08-30-2011, 07:24 PM
Work on the Magic Castle began in November, after the JayCees held their last haunted house that Hallowe'en. Even though they made such a big deal about it, I didn't even bother to go. I was already bored with junior year by then--same stuff, different year.
Like everyone else, I lived for the weekends, even though there was precious little to look forward to.
Babysitting jobs were few and far between, so there was precious little money to go to the movies. I did stop by the construction site to check on the progress of the restoration. The graffiti was sandblasted off, the land was cleared of rocks and debris, and the whole building was caged with scaffolding. Not much was going on outside, but I figured that since the cold weather was coming, all work was taking place inside. The windows were still boarded up, so I couldn't see inside, but my dormant imagination roused itself, and I mentally designed and redesigned the interior. I imagined everything from modern New York dinner theater, to medeval splendor, to nineteenth-century elegance, to Gothic creepiness, to an eclectic mix of everything. Whatever the result, it definatly would not be boring.
Winter came. I had to save what little money I earned for Christmas, but I did sneak in a movie or two. There were a couple of "snow days" where I went to the site, but not much changed, except for the snow piled up outside .Meanwhile, I saw no sign of Chris whatsoever. I missed him sorely. He had been a breath of fresh air for me that late summer. I so wanted to see him again.
Christmas bought the usual sweater-bath kit-money-crocheted slippers-Micky D's giftcard ensemble--again. Geez! Was I the only one in this family, or even in this town, with any imagination? I wondered why I even bothered getting up on Christmas morning!
January bought heavy snow and ice, making the roads all but impassable. February and March saw winter and spring fighting for dominance, winter usually winning. High winds knocked down power lines during February and March, but construction on the castle went on regardless. What was left of the garden was leveled and converted into a parking lot. The windows were finally installed, huge stained glass ones, like Tiffany lamps. The wiring had been installed during the winter, because I saw lights on inside.
Spring break came in April. It was relatively warm and calm enough to check out the progress on the castle, so I went there to see.
The scaffolding was still up, and there were some workers on the roof, but what caught my eye was seeing Chris facing a tree, in that familiar pose men take when they relieve themselves. I politely turned away until he finished his business. He zipped up and turned around. I pretended to have just arrived, so as not to embarrass him.
"Hi, there," he said. I remembered we had not been formally introduced. I had seen him, but he had never seen me.
"Hello," I said, trying not to sound nervous. "I'm Jane Terrell, I live around here, and I'm glad to see you."
"Well, hello, Jane Terrell," he replied jovially. "I'm Criss Angel, and I'm glad to see you, too."
So far, so good. Nothing wrong with a few pleasantries.
"So," I went on casually. "You own this place now?"
"Yeah," he answered. "This is going to be the Magic Castle. It's going to be a magic club--magic, illusions, that sort of thing."
He pulled out a deck of cards, shuffling them skillfully between his fingers, even flipping one up in the air and catching it deftly in his hand without even looking. This guy was good! I thought.
"Here's my business card." He produced a small white card out of thin air and handed it to me. "Opening night is in June. Hope to see you there."
"Oh, I'll be there, all right," I said. "Thank you so much."
He left, and I looked at the card. CRISS ANGEL: The MINDFREAK. Magic Castle, 1325 Werner, Boren, ST. 555-1234.
So, I had the name wrong, it seemed. It was C-r-i-s-s, not C-h-r-i-s. Whatever! A hunk by any other name was still a hunk, as far as I was concerned. And he was a magician! Wow! Finally, some excitement in this berg! Everyone loves magic, and they'll pay plenty to see it. The word "Mindfreak" caught my eye. Well, a good magician would freak your mind with his tricks. After all, that is what it's all about, wasn't it? To be amazed and astonished by sleight-of-hand, levitation, all that jazz.
Man! I couldn't wait to tell the other kids at school! There were those who were as bored as I was, if not more so. They had to meet this guy! Criss Angel. Well, he was the answer to my prayers, at least. For the first time in my life, I had something to look forward to other than the latest release at the theater.