|Loyal Written Art For all Criss Angel or non-Criss Angel related written artwork.
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hartland, MI
12-31-2011, 04:50 PM
Jim Meridian sweated and cursed as he struggled though mid-afternoon traffic. He had his perp, but couldn't get to her because of everyone else hellbent on getting where they were going. If he could just inch a little more up the main road, he figured, he could take a detour through that side street. It would take longer, but it beat being stuck in traffic. "Come on, come on, already!" he snarled at his fellow drivers. "I got a case to solve here!"
The deedling of his cell phone added to his irritation. Meridian grabbed it and flipped it open. "Meridian here," he barked.
"Jim, I need you to go to the Luxor Hotel," he heard the chief detective order him. "There's been a murder."
"I just found out who set that phony bomb in the Luxor," Jim protested. "Can't you send someone else?"
"It's Tina LaRue, Jim," the chief detective informed him. "Get over there now!"
Tina! Jim clipped the curb and drove through a side street toward the Luxor. God, he mused, first Mike, Jr., and now Tina. I know Casey's next. God, this is getting ugly.
"And then I peeked out of the door and I saw this hotel maid or someone dragging her out the door," Alicia sniffled. "I was so scared I just hid in that stall until that security guard found me."
The chief of security sat before her, nodding in understanding. "You think you could identify this person if you saw her again?"
Alicia nodded, sniffing. "Mm-hm."
"Can you remember what she looked like?"
"Well, she wore a uniform, of course," Alicia began. "I remember she had dark hair, kinda skinny. She strangled that lady with a scarf--a silky one, not the kind you wear in the winter. It was blue, really blue--blue blue. Oh, and she wore sunglasses."
"Okay, anything else?"
Alicia shook her head. "Now, a detective from the police department will be here any minute now," the chief told her. "You just sit tight and wait here for him, okay? In the meantime, we should find your parents and have them pick you up later on. You know where they are?"
Alicia froze. The last thing she wanted was to be shipped back to Marvinville for being a runaway, but she was too panic-stricken to think of a lie. "No, not right now," she said quickly.
"Are they checked into the hotel?"
"You here by yourself?"
Alicia sat there, paralyzed into silence.
"Now, Alicia, you gotta be honest with me," the chief said. "You just witnessed a murder, and if you're in any trouble here, we gotta know about it, understand?"
Alicia turned to Criss, her one source of comfort. "He's right, you know, Alicia," Criss said gently. "We know you want to help us solve this murder, but you gotta work with us. Will you do it?" He turned on the charm all Loyals found so irresistable. "For me?"
That did it. "I ran away from home last Tuesday to go to Loyalapalooza," Alicia confessed. "I just wanted to see you, Criss, that's all! I just wanted to see you!" She broke down in tears and sobbed aloud.
The chief of security sat there, staring at Criss, who could only stare helplessly back at him. He knew the devotion of his fans sometimes went to extremes, but for a little girl to run away from home, crossing four states all by herself just to see him perform illusions was really pushing it too far. Didn't she realize the danger she had put herself in?
"Look, we'll deal with the runaway situation later," the chief said. "Right now, we got the whole hotel locked down over a murder and everyone's (bleeped) off about it." He pointed a stubby finger at Alicia. "You stay put for now," he ordered her. "I don't want you running off again before the detective gets here. You're in a heap of trouble, young lady, you know that?"
Alicia could only stare at the chief in outrage. You act as if I killed that lady! she thought nastily.
The chief left the room. Criss rose to leave as well, but Alicia grabbed his arm. "Don't leave me here, Criss!" she beseeched him.
Criss sat down again and faced her. "I'm sorry, Alicia," he said as gently as he could. "But I have to get back to work now. I'm sure you'll be all right. You're safe here; just work with the police on this matter and they'll go easy on you about running away from home, okay?"
Alicia broke into fresh tears. Criss wiped them away. "Now, listen," he said sternly. "I know things are pretty scary for you right now, but we're all her to help you, okay? Now, I know you wanted to come to Loyalapalooza really bad, but running away from home like that wasn't the coolest thing you've ever done, you know that?"
"I love you, Criss," Alicia choked.
"And I love you, Alicia," Criss responded, "just like I love all the Loyal. But your mom and dad love you even more, and they're probably all worried sick about you disappearing like that. Do they even know you're here in Vegas?"
Alicia shook her head. "Dad lives in LA with his new wife and stepdaughter," she told him between sniffles. "Mom still lives in Marvinville with my brother. It's like I can't communicate with them anymore, you know? Mom still lives in a perfect Fifties-style world all her own, and I never hear from Dad unless it's my birthday or Christmas. And don't get me started on my brother--he's a major brat. Ever since the divorce, it's been like me against the world."
"Maybe it's time you declared a cease-fire," Criss suggested. "Communication's a two-way street; you got to open the lines first in order to get a real dialogue going. Not everyone's going to see things your way, Alicia. When you ran away from home like that, did you ever stop to think about the consequences, of how your mother would react when she found you gone and couldn't find you?"
"No," Alicia replied. "All I thought about was how I wanted to be with you."
"Maybe you need to broaden your horizons a little," Criss said, "start thinking of others' feelings instead of your own. I'm not the whole world, Alicia, though you may think I am. You may think your family doesn't care about you, but they do, they really do. If you look deep down inside yourself, you know that was true."
Alicia sighed. "Maybe that's true for Mom and Dad," she said, "but that bratty brother of mine couldn't care less. All he does is play videogames and make my life hell with his making fun of everything I say and do. I had to keep you a secret because I was afraid he'd sabotage my pictures and the book you wrote. He's totally out of control."
"How old's your brother?"
"Ten," Alicia replied, then added sarcastically, "going on three."
"Well, it seems to me that your brother is acting out because he's feeling the same hurt over the divorce as you're feeling," Criss said. "He's hurt and angry just like you are."
"How can you be so sure?" Alicia asked skeptically. "You've never met him."
"Just an educated guess," Criss replied. He rose from his seat. "Look, I gotta get back," he said. "And don't worry, everything will work out in the end. Just think about what I said, okay?"
"Will I see you at Loyalapalooza?" Alicia asked hopefully.
"Maybe." But he doubted it; the police would more than likely ship her back home to her mother in Marvinville. "Just be brave and tell the truth to the detective when he gets here, promise? For me?"
Again, Alicia could not resist Criss' charm. "I promise," she said. "Anything for you, Criss."
