|Loyal Written Art For all Criss Angel or non-Criss Angel related written artwork.
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hartland, MI
01-21-2013, 09:19 PM
7:00 am to 8:00 am:
The coffeemaker on the kitchen counter sputtered to life at exactly seven AM. Water in the resevoir flowed through the tubing, around the heating coils, over the coffee grounds and through the paper filter, exiting into the glass coffeepot below as fresh-brewed java. The strong scent wafted into the bedroom where Lyn Sheppard slept. There had been no need to set the alarm; the smell of coffee alone was enough to get her out of bed. Her eyes flew open as her nose caught the first whiff of it, and she flung away the covers with a single sweep of her arm. She rose, pulled on her robe and made a beeline for the kitchen and the rejuvinating black beverage she thrived on. Lyn couldn't imagine starting her day without at least one cup of coffee; before she did anything else, even before showering and dressing, she had to have her morning coffee or she couldn't function like a normal human being.
Grabbing a novelty coffee mug from the cupboard (a Christmas gift from Stacy, featuring a cartoon duck in hair rollers and chenille robe with the caption I Don't Do Mornings) and poured a quarter of the coffeepot into it. Morning coffee was the best in her opinion: it was hot, it was fresh, and it gave her the biggest rush of all. Lyn savored the warmth flowing down her esophagus and into her stomach. A few more sips, and she was ready to face whatever the world would throw at her.
She checked the time. Seven-oh-five. She had to be at rehersal at eight. She headed for the bathroom, sipping her coffee along the way, stripped, showered, toweled off, and blow-dried her hair. Another swig from the mug as she dressed in jeans and tank top (her dance clothes were at the theater in a locker), pulled on her Nikes, then, after another swallow of coffee, tended to the needs of her three cats, Sable, Ebony and Yin-Yang. She looked at the clock on the stove. Seven-twenty-seven. She drained the last of her coffee and set the mug in the sink. She looked at the remaining contents of the pot. She had to get to rehersal, but she hated to see good coffee go to waste. Suddenly a thought struck her. Lyn began searching frantically through the cupboards until she found what she was looking for: a large metal Thermos she used for outings and picnics. She emptied the pot into it, screwed the lid on tightly, and carried it with her out the door. She was ready to face the day.
"You sure about this?" Luke Macaffey, chief of security at the Luxor asked Mr. Guiffira as he stood in the manager's office.
"I am positive," Mr. Guiffria confirmed. "Every dollar in that safe was counted and recorded at the usual time. If there was a withdrawl of any kind, it would have been recorded on the accounting sheet."
Macaffey turned to Katie Lazlo. "Did you check the sheet he's talking about before reporting it?"
"I did," Katie nodded. "When Elaine made the evening deposit in the safe, it was full. Nothing had been removed according to the sheet. When I made the night deposit an hour ago, the safe was completely empty."
"Elaine Wozniak works the swing shift in the cashier's office. She's off duty now." A sudden feeling of dread came over Katie. "You don't mean to say that--"
"We're not pointing any fingers at anyone, ma'am," Macaffey said. "We just want to confirm your part of the story. I'm sure she's innocent. If there was a theft, we'd have it on tape. We'll get to the bottom of this. In the meantime, keep a lid on this for now, and let the pros handle this."
Macaffey strode out of the accounting office. Katie turned to Mr. Guiffria. "What are we going to do?" she wailed. "How are we going to explain this to Mr. Rappaport?"
"Now, now, Katie, don't despair," Mr. Guiffria tried to calm her. "I'll deal with Mr. Rappaport. You just go back to your window and do your job. If it was only a few hours ago, the thief couldn't have gone too far, and the cameras probably caught him in the act. Everything's going to be all right, Katie. They'll have that money back in no time at all."
Macaffey dismissed Katie and Mr. Guiffira with a nod and a wave. They left the office still murmuring to each other over the crime and how it occured. Macaffey wondered as well: How the hell did it happen? How in God's name did the safe get robbed right under their very noses? There was a camera trained right on the safe itself; someone must have seen something going on. Either someone was asleep at the switch, or the robber was one clever (bleeper) to evade the cameras. If it was the former, it was going to be that person's job; if it was the latter, it would be that person's nuts on a platter. Either way, someone was in deep (bleep).
Macaffey headed for the video surveillance room. Dispensing with pleasantries, he demanded to know what camera covered the safe in the accounting office. Twenty-Seven, they answered.
"I want the tape from last night from that camera," he ordered. "We had a robbery."
The tape was fetched from the bin, it not having been shelved yet. Macaffey took the cassette and shoved it into the VCR. He fast forwarded it to save time, stopping only when there were signs of life. Seven PM, employee deposit, safe full. Fast forward to ten PM, employee deposit, safe full. It was around midnight that something happened; the screen showed nothing but static for about two minutes, then returned to normal. Nothing was out of the ordinary in the office, in the vault, or anything. No sign of anyone having been there.
"Anyone from the last shift still around?" Macaffey called out.
Jerry Rand stepped forward. "Yeah, what do you need?"
"I need you to explain this." Macaffey pointed out the two minute blank on the tape. "You know anything about this?"
Rand shook his head. "No, but I can check the report."
"Do that," Macaffey ordered.
Rand went to fetch last night's reports. He flipped the pages, searching for any mention of a camera malfunction. "Let's see," he mumbled under his breath. "Yeah, here we are. Approximatly twelve-fifteen AM, Camera Twenty-Seven experienced malfunction, causing loss of visual. Electician called in to repair problem. Twelve-seventeen AM, visual was restored. Electrician reported no problem with wiring."
Macaffey analyzed this in his mind. If it wasn't a mechanical problem, he thought, then it had to be tampering. He had no idea what the vault layout looked like; he had never set foot in there in all the time he had been working here at the Luxor, so he had no clue as to how the camera had been tampered with. Well, maybe the CSI guys could figure it out.
"Leave that tape here," he told Rand. "We're gonna need it later."
His workout finished, Criss went back to his suite to prepare for the day ahead: a morning of Believe rehersal and an afternoon of taping MindFreak. But first, breakfast. He saw the gleaming chrome cart standing alone in his suite, crowned with covered dishes hiding his breakfast. Hammie stood on the arm of the sofa, staring longingly at them; he knew instinctivly that the big metal domes contained food, and he was hungry.
Criss couldn't help but laugh. "You think that's for you, don't you, Hammie?" he crooned affectionatly, stroking the cat's neck. "You think that's all for you, don't you? You're a spoiled little kitty, you know that?"
He nudged Hammie aside and sat down on the sofa to eat. Undeterred, Hammie leapt up back on the arm, stretching his sleek body towards the bounty on the cart. Criss laughed again, chagrined. "Hammie! This is my breakfast, okay? Now get down from there."
Again, Hammie was pushed off the sofa. In a change of tactics, Hammie leapt up on the other side of the sofa and padded to Criss' side, purring and making his most pitiful face to win sympathy and get a bite from the cart.
Criss sighed in defeat. "Okay, you win," he said. "Here." He pulled off a bit of egg and held it in front of the cat's face. Hammie sniffed it and snapped it up quickly, licking his chops.
"Now that's all you're gonna get, okay?" Criss told the cat. "I gotta eat too, you know."
Hammie watched sourly as Criss ate his breakfast, or, rather, his breakfast as far as his feline reasoning was concerned. Every morning the Food Person bought the big, beautiful cart full of delicious food for him, but Criss was the one who ate it all. It just wasn't fair!
Criss finished eating and headed back into the bedroom to get ready for work. Rehersal started at eight, and today he would be working on the levitation/aerial act, possibly the most dangerous part of the show. It worked well on paper and on the computer simulation, but in real life, anything could go wrong, even with every safety precaution in place. He knew from hard experience that no matter how careful you were, accidents can, do and will happen. He breathed a prayer for protection as he donned his trademark bling. Good to go, he turned to leave, but as he did so his eyes fell upon the bed. It triggered the memory of last night when he came home from Body English, when his mother told him about Athene Christopolous being caught in that very same bed. The image on the videotape of her being chased off by his mother like that made him smile a little. Still, he found it offensive that his privacy had been invaded like that. Athene deserved what she got, he said to himself. I just hope they change the sheets.
"Morning, hon," JD Sarantakos greeted his wife, Lynn, in the kitchen of their Las Vegas home, wrapping his arms around her and kissing her on the neck.
"Morning," she cooed. She leaned back and planted a big wet one on her husband's lips.
JD released Lynn long enough to get some coffee and breakfast. "What are your plans for today?" he asked.
"Your mother wants to spend some quality time with Dima and me today," she replied. "Thought we'd do a little shopping, maybe go out to lunch."
"Oh, that's right," JD said, suddenly remembering. Living almost a continent away, Dimitra didn't get to see her only granddaughter very often. When she wasn't tying herself up in knots over his famous brother's death-defying demonstrations, or being fawned over by his fans who practically adopted her as their own mother, she spent as much time as she could with Little Dimitra, or Dima as she was commonly known. The Sarantakos clan were as tightly knit as they came, bound by old-world ties and values, as was the case with many immigrant families coming to America. No matter how far they were apart, they were always together in heart and spirit.
