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Julius Seizure

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Posts : 996
Join date : 2010-11-06
Location : England

PostSubject: Hey Brother   Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:19 pm

Joxide wandered into the high roller's section of the casino of the MGM Grand hotel. The separated bit for the elite gamblers or those rich folk wanting to keep away from the proles was guarded by casino security. Naturally, as he approached, the rope remained crossed over the entrance.

"Good evening, sir."

Joxide held up his room key. Somehow the pit manager had managed to communicate that Joxide had rich pockets just through programming the key. The security guard smiled at him politely and removed the thick, red rope for Joxide to pass.

He sparked up a cigarette and looked around the small, cordoned off area.

There was his man.

Joxide approached the blackjack table. The man's back was turned, but he was quite easily distinguishable from the rest of the crowd anyway. He sat with a stack of chips in front of him. As Joxide reached the table he put in some chips, hit and bust. Sighing, he raised his glass and threw back the last mouthful of some bitter looking spirit.

Joxide took up a stool next to him. He picked up ten of the $1000 chips from his pocket and put them down on the table. His old friend slowly turned to investigate the newcomer.

Wow, thought Joxide. He looks a lot different from the last time we met.

The man's eyes looked sunken and bloodshot. Drinking on a hangover, Joxide guessed. He had a 5 o'clock shadow on his chin and a slight moustache. Judging by his clothes he still had money made from his CWA days and brief TXA stint. But with limited resources, Joxide had to wonder what he was doing in a place like this. That shirt looked like it cost a lot. Diesel jeans too, they're probably the best part of £200.

"Heyyyyyy!" the man said as Joxide approached the table. "It'ss been too long!" he slurred, clearly feeling a bit woozy.

Joxide grinned.

"Hi Mark. Long time no see."

"Haha, Jox old buddy! I'm okay thanks! How's tricks back home?"

"Not bad, I guess. What are you drinking?"

"Whisky and coke please mate."

Ugh, coke in whisky… Joxide managed to lock eyes with a wandering staff member who approached the table.

"Could you get a beer and a whisky and coke for my friend and I please? And only put a little bit of whisky in."

Mark Rynx, Joxide's own protege from CWA, a monster of a man standing more than six and a half feet tall, Joxide's one last remaining friend from the wrestling business threw a chip into the middle, hit and bust again. His dwindling supply of chips looked quite pitiful. Nevertheless, he carried on.

It had been over 3 years since they'd met last. After Joxide's self imposed exile from the United Kingdom, he didn't discriminate in who he left behind. The general staff, the referees, the cameramen and roadies he didn't really care about but certain wrestlers on the roster he wished he could've had a word with before he left. Shook their hand and wished them good luck, and no more so than Mark Rynx. But to the credit of the man he hadn't held it against Joxide. He was as loyal as they got.

Sitting beside his old friend for the first time in all this time, Joxide was surprised to find that he felt very shameful. Taking a good look at Rynx he could see definite changes in the man. The chiselled physique was gone. His gut protruded slightly as he sat down. His arms, although thick and powerful, were noticeably less ripped than Joxide remembered. His sunken, bloodshot eyes said habitual drinking and worry. The man's former cocky grin was gone, replaced by a more genuine smile, the warmth of which was smeared by his weathered features.

The waiter returned with their drinks as Rynx lost his last few chips. Joxide handed him his stack and pulled a few more out. Rynx's eyes opened wide.

"All this? Really?"

Joxide nodded.

"Yeah, let's do it."

They played blackjack inexpertly for half an hour in awkward small talk before they lost all their chips. Rynx sighed and stood up from the table. A bit wobbly on his feet, they walked over to a leather sofa and sat down. Joxide whistled over at an attendant who brought them a refill of their drinks.

"Cheers mate!" Rynx raised his glass and took a sip. Joxide raised his and gulped a mouthful of cold beer slowly, still feeling rather awkward.

"You wanna get back on the floor after this?" he suggested.

"Nah man, I'm spent."

"Sure?"

"Yeah man. I'm leaving tomorrow morning. I got nothing left."

Joxide's curiosity flared up.

"What? Like nothing, nothing?"

"Yeah man. This weekend I was gonna make my fortune back. Guess it didn't work so well, huh?"

"What? How?"

"I took out a credit card. I thought $7,000 would be enough to help me recoup my losses."

"So what have you got at home?"

"Uh. Nothing now. I got a few hundred to keep me going back at the apartment in Boulder. Should last a few weeks, I'll find something by then. I got a friend in Phoenix who said I could stay with him. He's got a bit of work going, so I can go there and save up a bit of cash before the credit card companies find me again."

Joxide suddenly felt a deep sense of guilt and the longing to help his friend. Rynx's attitude hadn't changed at all. It will all work out, right… ? No, thought Joxide. Probably not this time.

"I've actually covered a good portion of the US now, man."

"What, from running away from creditors?"

"Uh, kind of."

Mark Rynx shrugged his broad shoulders.