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hartland, MI
12-31-2011, 04:54 PM
Casey stared at Springs in shock. "Tina? Are you sure?"
"Yeah, it's her all right," Springs replied. "Care to take a look?"
Casey hesitated. "I'll take your word for it."
Springs walked away from the dumpster and came over to Casey's side. He put his arm around her shoulder. "Well, that just leaves you, sweetheart," he deadpanned. "Now that Junior and Tina's gone, you're the sole heir to Mick's estate."
The security guard looked at them suspiciously. "Wait a minute," he said. "What's this about an estate?"
"Well," Casey hedged, "it's a pretty long story."
Springs jumped in. "Well, y'see, Cassie here--"
"Whatever. Anyway, she got all of Mick's dough, see, and Junior and Tina got gypped out of the whole deal. They were gonna settle it in probate court tomorrow--" He turned to Casey. "It's tomorrow right?"
Casey nodded. "Well, anyway," Springs continued, "they'd been at each other's throats since. Junior got blown up in his car, and now Tina's got bumped off, so that leaves..." He nodded toward Casey.
The guard nodded. "I think you'd better stick around for a while, miss," he said to Casey. "The detective will want to talk to you."
Casey divined what the guard was thinking. "You don't mean to say you think I killed Tina, do you?" she said, appalled.
"I'm not accusing you of anything, miss," the guard said. "But you are still mixed up in this mess, so I'd advise you to stick around for a while."
Casey turned to Springs. "Mr. Springer, you know I'm innocent," she wailed. "I was with you all the time, except to go to the office to pick up my check."
Springs turned to the guard. "Look, buddy," he said. "Cassie here is innocent. She ain't done nothin' to nobody. She's been with me all afternoon."
"Like I said, I'm not accusing anyone of anything," the guard said calmly. "I just think it'd be a good idea if Cassie or Casey or whatever the hell her name is stayed here until the detective gets here, so just simmer down, willya?"
Casey laid a hand on Springs' arm. "It's okay, Mr. Springer," she said. "I'm sure Detective Meridian will prove my innocence when he gets here."
"You know who the detective is?" the guard asked.
"Yeah, it's Detective Jim Meridian," Casey replied. "He's been on this whole case since it began with that phony bomb threat a few weeks ago. I've been working with him since."
"Well, it's good to know you're aquainted with each other," the guard said drily. "Look, I got to get back to work. Just make sure you're here to meet the detective when he gets here, got it?"
"I got it, I got it."
"Good." The guard walked away. Casey breathed a heavy sigh. Springs patted her shoulder. "Don't worry, sweetheart," he said, "I know you didn't do it. You just stay put for a while longer." He chuckled a bit. "Y'know, I always said she was trash," he mused. "Seems a fitting end, don't it?"
Springs turned and headed for the service entrance. "Mr. Springer, where are you going?" Casey asked fearfully.
"Me? I'm gonna get me a drink," he replied. "After what happened here, I need one."
Meridian pulled up to the service entrance of the hotel and parked at the curb. Around the area, yellow Crime Scene tape cordoned off the trash dumpster area. The CSI team was dusting for fingerprints on the lid of one of the dumpsters, taking photographs of the body, and scouring the whole area for other clues. Meridian bolted out of his car and headed straight for the entrance, flashing his badge to the security guards who waved him through. He turned to the chief of security. "Okay, what've we got here?" he demanded.
"Female, around forty or so, hard to tell with all that makeup she got plastered on her face," the chief told him. "Body's in the dumpster. Some old man ID'd her as one Tina LaRue."
"We got witnesses?"
"One," the chief replied. "Some little runaway who wanted to see Criss Angel. Name's Alicia Rose. Saw the whole thing in the ladies' room. She's in the office right now."
"Good. Where's the vic?"
The chief led Meridian to the dumpster where Tina's body lay entombed. Jim fought to overcome the stench of rotting food and other debris eminating from the bin and studied the corpse. From the haphazard way her arms and legs were splayed on the surface of the bags, he could tell she had been tossed in hastily, no binding or gagging. Her mouth was agape and her tongue was a bright blue, sticking out of her mouth almost obscenely. Meridian could make out signs of brusing around her neck, meaning she had been strangled.
"Is the whole hotel sealed off?" he asked.
"Whole place is on lockdown," the chief replied. "No one goes in, no one gets out."
"Where's the witness?"
"Inside." The chief led Meridian to the little office where Alicia Rose waited. He opened the door where a frightened child cowered in a chair, staring at Meridian with fear filled eyes. Meridian sat across from her with a reassuring smile. He had questioned kids before, and he knew from long experience that the best way to get them to open up was to try to be a friend to them, especially when they'd been traumatized by what they had witnessed.
"Hello, Alicia," Meridian greeted her warmly. "How are you?"
"I'm okay, I guess," Alicia replied in a trembling voice.
"So, where are you from?"
Alicia swallowed hard. "Marvinville," she answered. "Marvinville, Iowa."
"That's a pretty long ways from here."
Alicia nodded. "You here by yourself?" Meridian asked.
Alicia nodded again.
"Why'd you come all the way from Marvinville, Iowa, to Las Vegas?"
"I wanted to see Criss Angel," she half-whispered. "I wanted to go to Loyalapalooza."
"Loyalapalooza. It's a big Loyalfest for Criss Angel fans," Alicia explained. "It starts tomorrow, and I got here a day early, and I had to go to the bathroom, and that's when...I saw that..."
"You saw what, Alicia?"
"I saw that hotel maid kill that lady." Alicia burst into tears. Meridian gave her a handkerchief he specially reserved for teary-eyed witnesses. "She choked her to death."
"How did this maid choke her to death?"
"With a blue scarf," Alicia replied, wiping her nose with the handkerchief. "The dressy kind, not the winter kind. The silky kind."
Meridian nodded. Another piece of the puzzle had just fallen into place. "If you saw this hotel maid again, would you be able to recognize her?"
"You remember what she looked like?"
"Uh, dark hair, uniform. She wore sunglasses--I don't know why."
Meridian nodded again. It was definatly the mystery maid he had been hunting down, and she was here in the hotel. "Okay, Alicia," he said. "I'm going to find this hotel maid. Meantime, you stay here."
"Please, Detective, I'm getting awfully hungry," she moaned. "Can I get something to eat around here? I got my own money."
Meridian smiled a little. "Save it," he said. "You're gonna need it for the return trip home. We'll get you something to eat."
