09-03-2012, 01:46 AM
The ShareSpace lecture had gone well. Buzz had been greeted with a standing ovation, and his lecture had been well received. The only somber note was the announcement of Buzz's fellow Apollo 11 crew commander, Neil Armstrong, having passed away the preceding weekend. Many offered Buzz their heartfelt condolences during the after lecture meet and greet session; though he understood how everyone felt, to Buzz, the whole event felt more like a wake.
At precisely seven-fifteen, Buzz was ushered out of the ballroom and into the Magic.com studio. He had barely enough time to wipe the sweat off his face and freshen up in the dressing room before the briefing with Criss Angel, whoever he was. All Buzz knew was that he was a magician of some reknown; he had seen his posters in the lobby and in the lounge where he had met that gangster, Danny Springs or whatever he called himself. Buzz debated with himself about mentioning it on the show, but decided against it. The last thing he needed was to be linked to organized crime.
A spiky-haired girl arrived in the dressing room with a blue tackle-box-like case. She introduced herself as Melanie, the makeup artist, and she was here to "prep" Buzz for the show. Buzz merely said, "All right," and sat down in the chair by the brightly lighted mirror. This wasn't the first time he had been made up for a public appearance. He'd been making television appearances since the Seventies, and he had long since learned that makeup made him look better on camera. It was a bother, but it was necessary.
Melanie opened her tackle box and laid out the powders and rouge she would need. "It's a real honor to meet you, Colonel Aldrin," she said politely as she covered Buzz with a protective sheet. "I've never made up an astronaut before."
"Yeah, well," Buzz mumbled, "we're all human, after all. Same face, same skin as everybody else."
"You really wowed 'em at your lecture today," Melanie went on as she mopped Buzz's face dry. "Even the chief of security, and he's not an easy man to impress."
"Uh, yeah," Buzz said. "We've met."
Melanie set aside the wipe and picked up the powderpad."You did?"
"Yeah. Guy was reall happy to see me--damn near crushed my hand shaking it."
"You should see him when he's dealing with someone he's not happy to be with," Melanie said as she powdered Buzz's face.
"I'll pass, thank you," Buzz said.
Melanie giggled a little and decided to change the subject. "You know, I wasn't even born when you and Neil Armstrong landed on the moon," she said, "but I saw the film footage on YouTube. It was awesome! And, personally, I don't care what those wacko conspiracy theorists say--the whole thing was real as far as I'm concerned."
"Of course it was real," Buzz said, closing his eyes to avoid getting powder in them. "I was there, remember?"
This set Melanie to giggling even more. "Of course you were! It's just that, well, I don't understand why some people insist the whole thing was a hoax, that's all. I mean, we got the pictures, the films, the rocks and moon dust--why would anyone dispute it?"
"Well, people believe what they want to believe," Buzz said sagely. "They see things that aren't there, perceive things from a different angle. Like the man said, 'My mind's made up, so don't confuse me with the facts', that sort of thing. Me, I just ignore them."
"But what about--" Melanie suddenly clammed up, but Buzz immediately divined what she was going to say.
"About that guy I punched back in 2009?" he finished for her. "Okay, I admit I went a bit too far, but under the circumstances, well..."
Melanie brushed a light layer of rouge on Buzz's cheeks. "Sorry I bought it up," she said.
"That's okay," Buzz said, "I've put it behind me." Then he decided to change the subject himself to put Melanie at ease. "So tell me about this Criss Angel guy. What's he like?"
This simple query startled Melanie. What's he like? Hadn't he heard of Criss Angel, the MindFreak, the five time winner of the Magician of the Year award? Where has this guy been, the moon? she thought. Then she realized to her embarrassment that yes, he had. "Oh, he's great!" she replied, patting flattener over the foundation powder. "He's really awesome! He's done stuff you wouldn't believe! It's not as impressive as walking on the moon, of course, but still!"
A knock on the door and the words, "Two minutes, Mr. Aldrin," followed.
Melanie became a bit miffed. "It's Colonel Aldrin!" she half shouted to the stagehand who had just left. She sighed in irritation. "Guy's a moron," she muttered.
Buzz merely shrugged. "Hey, I've been called worse," he said with a smile.
Melanie pulled the sheet away from Buzz. "There!" she said triumphantly, "you're all set."
Buzz rose from the chair. "Okay," he said. He glanced at himself in the mirror. "Looks good."
Melanie packed her makeup materials into her box. There was another knock on the door. "Mr. Aldrin," the same ignorant stagehand spoke through the door, "you're on!"
"Well," Buzz huffed, "time to go meet the 'awesome' Criss Angel. Thanks, Melanie."
"You're welcome, Colonel Aldrin," Melanie replied politely.
"Call me Buzz."
"You're welcome, Buzz."
Buzz turned to leave. "Oh, and Buzz?"
"I saw that video of you punching that guy back in 2009," Melanie confessed. "Personally, I think that he had it coming to him."