Their daughter, Dimitra, came into the kitchen. "Morning, Mom," she said, "Morning, Dad. What's for breakfast?"
"The usual," her mother, Lynn, replied. "Your Grandma Dimitra is in town, you know. She wants to see you again."
"When are we going to see her?"
"This afternoon. In the meantime, you need to clean your room and help out around the house."
Dima pouted. Like other teens, she hated housework, especially cleaning her room. Why did Mom have to clean the house so much, anyway? It looked fine to her. Mom could be so OCD about these things, she thought.
Her father sensed her discontent and gave her a warning nudge. "Hey, you heard your mother, okay?"
Dima nodded grudgingly, once again submitting to parental authority. JD rose from the table. "Call if you're going to be late," Lynn told him.
"Sure." He gave Lynn a peck on the cheek, then gave one to his daughter. "Later," he said, walking out the door.
Steve entered the hotel through the service entrance. He went to the repair shop and clocked in, then went into the casino through the back way. He found the manager waiting for him.
"Hey, Phil," Steve said, "What's the problem here?"
"Some idiot tried to trigger the coin release in one of the slots with a wire and screwed up the whole works," Phil answered. "Number fourteen."
Okay, Steve thought. It's a routine job. No big deal. You've handled worse than this. Get it fixed, get your money, and get out of here. Just play it cool, don't arouse suspicions. He picked up his toolkit and walked over to slot machine number fourteen, standing lifeless among its flashy companions like a corpse at a funeral. He took out the master key and opened it wide, exposing the inner workings of the machine. With a tiny pinlight he examined the coin hopper, the release mechanism, the funnel leading to the tray, and all the wires connected to them. Modern slot machines were designed to shut down automaically if anyone tampered with them in any way, while at the same time sending an alarm to security, resulting in an instant arrest. Yet no matter how sophisticated these machines were made, someone always tried to beat the system for an instant win. It kept security personnel hopping and Steve himself fully employed.
There, those two wires on the release mechanism--they had been disconnected somehow, probably by a hook or a coat hangar, the usual weapons of choice. Steve unscrewed the the connecting screws, reattached the wires, then rescrewed them into place. He reset the control panel of the machine and closed the whole thing up again. Once the front was locked into place again the machine came back to life, rebooting its circuits to normal mode. Steve sighed with satisfaction. Another job well done, and he hoped it would be the last.
He left the casino floor and went back into the shop. He wanted out so bad he was going nuts about it. But just as he thought that freedom was in his grasp, he looked on the board and saw two more jobs on the to-do list. Steve groaned inwardly, but if he ran off now, they'd be suspicious. Best to get these over with as fast as possible. Then he was going to take a very long lunch break, never to return. Who knew? Maybe he'd find the money from the safe somewhere along the way.
Inside the MindFreak production office, two assistants sat next to each other at their PC terminals. It was early yet, time enough to check out the latest celebrity gossip on the Web. Jennifer looked at Ashley's monitor with contempt.
"Celebnooz?" she sniffed. "I hate that site! Everyone knows that it's all trashy lies."
"Yeah, I know," Amber concurred. "But Criss is on it."
Her interest piqued, Jennifer leaned over for a better look.
CRISS ANGEL USES AND ABUSES HEIRESS!!
Omicron heiress Athene Christopolous was physically abused by famed illusionist Criss Angel in his luxury suite at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas. She had been invited by the magician to spend the night with him, but she later claimed that he became violent after drinking heavily and struck her several times after she refused his advances. He allegedly tore off her clothes and tried to sexually assault her, causing her to flee from the suite. No charges have been pressed at this time.
"That is (bleepbleep)!" Jennifer exclaimed. "Criss would never do such a thing! That (bleep) is lying!"
"Should we tell him?" Ashley asked with a hint of fear in her voice.
"No," Jennifer said. "I wouldn't bother him with it. Like I said, Celebnooz is a lot of (bleeepbleep). No one is going to believe it. If we make it public; it'll just spread the lies more. Best to let it die. Ignore it, and it'll go away. There's no proof, anyway."
"Yeah, maybe you're right." Ashley closed the Celebnooz window and went on E!.com. They were a more reliable source. If there was any truth to the whole Athene business, they'd have it for sure.
Join Date: Aug 2011
01-22-2013, 05:32 AM
I guess she's never had a guy that didn't like her and I would of burned those sheets
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hartland, MI
01-22-2013, 03:43 PM
8:00 am to 9:00 am:
The heavy steel doors of the Clark County Detention Center slowly opened, squealing on their worn metal tracks. Two police officers escorted a handcuffed Vic into the Processing office. Vic could hear the deep metallic kuhchung! as those same doors closed behind him, the sound of no turning back. This, he thought with resentment, was going to be his home until his trial. He couldn't come up with the bail money, not even a downpayment to the bondsman, so there he was in the county lockup on charges of assault with a deady weapon and petty theft. At least they didn't find the money, he consoled himself again and again.
(Bleeping) Packard! he cursed inwardly. If he hadn't chickened out like that, I'd be rich and free, living it up in Mexico, instead of being stuck in this dump! That (bleeper) is probably on his way to the border right now, with all that money, while I'm rotting away in here! Man, if I ever get out of here, I'm gonna hunt down that (bleep's) sorry ass and put him in the ground!
Vic and his uniformed escorts stopped at the Processing Office window, a three-quarter inch thick clear barrier with a single round steel vent to allow audible speech set in the center. The Processing Officer, a rotund woman in the standard khaki colored uniform of the Clark County Sherriff's Department, sat grimly on the other side, fingers poised over the computer keyboard. "Name?" she droned officiously.
"DeAngelo, Victor," said the senior of the two officers.
Vic stood there silently as his personal information and charges against him were typed into the computer databank. The handcuffs chafed his wrists, and he needed to take a leak. C'mon man, let's get a move on! he thought irritably.
After Processing, Vic was moved into the "examing room" to be searched. His clothes were removed and impounded, orange scrubs given to him in their stead. He was body searched for hidden drugs or weapons, and handed a vial for him to "fill" for drug testing. Well, at least he finally got to relieve himself, he thought, even if he had to fill it in front of the officers.
From the "examining room" came "orientation". Vic sat with a large group of other offenders on steel folding chairs lined up against a wall as another uniformed officer barked out the rules and regulations of the lockup: rising at six AM, morning shower for those who were assigned showers for that day, cell cleanup for those who weren't, breakfast at six-thirty in the mess hall, assigned work detail, recreation hours, one phone call per week per inmate, smoking in designated areas only, no fighting, no gang signs, lights out at nine PM, no communication after lights out, and so on. Vic let it all flow in one ear and out the other with nothing to block traffic, distracting himself with the myriad of gang tattoos on the flesh of the majority of his fellow inmates. From the bored looks on their faces, he could tell that this wasn't their first visit here.
Vic was herded along with the others, single file, to their cells, mere eight-by-eight foot closets with two bunks bolted to one wall and a steel sink-and-toilet combo by the door. His new roommate was a scarred veteran of the streets, a foot soldier in one of Vegas' lesser known gangs from his earliest youth. His real name was Emmanuel Odding, but he answered to OddMan or simply Odd. But there was nothing odd about his attitude toward Vic; it was quite obvious that he didn't care for him being in the same cell with him. For Vic, the feeling was mutual. It was going to be a long stay for both of them.
Felix Rappaport still felt a bit nauseous as he suited up for the day. Maybe he just needed a bit of breakfast, he thought. Last night's attack was a bad one. Keep it light today, lay off the booze, and he'd be okay. Just some fresh fruit and a bit of cereal would do the trick. Always had in the past. Everyone on the Board of Directors drank coffee and got fat, while he, the CEO, ate breakfast and stayed healthy. Go figure, he thought facetiously.
After his "light" breakfast, Felix headed for his executive suite in the Luxor. Whatever had been bothering him had gone away. Maybe it was a fluke, he thought. Something he ate that disagreed with him. He was going to have to watch it from now in, he warned himself--he wasn't getting any younger. He had reached the age where he had to read the labels on everything he bought for sodium, sugar or fats; gone were the days when he had the metabolism of a blast furnace, when he could eat and eat and not gain an ounce. Circle of life and all that.
He had barely reached his office when he was hit by a double whammy. It seemed Athene Christopolous, the Omicron heiress staying at the Luxor, had decided to spend the night in Criss Angel's suite--without his permission. Two guards, with Criss' mother accompanying them, had found her sleeping in his bed, completely nude, and had taken her into custody. Needless to say, Criss was very upset about it. That was the good news. The bad news was that the hotel safe had been robbed last night, he was informed by security staff. Nearly half a million dollars vanished without a trace.
