UNITED STATES OF MINNESOTA
In the year 2307, the grandeur of the surreal unfolds within the hallowed halls of a Marriott-owned FLOOGEstick colosseum. Home of the Shoulder-Mounted Defensive Laser Canons, an expansion team out of New Minnesota.
In the year 2307, Marriott Hotels & Resorts & Quantum Computing Solutions Inc. has the highest market cap of any company in the galaxy and is regarded as an innovative visionary disruptor in more than four dozen industries, thanks in part to the company’s aggressive diversification strategy executed throughout the roaring 2140s when opportunity was ample.
The venue is an architectural marvel, built within the last decade or so, adorned with holographic displays that project vibrant hues of pulsating lights. The air crackles with a sense of anticipation as reporters, journalists, lost mutants, and curious onlookers from across the globe and beyond the stars gather, eagerly awaiting the appearance of the enigmatic STRONK Godson.
STRONK Godson, a name etched in the annals of sports and entertainment history, first emerged as an extraordinary figure to be remembered in the early 2020s; he was considered quite the specimen.
Once a behemoth of the pro wrestling ring, STRONK’s colossal frame now boasts an astounding 700 pounds of unyielding, rock-solid muscle. Two percent body fat. His meat vehicle, a testament to the pinnacle of physical prowess and the wonders of chemical augmentation, is paradoxically trapped in immobility—a living monument to a bygone era of unfathomable strength but very little concern for one’s overall health and wellness. Back before A.I. and robots made everything infinitely easier, facilitating extreme atrophy.
Before–that is, after generations of sedentary lifestyle living and cyborg assistance–the average USM citizen started to resemble an effeminate E.T. with late-stage scoliosis. All humankind had developed a persistent wheeze and slouched posture.
But forget about the commoners; STRONK’s story transcends time and space, and even… pro wrestling.
After retiring from the ring, STRONK embarked on an unexpected journey, becoming a titan in the realm of Hollywood. His meteoric rise as an action star is now regarded as perhaps the greatest (critically and commercially) film career of all-time. Superior to Arnold’s. Arnold’s sucked by comparison. Same with all the other 1980s run-and-gun legends.
Numbers don’t lie: STRONK’s films generated billions of dollars at the box office; they single-handedly kept the motion picture industry afloat after the intergalactic VR wars fad captured everyone’s attention in the 2200s. Yet, a peculiar mystique surrounds his silver screen success—despite his commanding presence and subdued lumbering swagger, STRONK spoke fewer than a dozen lines of dialogue in total throughout his illustrious acting career.
A career that spawned 165 films, the majority of which were Summer blockbusters or Christmas cash-grabs. He didn’t like working during mild weather.
Not a single movie of his was panned by critics. Most were Oscar nominated, if you can believe it. Oscar nominated, not because his films possessed any real artistic merit. No, because STRONK’s shady-but-effective manager (during his most profitable run of box office success), a descendent of a Michael Oliver Best, who was being kept alive in a vegetative state hooked up to a bunch of machines, employed the services of a digital misinformation firm and artfully controlled the online narrative.
Rumor became fact. Hearsay became a statistic.
STRONK hadn’t been seen in almost two decades, not since he retired to the beaches of International Minnesota (formerly known as the Caribbean). He’d become a very private, closed-off individual.
He hadn’t wrestled in nearly three centuries.
He hadn’t been the leading man in a movie of any kind in half a century.
His sudden return is understandably a worldwide event, and thus the entirety of Planet Minnesota has tuned in to watch, either live and in-person, or via telepathic something-or-other.
What did STRONK have to say to his adoring fans? Or rather, the great-great-great-great grandchildren of his adoring fans? To the people that only know him by legend, by short clips zapped into their brain, by an old movie a grandparent suggested on a bloodrainy afternoon in Los Minnesota.
Curiosity intensifies as the press conference commences, drawing attention to the seemingly miraculous longevity of STRONK. Death–the unwelcome spectre that has claimed the lives of every person to have ever existed, even the most affluent and scientifically experimentative–has failed to wrest control of STRONK’s mortality. He is a scientific marvel; a math equation that remains unsolved on the chalkboard.
Now, STRONK has met his all-too-timely demise on numerous occasions, only to be resuscitated time and time again, as if fate itself conspires to ensure his eternal existence. Like God himself is manning the door to the afterlife and, sorry, STRONK ain’t on the list; check back later.