"Have you ever thought of wrestling again?"

Rynx cleared his throat. Back in CWA, he was fairly talented. He was a strong man but agile. He was always on about trying out a new move he's seen on some lucha libre show. Rynx was somewhat of an outcast in the locker room. He preferred to hang around with the smaller guys backstage. Joxide had seen them wrestling as they arrived at the arena. Once he'd seen Rynx training in the ring with some cruiserweights before a show, and the man stepped up to the top turnbuckle and executed a picture perfect Whisper in the Wind. The man had a great attitude towards wrestling and had studied various styles at length. Joxide swore back in CWA Rynx was a man who'd end up in WWE and eventually a manager, road agent or announcer. Wrestling seemed to be in Rynx's blood, and yet here he was, financially bust and jobless.

"I did a house show a few years ago when I lived over on the East coast."

"How did it go?"

"Not so well. The ring rust is quite bad. Orland Zacconi wrestled there too."

"Really? How is he?"

"I didn't speak to him, man."

Rynx's gaze fell to the carpet.

"I didn't really want to see anyone from CWA if I didn't have to… I wrestled under the name Sphinx."

"I see."

"I think I saw Chi Reto and Brummy there too."

"What, really?"

"Yeah. It was in this nightclub with some heavy metal band. It was quite unsettling man."

"Chi, Orland and Brummy? Are you sure?"

"Chio's T shirt had koopa troopers on it."

For the first time since they'd start talking seriously, Joxide grinned.

"Mark, back in England, there's a big reunion show…"

"I know, man. But no. I can't. Look at me, I'm not in any condition to wrestle."

Joxide kept his face blank. He was right of course. For now anyway, but nothing a little training couldn't iron out.

"Okay." conceded Joxide. He could tell he wouldn't win this one. "So what are you going to do when you go home?"

"Uh," Rynx paused. "Continue to avoid credit card companies and get to Phoenix hopefully. I can start fresh from there."

Joxide knew it wouldn't a fresh start. He'd seen those deep-rooted frown lines accentuate his features as he lost hand after hand at cards. A man who would withdraw $7,000 on a credit card to gamble in Vegas isn't the kind of man who could just 'start fresh'.

"So tell me, what have you been up to since TXA's collapse? Some of us thought you'd offed yourself."

Joxide tried to laugh but nothing came out. He picked up on the slight venom in the undertones of Rynx's words. He felt embarrassed to think of Rynx's plight while he himself sat at the end of his jetty in the summer, snoozing next to a fishing rod and having cups of tea brought to him by his staff.

The feelings he was experiencing echoed those he felt as he had done over a year ago, back in Chile. On a visit to Copiapo, pre-earthquake, Joxide had found himself wandering into an animal shelter. After seeing the squalid conditions the cats and dogs lived under he knew he had to do something. He'd ending up signing a cheque for a phenomenal amount of money to keep the place open and clean. He'd even encouraged his staff to adopt these sheltered cats and dogs. He'd paid for the staff quarters to be fitted with pet access. The vineyard was overrun with domestic pets. Joxide had ended up buying the largest bed he could find so all of the cats he'd taken on personally could sleep on it.

"I've been busy, man."

"With what?"

"This and that, you know how it goes…"

Rynx gave him a blank look.

"Right…"

This was excruciating.

"Mark, how much do you like the States?"

"It's okay man. They do things a bit funny here, but it's good."

"Are you happy?"

Rynx chuckled slightly. "As happy as can be in my circumstances, I guess."

He looked back at Joxide, who was staring at him.

"Not really man. To tell you the truth I'm not happy at all. I never thought life would turn out like this. I didn't think my thirtieth birthday would be spent penniless and jobless."

Joxide's memory lurched into action. Shit, he thought. Rynx's birthday was next week.

"How do you fancy celebrating your birthday at my place?"

Rynx looked surprised. Joxide could tell he wasn't expecting that. It hurt him in a way.

"I got a farm out in the countryside. You still like fishing, right?"

"Yeah."

"You like wine?"

"Yeah."

"What about the sun? You have to like a bit of sunshine, right?"

"Right."

Looks like I'll be going home sooner than I planned, thought Joxide.

"Okay, you're on. My birthday at your house."

"Yeah, now we're talking!"

For the first time since they started speaking, a genuine smile appeared on Mark Rynx's face.

"Where do you live?"

Joxide grinned.

"Paradise!"

Rynx, unsure of the meaning, cocked his head.

"Hablas español?"

"What?"

"Never mind. Grab your bags and we'll go to the airport."

"At this hour?"

"It will be worth it, trust me mate."

In the taxi on their way they spoke very little. Joxide, despite feeling happy he'd managed to re-contact and rescue his old friend from circumstance, he began to feel a growing concern for the others he'd left behind. And more importantly, he still didn't have a partner for his match against the Cydes.

It would be a long-ass journey home. Even from when they reach Chile. Joxide had a lot to think about.
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