Felix felt his gut rumbling like a volcano about to erupt. A spoiled heiress he could handle, but half a million dollars gone, just like that? The word "embezzlement" quickly came to mind; it had to be an inside job. Fighting off the pain in his stomach, he called security, demanding what the hell happened last night. About the money, he meant.
Chief Macaffey assured him that the CSI was on the case; they were going over the secruity tapes this very minute. They were doing everything they could to gather evidence to catch the thief, and that he couldn't have gone too far, and so on and so on. Felix wasn't appeased. This wasn't a case of a missing billfold, this was half a million dollars belonging to the hotel, money he himself was responsible for. This was grand larceny, and he wasn't going to stand for it.
"Look, Macaffey!" Felix thundered, his burning gut about to explode, "I want that money back in that safe in twenty-four hours or it's your head on a platter! Got that?"
"Got it, Mr. Rappaport," Macaffey acknowledged. He couldn't blame the boss for getting all (bleeped) off about it--hell, he was just as (bleeped) off about it himself. Half a million dollars stolen on his watch. It was intolerable, not to mention inconceivable.
Felix slammed down the receiver. The pain was worse now, even more than last night. It didn't improve when he received word that Criss Angel was waiting to see him outside his office. "Send him in," he groaned.
Criss walked into the office, concealing his indignation for the time being. After all, Felix Rappaport was technically his employer and really a good friend. No sense biting his head off over something that wasn't his fault. "Hey, Felix," Criss said.
Felix looked up, grimacing in pain. Criss' anger over Athene turned to concern for his friend. "Felix? You okay?"
"I'll be fine," Felix replied, clutching his abdomen. "Just a bit of gas, that's all." He straightened up in his upholstered chair. "Look, I know you're upset about Athene Chrostopolous in your room last night--"
"Damn right I am," Criss retorted. "How the hell did she get into my suite in the first place?"
"I'm sure I don't know, but I'm going to find out. Right now, we got an even bigger problem."
"Half a million dollars was stolen from the safe last night," Felix gasped out, the pain in his stomach worsening by the second.
Criss stood there, not knowing what to do or say. Here was his friend in pain, and the hotel money stolen to boot. Something in his mind clicked in place, making him realize that a man's life was more important than money. Let the cops handle the theft--that was their job. Felix needed help.
Suddenly , Felix began coughing violently. He covered his mouth with his hand, but was unsuccessful in keeping the blood he regurgitated from streaming out between his fingers. Alarmed, Criss snatched the office phone and pressed the Emergency button.
"Nine-One-One, what is your emegency?" the operator responded mechanically.
"We have a man here coughing up blood," Criss told the operator. "Executive office, Luxor Hotel and Casino. Send help, now!"
Meanwhile, the CSI team was going over the security tapes of the previous night, looking for clues as to the identitiy of the robber. The corridors leading to the Accounting office showed nothing unusual, except for that two minute glitch after midnight. Not even a hint of a break-in. It was as if the perp made himself invisible to the camera. The forensics experts could not find any footprints nor fingerprints, except for the cashier's, and the video proved her innocence.
Investigator Tom Yancy, videographer expert, watched the surveillance tape with a practiced eye, searching every nanosecond of tape for any hint of the perp, however minuscule. As he scanned the tape, a theory or at least a hypothesis began to shape in his mind. Rewinding the tape and playing it back again, his theory proved correct.
"Over here," he called to the others.
The rest of the crew, along with Macaffey and other security officers, gathered around the monitor. Yancy rewound the tape again.
"Okay," he said. "The camera is pointed here, and then it goes around here. But when it's pointed in one direction, it creates a blind spot on the other side...here." He pointed at the screen with the tip of his pen. "The perp must have known this, so he kept in the blind spot to get to the office. Where are the other tapes?"
The rest of the tapes were bought in and inserted into the VCR. Yancy scanned them as he did the first. "Okay, see? There's another blind spot, and another right there. The perp must have timed them just right in order to get to the safe."
"Damn!" Macaffey swore under his breath. "That is one clever (bleepbleeper)."
"What about the vault itself?" Inspector Grissom asked. "That camera was trained right on it."
"You sent an electrician to check it out, didn't you, Macaffey?" Yancy asked.
"The night shift sent him out as soon as we lost visual," Macaffey told him. "He said there was nothing wrong."
"Were the wires exposed?" Grissom asked.
Macaffey thought about it, then remembered. "They had been doing some rewiring in that part of the office, as a matter of fact," he said. "They must have forgotten to seal it up."
"So, the perp must have disconnected the camera wires, robbed the safe, then reconnected it when he was done." Grissom said.
CSI Investigator Lise Howard spoke up from the other monitor. "Over here. I got something."
Grissom, Yancy, and the others transferred to the second monitor. "Here, in the main office. I got someone."
The grainy image of a workman carrying a shoulder bag walking around the office and then leaving played before them on the screen. Macaffey snapped to full alert. "Hey, I know that guy!" he exclaimed. "That's Steve Packard, the slot machine repairman. What the hell is he doing there?"
"My guess is that he was there to rob the safe," Yancy opinioniated. "Rewind for a second, willya?"
The tape reversed itself, then progressed normally. "And...freeze!"
The tape stopped, freezing the image of Steve Packard in mid-escape. "See that, right there?" Yancy pointed to Steve's feet with his pen. "He's wearing hospital slippers." He turned to Macaffey. "Does your repairman always wear those on the job?"
"Not that I know of," Macaffey replied. "and he don't work nights, either."
Maury woke up in the big bed to sunshine and silence. There was no screaming or fighting to make her hide her head under her pillow, no television blaring to drown out the angry words, no wishing to become invisible when her mother came to get her out of bed (when she wasn't having one of her migraines, that is), just blissful silence and the luxury of the big comfy bed. It wasn't just the beginning of a new day for Maury, but the beginning of a new life with her real family.
She clambered out of bed and trotted to the door. Opening it, she saw Mrs. Angel on the sofa, reading a book. Maury walked over to her, partly to give her a good-morning hug, and partly to find out what she was reading. The book, it turned out, was one of those big grown-up paperback novels with very small print and not very interesting to her, but that didn't matter. She stretched out her bony arms and hugged Mrs. Angel. By instinct, she expected to be pushed away. To her joy, Mrs. Angel actually put down her book and hugged her back.
"Good morning, darling," Mrs. Angel said to her.
"Morning, Mrs. Angel." Maury answered back, smiling.
"Well, we'd better see about taking you back to your parents," Mrs. Angel said. "This running away isn't very good, you know."
The smile faded from Maury's face. "But, I want to stay with you," she protested. "I want you for my real Grandma and Criss to be my real dad."
Dimitra sighed and sat Maury down beside her. "Now, Maury," she said sternly. "You know I'm not your real grandmother, and Christopher is not your real daddy, and pretending won't make it so. I don't know anything about your real parents, but you belong to them, not to me."
"But I thought you cared about me!" Maury wailed.
"I do, darling," Dimitra said to her. "I really do. And I want to do what is right for you. Right now, we have to take you back to your mother and father." She lifted Maury's face in one hand. "If there is any more trouble between you, I am right next door, all right? Now, get dressed."
Maury nodded sadly. She knew it was too good to be true. She was going back to that lion's den that was her parents' hotel room to endure more misery, deprived of the heaven with Mrs. Angel of which she enjoyed only a taste. Nothing good ever happened to her. She seemed doomed to a lifetime of sorrow with the two people she hated most.
She pulled on her faded blue dress and packed her things, then slowly walked out of the bedroom like a condemned prisoner. All of Mrs. Angel's reassurances did nothing to make her feel better. If only she knew the truth about those people she called her parents...
Out the door, down the hallway and they were standing at room 1279. Dimitra knocked on the door gently. "Mrs. Brighton?" she called out.
A shrill "What?" came out in reply. Dimitra was startled. Maury clung to her guardian's legs, terrified. Dimitra patted the trembling child's shoulders.
"I have your little girl with me," Dimitra said, trying to remain calm.
The door flew open, revealing a witchlike figure in a pink chenille robe and disheveled hair. Maury cowered behind Dimitra, unable to face the horror standing before her. Dimitra could only stare in disbelief. This is that poor child's mother? she thought. No wonder she ran away twice in one night!
"Who the (bleep) are you?" she growled, glaring at Dimitra with painkiller-glazed eyes.
Dimitra was shocked, then indignant. No one had ever addressed her in so vulgar a manner, not even before her Christopher became famous and moved here to the Luxor. Good grief! Didn't this woman have any sense of civility?
Maury's mother looked down at her terrified daughter. She grabbed a bony arm, dragging the child before her. "You go running off again?" she demanded loudly. "Huh? Did you? Answer me!"
"Mrs. Brighton--" Dimitra began to protest.
"You keep the (bleep) out of this!" Mrs. Brighton snapped at her. "This ain't any of your business!"
One look at the horror on Maury's pale face, tears streaming down her huge sunken eyes, and Dimitra realized that yes, it was her business. No child should have to endure such abuse in her opinion.
