08-30-2011, 07:45 PM
I had never been so happy, or at least relieved, to see Monday come, nor have I ever looked forward to going to school as I did that particular morning after my stand against the powers-that-be at church. I just wanted to get away from the folks and be with my friends. I recalled seeing a few of them at the Magic Castle Saturday night, and wanted to get their reaction to the show. I was confident that they would have a more positive opinion than the elderly set.
I dressed myself in my drab navy blue jumper and crisply starched blouse, the standard uniform for Boren High School girls and a far cry from the elegant black and white hostess ensemble of the Castle, went downstairs and had my usual school day breakfast of cornflakes and orange juice, then picked up my backpack and walked the six blocks to school, Mom kissing me goodbye as usual, having forgotten, or pretending to have forgotten, the conflict of the previous day.
Arriving at school, I found my friends, Sondra, Andrea and Jasmine near the entrance. Andrea flagged me down with a wave, and I quickly joined them.
"You know, we saw you at the Magic Club Saturday?" Sondra said eagerly, "And you looked so, you know, like, elegant in that long black skirt? And I was, like, whoa, is that Jane? Like, I hardly recognized you, you know?"
"Thank you," I replied graciously. "And did you enjoy the show?"
"Are you kidding? That guy, Criss What's-His-Name...?"
"Angel," I reminded her, "Criss Angel."
"Oh, right, Criss Angel? He was soooo hot, like, I nearly melted when he came close to our table, you know? Like, you are soooo lucky to be working for him like that?"
"You think he's got a girlfriend?" Jasmine inquired bluntly.
"Probably," I replied. "A guy like him would definatly be taken."
"Well, maybe not," Andrea said slyly. "Maybe he's the type who likes to play the field, as my dad would say."
"Well, I'm not going to pry into his personal life," I told them. "He's just my boss, and that is that. I'm not going to date him or anything. Besides, he's almost twice my age."
"No way!" Jasmine protested. "He's gotta be in his mid twenties!"
"The article in the paper said he was almost forty," I said.
"Forty?!" Andrea's jaw dropped. "That's as old as my mother!"
"He's, like, forty?" Sondra was just as astonished. "He can't be! No way!"
"Well, some people age better than others," I shrugged.
Just then the morning bell rang, signalling the beginning of the school day. We trudged into the squat, square building that was Boren High and headed for our lockers, and after that to our first hour class. I decided to wait until lunch to tell the others about what those old biddies at church thought about Criss.
In the rush between classes, I caught a few glimpses of the reaction Criss Angel had on the student body, however subtle. Souveniers from the gift shop, such as medallions and other jewelry, appeared, despite the general ban on such items. Playing cards ( a definate no-no on school grounds) were clandestinely flashed around as a few Criss Angel wannabes tried their hand at card magic. Postcards designed by Criss and sold at the Castle shop were traded under the table and in the restrooms like so much contraband. The most coveted item, of course, was his book, MindFreak, which cost about twenty-five dollars, nearly half a week's pay for this minimum-wage crowd. Those lucky enough to possess it invited a select few for a private reading sometime after school.
Being employed at the Magic Castle, I found my social status elevated a few degrees above normal. No longer was I plain Jane, but Jane Terrell, the-girl-who-works-there, the inside girl, the one with all the connections, it seemed. I was constantly peppered with questions about Criss Angel, mostly by the female half of the student body; what it was like to work for him, was he married, how he did this trick or that, if he was gay, and could I arrange a meeting with him pleeeeeze? It took a great deal of diplomacy and tact on my part to answer all their questions and let them down as gently as I could. But no sooner did I rid myself of one starry-eyed fan than another would pop up with all the same questions and requests. By the end of the day, I found myself wishing for my previous anonmynity, just for a bit of privacy.
The adult population, as I had related earlier, was a harder sell. The Op-Ed page of Tuesday's paper was a complete antithesis of Sunday's entertainment review of the Magic Castle. Criss Angel was branded a "non-conformist", a man of "questionable morals" and "permissive views", who was creating a "negative influence on the community." While many agreed he was very talented, he could, or should, "tone down" his personal appearance and not look so "sloppy" or "punkish".
Those were practically compliments to the ones which appeared later in the week. The Wednesday's Op-Ed was a total moral backlash against Criss, outright venemous in their content. Criss was "promoting the homosexual lifestyle in his manners and dress", and was promoting "devil worship and Satanism" with his magic acts. Again, the earrings and the nail polish were presented as evidence against him. If he persisted in his present course, he would "corrupt the morals of our youth by setting a bad example" with his lifestyle. No prizes as to who wrote that, I thought, throwing down the paper in disgust.
I had to do something, I realized. If these uptight prudes drove Criss out of town, not only would I be out of a job, but Boren would lose the one thing that was revitalizing this dull little town. I had to act, and act quickly.
Benjamin Franklin said, "The pen is mighter than the sword," or so I learned in American History 101. I picked up the paper again, found the address to the newspaper, and set to work writing my own Op-Ed letter. And this would be the honest truth, I vowed. I was going to settle this once and for all by showing Boren what Criss Angel was really like.
I am so sick of these people trashing Criss Angel the way they have this past week. As an employee of the Magic Castle, I can confidently state that none of these accusations against him are true. He is not a homosexual, he is not setting a bad example for anyone, his views are his own, and he is definatly not a Satanist! He is a very good, honest and fair man who is running a business. He is extremely talented--you gave him a glowing review of his show last Sunday, remember? Boren was boring before Criss Angel came. He is a breath of fresh air in this stale little town of ours. Just because someone is different is no reason to condemn him. You can't judge a book by its cover. We should be welcoming him, not trashing him!