said, trying to remain calm. "You and your guys had better go and find Criss, wherever he is, and bring him back, or all three of our asses are gonna be in a sling, understand?"
Macaffey simmered down a little. "We'll find him," he grunted, then strode away to the security office. How the hell was I supposed to know it was Criss Angel? he ruminated as he went. It sure as hell didn't look like him! Even the guys out front didn't know who it was! It couldn't have been Criss Angel; if it is, then it's really gonna be my ass for sure! I just hope he's the forgiving type!