Suddenly, Irene Brighton began shaking Maury violently. "How many times have I told you not to run off like that? Huh? Answer me!"
"I'm sorry," Maury sobbed.
"Yeah, well I'm sorry, too!" her mother shouted. "I'm sorry I ever had you! You've been a pain in the ass for me ever since you were born!"
Dimitra was aghast. "Mrs. Brighton!"
"You don't wanna stay here?" she shrieked. "Fine!" She threw the sobbing child at Dimitra. "You can stay with her if you want! Just get out of my life! We got enough money to start over without some snot-nosed kid hanging around our necks!"
The door slammed shut in their faces. Dimitra took Maury by the hand and led her back to her suite. Oh, Lord, she prayed, what am I going to do with this child?
Security guards pushed the crowd of people back to clear the way for the paramedics wheeling Felix Rappaport on a gurney to the ambulance waiting outside. The CEO lay semiconscious on the gurney, a respirator clipped into his nostrils, an IV bag dangling from a hook above his head. Criss held his hand all the way, murmuring words of encouragement. "You're gonna be okay, Felix," he said. "These guys pulled me through lots of times, haven't you?"
The paramedics smiled at the joke, but remained focused on their victim on the gurney. The doors opened automatically, allowing them to wheel Felix to the back of the ambulance unimpeded. He was lifted into the ambulance, the doors shut and secured, then with a wail of sirens, Felix Rappaport was transported to the hospital. Dear Jesus, Criss prayed silently, be with Felix right now. Make him well again. It's all in Your hands. Amen.
"Criss!" It was JD, running up to him. "What happened?"
"I dunno, man," he shrugged. "I was in his office, and he started coughing up blood all of a sudden. I dialed nine-one-one and they came to take him to the hospital."
JD sighed. He couldn't help but share Criss' concern. Felix Rappaport wasn't just their employer, he was a family friend as well. He had done so much for the Sarantakos' family while they were in Vegas, and he had been especially gracious to their mother. Now he was terribly sick, almost dying. JD, too, breathed a prayer for Felix's recovery.
The ambulance vanished from view. There was no sense standing around anymore. "C'mon, man, let's go," Criss said to his brother.
JD nodded. "Yeah, I gotta go see Ma first, okay?"
"Sure," Criss replied absently. He had to go to the Believe rehersal himself. He was already forty-five minutes late, yet after what happened to Felix, it didn't seem to matter much.
Gary Brighton awoke with a start. He pulled the newspaper away from his face and looked around. There were people milling everywhere in the atrium. He saw an ambulance by the main entrance. Some poor guy must've had a heart attack, he thought. His stomach growled. He checked his watch. Holy Geez! It was almost nine o'clock! He had overslept. Well, it wasn't the end of the world. Irene would probably sleep until noon at the latest; she took enough painkillers to put the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in a coma. The buffet would be in full swing, so he'd just grab a quick bite and head for the bus station.
He looked at the bag of money, stashed behind the plant. If he took it with him, he'd get nailed for sure. If he left it here, it'd get stolen for sure. If he checked it with the desk, he may as well surrender himself to the police. Gary looked around for an answer.
There. His suitcase. He discreetly positioned it by the potted plant, concealing the bag from view. He wouldn't be gone long, no one would notice, then he'd be on his way. He was good to go. His stomach rumbled again. Okay, okay, pal! he said silently to his belly. Let's get some breakfast already. He headed for the buffet in the big dining room, his mouth watering. Yeah, it'll be good to have a decent meal for a change, instead of the crap Irene ususally serves up. Oh, man! Am I going to enjoy this!
Join Date: Aug 2011
01-22-2013, 04:48 PM
Can we say social services Dimitra
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hartland, MI
01-24-2013, 01:11 AM
9:00 am to 10:00 am:
The cast of Believe was already into an hour of dance rehersal and no sign of Criss. The choreographer was growing impatient. What could be keeping him? she wondered. Just because he was a big-name celebrity and this was his show didn't mean he should keep everyone waiting. Today they would be rehersing the levitation act with the aerialists, the trickiest part of the show. What happened? Did he lose his nerve or something?
She watched the dancers on the stage, pleased with their progress. Months of practice and the show was finally getting into its final shape. Still, there was much to be done before opening night. It had to be perfect, right down to the last detail, or it would fail. In the cutthroat business of Las Vegas entertainment, failure was not an option.
The choreographer heard the heavy theater doors clang open, then thud shut again. It had to be Criss--finally! she thought. She halted the dancers in mid-routine and waited for the star of the show to appear.
Criss strode onstage. "Sorry I'm late," he apologized, "but we had an emergency in the offices. Felix Rappaport had to be rushed to the hospital this morning."
Murmurs of worried concern rippled through the troupe. "Is he all right?" Lyn Sheppard asked anxiously.
"He'll be fine, I'm sure," Criss replied with some confidence. "They're the same people who took care of me when I got hurt, so he's in good hands."
Lyn wanted to know exactly what was wrong with the CEO, but the choreographer clapped her hands for order. "All right!" she shouted. "Places, everybody! Aerialists! Take your positions! Criss! Center stage! This is the most risky part of the show, so focus, people! All right, Criss! Five! Six! Seven! Eight!"
The aerialists took flight on their satiny "webs" as Criss preened mystically before his audience, his graceful movements promising something amazing. As much as he tried to focus, the image of Felix coughing up his own blood in his office stayed fixed in his mind. What was wrong with him? he couldn't help but wonder. He hoped it wasn't anything life threatening. But he had to focus on the show. Felix was counting on him. Believe was Criss' creation, but the Luxor was bankrolling it.
Felix, he said to himself, but directed at his friend, this is for you.
Tracey Cullen arrived at the Luxor, full of hope and optimism. Today, she would land a job here at the big black pyramid--she was certain of it. Though she was only sixteen-going-on-seventeen, she was confident that she would soon be employed in some capacity, even if it was the lowest, dirtiest job there. She had to get a job here; she needed to pay her share of the rent of the apartment she shared with her best friend Nessa, five years her senior. Her parents thought her a bad influence on Tracey because of Nessa's punk-Goth style of dress and behavior, the very qualities Tracey admired most. Her outright rebellion led to her emancipation from her parents a few months ago; she was now her own person, free at last from family pressure to be "a proper young lady".
But that freedom came at a cost. She had no high-school diploma, no source of income, no place to live and no one to rely on except Nessa. Tracey struggled with odd jobs here and there, now and then, but it wasn't cutting it. Then, one day, as she was taking the bus back to Nessa's apartment, she passed the magnificent Luxor Hotel. Knowing Criss Angel, her idol and love of her life, lived there, she determined to find work there. It would pay the rent, and--who knew?--maybe get her closer to her Angel.
She had toned down her Goth look for a more "professional" apperarance to have better success in finding employment, wearing a white top and beige slacks sans piercings and other jewelry. No one took notice when she entered the huge atrium. Tracey could not help but stare in wonder. She had heard that the Luxor had the biggest indoor atrium in the world, but she had never believed it could be this large! It was bigger than the entire apartment building she lived in!
Tracey wandered around the huge atrium. Where was the employement office? she wondered. She walked up to the main desk and waited while the receptionist finished checking in an elderly couple and handing them their room keys. The old man must have been deaf as a post, because he kept asking the receptionist to repeat everything she said. Tracey realized this was going to be a while, so she looked idly around, hoping to find the employment office.
Her eyes fell on a large suitcase by a potted plant. No one was nearby. Maybe someone had forgotten it? That was dangerous, as she well knew. She once forgot her purse in a restaraunt back home, and when she went to fetch it, she saw some guy run off with it. He was never caught, and Tracey never forgot it. From that moment on, she made sure her bag was with her at all times.
She walked over to the suitcase, thinking she could find the owner if there was a name tag on it. Sure enough, there was one, right on the handle, from the airport. And there was a black bag beside it as well, but no tag. Carry-on, she thought. She read the tag: Brighton, Gary. But Brighton, Gary was nowhere in sight.
Tracey spied a blue-jacketed official looking person standing nearby. He would know what to do, she thought. She walked up to him and said, "Excuse me, sir."
The blue-jacketed guard looked at her expectantly. "Yes, ma'am?"
"Someone left their luggage by that big plant over there," she said, pointing to the potted plant in the corner of the waiting area.
The guard said nothing, but walked over to where Tracey pointed. Yes, there was the suitcase, and no one nearby, with a black shoulder bag. Good set up for theft, he thought. He picked up the bag and the suitcase. "Thank you, young lady," he said. "We'll take these to the security office for safekeeping."
"Sure, no problem," Tracey said. "Oh, and by the way, where's the employment office?"
"Employment office?" The guard looked bewildered at first. "Oh, you mean Human Resources. That's just down that corridor to your right."
