12-08-2012, 02:46 PM
Criss was so preoccupied with the new Cirque show, the taping of the new season of MindFreak, he hardly thought of his mother back in New York. Not that he forgot about her completely. She was his rock, his anchor. It was she who molded him into the man he was today. But she was busy with the foster kids in her care, and he had his career. He would find time to talk to her, if she could get a free moment from all those kids. Maybe he could send her an e-mail.
Costa had joked that she took the foster care job so she would have something else to worry about besides him. While it grieved Criss to cause his dear mother so much worry when he did his demonstrations, it was the life he chose, his destiny to fulfill. He was Criss Angel, the MindFreak, the master illusionist and escape artist. He was the heir to the legacy of Houdini. He was the best in the world. Yet the image of his poor, frail mother standing behind security barricades, tissue in hand, wiping away tears as he risked his life over and over again, needled his conscience. He loved her dearly, honored her as the Bible commanded, would have laid down his life for her. When she had been kidnapped by the Vegas Bomber, it was as if his heart had been ripped out of his chest. He would have torn up the entire state of Nevada to find her. Her safe return was like recovering a part of himself. She was his greatest treasure, more valuable than gold, more precious than rubies.
The minute he got a break, he called her up on his cell phone. All he got was voicemail. Disappointed, he left her a message of love and devotion. He also asked if she needed any money for the kids. They needed her more than Criss or his brothers did. Dimitra's sons were grown men now. These foster kids were still too young to fend for themselves and needed all the help they could get, and Criss would be there to help in any way he could.
Meanwhile, he had more pressing business to attend.
Criss found the number to KLOL through the Internet directory and called the station. A sugary female voice answered, "Hello, KLOL, this is Heather, may I help you?"
In a firm but polite tone of voice, Criss replied, "Hello, this is Criss Angel. Put me through to Artie Creed, will you, please?"
There was a brief pause, followed by a hasty, "One moment, please." Staticky music played while Criss waited paitently, then a clicking noise while the call was being transferred.
"Hello, you're on the air!"
"Hey, Artie, this is Criss Angel."
Artie Creed was surprised. He had made Criss Angel a target for his criticism in the past, but this was the first time he had ever responded. This was going to be a treat! "Hey, Criss! How's it going?" Artie greeted him cheerily as he poised for the kill.
"Everything was going just fine, until you made that crack about my mother," Criss retorted. "You've dissed me a lot in the past, but you just boosted my ratings. I can ignore anything you say about me--I've heard worse. But then you go dissing my mom. You crossed a line, Artie. You really went too far this time."
"Oh, yeah," Artie challenged. "And just what are you going to do about it, mama's boy? I told the truth about you--"
"Truth?!" Criss snapped. "You wouldn't know the truth if it fell from the sky, sat on your face and wiggled!"
"Oooooooohhh!" Artie gasped. "Playing blue here, aren't we, mama's boy?"
"Listen, Creed," Criss threatened. "You go dissing my mother, or any other member of my family, and I swear to Almighty God, I will make you disappear--permanantly! It's no wonder your wife dumped you! You're the biggest slimeball on the radio! She was too good for you! She deserved better!" He hung up before Artie could respond.
Artie was stunned. How the hell did Criss know about Brenda? Unless Brenda had been sleeping around with him. That had to be it! That goddammed Criss! They'd been having an affair behind his back all this time! Well, payback is a b***h, Artie thought nastily. He'd find a way to bring this Angel down to earth, and show the world what a fraud and a cheat he really was.
Raul Alvarez was sitting on a sawhorse, splicing electrical wire, the dusty portable radio tuned to KLOL. He had been half-listening to Artie Creed, waiting for him to start playing some music. Frustrated and bored with Creed's yakking, he reached over to change the station when he heard the voice of Criss Angel on the radio. He turned up the volume to hear better over the construction noise.
"Oh, yeah, and what are you going to do about it, mama's boy? I told the truth about you..."
"Truth?! You wouldn't know the truth if it fell from the sky, sat on your face, and wiggled!"
"Whoa! Good one, Criss!" Raul cheered.
"Listen, Creed! If you go dissing my mother, or any other member of my family, I swear to Almighty God I will make you disappear--permanantly! It's no wonder your wife dumped your ass! You're the biggest slimeball on the radio! She was too good for you! She deserved better!"
Raul was astonished. He didn't know Artie had a wife, let alone that she dumped him. But, man! Did Criss kick Artie Creed's ass or what? It was time that loudmouthed son of a b***h was taken down a peg or two. The Latino community practically boycotted KLOL for Artie's remarks about them when he stated on the air that all they were good for was the grunge jobs no white person would deign to perform. Yet for all their protests, petitions and phone calls to the station, Artie Creed remained on the air. Not a single person of Mexican or South American descent would be caught dead listening to KLOL. But none stood up to him like Criss Angel--none challenged his authority, if what he had could be called "authority". And Criss was a bigger celebrity than Creed. There wasn't a thing Creed could do about it. Not a damned thing!
Dimitra waved the sheaf of check stubs in Mr. Webber's face. "You lied to me!" she accused him. "The state sent three times more money than you said they did! Where is the rest of it? What have you done with the rest of that money?"
"I...I don't know what you are talking about," Mr. Webber stammered, sweating more profusely than usual.
"I am talking about thirty two thousand dollars missing from the stipend checks!" she stormed. "I am talking about depriving these poor children the means to have basic care! I am talking about theft!"
"Are you insinuating that I have been misappropriating funds?" Mr. Webber countered.
"I am not 'insinuating' anything! I am certain you have been stealing money from the state!" Dimitra said angrily.
"And how are you going to prove that?" Mr. Webber returned the charge.
"I have already reported you to Social Services. I have proof enough of the neglect of these children and your theft!" Dimitra threw down the stubs. "They will revoke your license and send these children to proper homes! And, God willing, you will go to jail!"
She stormed out of the house, completely livid. To think she had spent a fortune of her own money, and borrowed from Christopher as well, only to find out that Mr. Webber was an embezzeler! How could she have been so blind? How could he have been so heartless? Could things get any worse than this?
Last edited by Veritas; 12-08-2012 at 02:54 PM.