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Joe Zhivago

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Joe Zhivago stands outside an old building, the broken neon sign above the door is missing a letter and reads “azz Club”. Joe frowns, clutching a crumpled piece of paper, he checks the hastily scrawled address again to make sure he's at the right place. He shakes his head and goes inside.


The small club is dark and dingy with a scattering of small tables and mis-matched chairs all around. The walls decorated with old jazz records and instruments - it was very busy considering it was empty of customers.


The barman was polishing a glass with a greasy cloth as Joe addresses him.


Joe: Hiya, how you doing?


The barman responds by raising and eyebrow. Joe frowns at him.


Joe: I'm here to see Johnny…


The barman puts down the glass he was polishing and slowly makes his way to an office in the back.


A few moments pass and a booming voice calls out from the other side of the club.


Johnny: Well if it isn't my favourite nephew!


Joe turns round to see the giant that is Johnny Blake Burns, smiling brightly as he strides over to greet him with an extended hand. Joe hesitates slightly but shakes his hand. Johnny takes a seat next to him at the bar.


Johnny: So, what took you so long to pay your Uncle a visit? I remember you weren't so slow when I offered to pay for your flights here and hooked you up with that “OCW” contract.


Joe: You didn't give me much choice - you just sent me the tickets, without saying anything. I am grateful though…


Joe Zhivago was quite wary of his Uncle Johnny. He often had an ulterior motive for every supposed good deed and beneath the facade he was far from a good person.


Johnny: Hey, don't mention it Joey. I'm just happy you're here now. With your Ma and Pa both gone, you're the only family I have left. I'd hate to think you were wasting away on some farm in Scotland.


Johnny nods to the barman.


Johnny: Fix us a couple drinks would ya; what you having Joe?


Joe: I'll have a coke, please...


Johnny looks to the barman: Two whiskies...


The barman gets to it and plonks the two drinks down in front of the two men. Johnny moves in closer to Joe and lowers his voice.


Johnny: So, uh… I've been following your progress on Turmoil and… You ain't doing too good…


Joe tenses up at this.


Johnny: Even that fake Jimmy Henry they brought in had you breaking a sweat and he wasn't even a real wrestler.


Joe: Hey, I...


Johnny’s smile is replaced by a more serious expression as he cuts Joe off.


Johnny: Your skills aren't the problem here, Joey - you're too nice is what it is. Look at everyone else - you see them laughing and joking backstage with Stacy Clark? No, because they have their eyes on the prize. You need to focus - ain't nothin’ going be handed to you on a silver platter. You want something, you gotta take it yourself.


Joe looks into the glass of whiskey he didn't want - mulling over Johnny's words.


Johnny: When your Father and I were in the business, we didn't let anyone stop us. We kept our eyes on the prize and we got where we wanted to be. You're soft, like your Mother was - maybe all that money I spent gettin’ you here was wasted.


Joe stands up abruptly at this last comment, almost knocking his stool over.


Joe: At least people liked my Mother…


Joe turns and begins to leave without another word. Johnny calls after him.


Johnny: Could never handle the truth, could ya? Always over reacting. You just run away and cry now. You're in control of your own destiny. When you're ready to listen to some sense, you'll know where to find me…


Joe stops at the exit, with his back to Johnny, as if to respond. He takes a deep breath, but keeps walking.

  • Mark Out! 11

"In my own special way, I am rooting for you, but for the most part I want to see you fail…"


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