"Thanks a lot." Tracey said, waving goodbye as she headed down the corridor. The guard smiled and carried the bags to the security office, thinking no more of it. He did his job, that was all there was to it.
Dimitra cradled Maury as she cried in her arms. She shushed the sobbing child, patted her head, sang the same little lullabies she had sung to her sons when they were infants, but Maury was disconsolate. She had been cast away by the parents who had raised her, with no one to turn to for help except for Dimitra herself.
That wretched woman! she thought bitterly. What kind of a mother would cast out a poor, defenseless child like that? Was she drunk or somethng? And what about her father? Where is he? Maybe he can talk some sense into her. If only I could find him.
She felt Maury's bony arms around her neck. Poor child must be starved! Let's see...I think they have a buffet downstairs. I can at least make sure she gets something to eat. Yes, she'll feel better with some food in her stomach.
Dimitra dried Maury's eyes with a tissue. "Now, darling, everything is going to be all right," she assured the little girl. "We'll go downstairs and get some breakfast, hmmm? They have all kinds of good things to eat down there, you'll love it. Now, go wash your face and we'll go get some breakfast, all right?"
Maury nodded tearfully. She walked to the bathroom and wiped her face with a damp washcloth. Maybe it would be all right as Mrs. Angel said, she thought. Maybe now Criss and Mrs. Angel would have to take her in now since her mother didn't want her anymore. Besides, where could she go? She was in a strange city, hundreds of miles from home. Who else could take care of her?
Refreshed, Maury and Dimitra left the suite and made their way to the breakfast buffet in the main dining room. While in the elevator, Maury tried to cheer herself up by telling Mrs. Angel about finding Hammie in the elevator last night, and how they were going to find Criss, but she didn't know that Hammie was his cat, and how she always wanted a cat, but her mother didn't like them.
"How did Hammie get into the elevator in the first place?" she asked Dimitra.
Dimitra hesitated. She couldn't very well tell a child about some strange woman breaking into her son's suite, stripping off her clothes and climbing into his bed. It would not do at all. She waffled a bit before answering.
"Oh, he probably slipped out when Christopher left for the evening," she replied airily. "Cats do that, you know."
The elevator door slid open, and they stepped out of the car into the atrium. Chrome-framed signs directed them to the buffet room. Maury looked around the giant dining room with childlike wonder. It was so pretty in there, like a palace fit for royalty. She felt intimidated at first, a poor girl in a faded blue dress surrounded by so much abundance. She never experienced such luxury in her short life, and had never been this close to so much food outside the supermarket back home. And it was all hers for the taking! Maury was so overwhelmed by the vast array of dishes she didn't know where to start first.
Dimitra helped her with her plate, filling it with eggs, bacon and toast, and got her a glass of orange juice. As she did so, Maury noticed that the people who worked there knew her by name. So did a lot of other people getting food at the buffet. It seemed everyone knew and liked Mrs. Angel, and who could blame them? She was the nicest lady in the world. Maury felt lucky to know her.
Maury ate her breakfast ravenously. Her breakfast at home usually consisted of stale cornflakes and milk that she fixed herself. She never had a cooked breakfast before. Maybe she'd be allowed seconds?
Mrs. Angel was talking to some man that had just come in. Not wanting to interrupt, she took her plate and went back into the buffet line to wait her turn. As she stood, she drank in the sights: the snow-white linen tables, the white jacketed waiters and waitresses bringing in food and taking out dirty dishes, the man in the tall white hat carving a huge ham under orange lights, the murmurs of grown-up conversation sprinkled with laughter--it was heaven on earth for a little girl who could not recall a single mealtime without parental strife.
"Excuse me," a polite voice spoke above her head.
Maury looked up. A white-jacketed server looked down at her in a friendly manner. "Is that your plate you're using?" he asked.
Maury nodded. "Well, you can't use the same plate twice. Health laws, you know. You have to use a clean plate every time."
"Oh." Maury responded as she surrendered her dirty plate. She didn't know that she had to use a clean plate every time. They were very clean here, she realized. It was cleaner than home--much cleaner, she thought. Back home, Mom just threw things in the closet or cupboards and went to lie down. She wondered what the health laws were like where she lived.
Maury was nearing the buffet table when she spotted a familiar figure wolfing down a pile of food on his plate. Was it...? Yes, it was! "Dad!" she called out, breaking from the line to greet her father.
Gary Brighton took his face out of his food and looked up. To his surprise and chagrin, there was Maury running up to meet him. He hoped Irene wasn't with her; it would blow his plans for escape. Maury ran up to his side, looking at him expectantly.
"What are you doing here?" he demanded. "Is your mother here with you?"
"Nope," she replied. "She threw me out. She said she didn't want me in her life anymore, so I've been staying with Mrs. Angel next door."
Gary thought fast. The good news was that Irene was still in the suite. The bad news was that he was now stuck with the kid, and that would really cramp his style.
Or would it? The kid said she was staying with some lady named Angel next door to them, God bless her. Maybe he could still make good his escape if he played it cagey enough. He leaned forward toward Maury.
"Okay, sweetheart," he crooned. "You stay with Mrs. Angel for a while longer while Daddy straightens this all out with Mommy. Your Mommy gets sick a lot, and says a lot of things she doesn't really mean, you know? The pills she takes makes her a little crazy. Daddy's gonna go back and talk some sense into Mommy. Now, you go back to the nice Mrs. Angel and stay with her, okay?"
Maury nodded. "Okay, Dad," she said.
Maury skipped back to the buffet line, remembering to take a clean plate with her, just as the man in the white jacket said. Gary downed the last of his coffee and made a quick exit. He had to get out of here, fast.
Dimitra smiled when she saw her eldest son, JD, approaching, and reached out to embrace him. JD, in turn, embraced her back.
"How's it going, Ma?" JD asked.
"Oh, dear, how do I begin?" Dimitra laughed. "It's been quite a night, and this morning!"
JD listened to his mother give a Reader's Digest version of the events of the past six or seven hours: discovering Maury in the lobby with Hammie, chasing "that horrid woman" out of Criss' suite, then her encounter with Maury's mother and her total rejection of her daughter and how she became her unofficial guardian. JD could only shake his head, amused and bemused.
"Wow!" he said, chuckling. "You had quite a night there, Ma."
"I know," she nodded wearily. "But now, what am I going to do with poor Maury. I can't keep her with me, but to take her back to that mother of hers...I just can't do it."
"Look, Lynn and Dima's gonna be here this afternoon," JD told her. "Maybe by then the situation will have resolved itself. If not, we'll call Child Neglect, okay?" He gave her a peck on the cheek. "I gotta go to work. Later."
"All right, dear." Dimitra gave JD a quick hug and let him go back to the office. Maybe the situation will have resolved itself by this afternoon, she thought. She'd hate to have to call the authorities, but if worse came to worst, there would be no choice.
Meanwhile, the CSI team were still analyzing the security tapes from the safe robbery. The more blind spots Yancy and Grissom found, the angrier Macaffey grew. By the time they found them all, the Luxor's chief of security was fit to be tied.
"I don't give a (bleep) how much it's gonna cost the hotel!" he thundered. "We're gonna upgrade that security system! Three hundred and sixty degree coverage, that's what's it's gonna be! The Prez is really gonna (bleep) a brick when he sees this!"
"You know where this Steve Packard lives?" Grissom asked Macaffey.
"Check Personnel," he replied. "They got his info on file."
Thumping and bumping drew Macaffey's attention away from the monitors. He saw Harry Whyte lugging someone's suitcase and a black shoulder bag into the office. "What d'ya got there, Harry?" he asked.
"Someone left these in the waiting area," Harry answered. "Girl reported it."
Macaffey strode over to Harry and the luggage. "Okay, let's see what we got here," he mumbled. He read the luggage tag on the suitcase. "Gary Brighton. Call the desk on that one. What about the other bag?"
Whyte dropped the shoulder bag onto the floor. The flap was not securely buckled, and Macaffey could see a hint of green inside the bag as it fell. He snatched it up and fumbled it open.
"Hey, Grissom!" he called out. "Hey, everybody! Come here for a second, willya?"
The CSI team and the other guards in the office gathered around the open bag. "My God!" Yancy exclaimed. "It's the money! It's gotta be the money from the safe!"
"Who is this guy?" Macaffey demanded. "I want his ass in here yesterday!"
"Now hold on a minute, there, Chief," Grissom said. "We know Packard stole the money, so he probably set it there to hide it. We got no proof that Mr. Brighton stole it. Don't jump to conclusions here."
Macaffey drew a deep breath. "Yeah, maybe you're right," he conceded. "It could be a set up. But find Mr. Brighton and tell him we got his suitcase anyway," he ordered Whyte. "If it is a set up, he won't mention the black bag, he'll just want his suitcase."
"Got it," Whyte said, and marched out to carry out his orders. Macaffey let out a huge sigh of relief. His ass was finally out of the sling. He got the money back, just as he had promised the boss. All they had to do was bust Packard, and everything would be just fine. But there were going to be changes around here, he vowed. Major changes. This wasn't going to happen again.