Alica sank deeper into her chair. Meridian left the room and charged out to the scene of the crime. "Chief!" he shouted. "We need your men to scour the whole hotel," he said. "Look for a woman of medium height, dark hair tied up and wearing sunglasses and a housekeeper's uniform. She's not an employee here, so check all entrances and exits. If no one's gone out of the building, she should still be in here."
"Got it," the chief confirmed.
Casey crossed over to Meridian. "Detective? Do you know who did it?"
Meridian looked at Casey. "Let's just say I got a hunch."
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hartland, MI
12-31-2011, 05:03 PM
Alica sat in the small room in the hotel security office, reflecting on the misery of the day. She had barely begun to enjoy the wonders of Las Vegas when she ended up witnessing a murder; now everyone knew that she had run away from home, and they were threatening to send her back. She dreaded the moment of facing her mother upon her return to Marvinville. Would she be angry? Duh! No doubt! She'll probably ground me until I'm Criss' age, she thought morosely. If she doesn't kill me first.
The minutes crawled by, and Alicia's fears turned to impatience. Detective Meridian had promised to bring her something to eat but so far no one had shown up. She wished Criss was still there with her, if only to keep her company. Maybe they forgot about her because they were too busy with the murder investigation, she reasoned. It was perfectly possible--Alicia had seen enough CSI shows to know that a homicide investigation took time and effort; every little scrap of evidence had to be analyzed, every surface had to be dusted for fingerprints, every square foot of the crime scene had to be photographed. She had already given her eyewitness testamony to the detective; why should she bother hanging around here starving to death?
Maybe if I just slipped out for a while, she thought, just for a few minutes so I can get something to eat. It's not like I'm running away again. I'll just be gone for a little while, then I'll come right back. Maybe I'll see Criss again. He'll understand, won't he?
Alicia got up from her chair, tiptoed to the door, opened it just a crack and peeked out. No on was in sight. Good! She slipped out and tiptoed down the hallway, then peered around the reception area of the security office. Empty. A quick dash out the door and she was free. I'm just going to get something to eat and come right back, she told herself. It's not like I'm running away again.
She crept down the service corridor, past the utilitarian doors painted the same shade as the walls, keeping an eye out for anyone who might see her and send her back to the security office. At the end of the hallway, she found herself in an almost forgotten corner of the atrium camoflaged by large potted plants. Alicia spread the foliage and looked around. The coast was clear as far as she could see. Now to just walk out into the atrium and--
A hand clamped over her mouth and pulled her back. Alicia struggled to free herself, but the cold steel of a pistol pressed against the temple of her head stilled her. "Don't try anything funny," she heard a woman's voice hiss in her ear from behind. "Just keep moving and you won't get hurt."
It's her! Alicia thought wildly. It's that crazy lady who killed that other lady!
Too frightened to scream, she allowed herself to be dragged back through the corridor to whatever fate awaited her. Please don't kill me! she pleaded mentally. Please don't kill me!
While the CSI team was preoccupied with their search for clues, Springs managed to slip back into the hotel unnoticed. Let the gumshoes figure out who killed Tina, he thought. Like I give a rat's ass about it! Whoever did it did the world a favor as far as I'm concerned. Screw the doctor's orders, I'm gonna get me a drink.
After meandering around for a good five minutes or so, he found himself in the service corridor. "Geez-Louise!" he growled. "How the hell do you get out of here? Place is like a effing maze!"
Springs shuffled on, determined to find the first watering hole he could lay eyes on. Suddenly he halted, startled at the sound of scuffling and muffled cries. His eyes weren't as sharp as they used to be, but he could still make out the forms of a hotel maid holding a girl hostage with a gun to her head. What the eff? Springs wondered.
Before he could take any action, however, the gun-toting maid spotted him and turned the pistol toward him. Springs froze, holding up his hands but remaing calm. Forty years in the rackets had taught him to respect anyone who was packing heat, inside or outside the law.
"Whaddya want?" Springs asked. "Do what you want with me, but let the girl go. She ain't done nothin'."
"Just turn around and keep walking, old man," the maid ordered him. "And no funny business."
Springs turned and shuffled back the way he came. There was the nagging feeling that he had heard that voice before, but for the life of him he couldn't recall. If only he could get a good look at her face, maybe that would shake the cobwebs off a few memory cells. But in his present condition it was impossible. Where the hell is that gumshoe Meridian? he thought. Son of a (bleep)! The one time I need a cop there ain't one around.
Casey looked around the crime scene outside for Mr. Springer. Where'd he go? she wondered. "Detective?" she called out to Meridian who was just at the door. "Mr. Springer's gone! I don't see him anywhere!"
"Look, Casey," Meridian said impatiently, "I've got bigger fish to fry. I can't go looking for some old fart when there's a murderer on the loose. You'll just have to look for him yourself."
Meridian dashed into the hotel, his pistol drawn. Casey was hot on his heels, ignoring the guard's warning of the lockdown still in effect, determined to find her employer. Meanwhile, inside the security office, Criss had just come to the conclusion that none of this involved him, so he decided to go back to the production office. The novelty of a homicide had worn off, and he was just in the way of the investigation. The whole hotel was on lockdown, anyway, so he might as well get something accomplished. He had just turned to leave when Meridian blew by him, hellbent on finding the killer. Seeing the gun, Criss flattened himself against a wall to get out of his way. Before he could regain his composure, Casey came dashing up to him, breathless with anxiety. "Did you see Mr. Springer?" she pleaded.
Criss shook his head, still bewildered over what was going on. "Uh, no I haven't," he replied bemusedly. "What the hell's going on?"
"Detective Meridian's after the killer, and I got to find Mr. Springer," Casey babbled. "Please, you got to help me!"
Oh, (bleep)! Criss sighed heavily, resigning himself to the role of hero to the damsel in distress. "Come on, let's go," he said without much enthusiasm. "He probably went back to the bar more than likely."
Casey and Criss left the security office and made their way down the service corridor. To the relief of both of them, they spotted Mr. Springer right in front of them. "See, there he is," Criss said casually, pointing at the old man. "Hey, Springs, where ya been?"
"Don't come any closer," a woman's voice spoke from behind him. "Or Cutie-pie here gets it."
Criss and Casey froze. Being the tallest in the hall, Criss could see a woman dressed as a hotel maid holding Alicia Rose hostage. "Let her go," he ordered.
