08-28-2011, 09:58 PM
Bystanders gathered around the cow, but kept a safe distance all the same. They took pictures of it with digital cameras, camcorders and cameraphones, telling themselves and each other that "they'll never believe this back home!". Criss, meanwhile, made his way forward, trying to identify the cow as the same one he had seen in the desert that morning.
"Hey, cow!" some wannabe comedian among the gawkers shouted. "Got milk?"
This brilliant bit of clever witticism was met with resounding silence. Of greater interest was a curious little girl, not more than four years old, who stepped up toward the cow with wide-eyed wonder. She pointed at the giant bovine and said, "Mommy, moo-moo!"
Mommy, a slim brownette in a baggy cardigan, swept up her daughter in her arms. "Yes, dear, it's a moo-moo," she confirmed. "But don't get too close to it--it might hurt you."
"Ah, it ain't gonna hurt her!" an old man of about sixty or so spoke up loudly. "Cows are herbivores; they don't bite anything living."
"How do you know so much about cows, mister?" the young mother asked.
"Been around 'em most of my life," the old man replied. "Born and raised on a dairy farm for thirty years. And from the looks of 'er, I'd say she needs milkin'. That udder of hers is full to the brim." He turned to the crowd. "Anybody here got a bucket and a stool?" he shouted.
No one could fulfill the old man's request. No one, that is, except Criss, who spotted a nearby restaraunt, and, siezed with a sudden brainstorm, dashed in and asked if they had any plastic buckets in the back room. The restaraunt owner, recognizing the famous magician and thinking he needed it to perform one of his illusions, happily obliged and fetched a large commercial-sized pickle bucket, complete with plastic lid.
"Is it clean?" Criss asked.
"Just washed it this morning," the owner proudly replied.
Criss thanked the man and dashed out with the bucket. "Here's a bucket, mister!" he called out.
The sight of Criss Angel dashing to the rescue elicited rousing cheers from the bystanders. Criss waved to them while he handed the old man the bucket. "This big enough for you?" he asked.
The old man nodded. "Plenty big," he replied. "All I need is somethin' to sit on, and I'm ready to go."
A plastic milk crate was found somewhere. The old man sat down, positioned the bucket under the cow's swollen udder, reached under and began to draw milk. Criss stayed at the cow's side, offering comfort to the animal: "It's okay, he knows what he's doing. You're gonna be okay."
The cow's presence on Fremont Street had attracted the local news crew. A van with a large satellite dish on top drove up to the scene. Cameramen, sound men and the roving reporter, a fashionably dressed woman of about thirty-five armed to the teeth with microphones and radio equipment, burst out of the van like a commando unit on a raid. Meanwhile, a young Loyal approached Criss. "I think Hammie wants out of his cage," she told him.
Criss looked over the cow to the old man on the other side. "I'll be right back," he said.
The old man simply grunted, carrying on with his work. Criss strode to his motorcycle and retrieved Hammie from the carrier. "C'mon, Hammie," he said, hoisting the cat onto his shoulders. "Let's go."
He returned with Hammie, to the delight of his fans. Rarely had they seen Hammie in real life, and for Criss to bring out his beloved cat in public was a real treat. When he returned to the cow, however, he noticed the news reporter interviewing the old man while he was still milking.
"Good afternoon, sir," the reporter said politely. "I'm Amber Wakely, from Channel Six news."
"How do," the old man grunted, still milking away.
"And you are...?"
"Clarence. Robert Clarence. Call me Bob."
"Okay, Bob, uh, can you give our viewers some information about the cow you're milking?"
"Sure, I can talk while I work."
"First of all, how do you know so much about milking cows?"
"Well, I'd been a dairy farmer for the first thirty years of my life. Had to sell the farm, though--wasn't turnin' a profit as much as it used to. Went into machine repairin' to make ends meet."
"And here you are, milking a cow right here on Fremont Street!"
"Had to," Bob replied. "She was full to the brim, and if a cow goes too long without milkin', she'll get sick and die."
"How much milk does the average cow produce?" Amber asked.
"Well, a good milker can go as high as ten or twelve gallons in one milkin'. Cows are milked twice a day, so we're talkin' twenty, twenty-four gallons. Of course, depends on the breed. This here's a Jersey--real good milker. They can fill up this bucket here easy."
"Well, thank you, Bob," Amber said. "And I'm sure the cow here appreciates your hard work."
"My pleasure, ma'am."
Amber turned her attention to Criss Angel. "So, Criss, what's your take on all this?"
Criss smiled sheepishly. "Well, first of all, this is my second cow sighting," he said. "I was riding my Harley out in the desert this morning, and I saw this cow--well, maybe not this particular cow, but it was a cow."