Join Date: Aug 2011
01-24-2013, 04:36 AM
How's Felix's doing?
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hartland, MI
01-25-2013, 04:16 PM
10:00 am to 11:00 am:
As JD made his way to the production office, his mind kept replaying what his mother had told him about what happened in Criss' suite last night. How the hell did that Athene woman get in there in the first place? he wondered. Security is supposed to be tighter than that. Not even JD himself was allowed in there without notifying Criss first. If that woman could get in, then anyone could, and that could prove dangerous in the long run. Something was wrong, and he was going to find out.
JD made a quick detour to the security office, determined to get some answers. He strode up to the desk where a uniformed officer sat and demanded to see the chief of security. The officer picked up the phone and called Macaffey's office. JD stood at the desk, fuming as he waited.
Macaffey entered the security office foyer. "What can I do for you?" he asked brusquely.
"I want to know what happened last night in Criss' suite," JD demanded. "How did that Athene What's-Her-Name get in there in the first place?"
Macaffey's face creased into a sour grin. "Athene Christopolous? Yeah, seems she swiped a housekeeper's pass and decided to wait for Criss in his bedroom, wearing nothing but a smile on her face. Your mom chased her out, though--she smacked her ass good. We got it all on tape if you care to see it."
"Okay, I'll see it," JD grudgingly agreed. "But this better not happen again. If anyone can just slip into his suite like that, there's no telling what'll happen."
"Oh, we got that under control, no problem," Macaffey assured him. "It's just a case of securing the housekeeping passes a little better."
"What about Athene? You press charges or something?"
"Nah, she's out of here by noon today. The publicity will do more damage than an arrest for that kind of woman. Come on and see the tape--the guys here are still laughing about it."
JD followed Macaffey to the back of the office where the CSI team was still sifting through last night's surveillance for more evidence to convict Steve Packard. Macaffey sorted thorugh the videocassesttes to find what he was looking for. "Let's see...no...no...ah! Here it is." He held up the cassette. "You'll have to view it somewhere else, though," he said. "We're in the middle of an investigation here."
"What kind of an investigation?"
"Safe got robbed last night," Macaffey told him. "We got the money, now we gotta find the guy who did it. Bring that back ASAP, okay? It's hotel property."
"Sure." JD walked out with the cassette in hand. A robbery, a break-in--these guys had a busy night, he thought.
Felix Rappaport emerged from oblivion to find himself in a hospital bed. What the hell happened? he said to himself. His stomach felt sore, but he was no longer in the searing pain he had felt earlier. What had happened to him? He tried to remember where he was last. The hotel, in his office. Criss was there, but he could not remember why. He had been coughing up something warm and runny--not vomit, but something else. The rest was a blur.
It was a woman's voice he heard. A nurse, maybe? He tried to raise his head, but his whole body felt like a lead weight. All he could do was groan in response. A stout, dark haired woman in a white doctor's coat loomed over him.
"I'm Dr. Shelley Greenburg," the stocky woman said. "How are you feeling right now?"
"Well...a bit sore down there," Felix managed to get out.
"Do you feel nauseous? Any other pain?"
He shook his head no. "Good," said the doctor. "You had a bleeding gastric ulcer in your stomach. We had to remove the damage to your stomach lining and seal it up again. You're going to be on a liquid diet for a while, but you came out of it just fine."
An ulcer. Why wasn't he surprised? Given the stresses of his job, it was a wonder he wasn't eaten up alive by now. A gastric ulcer wasn't an ailment in Corporate America, it was an occupational hazard. "How long am I going to be in here?" he rasped.
"For a week at least," the doctor told him. "Don't worry, the world won't come to an end without you."
"It's not the world I'm worried about," Felix retorted weakly. "It's the Luxor Hotel. Someone robbed it last night--half a million dollars."
"Now, Mr. Rappaport, you just relax and get some rest," Dr. Greenburg said soothingly. "Let the police handle whatever happened to the stolen money. You concentrate on your recovery."
Felix sighed. Easy for her to say, he thought bitterly. She didn't have to answer to the Board of Directors.
Gary Brighton managed to slip out of the dining room as unobtrusivly as he could. He casually strolled over to the potted plant where he hid the money, trying not to attract attention. He saw the potted plant, the chair he had napped in, and the newspaper he had been reading, but the suitcase and bag were gone.
Gary froze. Panic began to set in. He recalled with sudden horror that his name and address were on the luggage tag that was still attached to the suitcase. If anyone found it, he'd be tied to the money and it was good-bye freedom. He'd be heading for prison instead of Margaritaville. God, I am so screwed now, he thought.
"Mr. Brighton?" a man's voice spoke behind him.
He whirled around. A security guard stood there beside him. Gary swallowed hard. Okay, don't panic, he told himself. Maybe you can bluff your way out of this. "Yes?" he said, hiding his anxiety behind a mask of nonchalance.
"We found your luggage here in the lobby," the guard said. "It's in the security office. We'd like for you to come and identify it if you could."
Gary faked a grateful smile. "Oh, man, I can't thank you enough!" he babbled, shaking the guard's hand. "I thought I'd been robbed! God, I must be getting forgetful in my old age, you know? Sure, I'd be glad to go! Lead the way!"
The guard turned and led Gary to the security office. Whew! That was close! he thought. Keep up the act, Gary, and you'll get out of this mess yet. Just play it cool. Whatever you do, don't blow it!
Gary entered the security office with the guard. Macaffey and Grissom stood there, waiting for them. "Hey, guys!" Gary greeted them jovially. "The man says you found my bags in the lobby. I know it was boneheaded of me to leave them there, but I didn't want to lug them in the dining room, know what I mean?"
"Mmm-hmm," Macaffey grunted. "Just for security reasons, can you describe your luggage and what was in them?"
Gary was momentarily paralyzed, but quickly recovered. "Sure, pal, sure," he said, still struggling to conceal his anxiety. "I got a large yellow suitcase, kinda old model, got it from my dad years and ages ago, got my name tag from the airport on the handle. It's got the usual stuff--clothes, underwear, copy of my boarding pass, stuff like that."
Macaffey nodded. "Okay, we got that here. Anything else?"
Now what? Gary thought. If they find out about the money, I'm cooked! Wait! I got an idea! "Well, I do have a black carry-on bag," he said, "kinda beat up. Just more of the same that was in the first, plus some stuff I got for my little girl."
"Any identification on it?" Macaffey asked.
"No, no," Gary replied. "It was a carry on, so I didn't think it was necessary. They already scanned it in the airport terminal, so you won't find any bombs or stuff like that."
"Okay, Mr. Brighton," Macaffey said. "If you would just step this way, please?" He escorted Gary to one of the "offices", opened a door to one, and guided him in.
Gary was perplexed. "Hey," he said, bewildered. "What's going on? Where's my suitcase? What are you guys doing?"
"Just a precaution, Mr. Brighton," Macaffey said to him as he closed the door. "We'll only be a few minutes."
Macaffey left Gary in the "office", still protesting. "I want last night's reports," he told Whyte. "Something about that guy rang a bell when he mentioned his kid."
Meanwhile, in the MindFreak Production office, the entire staff huddled around the television screen watching Dimitra spank Athene Christopolous again and again and again, cheering her and laughing all the way. Johnny Thompson, technical advisor and part of Criss' surreal MindFreak "family" came in.
"What the hell's going on?" he asked curiously.
"Well, it turned out that somebody's been sleeping in Criss' bed," JD replied, "and it wasn't Goldilocks."
Johnny was perplexed. "Huh?"
JD pointed to the screen. "Check it out."
Johnny leaned down to see the screen. Athene Christopolous dashed out the door for the hundredth time, clutching her clothes in front of her naked body, as Dimitra landed yet another smack on her bare ass, to the infinite delight of the staff.
"Who the hell was that?" Johnny asked.
"Some chick, Athene Christopolous, I think," JD replied indifferently.
"You know her?"
"Yeah, she's been making headlines in the tabloids for years. Hell, I remember when she tried to get her claws into Elvis when he performed at the Flamingo in the Seventies."
JD looked up at Johnny. "Elvis?!"
Johnny nodded. "That's right. She bent over backwards to be Queen to the King--literally! She would have succeeded if he hadn't died suddenly. Lucky break, I'd say."
Now it was JD's turn to be bewildered. "That was...what? Thirty years ago? Then, she's gotta be...what? Forty? Forty-five?"
"She's fifty if she's a day!" Johnny said.
JD's jaw dropped three inches. "Fifty?!"
"She's been lying about her age for thirty years, acting like she's still twenty. She's been through three husbands and God knows how many lovers!"
"And Criss was next on the list," JD said grimly. "Geez!" He rewound the tape and ejected it from the machine. "Jennifer? Get this back to the security office, willya?"
Jennifer nodded, taking the videotape from him. "Okay, everybody," JD called out. "Fun's over, we got work to do."