"Oh, right," the phony maid sneered. "Like I'm going to listen to you!" She waved the gun towards them. "Hands up, all of you! Up against the wall over there!"
Criss, Casey and Springs moved to the wall, their hands up to shoulder level. The gunwoman flung Alicia toward them. "You, too!" she snarled.
Alicia stumbled toward Criss and landed in his arms, weeping loudly. "Shut up, you little twerp!" the gunwoman snapped. "I should blow your brains out right now, this minute!"
Criss pulled Alicia behind him, shielding her with his own body. He glared at the madwoman in the maid's uniform. "Don't even try it, (bleep)!" he growled. "You'll have to get by me first!"
"I'm more than willing to oblige," the gunwoman said, smiling evilly.
"What do you want with us?" Casey demanded.
"Oh, nothing," the gunwoman said. "Except for you and the old man there to be out of my life forever. Once you're both out of the way, I can claim Mick's money all for myself. How convenient that you showed up when you did--it spared me a trip to Springs' house."
"But how did you..."
"Let's just say the police wern't the only ones staking you out, sweetie."
"What's Mick got to do with you?" Springs demanded hoarsely. "What've you go to do with any of this?"
"More than you realize, Springs," she answered. "More than you realize. Mike was supposed to inherit the estate from his father, but no, he had to go and leave it to little Casey here! Now that Mike and that tramp Tina's gone, there's nothing to stand in my way of getting the money. Nothing, that is, except the four of you."
Casey stared incredulously at the gunwoman. "Mrs. Piccucci?"
Another oily smile. "Give the little lady a kewpie doll," she said sarcastically.
"But the probate hearing's tomorrow!" Casey argued. "I'm sure we can reach some sort of settlement!"
"Sorry, sweetie," Pamela said casually, "but I need that nine million more than you do, and I can't have you getting any of it. But I'll tell you what: I'll leave you a bonus check for all the tender loving care you gave to Mick. It'll be enough to cover your funeral costs."
"Look, do what you want with me," Casey pleaded, "but let the others go!"
"Sorry, no can do," Pamela retorted. "Cutie-pie over there saw too much already, and Magic Man here had to stick his nose where it didn't belong. And Springs? Well, let's just say he's had a good run, and now it's time for him to bow out."
Criss turned his head to face Alicia. "Is she...?"
Alicia nodded frantically. "She's the one," she whispered, cowering behind Criss' back.
Criss turned back to Pamela. "So it was you all the time," he said accusingly. "You sent that phony bomb threat, blew up your husband in his car and killed that woman in the ladies' room--all for nine million dollars."
Pamela strutted closer to Criss. "Figured that out all by yourself, didn't you?" she sneered. "You're pretty smart, you know that? Kinda cute, too. Oh, yes, I did send that phony bomb threat as you call it. As for blowing up that lying playboy husband of mine who had been cheating behind my back for years--oh, yes, I knew all about his affairs, especially that little blond tart, Jessie! I'd been trailing him all along--well, let's just say payback's a (bleep). And as for greedy (bleep), Tina, she tried to blackmail me into giving up the inheritance. As far as I'm concerned, it was justifiable homicide on both counts."
She strutted back, still staring at Criss. "Too bad you got yourself mixed up in all this, and it's too bad I have to kill you with the others, but I just can't have any witnesses. You understand, don't you?"
Pamela raised the gun and aimed it at Casey. "Say hello to Mick for me, will you?" she said.
"Drop the gun, Pamela!"
All eyes turned to see Detective Meridian poised with his pistol aimed squarely at Pamela. "Drop your weapon and get down on the ground!" he barked.
For the briefest moment, Pamela dropped her guard as she stared at Meridian. This moment was not lost on Criss--he sprung forward and knocked Pamela to the floor. The gun fell from her hand and clattered to the floor. Alicia screamed in horror. Meridian took over, slammed Pamela to the tiles and wrenched her hands behind her back to cuff her. "You (bleepers)!" she screamed angrily. "You (bleeping bleepers)!"
"You have the right to remain silent," Meridian told her officiously. "Anything you say will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you can't afford one, one will be provided for you before questioning. Understand."
Pamela panted heavily under Meridian's weight. "I get it, Joe Friday, now just get off me! You're breaking my ribs!"
Two security guards arrived and helped Meridian escort Pamela out of the hall. Alicia wrapped her arms around Criss, hyperventilating in her state of panic. Casey embraced them both in a group hug. Springs just stood there grimly, then shuffled out of the corridor. "I'm gettin' me a drink," he grumbled. "Any of you wanna join me, go right ahead. I'm gettin' the eff out of here before something really goes wrong." He sighed heavily. "Geez-Louise! Glad I ain't got no family to leave all of my dough to."
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hartland, MI
12-31-2011, 05:25 PM
The Knicks game had ended, and there were no other games on television until evening, so Phil Worth picked up the remote and began channel surfing for something to watch until then. Television was his only escape from the misery of his life; it filled his days, distracting him from the pain and humiliation of being disabled. It was his window to the outside world, his only solace since the accident which left him paralyzed. It let him live in a world detached from cold, cruel reality.
His son, Benny, was in the kitchen raiding the fridge. There were times Phil wondered when his son would ever get a job, make some money and help support the family, but he appreciated the company Benny provided. It was good to have someone to share complaints about a bad decision made by the ref, or share high-fives when someone made a touchdown, scored a goal, hit a home run, or dunked the ball in the net. Benny's constant presence made life less lonely for Phil. Besides, he needed the help going to the john.
Sharon, his wife, was away at work at the liquor store, and he hadn't seen Casey in ages since she took that job as a live-in caregiver to some rich old fart somewhere in the tonier part of Las Vegas. Her pay was good--it kept the fridge full and the bills paid. Between Casey's and Sharon's paychecks and his disability insurance, the Worths were getting by pretty good, but just barely. The van needed work, the water heater was acting up again, the roof had to be reshingled and the kitchen window hadn't been repaired for two years, plus the medical bills that weren't covered by the insurance.
Phil passed channel after channel, still searching for something worth watching until game time. The latest channel was a local news station; only when he heard Casey's name mentioned in the broadcast did he stop and listen. "...caregiver, Casey Worth, making her the sole heir to his estate," said the newswoman on the screen.
Estate? Phil wondered. What estate? Who died? No one told me about Casey inheriting an estate!