Among the intrigue surrounding STRONK’s supposed immortality, the basic passing of time plays a key role.
While centuries have gone by since his heyday in the squared circle, he exhibits only a hint of aging—a singular gray hair. This phenomenon has led many to ponder the nature of his existence, the origins of his enduring vitality, and the secrets that lie behind his body’s inability to wither and die like it’s supposed to.
Amidst the awe-stricken crowd and a sea of VERY FUTURISTIC-looking cameras, STRONK levitates to the middle of the stage, where he is placed on a throne made entirely of melted barbells.
He looks up to the rafters—a giant banner displaying Lee Best’s likeness hangs above him. He had the banner installed when he became governor of North Minnesota for a very, very short period of time.
A callback to his legendary SPLIzEMz rocket shoe ad campaign from the groovy 2090s.
“YES. STRONK IS HERE.”
The live audience of 240 thousand applauds. Men cry. Women faint. Sorbs give zero shits because trashy vertebrates ain’t their bag; they just attended the STRONK press conference because their Saturday night plans fell through at the last minute and they had nothing better to do. Even if the trashy vertebrate in question is worth sexty four trillion dollars apparently, or three and a half splash eggs. Money can’t replace the unmistakable touch of a fully gelatinous body.
A reporter sticks a pale bony finger in the air. A drone possessing the intelligence of a state school-educated HR manager flies up, hovering in front of them, with a mic extended.
“Yes, STRONK, thank you for finally emerging and allowing us to bask in your stifling aura. The children and the infirm had all but given up hope. This press conference will undoubtedly save countless lives. My only question is… what would you have done differently in High Octane Wrestling’s 2023 War Games match?”
Before STRONK can answer, a commotion is heard backstage.
Abdullah Choi / Shelley Greene slinks out from behind a curtain… and is met with silence by the hundreds of thousands in the crowd. In the year 2307, no one knows who he is, because, well, why would they? He was semi-relevant (not really) almost 300 years ago. It’s shocking that he is still alive, let alone shambling about on a stage in front of a massive gathering of people.
The years, however, have NOT been as kind to him as they have been to STRONK.
Not at all.
He looks like a skeleton that’s been dry-aged over centuries in a humid, radioactive mausoleum. He looks… fucking atrocious. Crypt keeper level gaunt. His painted black hair is quite literally taped on in fried tufts to his liver spotted scalp. He waves for the levitation guy to hit him with that STRONK levitation beam, but… gets shot down.
He holds up a mic, and says, in a shaky, elderly voice, the voice of a man who should be dead but isn’t and probably wants to be, “YOU MUST ALL BE WONDERING… How have I survived all this time? And how have I maintained my youthful exuberance? How could I, David Bossanova, have bore witness to the Flatfeld Occurence, World War IV, annnd the Trinity And Steve Jesus Miracles? How was a lowly peasant such as myself able to live through the three defining events in human history? The answer: I’ve been draining a half a flask of blood from STRONK every Sunday evening and drinking that cocksucker dry since we first moved in together centuries ago. I’ve traveled and lived in hiding near STRONK for longer than all of you have been alive. Since before your ancestors sprang forth from their mothers’ pussies. OG shit, for real. I… uhhh… in retrospect… may not have drained quite enough to retard the aging process as much as I would’ve liked, if I’m being honest. That is regretful. Looking like shit, as I do. Who would fuck me? Maybe a Sorb, but… done it, didn’t enjoy it, too soupy. But still! I live and breathe!”
Boos ring out. True ‘go-away’ heat. They want to hear from History’s Greatest Human, not him.
STRONK waits and watches as Abdullah Choi / Shelley Greene / David Bossanova is dragged, kicking and screaming, off stage by three security guards in lightweight mech suits. When they get him out of sight, they stomp the shit out of him and throw his medication bag in the garbage.
Back on stage, STRONK stands from the barbell throne to speak to his people, finally answering the journalist’s question, following the annoyance that was the senile Choi.