As soon as the MindFreak office settled down to the morning business routine, Ashley sidled up to Jennifer with a conspiriatorial air.
"You still have that tape?" she whispered.
"Right here." Jennifer held up the cassette.
Ashley looked around warily. "You know, I have a YouTube account," she told Jennifer. "I can transfer that tape onto it and...well...you know..."
Jennifer clapped her hand over her mouth to keep from squealing in delight. "Ohmigod! You are so wicked!"
"Hey, after that BS on Celebnooz.com, and you know it is, I think a little payback is in order."
Jennifer was suddenly struck with a thought. "You know what? I bet Athene made up that crap about Criss to cover up her little, you know, 'indescretion', just to make herself look good."
"And to make Criss look bad," Ashley added. "Well, payback is a (bleep). So, what do you say?"
Jennifer handed the tape over to Ashley. "Just make sure it gets back to the security office before anyone finds out."
"Not a problem," Ashley said. "Leave everything to me."
Join Date: Aug 2011
01-25-2013, 07:39 PM
This is going to be fun
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hartland, MI
01-26-2013, 01:07 AM
11:00 am to 12:00 pm:
The aerialists twirled and stretched their lean, limber bodies on their silken ropes as Criss levitated above their heads. Earlier that morning it had been just another rehersal. Now, with Criss onstage, it became more magical, more surreal. They ceased to be a dance troupe, to be mere mortals, but beings of a fantasy world--Criss' fantasy world. The real world, with all its problems about how they were going to make the next rent payment, or the dental appointment next week, of if they remembered to feed the dog before they left, or the phone call from Mom asking when they were going to get a real job simply vanished with a wave of an arm. It was bliss, it was pure, rapturous joy.
Lyn could only stare at Criss floating above her like his namesake spiritual being. She had to take a pose of exaggerated awe, with outstretched arms toward him, but the awe she felt inside was genuine enough. She had seen episode after episode of MindFreak, yet her admiration for him never waned. Now, here her was, in person, and she was part of his act. No, not "act", that diminished it--the experience that was Criss Angel's Believe. It was a privilege to be on the same stage as Criss Angel, to be part of the unique experience only he could bring.
Criss floated down gracefully to the stage floor, ankles crossed to ease the impact on landing. He seemed to curtsey as his feet touched the wooden floor of the stage, standing still as if he could hear the roar of the crowd. The aerialists slid smoothly down their silken "webs", touching the floor as one.
"Perfect!" cried out the choreographer, jolting Lyn and the rest of the troupe back into reality. "Criss! You were great! You were better than great! All of you! You did just great! Remember to focus on the timing, and don't get distracted. Okay, we're gonna take a break now--be back in thirty!"
Lyn picked herself up from the floor. Her coffee jones was kicking into high gear. Her fellow dancers seemed to sense this, and began to jeer,"JAAVAAA!"
"Lyn's gotta have her jaaaavaaaa!" someone called out behind her.
"Hey, Lyn!" another called out to her. "Save some for the rest of us, willya?"
Lyn pulled out her Thermos. "Don't sweat it! I bought my own." She unscrewed the cap which doubled as a cup, lifted the pour spout and poured out the morning's coffee, still hot and strong since early that morning. The rush of caffeine was pure ecstacy as she drank her magic elixir from the steel Thermos cup.
One female dancer looked at her in chagrin. "Girl, all that coffee is going to rot your gut!" she said.
"Hey, I've been drinking it for years," Lyn countered. "I'm doing fine. It's better than doing drugs, that's for sure!"
While the troupe relaxed, Criss walked out of the theater to visit his mother in her suite; it would be the only chance he would get to see her all day. He'd swing by the production office to see how things were going, then he'd check in with the hotel office to see if there was any word on Felix Rappaport. Again he hoped it wasn't anything too serious. Maybe later he could visit him in the hospital if they'd let him, assuming the worst hadn't happened.
Once out in the atrium, Criss was delighted to see his mother there; it saved him a trip up the elevator, anyway. He was also a bit surprised to see the same little girl in the faded blue dress he saw yesterday standing next to her, holding her hand. This merited an investigation, so Criss waked over to them.
"Hey, Mom, how's it going?" he greeted her in the usual manner.
"Ah, Christopher, how are you?" Mother and son embraced as Maury looked on with envy-tinged yearning. Criss released his mother and looked down at her. "Hey, sweetheart, how ya doin'? Huh?"
"This is Maury," Dimitra told him. "I found her last night here when I went to get some pills. She was carrying your cat."
"How did you get hold of my cat?" Criss asked.
"I found him in the elevator, and we went down to look for you," Maury explained. "I didn't know he was yours."
Criss did a quick memory search and recalled the security tape of Athene Christopolous tossing Hammie out the door. He must have gotten stuck in the elevator when she found him, he thought.
"Now, we have a bigger problem," Dimitra said.
"What's that?" Criss asked.
"Her mother must have been drunk or something, but she cast the poor child out, saying she never wanted to see her again."
"Whaaaaaat?" Criss was appalled. "Man, someone's gotta talk some sense into that woman!" He bent down to Maury's level. "Don't worry, honey, we're gonna straighten this all out. Your mom didn't mean to say all those things she said. She...wasn't feeling well."
"Yes, she did," Maury argued, bursting into tears. "She's always sick with migraines. They never cared about me, they only care about the big bag of money they found! I want to stay with you and Mrs. Angel! I want you to be my real dad!"
"Maury, honey," Criss said softly, trying to placate the child. "I can't be your real dad. Your own dad is your real dad. He may not be perfect, but he's still your dad. Same with your mom. I bet she's really sorry for what she said to you earlier. You're worth more than all the money in the world to them. No bag of money can take the place of a daughter."
Bag of money?
Criss stopped suddenly. The money in the hotel safe! It had been stolen last night, and Maury's mom and dad have it! Were her parents the robbers? Or, if not, how did they get hold of it?
Criss stood up. "Come on," he ordered. "We gotta go to the security office."
Tom Yancy reviewed the last few segments of security tape. He had followed Packard through the Accounting Office into the atrium. He watched as Packard manouvred to a luggage cart loaded with suitcases, and discreetly drop the shoulder bag onto it, then walk away. Later, a hotel employee wheeled the luggage cart to an elevator, unaware of the extra bag it carried. That was all that Yancy needed. Now, it was just a question of whose luggage it was that was carted up by the employee.
Macaffey came in. "Good news, Yancy!" he crowed triumphantly. "We got the bag!"
"Great," Yancy said. "And I got the guy who took it."
He rewound the tape in the machine. "You see here," he said, pointing at the screen with his pen, "Packard was in the Accounting Office--must have taken a wrong turn or something--and then all of a sudden, he's in the lobby. Now, here he is, by that luggage rack, see, and he drops the bag onto it. Now, here comes a bellhop, takes the rack to the elevator with the bag still on it to whatever room he's supposed to."
"So that's how Brighton got the bag," Macaffey said. "Special delivery."
"When did Brighton check in?" Yancy asked.
"We'll check at the desk. But there's something else."
"It seems last night Brighton's kid was found down in the atrium--said her folks were fighting about a 'big bag of money' as she put it. Underwood put it all in his report."
"You got the report?"
"We got it all right. According to Underwood, when he took the kid back up to her folks' room, she told him that her dad won a lot of money in the casino and bought it back in a big black bag. When they got to the room, however, the dad said he'd lost money, instead."
Yancy thought about it. "What room are they in, do you know?"
"I'll look on the report."
"Good. Call the wife, if you can get hold of her. Don't let on about the money, just tell her she needs to come down and deal with her husband. Don't say why, tell her it's pesonal."
"Got it." Macaffey left the video room. As he entered the main foyer, he spotted Criss Angel, the Queen Mother, and a skinny little girl entering. What now? he groaned inwardly.
"Hey, Big Luke," Criss hailed the chief of security. "Felix told me you had a robbery last night."
"Yeah, and we found out who did it," Macaffey retorted. "And got the money back to boot."
"Really?" Criss shrugged. "Well, it's just that little Maury here said her dad got a big bag of money last night and--"
Macaffey held up a massive hand. "Hold the phone!" He bent down to face Maury. "Is your name Brighton, little girl?"
Maury nodded. "Maury Brighton."
"Okay, Maury, why don't you sit over here and tell me everything you know about that big bag of money, okay?" Macaffey guided Maury to a chair by his desk. Dimitra and Criss sat on two plastic chairs by the wall.
Macaffey picked up Underwood's report about Maury and skimmed through it. "Now, Officer Underwood said you were in the atrium last night. Can you tell me why you were down there so late? And, remember, if you don't tell the truth, you and your parents are going to be in a whole lot of trouble."
"Mom and Dad were fighting about the big bag of money Dad bought back from the casino." Maury explained plainly. "When they fight about money, it gets really bad, so I left. They're always fighting about something, but money is the worst."
"Okay. Did your dad say how he got the money?"