"The Piccucci estate is valued at approximatly nine million dollars," the newswoman continued. "The will was to be contested by the Piccucci family--".
Nine million dollars?! "Hey, Benny!" Phil shouted. "Get in here!"
Benny emerged from the kitchen, his mouth stuffed with ham and cheese sandwich. "Yeah, whaddya want?" he mumbled, still chewing.
"Check this out," Phil said, pointing to the screen. "Your sister just got nine million dollars from that old fart she was taking care of!"
Benny nearly choked on his sandwich. "You're (bleeping) me!" he gasped.
"Swear to God it's true!" Phil insisted. "It said so right on TV."
Benny sat down in his accustomed spot and watched the news broadcast reporting the Piccucci affair and the tragic aftermath. Sure enough, there was Casey on the screen, speaking into a news mike. "Well, it would be nice to get all that money," she said shyly, "but I'm not going to get my hopes up too high. There are the children to consider: Andrew and Matt, and the daughter, Heather, of course. I don't know why Mr. Piccucci would leave it all to me instead of his family."
"I'll tell you why," Phil growled, "because you took care of the old man and they didn't! And because we deserve it more'n they do--that's why! Buncha greedy fat-cat millionaires taking away what's rightfully ours in the first place!"
Benny could only sit there in a state of disbelief. "Nine million bucks!" he mused. "Gawdalmighty! Do you know what we can do with all that cash?"
"I know what we can do with it," his father retorted. "But first we gotta get it. If it's a fight they want, then, by God, we'll give them a fight! It's time we got our piece of the pie, Benny, and we're gonna get a big piece of it--with ice cream on top!"
"Damn straight, Pop!" Benny cheered. "Damn (bleeping) straight!"
Father and son high-fived and returned to the news broadcast. When the anchor desk went on to more mundane matters, Phil switched channels, hoping to find out more about Casey's windfall. They were still wrapped up in their search when Sharon came home from work. To her surprise, she saw Benny jump up from the couch to greet her, something that had never happened, at least in recent memory. Benny usually mumbled some semblance of a greeting while transfixed onto the screen, hardly noticing her presence at all.
"Ma!" he shouted. "Guess what? Casey got nine million bucks from that old man she took care of! We heard it on TV!" He pointed to the screen. "See?"
His mother set down her purse and sighed heavily, her features as fallen as her spirits. Benny was puzzled at her somber reaction to such outrageous good fortune as this. "Ma, don't you get it?" he said. "We're rich! We're stinking, mother(bleeping) rich!"
Sharon went over, picked up the remote, and turned the television off. For the briefest moment, there was an unaccustomed silence. "Sit down, Benny," she said quietly.
Phil reached up and took his wife's hand. "What's the matter, hon?" he asked. "Did you lose your job? Heh! Don't sweat it, babe! You don't need that lousy, stinking job anymore! We're set for life, thanks to Casey!"
"Pop's right, Ma," Benny agreed. "You can tell the guy at the liquor store to--"
"Phil, Benny," Sharon began, "there's something you need to know. Casey inherited that money almost a month ago."
Her husband and son were dumbfounded. "A month ago?" Phil exclaimed. "Why the hell didn't you tell us before?"
"Why?" The resentment which had been building up inside Sharon began to burst forth like a dam. "I'll tell you why. Because you never listened to a word I said for the past thirty years, that's why! I gave up telling you anything a long time ago because you were so wrapped up in self-pity over your accident that you paid more attention to the TV than to me or to Casey! You were too busy watching sports to know that our daughter was getting death threats from that family of mobsters she worked for! In fact, she was almost killed by them just this afternoon! I got the call at work, then I saw it on the news. If you had just turned off that damned TV for just a few minutes, you would have known by now!"
Phil and Benny just sat there, staring stupidly at Sharon. "Look at you!" she cried, her anger reaching a fever pitch. "Look at both of you! Neither of you have moved from this living room for ten years, if not longer! Casey gave up her dream of going to nursing school just to support this family, but did either of you appreciate it? No! You're parasites, that's what you are! Fat, leeching, worthless parasites living off Casey and me all these years! Sponging off others so you can rot in front of the TV!"
"Now, look here, Sharon--" Phil began.
"No, you look!" Sharon shot back. "I've had it with both of you! I'm tired of being married to a self-pitying slob who sits in front of the boob tube day in and day out! And I'm sick and tired of having a lazy, no good, pitiful excuse of a son who won't get off his fat ass and get a job!"
Benny stared at his mother, stunned that such an accusation could be directed at himself. Sharon, however, was just getting started. "That's right, Benny, it's true. You're thirty-two years old, for chrissakes! You should have had a career, a place of your own, instead of leeching off your parents and your sister! You never had any ambition beyond who was winning the Final Four or who was playing in the Super Bowl! You never been anywhere beyond the refrigerator! Every time I shook out the sheets from your bed, there you were! Every time I dusted the furniture, you were part of it! You never got up past the crack of noon, even on school days--I had to drag you out of bed every morning! You may be an adult legally, but you never grew up!"
Sharon zeroed in on her son for the coup de gras. "Well, let me tell you something, Peter Pan--you'd better find your worthless ass a job, because the gravy train is no longer stopping at the Worth house! You're not getting a dime from me or Casey, either from working or the inheritance! It's time to make your own way in the world, Benjamin Gregory Worth, because I'm cutting off all funding for your laid-back lifestyle, if it can be called a lifestyle--I don't think you ever had a life to begin with."
She turned to her husband. "And as for you," she went on, "I've stuck with you for better or worse--and it's been mostly worse! Well, I deserve better, and so does Case! We're taking that money, if we get it tomorrow at the probate hearing, and we're starting over! Casey's going to nursing school, and I'm going to enroll in a few college courses myself. We are getting as far away from the two of you as possible! We are going to live, dammit! I thank God you never found out about that inheritance in the first place, because God knows you would have made the situation even worse than it already is!"
"You can't just leave me like this, Sharon!" Phil pleaded. "I'm in a wheelchair! I need assistance! Who's gonna take care of me?"
"Ask Benny," Sharon replied coldly. "He's been by your side all along. It's not going to be me, that's for sure. Nor Casey, either, though she's had more experience caring for crippled old men. I'm free of you, Phil, free of your whining and complaining about how weak you are, how helpless you are. Christopher Reeve did more as a quadriplegic than you ever did as a paraplegic. You're only as helpless as you think you are, Phil. From now on, you and Benny are going to have to fend for yourselves--I'm leaving!"
