12-24-2011, 02:55 PM
Meanwhile, back at the Luxor, the situation regarding Criss' disappearance had escalated to code red: the entire security staff scoured the hotel grounds from the Sphinx statue in front of the pyramid to the loading docks in the back, searching for the missing magician. The staff up in the video surveillance room reviewed every inch of tape for any clue of Criss' whereabouts. Eliza, Criss' executive assistant, kept dialing his cell phone number over and over again in a vain attempt to reach him, until the housekeeper assigned to his suite, when questioned later in the day, claimed to have found it on his nightstand.
"That's not like Criss to leave his cell and his wallet behind like that," Eliza said. "He always has them with him no matter where he goes."
Only later would Mifflin recall that he had told Criss to leave his personal belongings in his suite so as to "add realism" to the movie. At that moment, however, he was too busy shooting around Criss, taking close-ups of Nomi, the shops and the decor of the hotel, all the while calling the production office for the latest news about Criss. Baram, meanwhile, fumed in his own office, worried and angry about this sudden disappearing act his star client had pulled. It's all Macaffey's fault! he fretted. Didn't that son of a (bleep) know it was Criss Angel? Now that poor guy's out there looking like a bum and God knows where he is!
Tom, Criss' personal assistant, had dutifully contacted his employer's family. Criss' brothers, JD and Costa, joined by their cousins, George and Phil, aided the search. Dimitra, the family matriarch, simply sat in the lounge area of the production office, outwardly calm but deeply worried about her missing son. Eliza juggled her time between her own duties, searching for Criss, and keeping Dimitra company. She offered her tea and sympathy, trying valiently to dispel the elderly woman's fears with words of encouragement. "Don't worry, Mrs. S.," she said soothingly. "They'll find him. He couldn't have gone far."
"Yes," Dimitra murmured, "they'll find him. He's has lots of friends here in Las Vegas; I'm sure one of them will help him come home again."
"Of course they will," Eliza agreed optimistically. "He'll be home soon, I know he will."
By the second hour since Criss' disappearance, the news of the crisis had reached the desk of Felix Rappaport, who quickly demanded an audience with Macaffey, Mifflin, Baram, and Tom the assistant. With their hearts sinking to their stomachs, they made their way to the president's office, bracing themselves for a perfect storm of administrative fury.
Rappaport kept his anger in check as he eyed the four men standing in front of him. "Would somebody please explain to me just what the hell happened here?" he asked with forced calm, drumming his fingers impatiently on his large glass-topped desk.
Mifflin stepped forward. "You see, it's like this," he began, "I had Criss made up to look like a homeless man for the movie. We took a break from shooting; Criss went to the men's room before returning to the set, and (bleep)-for-brains here--" he pointed to Macaffey "--goes and throws him out of the hotel! Now we're without our leading man, I'm falling behind schedule, Baram here says he's got a live show to do tonight, and we're all up (bleep) creek without a canoe, let alone a paddle, because your security guards drove him away from here!"
Rappaport turned to the chief of security. "Macaffey? You got anything to say about this?"
Macaffey cleared his throat. "Well, first of all...sir," he began quietly, "I take offense about being called '(bleep)-for-brains' by this two-bit filmmaker here. Second, I honestly affirm that I did not know that the vagrant I caught going into the men's room was indeed Criss Angel" He chuckled a bit. "I do acknowlege, however, that whoever made him up to look like that did a helluva job. Swear to God, his own mother wouldn't have recognized him! I sure as hell didn't."
Rappaport was not amused. "But you did have him thrown out of the hotel, didn't you?" he pressed.
"Under the circumstances that I honestly believed him to be a vagrant trespassing on hotel property," Macaffey replied officiously, "I did evict him from the premises. And so did two of my men who were patrolling the main entrance," he added. "We were acting under your orders, sir, even though it turned out to be an unfortunate misunderstanding."
Baram snorted. "Acting under orders," he sneered bitterly. "They said the same thing at Nuremburg!"
"Did you inform the two men who drove Criss away from the main entrance about who he really was?" Rappaport asked.
"I did, indeed, sir, once it had been brought to my attention," Macaffey replied. "They were understandably upset about it. However, since they were acting under my direct supervision, I claim full responsibility for all this."
"Yeah, you'd better, you son of a (bleep)!" Baram muttered under his breath.
Macaffey turned to Baram. "You say something, mister?" he growled.
Baram was about to tell Macaffey just what he thought of his militaristic methods when his cell phone deedled in his jacket pocket. He whipped it out in a flash and flipped it open, not even bothering to see who was calling. "Hello?" he said anxiously as all present waited expectantly.
Suddenly, Baram's face became animated. "Criss!!"he screamed into the tiny transmitter. "Where the hell are you?!
"I'm at Sanctuary Shelter for the Homeless," Criss replied over the office phone. "You know, the place where we shot episode two? I got picked up by the shelter bus and taken here. Can you come and get me?"
A brief pause while Criss listened to Baram's agitated babble. "Okay, okay, Dave, chill out, willya? Eliza's got the directions on file somewhere; you can ask her. Just come and get me, okay? Fine, see ya later!"
He hung up the heavy receiver back in its cradle. "He told me to stay where I was," he said Pastor Bob. "Like I got anywhere else to go."
The pastor smiled. "Well, since you're here, you might as well make yourself at home," he said jovially. "They're serving lunch in the cafeteria--might as well grab a bite to eat. We don't set a fancy table, but we got some pretty good grub."
The rumbling in Criss' stomach seconded that motion. "Thanks, Pastor," he said. "I'm really hungry right now."
He turned to leave the office. "Just a word of warning, though," Pastor Bob spoke up.
Criss turned back. "Like what?" he asked, perplexed.
"Sister Eunice is on duty in the cafeteria today," Pastor Bob told him, "and she's really strict about sayin' the blessing before eating."
"She won't let you take a bite until you do, so if you don't wanna get jabbed by those needle-sharp fingers of hers, you'd better say grace before you dig in."
Criss nodded. "Got it."