08-28-2011, 09:41 PM
While Criss was trying to convince himself he had not seen a cow in the desert on his way back home, another driver traveling the same highway to Las Vegas was about to have a bovine encounter of his own.
Geoge Strumpolis, cousin to the very same Criss Angel, was driving his SUV with his new girlfriend, Angela Honi, a first-grade schoolteacher, beside him. They had met purely by accident in the atrium of the Luxor Hotel when Angela's narcissistic sister, Bianca, had thrown her over the railing from their twelfth-floor hotel room in a fit of rage after she had won the Lucky Million Slots in the casino. Poor Angela had landed right on top of George, who had been taking a break from a planning meeting for MindFreak Productions. Bianca had been arrested for attempted murder and was taken into custody. Angela and George became better aquainted during the investigation and began dating right from the start.
School was closed for Columbus Day, so Angie, as George liked to call her, had the day off, and since George was also free that day, they decided to spend it together. George had planned to formally introduce Angie to the family that evening at dinner; he was confident they would take to her like ducks to water. This morning, however, Angie and he had visited her only surviving relative: her sister, Bianca, currently incarcerated in the Clark County Detention Center women's wing. It was not the most pleasant start to their special day, but Angie felt it was only fair since she would be meeting George's family that evening, an event she looked forward to with eagerness and not a little apprehension.
After an sullen, awkward, ten-minute meeting in the Visitor's Room (the regulated time limit for family members of prisoners), with Angie apologizing to Bianca (again) over not being able to post her bail, the pair left the CCDC quickly and quietly. Bianca was taken back to her cell, muttering curses under her breath. Now the happy couple were on their way back to Vegas, relieved to be outside the grim concrete fortress and back in the real world. Before them, the splendor of the Nevada desert stretched out as far as they could see, a postcard-perfect setting for a morning drive.
George reached over and drew Angie toward him. "You okay, babe?" he asked, caressing her skinny arm.
"I'm fine, George," Angie replied. "I'm just sorry about Bianca's...'reception' of you, that's all."
"Ah, don't sweat it," George said dismissively. "I knew she wouldn't welcome me with open arms."
"I think she's still mad that I didn't share the jackpot with her."
"I think she's still mad that she's sitting in jail while you're out here with me."
Angie sighed heavily. "I'll never understand her," she said sadly. "Never. Ever since we were little girls she always had to have the upper hand. If I got something nice and she didn't, she either stole it, tricked me out of it, or bullied me into giving it up. I was too weak to fight back, and she manipulated Mother and Daddy like a con artist. Children can be selfish as a rule, especially when they are toddlers and preschoolers, but they eventually grow out of it when they develop a sense of empathy for others by the time they start school. Bianca, however, seemed, well...."
"What you're saying," George said, "is that Bianca is still a child."
"I would say more in a state of arrested development," Angie said. "I learned a lot about child psychology when I was in teacher's college. When we got to early childhood development, the more I learned about possessiveness in three- and four-year-olds, the more I drew parallels with Bianca."
George shrugged. "Like I said, she's still a child."
"But very cunning," Angie added. "She's very intelligent, but she's used that intelligence against me and anyone else who crossed her. Like there was the time when she--"
Suddenly, George slammed on the brakes. "HOLY (BLEEP)!" he cried out.
The SUV screeched to a halt, nearly sending Angie and George through the windshield if not for their seat belts. A shaken Angie looked around herself wildly. "Wh-what happened?" she gasped.
She glanced out of the windshield and recoiled in terror. There on the highway was a large black bull standing defiantly before them. Despite George's frantic honking, the huge animal made no move to clear the way for them.
"How did it get there?" Angie wondered aloud, still terrified at the sight of the bull.
"I don't care how the hell it got there!" George fumed. "I want it to move its ass right now!"
He leaned on the car horn. "Come on, you (bleeper)!" he shouted through the driver's side window. "Move it or lose it!"
"Maybe we should back up?" Angie timidly suggested.
"Oh, no," George disagreed. "No way. I'm gonna get this (bleeper) to move one way or another."
He picked up an empty plastic water bottle, got out of the SUV and positioned himself between the bull and the driver's seat, shielding himself behind the car door. Angie pleaded with him to get back inside, but George was determined to show this oversized hunk of hamburger who was boss. He cocked his arm back and flung the plastic bottle at the bull with all of his might. "Beat it!" George shouted.
The flimsy plastic container bounced harmlessly off the bull's head, but it was enough to incite rage: the huge bull bellowed furiously and charged straight at the SUV. George, realizing his mistake and its consequences, jumped back into the driver's seat and threw the trucklike car into reverse. "We gotta move!" he cried, terrified as Angie cowering beside him.
The SUV sped backward, away from the charging bull, then one-eightied around the shoulder and tore off in the opposite direction. The huge animal chased after them for a while, then gave up the pursuit, exhausted from the desert heat. George sped on, too scared to look in the rearview mirror.
Angie turned and looked back. "It's okay, George," she said. "It's gone now."
George slowed down and glanced in the rearview mirror on the driver's side door. "Man, that was close!" he sighed with relief. "That (bleeper) was gonna do me in!"
"Well, if you hadn't thrown that bottle at him--"
"Well, if he had moved like I told him to, I wouldn't have thrown it!" George argued back.
Angie kept silent. She didn't want to jeopardize her relationship with the first man who had shown an interest in her by fighting, even if she was right. The important thing was that they were alive and well, she rationalized, and they had escaped unharmed. Besides, she couldn't help but admire George's courage to stand up to that bull like he did, idiotic though it was.
George slumped in his seat. "Okay, I admit it wasn't the smartest thing I ever did," he conceded, "but I got him to move, anyway."
He drove to the nearest exit and took the long way back to Las Vegas. "They're never gonna believe this when we get back," he said.