08-28-2011, 10:25 PM
By the time Criss returned to the Luxor, the atrium had been fully restored: the potted plants had been replaced, the carpeting had been swept clean of broken glass and dirt, and new plate-glass windows had been installed. Criss guessed that Felix Rappaport had made a few quick phone calls after the bull had first escaped, so quickly had the repairs been completed. The atrium was quiet; guests and staff went about their respective business as always. Except for the empty space in the carport where the Hummer had been parked, it was as if the bull had never been there.
Grateful that things were once again back to normal, Criss quietly retired to his suite. A hot shower, a drink or two, a little foosball and an afternoon nap--that was all he wanted. He didn't even feel like watching TV, because he knew that they'd be broadcasting the cow crisis (and his involvement in it) on the five o'clock news by now. He just wanted to put all that behind him and get on with his life. I never want to see another cow as long as I live! he vowed silently. From now on, the closest I want to get to 'em is in the dairy section of the supermarket!
Up the elevator, then into the blissfully quiet hallway leading to his suite. Criss pulled out his keycard, slid it into the slot, and entered the suite, looking forward to enjoying what was left of his day off.
"Hey, cowboy!" a familiar voice called out to him.
Startled, Criss whirled around to see his brothers, JD and Costa, sitting casually on one of the sofas, their feet propped up on the coffee table. "So, you rounded up the cattle," he quipped. "What's next? You gonna plow the back forty?"
"Har, har," Criss sneered, peeved at this invasion of his privacy. "So what are you doing here, anyway?"
JD smiled. "Came to see you, of course," he replied. "Saw your little roundup live on the news this afternoon. What is it about you and cows, anyway? First Fremont Street, then this."
"Don't forget the bull that trashed the Hummer," Costa reminded him.
"Oh, yeah, that's right!" JD suddenly remembered. "And Mom said you saw one out in the desert this morning, too."
"That was this morning," Criss told him. "And anyway, I wasn't the only one who saw them, you know. CT was with me when the bull attacked us."
Costa turned to JD. "Tell him about George," he said.
"What about George?" Criss inquired.
JD chuckled a little. "Well, this morning, George and Angie were coming home from seeing her sister, see, and they see the bull right there in front of them on the highway. George gets (bleeped) off, gets out, tosses a water bottle at him, hits him on the head; the bull gets (bleeped) and charges after him; George gets back in the car, backs up and turns around and heads back the way he came. So you weren't the only one who was attacked by a bull."
"JD, that (bleeper) took down two cops and a police car!" Criss said sharply. "I was in the Hummer when he went after me! God knows how many other victims that psycho bull got after he ran off!" He tossed his jacket aside. "I'm gonna take a shower," he grumbled. "I've had enough of cows and bulls for one day--hell, for one lifetime!"
"Don't forget we got dinner tonight!" JD reminded him.
Criss grimaced. Oh, (bleep)! I forgot! "Yeah, okay, fine," he called out from the bathroom. "Whatever."
He stripped off his clothes, reeking of cow, and tossed them into the hamper as if banishing them for life. He turned on the shower and lathered himself from head to toe, deeply inhaling the scent of the soap to purge his nostrils of the smell of cow manure. The warm water massaged his skin, rinsing away the stress as easily as the dirt and grime from the day. He began to feel better about himself and life in general, just like he did after every shower.
Light wisps of steam eminated from his body as he emerged from the shower stall. He dried off, went to the vanity, slathered shaving cream on his jaws and carefully shaved away his five o'clock shadow. He didn't want any nicks or cuts on his face, especially tonight--George was bringing in his new girlfriend, Angie, and he wanted to make a good impression for his cousin's sake.