09-04-2011, 10:13 PM
"Hey, guys, what's up?" Criss greeted his crew as he walked into the production office. Murmurs of "Good morning" and "Hi" greeted him in return. The group consisted of Criss' two brothers, JD and Costa, his manager, Dave Baram, technical advisors Joaquin Ayela and the hypnotist Gerard. A couple of cameramen were present to record the meeting for future reference and maybe for a behind-the-scenes shot for an upcoming episode of MindFreak.
Criss flopped down on one of the overstuffed chairs in the office, ready to get down to business. These informal meetings worked best for him; when everyone was relaxed, creativity flowed more easily. Though there were times when the horseplay got out of hand or Criss became so frustrated he threw things around the room, the laid-back think-tank produced results better than in any formal executive board room. And formal was just not Criss' style.
"So, what've you guys been up to?" Criss asked.
Gerard smiled, holding up a copy of the morning paper. "We were just reading about your friend, the Amazing Johnathan," he said. "He made the news this morning."
Criss was naturally curious. "What'd he do?"
"Got his ass in trouble," Gerard replied. "Or rather, it was his ass that got him in trouble."
"Meaning he was arrested for indecent exposure last night," Gerard said, smiling.
Criss was astonished. "AJ got arrested for indecent exposure?" he repeated incredulously.
Gerard nodded, still smiling lewdly. "Yeah, it's true. Some guy in the audience was heckling him during his show at the Magic Club last night," he explained. "He got so mad he mooned him."
Criss' jaw dropped. "He mooned the guy?"
"Yep. Right there in front of the whole audience. Got so mad at the (bleep)wad he about-faced, dropped his pants, and...."
Criss doubled over laughing. "Oh, my Gaaahhhhd!" he roared. "That is so...oh, (bleep)!"
"He got busted right after his act," Gerard continued. "Cops came in and hauled his ass to jail."
"With his pants up, I hope," Criss quipped.
"Hey, would you wanna look at AJ's bare ass?"
Criss shuddered at such a horrid thought. "So, what's gonna happen to him, do you know?" he asked.
"Probably fine him or something," JD replied. "I doubt it's gonna lead to serious jail time. Paper says his shows at the Magic Club have been cancelled until furthur notice."
Criss shook his head in disbelief. "Man, even for AJ, this is a new low," he said. "I mean, he's done some pretty crude stuff in his day, but this!"
"Well, what can you expect from a guy who keeps flipping the bird during his act?" JD pointed out. "Personally, I don't know why you stay friends with that (bleeper)."
"Give me a week and I'll tell you," Criss retorted.
Gerard tossed the newspaper aside. "Well, on to other business," he said. "Got any ideas for Season Five?"
Criss looked around the room. "Where's George?" he asked.
"He'll be here," JD said. "He's gone to the training gym this morning."
"Training?" Dave Baram repeated. "What's he training for?"
"George's gotten into amateur boxing lately," JD explained. "Goes to this little gym downtown and works out there."
"Why can't he work out in your gym, Criss?" Dave asked. "It's closer, and probably better equipped."
"What George chooses to do on his own time is his business," Criss stated. "He's welcome to work out in my gym, but if he wants to go downtown, it's his perogative. Besides, he's got a personal trainer there; I can't train him to be a boxer."
As if on cue, George Strumpolis stepped into the room. "Hey, guys," he said genially, "sorry I'm late."
"Ah, the future heavyweight champion of the world has just arrived!" Joaquin announced with mock fanfare.
George was annoyed. "First of all, I'm not a heavyweight anything," he said. "I'm more like middleweight, and it's strictly amateur. I'm not going pro; I just do this because I enjoy it."
He drew Criss aside. "Oh, by the way, I need Saturday off if you don't mind," he said.
Criss shrugged. "Sure, no prob," he answered. "What's the deal?"
"The Excalibur is holding an amateur boxing match next month," George explained. "Tryouts are this Saturday, and I'd really like a shot at this. Whaddya say, huh?"
