Family Affairs -
12-05-2011, 09:22 PM
Author's note: Someone on this forum (Rachel) wanted me to bring back one of my best-loved characters, Danny "Springs" Springer. I introduced you to him in "A Mobster's Hallowe'en". It's time the newbies on this site got to know him. Here's his debut story. Enjoy!
"Goooood morning, Sin City! This is Jabber J with your morning wake up call! It's oh-six-hundred hours! What's the "oh" stand for? Oh, my God, it's early! We got some Triple Threat lined up, along with--"
A long, muscular arm snaked out from beneath the covers of the king-sized bed. The hand attached to it fumbled clumsily with the off switch of the clock radio and silenced Jabber J's obtrusive chatter. Criss Angel flung the bedclothes aside and wrenched himself into the perpendicular, yawning and coughing as he stood. He stumbled bleary-eyed into the bathroom, rubbing his stubbled face.
A quick shower, a few swipes of the razor across his lathered jawline, a brief bout with a toothbrush, and Las Vegas' hottest illusionist was ready to face the day. Room service would be bringing him breakfast in about ten minutes or so. In the meantime, he concentrated on dressing for the seven AM rehersal for his television series, MindFreak: fashionable ragged jeans, gray Affliction t-shirt, heavy chains and pendants, earbobs, combat boots, skull bandana tied convict-style around his head. Criss disliked these early morning rehersals, but if he wanted to give his fans--not to mention the producers and sponsors--the very best he had to offer, it was just one more sacrifice he had to make. Every minute shown on the small screen was the product of hours and hours of planning, rehersing and taping, and Criss wanted to make every minute count.
A knock on the door announced the arrival of breakfast. Criss strode into the living room and let the waiter with the shiny chrome food cart inside the suite. "Good morning, Mr. Angel," he said.
"Morning," Criss replied. "Just set it over there, okay?"
The waiter rolled the cart with its gleaming silvery domes by the sofa. Criss tipped him the usual fifteen percent and settled down to eat. As if on cue, he felt a familiar nudging on his arm. With a mixture of humor and chagrin, Criss turned to his beloved cat, Hamlet, known affectionatly as Hammie, who stood there with expectant eyes. Criss sighed. It was the same routine every morning: waiter comes in with food on the cart, Criss sits down, Hammie jumps up hoping for a taste. Criss petted the animal's sleek fur.
"You are such a spoiled little kitty, you know that?" he cooed. "You are such a spoiled little kitty." He raised one of the lids covering his breakfast and broke off a piece of bacon. "Here," he said, feeding the morsel to Hammie. "Now leave me alone."
Hammie munched on his bacon while Criss tucked into his breakfast. Outside, the Nevada sun had fully risen, casting a golden glow through the slanted windows of the Luxor Hotel and Resort, promising a beautiful day.
Meanwhile, several hundred miles and couple of time zones away, thirteen-year-old Alicia Rose of Marvinville, Iowa, was standing by the curbside with several other classmates, waiting for the school bus, their backpacks stuffed with books, papers and other supplies. The gloomy gray skies threatening rain later in the day matched Alicia's mood that morning. Today there was a MindFreak marathon on A&E that she so wanted to see, but as bad luck would have it she had to go to school. Faking sick was out of the question--her mother was wise to any false symptoms, thanks to her bratty little brother, Kyle, who had practically turned it into an art form. Nor could she simply skip classes altogether, for the school's truancy rules were strict to the point of being totalitarian; attendance was scrupulously recorded by the teachers and office staff, and God help the poor student who went AWOL during school hours.
So there Alicia stood, waiting in her crisp white blouse and blue plaid skirt with navy knee socks, waiting with her fellow inmates for the bus to transport them all to St. Benedict's Acadamy for their daily lessons. She prayed for a major disaster to occur--a fire, a flash flood, a sudden late season winter storm, anything to get out of school so she could watch her beloved idol, Criss Angel, on TV. Never mind they were episodes that she had seen three or four times before. She longed to hear his voice, so deep and strong, to gaze upon his toned body, to sink into his hazel eyes. She worshipped him, yearned for him, ached for him, but the closest she came to him was on the small screen, so near, yet so far.
Someday, she mused, someday I'll meet him. Someday I'll be able to put my arms around him and feel his warmth. Someday I will look into his beautiful eyes and find the love I've been looking for. Someday, my Angel, someday...
The big yellow bus with ST. BENEDICT'S ACADAMY lettered in black on the side came rumbling to the curb. With the air of condemned prisoners, Alicia and her classmates climbed aboard and took their assigned seats. Alicia stared out the dirty square window toward the west where her Angel lived, so far away, yet close to her heart.
Someday, my Angel, someday...
Michael "Mick" Piccucci was dying.
He'd been dying for over six months now, lying in his ornate bedroom in his two-and-a-half million dollar Las Vegas mansion atop a grassy mountain with a view of the Baja Golf Course. How he had loved playing golf there! Back in the day, he was there three or four times a week with The Guys. True, he never shot below ninety, but that didn't matter. What mattered was the fresh air, the green grass, the trees, and above all the Manhattans served in the grill room. And, of course, the cameraderie--Springs, Shorty, Bluseman, all of them. But Mick had practically outlived every one of them, or almost; Springs was still among the living as far as he knew. The rest went to whatever eternal reward awaited them in the Great Beyond. Of all The Guys of Glitter Gulch, only Springs and Mick remained, the last of the Syndicate which had run Las Vegas since the end of the Second World War.
Mick and The Guys (they never gave themselves a fancy name, like the Mafia or the Purple Gang; they simply referred to themselves as The Guys. It had been the press who had dubbed them The Guys of Glitter Gulch.) had spent their prime years hustling, extorting, and taking kickbacks from the Silver Slipper to the Ranchero. They never went near the Flamingo or the Sands--that was the Syndicate's territory, and it would have been suicide to hustle there. So they kept to their side of the street, getting a few million here, a few million there, until the Gaming Commission got wise to them all and cracked down on the rackets. Fortunatly, Mick had "invested" in a few offshore tax shelters and a Swiss bank account to keep the IRS from getting hold of his ill-gotten gains. Today, Mick Piccucci was worth over eight million dollars.
And for what? For his (bleep) of an ex-wife could claim it for their (bleep) of a daughter? For his playboy son, Michael, Jr., to squander it on his greedy (bleep) of a wife and bratty kids, not to mention those floozies he kept as mistresses? Was that why he squirrled away all his money the way he did? If he had his way, he'd take it all with him to the grave, no matter what they said! But he had to leave it to someone--but who?