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Mike Zinner

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Mike Zinner

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby starkandskinny on Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:03 pm

From the original character sheets we had made for the Atlantic City Cabaret of the Damned (see Interest Checks forum).

Character’s Full Name: Michael Jonathan Zinner [AKA Mike]
Stage Name: Zinner the Sinner
Variety of Geek: Escape artist
Age: Twenty.
Place of Origin: Pine Barrens, New Jersey.

Physical Description:
Mike can be either awful pretty or awful ugly, depending on the light. Being 5’3” and weighing 99 lbs, he is the perfect size for his act. Mike is a small and scrawny guy, barely looks his age [most people would think of him as 14 rather than 20], with big deer-in-headlights blue eyes, short brown hair [which he cuts himself], extremely thick Angelina Jolie lips, highly-defined European cheekbones [which he inherited from his parents], and freckled pale skin. His clothes are oversized [since none of them are his] and would usually consist of a buttoned-up shirt, slacks and suspenders, a pair of old boots and a small scarf tied around his neck.


Personality Description:
Mike’s first impression could be described as quiet and polite. Mike was raised to always be gracious to other people. Though somewhat naïve; the other two words that could be used to describe Mike Zinner would be anxious and paranoid. Raised to be god-fearing and extremely superstitious, Mike is constantly looking over his shoulder and is very careful at whatever he does or says; forever fearing he’d done something wrong to upset God or whatever else controls one superstition or another; always expecting the worst. He has a hard time trusting anyone or anything but himself – and even that is questionable.

Joerg and Sabine Zinner immigrated to the United States from Germany in the year of 1904. Having a hard time — and eventually simply refusing to give up their ways and integrate with American society [so much that they refused to learn English] – the couple found themselves having no other choice, after three years of drifting between different cities and towns, than to move and settle in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens – a place for degenerates, deviants and often immigrants as well – mostly from Eastern Europe. That year, in the summer of 1907, Sabine gave birth to their first and only child, Michael.

Mike would grow up in the Piney’s closed community for his entire childhood. He would be raised Catholic, extremely God-fearing [which would later result in anxiety], constantly being reminded of all the evil that was in the world and all of the horrible things that could happen to him, as long as he believed in them. Having no one to trust or believe but his parents and the other Pinefolk, child Mike believed [and does to this day] every single story, warning and threat that were ever laid upon him.

Having taken an interest in his field of expertise from a purely practical interest - with his parents being thieves and the Barrens suffering from constant raids by local police [in search of criminals whom may have been hiding there (there most likely were)] – Mike was taught the art of escapism from a very young age. Due to his small size and light weight, this wasn’t a hard job for the young boy, and he quickly learned his way out of knots, handcuffs, locked rooms, small spaces etc. Accompanied with many superstitions revolving around being buried alive [i.e.]; this was the only skill Mike had learned which made him feel somewhat safer and more comfortable with the world outside the Barrens [which he hadn’t really experienced aside from accompanying his father occasionally when he’d go into town to steal food or other supplies]. Due to this, he took it upon himself to master this skill as best as he could.

In one of his trips into town, as he strayed away from his father [at around the age of 14 – year 1921], Mike had his first encounter with his idol. He ran into one of many Houdini posters hanging in the street, announcing an upcoming performance by the magician. Instead of assisting his father, Mike strayed further away, finding his way to the location of the future performance. Asking around, he’d gotten a pretty clear idea of who this incredible man was – that he was an escapist just like Mike and a performer known worldwide for his amazing acts of courage and guts. Mike knew immediately this man would forever be his hero. For the next few months, with every trip he’d take into the different towns in the area of the Barrens, he would gather as much information he could about the magician – which, eventually, lead him to the conclusion he could stay in the Barrens no longer. He wanted to live up to be a man just like his idol, to become a successful live performer who would receive love and fame for his skill, not strange looks from townfolk and not police raids on his one and only home. He wanted to prove to himself and to the world that he was more than just another Piney – and that Pineys weren’t all freaks, hicks and crooks. That something good could come out of that place.

Thus, at the age of 15, Mike Zinner ran away from home [though that wouldn’t be the correct term, really. He wasn’t running away from anything, he just… left home without telling anyone] and joined his first sideshow – a travelling three-tent circus arena. Though he’d picked up other skills during his performances for the circus – such as escaping straitjackets, locked boxes etc. – Mike was still unhappy. Being constantly on the road, every new town they’d reached meant new things to be afraid of, new local superstitions; new things Mike had to escape. After travelling with the circus for six months, they’d eventually reached Atlantic City – where Mike heard of a similar performance being housed as a regular show at a local theatre. After watching the act, indeed reassuring it was lacking an escape artist and that the boy truly had something to offer – he approached the man in-charge, offering his services in exchange to making the theatre his home [mainly the apartments behind it; thus staying in one safe place, as opposed to the circus’ constant travel]. He stayed there ever since.

Segment in the 3rd Body
Mike was growing increasingly angry and impatient with the people around him. Sometimes, he scared himself.

I mean, for Pete's sake – the other day he was walking down the street and passed by a Temperance Movement rally. Instead of smiling and politely ignoring them, as he usually would, little Mikey went and, rather abruptly, shouted for them to 'shut their fucking yaps and go home'.

He didn't know what it was. Maybe it was the increasing amount of time he was spending with Jackson; maybe it was the increasing amount of hooch he was devouring while spending time with Jackson; maybe he'd just hit puberty late.

No, the truth was, Mike liked shooting the bull with Jackson. He had a sort of… refreshing perspective for life Mike was only now beginning to understand. He would never admit it to himself - but poor little Mikey was growing forever anxious of the nearing realization God did not like him. That there was a reasonable possibility that God hated him.

He never sounded any of this out, though: because he was polite; because he did not want to anger the people he had to see every single day; and most importantly - because he did not want to lose his job. He liked his job, for the most part. But, even if he hadn't missed a single show - it seemed like all Mike was up to recently was drinking hooch and getting into trouble. Recent experiences have lead him to believe that, well – that no one was perfect. Not that he thought that he was perfect to begin with – but he figured he oughta have lived a little, and besides, it's not like he was doing something that... you know, He found wrong. That God found wrong. God did not ban intoxication; nor did he ban running from the police, either, really. He was just having a little fun. He oughta have had fun; in less than a few hours, he would be two decades old.

He wondered if anyone would remember.

He didn't expect Jackson would – which didn't bother him much, because Jackson has gone through most of his adult life being drunk. With all his respect and appreciation for the man – he doubted Jackson remembered his own birthday. And the people he did expect to remember -- well... on second thought, he didn't really expect anyone to remember. Not on purpose, anyway, but Mike realized he mainly kept to himself and wasn't really as socialized and as liked as he thought he was. He was pretty sure (and terrified) that, other than Jackson, no one liked him. Perhaps Mr. Benson did, but he hasn't seem him around in ages.

Which was why he decided to take the night off and spend his time at the bar, drinking the night away. He figured that was a good-enough birthday gift.
No one does a slice like Big Rico.

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