"And what did you do?"
"I rode back to the Luxor, and I'm like 'I did not see a cow in the desert, I did not see a cow in the desert.' I got back and told my mom about it."
"And what did she say?"
"She thought I was having a heat stroke."
"But you really did see a cow in the desert."
"Yeah, I did. Bugged me out, though."
While Criss was granting an interview to Channel Six News, Hammie slipped off his shoulders and padded to Bob. Criss looked down. "Hey, Hammie, where you goin'?" he said. "Hey, my cat's getting away from me!"
"Maybe he smells the milk," Amber suggested.
Criss trotted toward Hammie, who sat beside Bob. Bob turned and saw the cat sitting beside him. Amused, he said "Well, hello, there, kittycat! What's your name?"
"His name's Hammie," Criss answered for his cat. "He's mine."
"You want some milk, kittycat?" Bob asked Hammie good-naturedly. "Here."
He pointed one of the cow's teats toward Hammie's face and squirted out a steady stream of milk. Hammie lapped it up as soon as it hit his mouth. Criss doubled over laughing, as did those who saw it. The little girl who had first approached the "moo-moo" laughed and pointed at the kittycat getting a drink. Hammie merely licked his jaws and miawed.
"Oh, you want some more?" Bob said. "Here ya go!"
Again the stream of milk splattered in Hammie's gaping, lapping mouth. The cameraman with Channel Six News made sure to get a close up of the cat's milk-clotted face. The bystanders took their own pictures of Hammie's afternoon milk break to send over the Internet. Criss was still laughing over it all. Hammie, having had his fill of fresh milk, retired to wash his face in the manner of all felines: lick the side of his paw, rub it over his face, lick the paw, rub the face, and so on until it felt clean. Fascinated fans took more pictures: a few with camcorders taped it for posterity, vowing to send the footage to YouTube and other Web video sites.
Bob stopped milking and rose stiffly to his feet. "Well, that oughta do it," he announced. He turned to Criss. "Hand me that lid over there, willya, son?"
"Oh, sure," Criss said, handing Bob the plastic lid.
Bob clamped the lid on the bucket, leaning all of his weight onto it. "We got a good nine or ten gallons out of this one," he said proudly. "But my back is killin' me!"
"Good job, Bob," Criss congratulated him. "So, what're you gonna do with all that milk?"
Bob shrugged. "Goes to whoever owns this cow," he replied simply. "How the hell it got here beats my pair of jacks!"
Criss explained to Bob about the cow trailer that a bull had broken down, leading to the escape of half a dozen cows like the one he had just milked. "It was on the news," he said.
Police and Animal Control officers arrived to take the cow away. Bob, being the only one present with any experience with cattle, assisted them with loading the cow into the trailer. "C'mon, bossy," he encouraged the cow, "c'mon, bossybossybossy." The pail of milk was hoisted into the Animal Control van with instructions from Bob to get it into cold storage as soon as possible. "Don't let anyone drink it," he told them. "It's gotta be processed."
Criss had retrieved his cat and was about to leave, but the crowd would not hear of it. He and Hammie had to pose for pictures, then he had to sign a few autographs, and then levitated Hammie as a finale. It was a full hour before poor Criss could finally go home with his cat. With Hammie secure in his carrier, Criss strapped on his helmet and goggles (resulting in more photos for the fans), and took off, still amused over what had happened. Nice guy, that Bob, he thought. He really knows his cows. Funny the way he gave Hammie that milk! Can't get any fresher than that!
He arrived at the Luxor tired but happy. He couldn't wait for the local news segment on the cow on Fremont Street. Family's gonna get a kick about seeing Hammie and Bob, he laughed to himself as he lifted his cat out of the carrier. He turned to go into the hotel, but a loud mooooooo halted him in his tracks. He turned around and saw Carrot Top, the outrageous comedian and his good friend, standing behind him. "Got milk?" Carrot Top quipped.
"Hey, CT," Criss hailed him. "What're you talkin' about?"
"Saw you live on the news just now," Carrot Top said. "You and that cow on Fremont Street."
"Oh, that," Criss said dismissively as they strolled to the hotel entrance. "Well, hey, it was Bob who was the real star of the show--he did all the milking. I just stood there laughing when he fed Hammie."
"Bull," Carrot Top said.
"No, really, I didn't do anything."
"Bull!" Carrot Top repeated, louder this time.
"CT, what the hell is the matter with you?" Criss demanded, turning to face him.
His irritation faded as he saw the orange haired comedian's pale face paralzyed in terror, his finger pointed straight out in front of him. "Buuuullllll!" CT cried out.
Criss turned to where Carrot Top was pointing. There, right in front of the main entrance of the Luxor Hotel, was a giant black bull.