“Smoke big green, call it Bruce Banner! Mind your manners!”
The scene is CHAOS 23, backstage, as Abdullah Choi, nee Shelley Greene, glides around a corner, listening to Dr. Dre from a single AirPod, throwing fake gang signs in the air.
That’s when it hits him.
He’s bumped into a medium-sized mass of human flesh.
Stronk Godson. His former hetero lifemate, roommate, client. The once-owner and founder of the highly successful and morally stripped-naked Stronkumms brand. Staring directly into Choi’s greasy, panic-stricken face.
Abdullah Choi: “Ho-lee-shit, big man. It’s you! I, uhhh… y’know, been meaning to drop you a line. W-What’ve, uhhh… you chillin’, bapa? You good? We good?”
Stronk is backstage at a show on which he’s not booked to check-in with Papa Best, who he hasn’t been able to track down yet. He looks at Choi with befuddlement (more so than usual, anyway), and squints.
A stern one-word answer. Choi gulps. Was that an everyday Stronk response, or did he… know something?
Something that, as far as Choi is aware, he didn’t and shouldn’t know. Did he know that he murdered MONGO and defiled his corpse and used the murder and defilement to turn Stronk against Bobbinette Carey?
Maybe Stronk is pissed he hadn’t reached out, hadn’t inquired as to his health and well-being following his Rumble At The Rock injury and lengthy hospital stay and then subsequent return to the ring?
They haven’t spoken in nearly three months. Choi up and ditched him when it became apparent that Stronk was no longer an ‘earner’ for him—a suitable host to Choi the parasite. And felt nothing of it, either. You gain some friends, you lose some friends; you backstab and manipulate a pal, maybe that same pal (almost) dies and you take it as a sign that you’re off the hook should the truth of your devilish misdeeds ever leak out.
Abdullah Choi: “Because, uhhhh… I’d hope that we’re good. Like, why wouldn’t we be good? Oh, right, I didn’t come to visit you when you were in the hospital! Shoot, I shouldn’t say anything… You know what, I can’t, I won’t, I was sworn to secrecy and that just wouldn’t… But then again our bond, it was so damn tight, right? Okay, I’ll tell you, but you can’t say anything to anyone! See, I wanted to come visit you… but Jace Parker Davidson wouldn’t let me, big man! He, like, resents you for being the founder of Stronkumms when he’s put in so much effort and time to expand it himself. And! And! I think he also resented our friendship. You and I, like two peas in a pod, right? He hated that. He just wanted to be BFFs with me. I didn’t even see it for what it was until you were gone and I was pulled into that tyrant’s orbit. He forbid me from contacting you! Said if I did he’d crack me in the nuts and then put me in the streets with his girlfriend or wife or whatever she is to make him some bingo money. His words, I don’t understand what he meant by it. You think he was threatening to prostitute your good buddy Abby Choi? I wouldn’t put it past him, for real for real. He can be… quite abusive when the cameras aren’t filming. I wear long shirts to hide his wounds of discipline.”
Fact check—Choi wears long shirts because he recreationally abuses needle drugs, and people have complained in the past when his injection marks swell and reopen and he bleeds and oozes pus all over the freshly mopped linoleum.
Stronk stands there frozen for what feels like an eternity to Choi. Like David Puddy staring at the back of an airplane seat. A confused state of absentminded zen through which a torrent of self doubt now runs.
Stronk: “Stronk does not know what any of that means, but it does not sound like Stronk’s best friend Jace Parker Davidson. Also, Stronk does not know who you are. Who are you?”
Abdullah Choi: “You… you cereal right now, bapa? It’s me! Your best friend in the whole wide world, Abdullah Choi! …No? Nothing? Shelley Greene? Uhhh, you lived with me for, like, an entire year? I got you into wrestling? I used to cook and clean for you and book all your air travel and shit? Nothing? Not ringing any bells?”
Stronk: “Stronk does a lot of things with a lot of humans. Stronk apologizes for Stronk not remembering you.”
Abdullah Choi: “Man, Fuse really did wallop you, huh? You got memory loss?”
Before Stronk can answer, a female producer that Stronk had only met once before she went on maternity leave walks by them.
Stronk: “Hello, Ashley. Good to see you have returned following the expulsion of a human baby from your own body.”
Ashley: “Oh, Stronk! Thank you! Say, you look different.”
Stronk looks down at his body.