With that, she stormed out of the living room and into the bedroom she had shared with her erstwhile husband for over thirty years. Phil and Benny simply sat where they were, listening to the scuffling of clothes and other belongings being shoved into suitcases.
While one storm passed over the Worth household, another was brewing several hundred miles away in Marvinville, Iowa. After two frantic, anxiety-filled days of calling the acadamy, the neighbors, the police and her ex-husband's voicemail, Alicia's mother, Nancy, finally received word about her missing daughter from a Detective Jim Meridian of the Las Vegas Municipal Police Department. She sobbed with relief when he told her she was alive and well, but was stunned when she learned she had taken a bus all the way to Las Vegas just to see some magician named Criss Angel. It didn't help her feel better when she learned that Alicia had witnessed a murder and would have to come back to testify. It was all Detective Meridian could do to calm her down.
"Is she there?" Nancy Rose demanded over the phone. "I want to speak to her!"
Meridian handed the receiver to Alicia. She was hesitant at first, but from the grim look on the detective's face, she realized she had no choice but to face the music. Slowly, she raised the receiver to her ear. "Hello?" she squeaked.
"Alicia?" her mother cried. "Are you all right, baby?"
So far, so good. "I'm all right, Mom," she managed to get out. "Really I am. I'm sorry I ran away from home like that, but, well..."
"Well, what?" her mother demanded.
Alicia plunged. "I just couldn't take it anymore, Mom," she said. "I got tired of Kyle's bugging me, and Dad ignoring me, and school being so boring, and you so out of touch with the times, I had to get away. I was going to come back on Sunday, really I was! I wish I'd have left you a note or something. I still got the hundred dollars I took from the cabinet--I can pay you back!"
"You took a hundred dollars from the credenza?"
"Yes, and it's right here, all of it. And that money order Dad sent me for the Youth Retreat. I'll give it back to him, too."
"But why, Alicia? Why do this? Just for some movie star?"
"First of all, he's not a movie star," Alicia explained. "He's an illusionist--you know, like Houdini? I love him, Mom. And he saved my life, too. I wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for him, really."
"How did he save your life?" her mother asked.
Alicia went on to explain about how Criss Angel shielded her with his own body from Pamela Piccucci's gun, putting his own safety at risk. "He's a hero, Mom," she insisted. "He saved my life."
"Well, I'm glad he did, Alicia," Mom said, "but if you hadn't run away from home like that, you wouldn't have been in danger in the first place."
Oh, boy, here it comes. Alicia braced herself for a parental lecture. "Do you have any idea how worried I'd been about you for the past two days?" Mom went on. "Calling and calling everyone I know trying to find you? I even filed a Missing Persons report with the police! I haven't slept for two nights, I was so worried about you! And now I find that you're in Las Vegas of all places, just because you wanted to see some two-bit magician pull a rabbit out of a hat--"
"He's not a two-bit magician!" Alicia argued. "He's the greatest since Houdini! If you'd seen any of his shows, you'd know that!"
"I don't care who he is!" Nancy Rose exploded. "It's no excuse for you to go running off like that! The minute I get you home, I swear to God I'll--"
"You'll what?" Alicia challenged. "Beat me? Ground me? I'll just run away again, and I will! You can't keep me locked up forever, Mom. You can ground me until I'm as old as you are, you can beat my butt until it's bleeding, but I won't let you crush me. I've changed, Mom. I've seen too much of the real world to go back to being what I was before: that timid little girl in that tacky school uniform putting up with her little brother's torture. I saw a person kill another person! You think punishing me is going to make me forget that? You can do whatever you want with me, but the damage is done. I'm not the same Alicia I was when I left."
There was a silence on the other end of the line. Alicia listened for any sign of life, then handed the receiver back to Meridian, who took over as soon as he got it. "Hello, Mrs. Rose?" he said. "Are you still there?"
The officious voice snapped Nancy out of her shock. "Yes, Detective?"
"We'll have Alicia back first thing Saturday morning at the latest," Meridian promised. "It'll be a while, but she'll be back safe and sound. In the meantime, we'll arrange for accomodations for her until then. She'll receive a summons to appear in court as a witness thirty days before the trial; we'd appreciate it if you came with her."
"Thank you, Detective," Nancy said. "Good-bye."
Meridian hung up. "That's a pretty powerful speech you gave there, young lady," he said.
Alicia stared at Meridian boldly, almost defiantly. "I meant every word, Detective."
"I'm sure you did," he concurred. "Now, we got to find you a roof over your head until Saturday morning. I'm sure Social Services can find a place for you."
"Can I at least stick around here for the first day of Loyalapalooza?" Alicia asked. "Pleeeeze?"
Meridian could only shake his head in exasperation.
(It's not quite over yet...stay tuned.)
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hartland, MI
12-31-2011, 05:28 PM
The Piccucci estate probate hearing went on as scheduled despite the fact that two members of the contesting parties were deceased and the third was disqualified for murdering her husband, leaving only Casey Worth and the three surviving Piccucci children, Andrew, Matt, and Mick's daughter by Tina LaRue, Heather Piccucci. It was all over in ten minutes, to everyone's relief. Instead of the big overblown courtroom drama everyone involved had anticipated, it was more of an anticlimax.
The court ruled that the estate be liquidated and the cash be divided evenly between the four surviving parties. Thanks to the late Robert "Blusey" Bluseman's financial acumen and considerable knowledge of the tax system, the IRS claimed only a fourth of the estate, leaving each of them with one million, six hundred thousand, two hundred and fifty dollars. For a blue-collar girl like Casey Worth, it was still a windfall.
For Andrew and Matt Piccucci, their share of the inheritance was to be held in trust, to be claimed on their twenty-fifth birthdays. It also granted custody of the two brothers to a family friend in California.
Heather Piccucci was present at the hearing, but sat like a stone in her seat in the courtroom, standing only when the bailiff ordered everyone to do so when the judge entered. She heard the opening statements, the verdict by the court, and the dismissal, all without the slightest flicker of emotion. When the case was dismissed, she rose and seemingly faded into obscurity, as if ashamed to be seen by anyone.
Casey's mother, Sharon, was also present at the hearing. Though she was somewhat disappointed that her daughter didn't get the enitre estate, she was grateful that she still came out ahead by over a million dollars. Besides, the kids had to get something out of it, too, she told herself. No sense depriving them of their share. She rose when the hearing ended and embraced her daughter, both of them relieved that the whole ordeal was finally behind them.