“STRONK WON THE WAR GAMES 284 YEARS AGO. HUMAN MEN AND HUMAN WOMEN WERE HAPPY. SAD HUMANS THAT LIKED WATCHING OTHER HUMANS WITH BAD VIDEO GAME PUN GIMMICKS REPEAT THEMSELVES EIGHTEEN TIMES WERE STILL SAD. STRONK COOKED HOT DOGS AND SHIPPED THEM TO NOT-AMERICA IN CELEBRATION AND GRATITUDE AND CHARITY. GRATITUDE—GREAT ATTITUDE. AND STRONK HAD A PARADE. THERE WERE NAKED DUMPERS SPREAD WIDE AND FAR. CONOR FUSE WAS VERY BAD AT EVERYTHING CONOR FUSE TRIED TO BE GOOD AT—STRONK SMASH. JACE PARKER DAVIDSON SMELLED LIKE MEAT BUT NOT THE MEAT PROCESSED AT THE STRONKUMMS FACTORY AND THAT MEANS JACE PARKER DAVIDSON IS UNTRUSTWORTHY—STRONK SMASH. FLAG MAN—STRONK RESPECT BUT STRONK SMASH. ROBERNETTE CAREY—CONSENSUAL STRONK SMASH. ALL OTHERS—CAR CRASH STRONK SMASH. YES. STRONK WON. STRONK WOULD NOT HAVE DONE ANYTHING DIFFERENT. STEVE SWOLEX AND STRONK DRANK POISONOUS FLUIDS IN CELEBRATION OF STRONK’S VICTORY IN THE WAR GAMES AND HAD WHAT IS CALLED FUN.”
“Thank you,” says the journalist meekly, before sitting down.
Another journalist stands up, but STRONK Daddy motions for him to sit right back down; he’s not here to answer questions.
“STRONK HAS DECIDED THAT STRONK HAS GRIEVED SUFFICIENTLY AFTER THE DEATH OF DOG. 269 YEARS OF LONELINESS. STRONK WILL USE STRONK’S FORTUNE TO BUILD AN EXPLODING TUBE WITH A POINT TO PROPELL STRONK OFF PLANET MINNESOTA AND INTO THE FIRE BALL HUMANS CALL THE SUN.”
The massive crowd emits a low rumble of disappointment. The oldest living person… is going to commit suicide by flying into the sun? The last thing in our galaxy that doesn’t bear the Minnesota name?
“ALL OF STRONK’S LAND AND THE GRASS AND THE GROUND AND THE WATER AND THE BUGS AND THE SKY AND THE AIR AND THE LIGHT AND THE HILLS AND ANYTHING ELSE THAT IS ON STRONK’S LAND WILL BE GIVEN BACK TO THE BULLS. NO HUMAN IS ALLOWED ON STRONK’S LAND. HUMANS KILL BULLS AND RUIN FRIENDSHIPS AND STEAL MEAT BUSINESSES. MONGO AND MONGO’S KIND WOULD NEVER DO THAT EXCEPT MAYBE KILL A BULL BUT THERE ARE NO LAWS IN BULL SOCIETY SO IT IS ACTUALLY NOT BAD.”
A man stands up, looking too well dressed to be a journalist. Shadows obscure his face; STRONK squints but can’t identify the man that has rudely chosen to interrupt his farewell-forever speech. May he meet the same fate as that psychotic old man that ran up on stage earlier, whoever that was.
“Mister Godson, why do you moan and grunt so loudly while you sleep? Perhaps you require a sleep apnea machine. Come now, wake up, you need to get dressed. We need to be at the Best Gym in an hour.”
SOMEWHERE IN CHICAGO
…in his own bed, present day, and gives his head a good shake.
Did he travel to the future in his sleep?
Or did he have what he’s been told are called… ‘dreams’?
Nevertheless, memories of the strange dream, if that’s what it was, evaporate in mere seconds following his jarring wake-up call.
Though he doesn’t know why, STRONK turns on his side, cocks his head around, and finds a cluster of new and old puncture wounds on his outer thigh, just below his hip.
He doesn’t remember giving blood.
Because he doesn’t give blood. Ever. STRONK’s blood is precious. Even when he has medical tests done and doctors need to draw blood, he always asks for it back. With interest.
DOG runs into his bedroom and dives up on the bed, distracting STRONK from examining the puncture holes any further. STRONK ruffles DOG’s fur, puts him in a gentle headlock, and allows him to chew on STRONK’s foot for a while.
But soon, it’s time to get up and get back to fucking work.
UNCLE OLIVER WANTED TO TALK AND WANTED STRONK TO NOT TALK BECAUSE STRONK SAYING WORDS DISTRACTS STRONK.
STRONK WANTS TO TALK AND SO STRONK WILL DO THAT. YES.