"Well, okay, George, if that's what you want," Criss told him. "Good luck, okay?"
George smiled and patted his cousin on the shoulder. "Thanks, Criss."
"Okay, let's get down to business here," Dave said, holding up the itinerary. "The Fantasy and Naked Jail Escape episodes pulled in the highest ratings in the series next to the Implosion episode, so anyway you can top those?"
"I'm an illusionist, not a male stripper," Criss insisted.
"Face it, Criss," Gerard said, "the fans want to see more of you than your magic. Every square inch of you, in fact."
"Been there, done that," Criss said. "I can't show any more skin than the FCC will allow, you know that. Even if I did...expose myself again, the editors are just gonna do what they did before in Fantasy and Naked Jail and...you know."
"Block your tackle?"
Everyone laughed at that bit of witticism. "Yeah, that's it," Criss said. "So, why bother? I'm here to perform illusions and escapes, not strip down to my after-shave just for ratings. AJ got his ass in trouble, literally, for mooning his audience. I'm not going to stoop to his level."
"First of all, AJ mooned a heckler, not his audience," Gerard pointed out. "That was impulsive. You stripped for your art in those two episodes--that's different."
"It was for Fantasy I stripped for my art," Criss argued. "In Naked Jail, those guys stripped me against my will, remember? They cut off my briefs with a pair of scissors in that cell, right in front of all those women! And to top it off, they locked all my clothes in another cell! That's art? It was more like a conspiracy!"
The crew laughed at the memory of a naked Criss Angel struggling to escape from his jail cell in two hours, just in time to fetch his clothes and preserve his dignity, to the disappointment of the twenty women assembled there. "Hey, you pulled it off, didn't you?" Gerard said.
"Just barely," Criss replied, "no pun intended."
Dave Baram cleared his throat. "Moving right along," he said, looking at the itinerary.
Suddenly, Criss was struck with a brilliant idea. "Hey, George!" he cried eagerly. "You're taking up amateur boxing! Maybe we can do an episode with sports theme!"
Everyone agreed unanimously. "A sports theme! Great!" JD cheered. Just so long as it doesn't involve you trying to kill yourself, Criss, he added mentally.
"Think you can get us access to your gym, George?" Criss asked. "I'd be great if we could tape the show there."
George was hesitant. "Well, I'll have to clear it with old man Linehan," he hedged. "He's a tough old (bleeper) with a bad temper, so I'm not going to promise you anything."
"What if we paid him?" Criss suggested.
George thought about it. "Well, if you paid him, he might consider it," he replied. "But don't quote me on that--he's still a stubborn old (bleeper)."
"Well, run it up the flagpole with him and see if he'll let us in," Criss said.
"What about your own gym?" JD suggested. "Why can't we use that?"
"We'll get a few shots of me working out," Criss said. "I'll even go topless for the female fans. How about that, Gerard?"
"Might work," Gerard said. Then, with a mischevious grin, added, "How about a shot of you taking a shower after your workout?"
Criss could see where this was going. "Forget it."
"I'm just saying--"
"Shower time is my time, okay, Gerard?" Criss stated. "I mean, what's the deal with nudity all of a sudden?"
"I'm just saying give the fans what they want."
"What they want is my magic, my illusions, my talent," Criss insisted. "Not my naked body."
"You haven't been reading the fanboards lately, have you, Criss?" Costa spoke up for the first time that morning.
Criss dismissed his brother's observation. "Look, we'll just stick with the sports theme for now, okay?" he said, exasperated with Gerard's lascivious attitude. "Write down your ideas and we'll discuss this next time. And no nude shots, got it?"
The crew nodded. Costa remained silent. Since when is Criss against nudity all of a sudden? he wondered. In the mood he's in, how am I going to ask for his help now?
Last edited by Veritas; 09-04-2011 at 10:16 PM.