Stronk: “Stronk also lost a lot of mass but not because Stronk produced a living thing from his genital area. Stronk is just not STRONK right now. And Stronk has nothing to show for it.”
She pats him on the shoulder.
Ashley: “I’m sure you’ll be back to your old self before long. Keep your chin up.”
Ashley walks off, leaving Stronk and Choi standing awkwardly in the hallway.
Abdullah Choi: “Okay, well, that’s fucked up. But whatever, we’ll move right past it. You got bonked on the noggin and misplaced all our happy memories. Onward and upward. The good news story of the day is… we’re reunited at last!”
Stronk momentarily catches a glimpse of himself in an adjacent mirror, startling him. Three months spent south of the three hundo mark and he still hasn’t fully reconciled with the reflection staring back at him. He looks at himself, then at the weedy Choi, then back to himself.
Something stirs inside his brain. A distant memory.
Stronk: “You gave Stronk size medicine.”
Elatedly, Choi nods his head.
Abdullah Choi: “Yes! I gave you lots and lots of size medicine! I helped keep you big and STRONK.”
He looks Stronk up and down.
Abdullah Choi: “…Would you like to big and STRONK again?”
He catches a fleeting glimmer of hope in the big man’s eyes. Like a bloodthirsty predator, he seizes his opportunity.
Abdullah Choi: “Or no? You’re probably happy the way you are now. All tiny and aerodynamic. I’m sure you’re lightning fast having lost all that weight. You must love the added speed.”
Stronk: “Fuck speed. Stronk wants to be big again.”
A devilish smile forms on the conniving Choi’s face.
Abdullah Choi: “Of course you do… heh heh… of course you do…”
Choi turns, draping his noodle arm across Stronk’s still noticeably broad shoulders.
Abdullah Choi: “To bring you back to what you once were, well, it won’t be easy. It won’t be quote-unquote safe. But drastic times call for drastic measures. And I happen to have just the thing. Let me see if I can dig out my recipe book and call up some of my hittaz from Brownsville.”
Stronk blinks, not comprehending a thing Choi says.
Choi releases him and starts to walk away, already scrolling through his phone to find a number. He turns back around just for a moment and fires a single finger gun at Stronk.
Abdullah Choi: “You’ll remember me for this one, fam.”
INSIDE THE MIND OF Stronk:
It has been a long time since Stronk talked in the ether about another human man that Stronk will battle in the ring.
It has also been a long time since Stronk had to fight another human man without another human man as Stronk’s partner.
This makes Stronk feel sick in Stronk’s guts. But Papa Best believes in Stronk and says that Stronk will win and then Papa Best and Stronk will eat fancy meat and share memories of the Great Plains where Papa Best and Stronk rode Horse and MONGO.
Papa Best says Stronk’s opponent beat Stronk’s mentor and trainer GREAT SCOTT last week. Stronk must avenge GREAT SCOTT or Stronk risks losing another dear friend.
Stronk’s opponent is a human man called Marvolo.
Stronk saw a picture of Marvolo but Stronk could only see the top of Marvolo’s head.
Papa Best suggested Stronk should watch the tape from last week and study how Marvolo beat GREAT SCOTT but moving images make Stronk angry and Stronk’s head hurt.
Stronk was told to be careful because Marvolo uses a sneaky move called The Small Package.
Marvolo is also small, which Stronk thinks makes this a fair fight.
Stronk is small and Marvolo is small. Two small human men fighting to see who is the best of the smalls. This makes Stronk sad too because it maybe means Papa Best does not think Stronk can win against big human men anymore.
Stronk asked a random human in a park what The Small Package is and the random human did not know. Stronk asked this question many more times to many more random humans in the same park and finally a random human was able to demonstrate The Small Package to Stronk.
The Small Package is complicated. The physics do not make sense to Stronk. Physics are things that make other things go fast or sometimes slow or grow big. Physics is the coal that powers a train. Physics is the food that powers a Stronk. Physics is something that no human understands or can point out to Stronk.
And the physics of Marvolo’s The Small Package are even more confusing than regular train or food physics.
Stronk does not know if Stronk can rely on Stronk’s crushing power anymore. Stronk’s arms may not be strong enough to make The Loop Hold effective.
So Stronk must be creative in Stronk’s preparation.
Stronk will use The Medium Package.
It is slightly bigger than The Small Package and its physics are more easily understood.