THE WAR GAMES IS VERY VIOLENT AND STRONK APPARENTLY WAS IN ONE LAST YEAR. STRONK WAS MADE TO WATCH MOVING PICTURES OF THE WAR GAMES BY UNCLE OLIVER BUT IT MADE STRONK DIZZY AND SO STRONK SMASHED EVERYTHING.
STRONK HAS BEEN VERY BUSY.
STRONK IS BIG AGAIN. YES. AND GETTING BIGGER. ALWAYS.
STRONK TAUGHT DOG A TRICK. DOG CAN NOW DO WHATEVER DOG WANTS TO DO BECAUSE STRONK IS NOT THE BOSS OF DOG.
STRONK LEARNED HOW TO DO A HAMMER JAMMER. IT IS A STUPID MOVE THAT STRONK HAS ALREADY FORGOTTEN.
STRONK HAS TRAINED CONSTANTLY FOR THE WAR GAMES.
EAT. TRAIN. SLEEP. TRAIN. SHIT. TRAIN. TALK WITH DOG.
TRAIN. TRAIN. TRAIN.
STRONK IS READY. STRONK FEELS INDESTRUCTIBLE. STRONK FEELS ANGRY AND DANGEROUS.
STRONK WILL ATTACK JACE PARKER DAVIDSON AND USE STRONK’S NEW TENNESSEE WRESTLING MOVES AND GIANT MUSCLES TO INFLICT PAIN AND SUFFERING. STRONK WILL LET JACE PARKER DAVIDSON LIVE SO THAT JACE PARKER DAVIDSON CAN SUFFER ANOTHER DAY. STRONK STILL HAS LONG SHARP STAIRS STRONK WANTS TO USE ON JACE PARKER DAVIDSON. STRONK STILL HAS A MEAT BUSINESS TO WIN BACK.
STRONK WILL AVOID ROBERNETTE CAREY BECAUSE STRONK DOES NOT FEEL SEXUALLY SAFE AROUND ROBERNETTE CAREY. UNCLE OLIVER SAYS ROBERNETTE HAS A REPUTATION AND STRONK BELIEVES IT TO BE SO. IF STRONK IS CORNERED AND STRONK’S PENIS IS TOUCHED STRONK WILL CRUSH ROBERNETTE’S FACE WITH A HEADBUTT. ROBERNETTE IS STILL TERRIBLE EVEN IF ROBERNETTE DID NOT KILL MONGO.
STRONK WILL BASH CONOR FUSE AND SHOW CONOR FUSE WHY STRONK IS THE UPCOMING LARGE OBJECT. CONOR FUSE IS OLD AND WEAK AND TOO SMALL. STRONK IS YOUNG AND STRONG AND BIG AND A WOMAN SINGS STRONK’S MUSIC SONG.
STRONK WILL LEAVE FLAG MAN TO DO WHAT FLAG MAN DOES EXCEPT FOR THE PART WHERE FLAG MAN ALWAYS WINS—STRONK WILL PUT A STOP TO THAT.
STRONK WILL DO TANDEM MOVES WITH COACH SWOLEX IF THERE IS OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO. STRONK DOES NOT KNOW ANY TANDEM MOVES BUT COACH SWOLEX PROBABLY DOES WHICH IS GOOD.
STRONK WILL POWERBOMB CLAY BYRD THROUGH A TABLE AND TAKE THE HOTv CHAMPIONSHIP THAT CLAY BYRD DOES NOT ACTUALLY HAVE AND THEN REALIZE STRONK DOES NOT WANT IT ANYWAY AND IT IS ALSO FINAL ALLIANCE BROTHER DAN RYAN’S AND THEN THAT INTERACTION WILL END.
STRONK WILL RESPECT BUT ATTACK WHEN NECESSARY STRONK’S OTHER FINAL ALLIANCE BROTHERS. ESPECIALLY EVAN WARD. COACH SWOLEX DOES NOT LIKE EVAN WARD RIGHT NOW AND THAT IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR STRONK.
STRONK WILL BEAT UP EVERYONE ELSE THAT STRONK DID NOT MENTION OR REMEMBER EXISTS AND THEN WIN THE WAR GAMES AND PAPA BEST WILL BE VERY PROUD OF STRONK.
THAT IS ALL.
…Uh, can I add my two cents now, Mister Godson? Can I put a tidy little bow on our War Games aspirations? Can you leave me to wrap up A Portrait of the STRONK oh so nicely and impactfully like only I, Michael Oliver Best, possibly can?
But I have more to say!