"He said he won it in the casino."
"Mmm-hmm. And when Officer Underwood took you back to your hotel room, what happened then?"
"I gave Mrs. Angel Hammie back. I found him in the elevator and wanted to find Criss. I didn't know Hammie was Criss' cat, honest!"
"Okay. The cat doesn't really matter," Macaffey assured her. "What did your dad say to the guard about the money?"
"I don't remember that part," Maury said, shaking her head. "But Dad said not to talk about it to anyone, it was our secret."
Macaffey nodded knowingly. "What about your mom? Did she say anything about the money, to return it to its rightful owner, or anything like that?"
"No, she said something about Daddy having to share it with Mommy."
Again, a knowing nod. It all fell into place: Packard steals the money from the safe, Brighton finds it and decides to keep it for himself, the wife is an accomplice. Cut and dry. "So, what are you doing here now all by yourself?" Macaffey asked.
"I'm not by myself," Maury told him. "I'm with Mrs. Angel here. She let me spend the night in her room next door."
Macaffey looked up at Dimitra. "Ma'am?"
Dimitra told Macaffey about finding Maury with Hammie, then finding her again in the hallway, what Maury said about her uncaring parents, and letting her stay in her suite until morning, then her hostile encounter with Mrs. Brighton, who totally rejected her child in a fit of rage. She had just taken her to breakfast and was on her way back up to her suite when she met up with Christopher.
Criss wore an expression of complete shock at hearing what his mother told Macaffey. He remembered Maury's dad in the casino, annoyed because he had been interrupted by so mundane an issue as his daughter wanting to be fed. And now her poor excuse of a mother throws her out? It was worse than he thought, poor kid.
Dear Lord, thank You for my beautiful, wonderful, sweet mother, who loved us and cared so deeply for us, she put our needs before her own. It's been almost fifty years, but she still has enough maternal love within her to take in a child who had not been so blessed as we had been. And thank You for our wonderful father, who provided us with all our needs, physical, emotional and spiritual as well. I'm only sorry that poor Maury Brighton here hadn't been as fortunate as we had been.
Whyte stuck his head through the door. "We just got hold of Mrs. Brighton," he said. "She says she'll be down in a few minutes."
"Good," Macaffey grunted.
"You gonna question them both at the same time, or what?"
"From what the kid here tells me," Macaffey said, "it would be like putting two junkyard dogs in the same kennel. Keep them separate for now. In the meantime, bring in Grissom."
Whyte disappeared from view. Macaffey turned to Dimitra. "You think you can baby-sit the kid a while longer?" he asked. "Just until we can iron this out? We want to keep her out of the line of fire, if you know what I mean."
"Of course," Dimitra agreed. "Come along, darling."
"Yeah," Criss said. "I gotta be going, too. Later." He left without another word.
Dimitra guided Maury out the door of the security office. Maury looked up at her unofficial guardian with smiling eyes. "Can I play with Hammie now?" she asked eagerly.
Irene Brighton got the call well after eleven. Still reeling from her last migraine, she answered the phone with an irritable "What!?" Her mood did not improve when she was informed that her husband was in the security office, but didn't tell her why. Slamming down the receiver, she pulled on the first thing she saw, the same outfit she wore on the plane, and headed for the security office. What the hell did Gary pull now? she wondered angrily. If he thinks he can pin anything on me, well, he's got another thing coming!
Irate, she stormed into the security office, demanding to know what was going on. Officer Whyte calmly explained to her that her husband had been taken into custody because he picked up the wrong bag on his way out, that's all, and she was needed to identify it, and would she follow him, please?
Irene was livid. "Wrong bag? On his way out? Where the hell was he going, anyway?"
Probably away from you, you mad-dog (bleep), Whyte thought to himself. "Just come this way, ma'am."
Irene followed Whyte into the office. Macaffey met her halfway, but before he could get a word out, she vented her spleen before anyone within earshot about her no-good louse of a husband running off like that and where was he so she could give him a piece of her mind. As Macaffey and Grissom listened to the angry woman's tirade, a plan began to form in the latter's mind.
"Is there audio-visual in that office?" he asked Macaffey.
"I got an idea. I don't think we need to question these two at all."
Macaffey nodded and motioned for Whyte to take Irene into the office. He closed the door behind him while Grissom pulled out his cell phone and pushed a single button on the keypad, then held it up to his ear.
"Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department." came a staticky voice over the tiny receiver.
"We need a warrant against one Steve Packard. Works here at the Luxor fixing slot machines. We caught him on tape robbing the hotel safe last night around midnight and one AM."
"Also, we may be pressing charges against a couple here, Gary and Irene Brighton, attempted theft. Wife is an alleged accomplice."
"Got it. We're on our way. Where are they now, in the security office?"
"The Brightons are, but Packard's still on the loose. He could be in the hotel repair shop. If he is, we'll hold him until you get here."
Meanwhile, in the quieter atmosphere of the Human Resources office, Tracey Cullen was filling out a job application for her future career at the Luxor. It was three pages long and worse than any exam she had ever taken at school; every detail of her life had to be written down on the form, truthful to the best of her knowledge and belief, on penalty of perjury. But if it meant a steady paycheck and seeing Criss Angel, she'd fill out three hundred pages of forms if they wanted to. She had to get a job here, she just had to!
The last page. Finally! All it needed was her signature and today's date, and she was done! She signed and dated the form, then handed the application to the receptionist. Her hand felt cramped from all the writing. She wished she could have done it online. It would have saved her a trip and would have been neater as well. But, it was over, and all she had to do was wait.
The receptionist thanked her and said if there were any openings, they'd call her. That was it. With nowhere else to go, Tracey decided to browse the shops. Who knew? Maybe they were hiring in there. Tracey's hopes rose like a rocket. Maybe they were hiring in the MindFreak shop! Yeah, then she'd be closer to Criss than ever! She'd fit in like a glove there!
Tracey looked up the MindFreak Outlet Store on the wall directory and all but sprinted there. She spotted a clerk at the cashier's counter and asked if there were any jobs available. To her disappointment, the clerk said no. Her hopes dashed, Tracey trudged out of the shop. Not knowing where she was going, much less caring, she found herself in front of the Production office. A tiny quiver of hope stirred within her. Maybe here...?
The door was locked, but Tracey saw a woman get up from her desk and walk towards the door. This was her chance, she thought. This would be better than some shop job. She'd actually be part of the show!
The woman opened the door. "Excuse me," Tracey said, "but I'd like to--"
"Sorry, Criss isn't here," the woman said. "No visitors allowed in the office."
The woman brushed past Tracey and briskly walked on. Tracey was miffed. Damn snob! she thought. Just because she works for Criss Angel doesn't give her the right to be rude! She saw the door about to close again; Tracey grabbed it before it locked again and entered the office. There was another woman sitting in front of a computer, typing away at something. She looked up at Tracey. Ashley, read the name on the plate sitting on her desk.
"May I help you with something?" she asked.
Well, this one was a little more polite than the other one, Tracey thought. "Hi, I'm looking for a job around here," she said. "You have anything available?"
Ashley thought about it as she sized up Tracey. She looked too young to do much of anything, she thought. But, maybe...?
"I think we have an opening in the mail room," she said. "I don't know for sure, but if you leave your name and number, I'll let you know this afternoon." She handed Tracey a pen and sticky notepad.
Hope surged again. Tracey scribbled down her name and phone number on the pad and returned it to the woman at the computer. "Thanks so much," she said. "I really look forward to hearing from you."
"My pleasure," Ashley said, returning to her YouTube account to finish downloading the security tape of Athene Christopolous' little break-in and Dimitra's spanking her bare ass.
While all this was going on, Criss had escorted his mother and Maury back to the suite. "You gonna be okay, now?" he asked.
Dimitra smiled. "We'll be fine. Maybe this whole thing will teach the Brightons how to be better parents."
"Yeah, maybe it will," Criss replied distantly. And maybe the moon will fall out of the sky.
"Lynn and Dima will be here this afternoon," Dimitra informed him. "You come by and see them, yes?"
"Sure I will." He looked down at Maury. "Don't worry, everything's gonna be okay. You got the best with my mom here."
"I know," Maury said, nodding. "I wish I could live with you and Mrs. Angel instead of..." Her voice trailed off.
Criss knelt down in front of Maury. "Look, Maury, I know your folks aren't the greatest parents in the world, but they're still your mom and dad. Maybe the security people will straighten them out, just like Mom said."
He saw the doubt on the child's face. It was no use putting a positive spin on it, he realized--Maury didn't deserve to have parents like the Brightons. They wouldn't even take the time to feed her. Hell, they were practically thieves. Criss embraced Maury with a heavy heart, though not as heavy as Maury's, he thought.
"We'll work something out," he said. "I promise."
Join Date: Aug 2011
01-26-2013, 02:58 AM
I hope that little kid is taking away and adopted by people who will love her as much as Criss and his mother have shown that child
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