Stronk will lay on Marvolo like Stronk and Marvolo are having missionary sexual relationships and Stronk will bash Marvolo’s head in with Stronk’s head and hold Marvolo’s shoulders down for the time it takes to win the match. Stronk thinks this is three seconds but Stronk could be wrong. Maybe it is four seconds.
Either way, Stronk will wait until the bell rings loudly before releasing Marvolo from The Medium Package.
This will make Papa Best happy and GREAT SCOTT will be happy as well.
Stronk stands in the middle of a sidewalk, a sad, diminutive figure, his once beefy frame now withered and wilted.
Random Passerby: “Hey, move it, idiot! The sidewalk’s made for walkin’ not gawkin’!”
Such disrespect, never would some sub-two hundred pound asshole in a sea foam green tank top have had the balls to talk to him like that before he became lower-caps Stronk.
Before Stronk can offer a witty retort (because he’s not presently equipped to issue justice in its physical form, being a measly two hundred forty pounds), the man is a mile and a half down the street—Stronk’s brain works at a slow, deliberate, plodding pace.
His arms, devoid of the bulging biceps and veiny triceps that had once been the envy of many a man, woman, or other, hang limply by his sides. His chest sags defeatedly, as though weighed down by his own failures.
He just isn’t seeing the progress he’d hoped for in the gym. Even after steadily consuming thirty pounds of dog food and sixteen cans of Liquid Stronkumms a day for the past two weeks. His diet is as regimented and as rounded as they come, at least according to the back of the chow bag (assuming he’s a canine), but still… nothing.
He’s a simple man, with a simple mind, his thoughts unburdened by the complexities of the world around him. But even in his simplicity, he still feels wronged by fate.
What had he done to deserve a life spent as a puny mortal?
Was it the bashing of Robernette Carey?
The hurtful things he said to his opponents about their shitty physiques?
The fact that he’s basically the Oppenheimer of wrastlin’ moves with his creation of the feared and now banned Body Dysmorphia bear hug?
Did he deserve this?
And so he stands there, struggling to remember the direction to his penthouse apartment in Chicago, despite having made this same trip to the pet store almost daily for the past two weeks.
Two large sacks of puppy chow tucked under each arm, he contemplates how, before his unfortunate bludgeoning at the hands of Conor Fuse, they would not feel heavy at all, like two empty pillow cases. But not now; no, now he finds himself straining, if even just a tiny bit. And that makes him angry-sad.
Stronk makes the fifty-fifty judgement call to proceed in the direction the sun is rising. As he walks down the sidewalk, lost in admittedly shallow thought, he hears the sound of a vehicle approaching from behind.
Turning round, he sees a group of men in ski masks and black clothing jump out of a large white van and begin to walk toward him, their intentions unclear but their pace quick.
Unsure of what they want from him, Stronk readies himself for a scrap, dropping the dog food and holding his arms out wide, prepared to snatch the first one that comes too close in Body Dysmorphia. It may be banned in the ring, but there’s no rules in a street fight.
To his surprise, the four men stop and remove their masks.
They look like college dropouts that now sell MDMA at frat parties. Three look relatively clean cut, maybe a bit scuzzy, while one has a myriad of shoddily done face tattoos and a body that, Stronk thinks, looks like that of a baby bird. Was he related to Jatt Starr perhaps? Was Jatt Starr trying to rekindle old beef?
One of them steps forward, holding his phone up next to Stronk’s dumbfounded visage. He turns and nods to the others.
Unmasked Man: “Yup. This is the guy. Stronk, we need you to come with us. The MDMAestro Abdullah Choi requests your presence.”
Stronk doesn’t see it because he’s truly one of the least perceptive people on the planet, but two of the previously masked men standing behind the one that was speaking have taken tasers out of their pants pockets, clutching them discreetly by their hips.
Stronk: “Okay. But Stronk needs to stop by Stronk’s sky house and feed Dog. Dog chews the walls when Dog is not fed on time.”
Unmasked Man: “Sure. We can make a quick stop. Maybe we grab some McDonald’s too, eh boys? Couple McDoubles and a large Coke?”
Unmasked Man #2: “To share? I ain’t sharing a Coke with Timmy, he’s got the herps.”
Unmasked Man: “No, not to share, dummy. We each order our own food. Fuck you’re stupid…”
The others respond with excitement, giving each other enthusiastic high fives. Then all four men, plus Stronk and his puppy chow, pile into the van and drive off down the street.
Unmasked Man: “Yo, where’s this sky house of yours anyway?”