As they left the courtroom, Sharon turned to Casey. "I left your father yesterday," she confessed.
Casey halted in her tracks, surprised at this sudden revelation. "You did?"
Sharon nodded. "He finally found out about the inheritance," she explained. "He and Benny found out about it on TV. They wanted it all for themselves, of course, but I told them that we're taking that money and starting over."
"We? As in you and me?"
"That's right, hon," Sharon nodded. "You can go to nursing school like you wanted, and we can get ourselves a nice little place of our own. I may even enroll in a few college courses myself--I always wanted to study business."
"What about Dad and Benny?" Casey asked.
Sharon shrugged. "What about them? They can fend for themselves from now on. I'm through waiting on them hand and foot."
"Personally," Casey said, smiling a little, "I don't blame you one bit."
Both mother and daughter smiled as they walked happily out of the courthouse and into their new life together.
"Detective Meridian here."
"Hello, Detective," said an older woman's voice. "This is Mrs. MacGrew from Social Services. You sent an Alicia Rose to us for temporary custody at our Youth Shelter yesterday afternoon."
"Well, it seems that Alicia has disappeared from the shelter," Mrs. MacGrew said. "Do you know where she could be."
Meridian rolled his eyes. "I'm pretty sure I know where she might be," he said.
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hartland, MI
12-31-2011, 05:36 PM
It was only eleven o'clock on Friday morning, and already Loyalapalooza was in full swing. Thousands of estatic Loyals were in a festive mood, dancing and schmoozing it up on the upper level of the Luxor Hotel parking garage. Many old friends were reunited on that deck, and many new ones were created; phone numbers and email addresses were exchanged, and for those who could not be present, text messages and camera phone photos were sent by the score all over the country, if not the world.
Among the throng of partygoers was Alicia Rose. She had sneaked out of the county youth shelter to come to the festival, determined to catch one final glimpse of her idol before the authorities shipped her back to Marvinville. No one knew how many risks she took just to get here: stealing, lying, running away, being taken hostage by a madwoman whom she had witnessed murdering someone, then running away again after being taken into custody. But it had all been worth it as far as she was concerned; being among those who shared her passion for Criss Angel, to speak freely and openly about him without fear of censure or mockery, was liberating for the sheltered thirteen-year-old. To her, being at Loyalapalooza was like celebrating the fall of Communism. She told everyone she met about how Criss had saved her life in the service corridor yesterday, and gave everyone the full four-one-one on Pamela Piccucci's confession. Few, if any, believed her.
The first day of Loyalapalooza was the stage show. Criss called for a few volunteers for a mentalism trick. Alicia waved frantically for his attention, but he chose instead four others. Alicia was sour about not being selected, though she rationalized that maybe he didn't want to pick anyone he had met before to perform his trick to avoid accusations of fraud. The trick went well, then more volunteers were called for the next, and then the next, and then the next. Not once did he even notice Alicia, let alone choose her. By the end of the performance, she was close to tears. I came all this way to see you, she said to herself but directed it at Criss. I know you saved my life, and you were by my side when the police questioned me about the murder, but couldn't you spare just one glance in my direction? They're sending me back home tomorrow--can't you at least look at me, give me a smile or something? Or have you forgotten me already?
The perfomance had ended, Security struggled to clear the deck, but the Loyals stayed on, begging for pictures and autographs. Alicia clutched her Loyalapalooza program and waited impatiently for her turn with Criss, stubbornly refusing to leave until she got to see him one last time. After a near eternity of jostling, shoving, and shuffling, Alicia was within arm's reach of her beloved idol. Criss turned his head and saw her standing there, rapturous with joy. She racked her brains for something appropriate to say to him as she thrust her program for him to autograph, but could only blurt out "Hi!"
"Hi, yourself," he said, startled that she was there at all. "I see you made it after all."
Alicia was estatic. He remembered her! "I couldn't leave without seeing you again, Criss," she said.
Criss took the program and wrote on the empty space on the back, then handed it back to her. "Here," he said. "I hope you have a safe trip back home."
Alicia was stunned. That was it? I hope you have a safe trip back home. What kind of a greeting was that? She wanted to say more, but the press of bodies shoved her out of the way. Forced to the perimeter of the mob, Alicia leaned on a concrete berm and began to cry. He said he loved me, she thought. He told me so in the security office. Now he just blows me off just like that? What made him change his mind all of a sudden?
She looked up. Detective Meridian stood there before her. "I got a call from the youth shelter," he said bluntly. "They said you ran away from there. I figured you'd be here."
"I just wanted to see Criss again," she sniffled. "But I don't think he wants to see me."
Meridian put his arm around her shoulder. "Ah, come on," he said. "He's a big celebrity; you and a million people want to see him--you're competing with everyone else for his attention. Look at all those poor slobs over there, trying to get a piece of him! Poor guy probably doesn't have a minute to himself."
Alicia looked at the mob of Loyals clamoring for Criss' attention. "As far as he's concerned," Meridian went on, "you're just another face in the crowd."
"I am not!" Alicia cried, whirling around angrily. "He saved my life, remember? He sat with me during questioning, remember? He knew who I was, yet he just...just..." She held up the autographed program. "It's like he just doesn't care anymore."
Meridian took the program. He flipped it over and read what Criss had written. A grin spread slowly across his hardened face. "Read this," he said, handing the program back to her, "then tell me whether or not he cares."
Alicia took the program and read the message: Don't run away from your problems--conquor them! Luv, CA.
She looked up at Meridian. "You see?" he said. "He cares."
He took a bemused Alicia by the shoulder and guided her toward the elevator. "Now, come on, you're going home," he said. "This running away is getting to be a bad habit with you. Keep it up and I'll have to tie you down."
The Friday Loyalapalooza festival had ended, and Criss had a few hours to kill before his evening show of Believe. The performance and autograph session had worn him out, so he decided to grab a drink at the bar before heading to his suite for a quick pre-show nap. He slipped into the hotel lounge and headed for the bar for a bit of peace and quiet. He sat next to a grey-suited elderly gentleman nursing a Manhattan. "Martini, please," Criss ordered.
"They let a bum like you in here?" the elderly man grumbled. "It's a wonder they don't throw you out."
Criss turned. "Springs!" he exclaimed in surprise. "Whaddya doin' here?"