Stronk: “Stronk does not know. It is somewhere beneath the sun and also there is a smashed-in bus shelter across the street.”
Inside a dilapidated warehouse, Stronk lays naked on a gurney, his wrists and ankles shackled. The singular source of light is a stained bulb hanging from a chain above his head.
Stronk: “Why must Stronk be chained when Stronk came willingly to this strange place?”
Abdullah Choi, adorned in a surgical mask and gown, peers over top of him. He pulls the mask down to his chin, smiling.
Abdullah Choi: “Because this gon’ hurt, bapa. This gon’ hurt reeeeeaaaallllll bad. Like every single molecule in your body is being gang-raped by a fifty-inch uncut dick wrapped in barbed wire dipped in AIDS blood. Can’t have you thrashing about like an ape in a cage, now can we?”
Standing up straight, Choi motions to one of the other men that surround Stronk.
Abdullah Choi: “Nurse, prepare the STRONK Serum.”
Nurse: “Can’t you just call me Chad, Abby?”
Abdullah Choi: “No. No, I cannot. Gimme dat fucking Beef Juice!”
The “nurse” hands off a comically large syringe containing glowing green fluid to Choi and then cautiously backs away, as do the three other men.
Abdullah Choi: “Haters will say, Oh, Abby, this some deus ex machina shit. This cartoony AF. Well, to them I say, fuck y’all, all y’all, if y’all don’t like me, blow me. Right? We’re doing medical science up in this bitch. Hocus pocus Frankenstein shit. Makes me all giddy!”
The tip of the needle, held vertically in front of Choi’s eyes, spurts a small amount of its mysterious, possibly radioactive chemical. Abdullah holds Stronk’s arm steady, and moves the point of the syringe toward an engorged vein.
Abdullah Choi: “Remember—you asked for this. Do you wanna back out? Last chance.”
Abdullah Choi: “Good man.”
Choi injects the serum into Stronk’s arm. Seconds pass without any sort of physical reaction, and Abdullah thinks that maybe he overestimated the potency of his concoction.
Then the convulsions start.
Stronk begins to shake violently all over, white foam tinged pink bubbling from his mouth, eyes rolling back into his head. The other men present in the room move in and grab ahold of him, but the convulsions are much too powerful and their efforts to restrain him prove futile, prompting them to eventually let go and back away. The lightbulb above flickers and buzzes as if in sync with Stronk’s jerking and shuddering.
There is worry in their eyes, even though they do not know the man strapped to the gurney in front of them. In fact, the only person in the room not worried is Abdullah Choi, whose smile has become boundlessly evil and over-the-top.
Abdullah Choi: “He’s alive! Aliiiiiive! Wait—is he… alive?”
Noticing that Stronk is no longer breathing and that the heart rate monitor has flatlined, Choi frenetically snaps his fingers at one of his helpers.
Abdullah Choi: “Fuuuuuuck. Get me the defibrillator! STAT! Don’t you die on me, big man! Don’t you fucking die on me!”
Waddup, bitches! It’s Abby Choi here!
Don’t worry—Stronk ain’t dead. He’s just in a lot of pain right now. He’s on the mend and he’s fueled by that good diesel. I fixed him up nice, don’t’cha worry your purty lil’ heads!
Will Stronk be STRONK when he faces that midget weirdo Marvolo on Sunday?
Do you plant a precious flower and give it some water and expect it to be sprouted without giving it time?
Everything takes time.
But know this: Stronk will be STRONK again very, very soon.
I did some quick but flawless math, and our boy should start gaining weight exponentially in the next two weeks. And once the flood gates open, bapa, you best not be downstream from that cocksucka, or you’ll get washed away!
Maybe he’ll be STRONK again by… Match To Glory?
Y’know, that PPV he was unjustly left off of last year?
You don’t. But I do.
I know when the big man will start growing and when he will peak.
For now, I remain a loyal servant of the King of motherfucking Everything, Mister Jace Parker Davidson. My best bud. The greatest mind to ever dabble in the consumer goods industry. The most excellent champion the wrestling world has ever known.
But if homie starts slippin’, it’s good to know I got another iron in the fire.
Stronk doesn’t owe me shit right now.
He’ll owe me EVERYTHING.
I giveth and I can taketh away.
I will be fucking God to that man.
Now fuck off—I gotta go make sure this fever doesn’t melt the big man’s brain. He can’t afford to lose the few brain cells he has left.
Until next time!