Springs held up his glass. "I ain't had a really good Manhattan in forty years," he said. "Until I came here, that is." He pointed to the female bartender mixing the Martini Criss had ordered. "Girl over there--now she mixes a hell of a drink! You oughta try it sometime."
"I'll stick with the Martini, thanks," Criss said. "So how ya been?"
"Good," Springs replied nonchalantly. "Better now that I got a new gut. Guy who gave it to me must've been an Italian--I've been eating nothing but pasta since I got out of the hospital."
Criss laughed a little. "How's Casey? She still your caregiver?"
"Caregiver, housekeeper, whatever you wanna call it, but yeah, she's still with me. Takes care of the house and all that. She's gonna go to school to be a nurse or somethin'. She's a good kid."
The bartender handed Criss his Martini. "How'd the probate hearing go?" he asked, sipping his drink.
"Good. Uncle Sam took a quarter of it for taxes, of course," Springs replied. "Court split it up four ways, between Junior's two kids, Heather--that's Mick's daughter by Tina, by the way--and Cassie. A million and change, she told me."
"It's Casey," Criss reminded him.
"And I'm glad she got something out of all this" Criss continued. "But what about Pamela?"
Springs shrugged. "What about her?" he grunted. "She bumped off both her husband and Tina. Now she's facing murder charges." He looked up at Criss. "They still got the death penalty here?" he asked.
"From what I heard, they do," Criss replied. "Lethal injection."
Springs nodded, finishing off the last of his Manhattan. "Ah, well, it's no skin off my nose," he sighed.
Criss decided to change the subject. "So what've you been doing with yourself lately?" he asked.
"Working on my book," Springs answered.
Criss sat up, suddenly interested. "You're writing a book?"
"Been writing one for years now. I'm the last surviving member of The Guys of Glitter Gulch. Ever heard of 'em?"
"No, can't say I have."
Springs shrugged. "Well, they were before your time," he said. "Anyway, back in the Forties and Fifties, if you were in the rackets, Vegas was the place to be. Hell, I remember when Bugsy Siegel built the Flamingo. Bugs was a better hitter than a businessman. Couldn't run a hotel to save his life--literally! Syndicate bumped him off in his hotel room and took over the place."
"What was your role in The Guys of Glitter Gulch?" Criss asked.
"Me? I was what they used to call the collector. My job was to go to those places we contracted for protection and collect our fees. They didn't pay up, they got, well, you know..."
Criss nodded grimly. He had lived in Las Vegas for only six years, but he was well versed in Sin City's unsavory past. Every casino, hotel and nightclub had some sort of connection with organized crime until the Feds cracked down on them in the late Sixties. Many went to jail, ostensibly for tax evasion, while others like Springs lived off their ill-gotten gains for the rest of their lives.
"We had a lot of good times together, the Guys and me," Springs mused. "I'd come over to Mick's place, and he'd always have a brandy waiting for me. We'd go golfing, have family barbecues, went to the kids' weddings and graduations--great times we had. I wish you'd of met Mick's first wife, Josie--sweetest lady you ever wanted to meet. She took all of the pictures I'm using in my book. Cassie found the cigar box she kept them in and gave 'em to me. Helluva photographer she was. When she died, Mick couldn't stop cryin' for nothin'. Dunno why he got mixed up with Tina later on--I'm tellin' ya, that broad was poison from day one! Pam shoulda bumped her off a long time ago." The old man sighed heavily. "When I get together with Mick again, wherever the hell he is, I just hope he has a brandy waiting for me, for old time's sake.
Criss looked at the former mobster with mixed emotions. Here was a man who had extorted millions from nearly every casino in Las Vegas, thinking nothing of resorting to violence and murder if things didn't go his way, but here again was an elderly man who had outlived his friends as well as his enemies, with nothing to share except his memories. He had been a criminal, but he had friends and family once who had cared about him, sharing good times like any other person. He was a relic of an era that had long past but still lingered on, whether it was in the movies or in faded photographs in an old cigar box.
"Tell ya one thing," Springs went on, "After what happened yesterday, I got one helluva ending for my book. Y'know, for a minute there I thought I was a goner. Then you came in and knocked her down. Pretty damn brave of you."
"Hey," Criss said modestly, "I saw my chance, and I took it."
Springs nodded. Then he looked up at Criss. "By the way," he said, "you a New Yorker? You sound like one."
Criss smiled. "Yeah, I'm a New Yorker," he replied somewhat proudly.
Springs pointed at his chest. "Queens, born and raised. All of us were, except for Blusey. I think he came from Jersey." He sighed heavily. "Now they're all gone except me. Seems I outlived everyone here in Vegas--The Guys, Bugsey, Meyer Lansky, the whole damn Syndicate, it seems. And Sinatra and the whole damn Rat Pack, Liberace, Robert Goulet--hell, I even outlived Elvis Presley if you can believe that! Seems everyone who's made Vegas what it is today is dropping like flies and I'm still kickin'."
"Wayne Newton's still around," Criss reminded him.
"Like that's supposed to make me feel better?"
Criss laughed. Springs sighed again. "I dunno, maybe they just should've put that stomach transplant into somebody else and let me pack it in already," he mused. "I've lived my life. Why should I keep on kickin' any more?"
"Maybe it's because we need you to stick around long enough to tell the story," Criss said. "Without you and The Guys of Glitter Gulch, Las Vegas would still be a little whistle stop out west. It was guys like you who made Sin City what it is today: a gaudy, decadent, overblown money making empire--and that's a compliment! Hell, if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be here."
A smile creased Springs' weathered face, then faded again as a thought struck him. "What the hell time is it?" he asked. "I gotta get home before Cassie starts callin' the morgue to see if I'm there. Good kid, but she's a little too attentive, know what I mean?"
"I'm sure that Casey's doing a great job, Springs," Criss said, helping the old man from his barstool. "You take care, now, okay?"
"And you take care, too," Springs returned. "I don't wanna outlive you, too."
Criss escorted Springs out of the lounge. "Don't worry about me," he said. "I'll be fine. See you again soon."
"Yeah," Springs grunted. "If not in this life, then in the next."
"Well, if that's the case," Criss retorted good-naturedly, "if in this life, I'll buy you a drink. If not, well...just have a brandy waiting for me. For old time's sake."
Springs smiled and shuffled off to the valet parking depot.
Join Date: Aug 2011
01-02-2012, 04:19 AM
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