STRONK AND SHELLEY’S HOUSE
SOMEWHERE IN MINNESOTA
JULY 14th, 2022
“You’re sure? … How sure? … Very sure? … C’mon, Jacey, just level with me—how fucked are we?”
Shelley Greene sits on the front step of his and STRONK’s house, face reddened from stress. He listens to the person on the other end of the line, and wipes his face slowly and forcefully with his hand, sighing.
Greene: So it’s worthless then? Can’t be sold? We’re gonna have to ship it all to a dump? Ummm, do you maybe wanna be the one to tell STRONK?
He pauses to allow the person to respond, becoming visibly aggravated with every second that passes. He looks up to the sky, calculating the potential losses in his head. Not good. Not good at all.
Greene: Fine! Fuck! Alright! I’ll do it! Aggghhhh… he’s going to be sooo pissed, man. The man lives, breathes, sleeps, shits STRONKUMMS. What kind of place accepts a shipment of frozen meat without AC, never mind a fucking freezer to store it in!
Shelley nods, rolls his eyes.
Greene: Dude, I know I should’ve looked into them better. I know. But pointing the finger of blame isn’t going to un-spoil, like, six tonnes of grade-D meat, is it?
He nods again, his grip tightening on the phone as rage builds within him.
Greene: Alright, well, thanks for checking it out. Sucks, but there’s nothing we can do at this juncture. Lot of money lost. Won’t have the cashflow to restock inventory unfortunately, so the company’s pretty much dead in the water… Fuck. … Okay, talk to you again soon. Take it sleazy, pimp.
Hanging up the call, Shelley ashes the cigarette in his hand and walks back inside the house. STRONK stands in the living room behind a stone bust of someone Shelly doesn’t know but acknowledges holds some type of importance to America history. Where it came from, he has no idea, and he’s not about to inquire as to its origin.
Greene: Whatcha doin’?
STRONK’s arms are wrapped around the neck of the stone bust. The muscles in his arms are relaxed. His cool hazel eyes lock with those of his manager.
STRONK: PRACTICING THE LOOP HOLD. STRONK HAS BEEN WORKING HIS ARM MUSCLES LIKE AN INSANE HUMAN AND STRONK FEELS MORE LETHAL THAN EVER.
Fingers lifted to his nose, Shelley sniffs, wonders if GODSON can smell the bootleg menthols on his clothes. He looks back at STRONK. Walks a bit closer.
STRONK: STRONK TOOK THIS FROM A PLACE WITH MANY PAINT PICTURES. HIS NAME IS McMICHAEL. STRONK IS GOING TO TRAIN UNTIL STRONK CAN CRUMBLE McMICHAEL’S NECK INTO A FINE DUST. THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL THE LOOP HOLD BE WHAT IT NEEDS TO BE TO CARRY STRONK TO THE HIGHEST OF HIGHS.
Greene: That sounds like a real solid plan, big man. Where’d you get the name McMichael? You read it on a, uh, placard or something?
STRONK’s arms begin to constrict, appearing to grow twice their normal size. A vein in the side of his head bulges out. Blood vessels in his eyes strain, threaten to burst. Through extreme physical exertion, he responds:
STRONK: HE LOOKS LIKE A McMICHAEL.
Shelley casually nods his head.
Greene: Yeah… of course… totally see that now…
Shelley checks his vintage Timex and let’s his eyes dance around the room a bit.
No time like the present to deliver bad news, he thinks.
Greene: So… Jace called.
His hand scratches at the pocket in his thrift store blazer, the same pocket where his cigarettes reside. Oh how he wants to light one up right this instant. His nerves, broken and abused by years of experimental drug use and a latent social anxiety, cause his whole body to vibrate.
Greene: Apparently there was a problem at the STRONKUMMS storage facility. The, uhhh, AC got turned off somehow… and all the meat went bad.
GODSON doesn’t reply—he’s too busy strangling half a statue.
Greene: We’re gonna take a bath on the STRONKUMMS business, big man. I’m so sorry. You don’t know how sorry I am. But none of the meat is sellable. Everything’s fucked.
Shelley waits for his client to respond or at least acknowledge the unfortunate message he’s just delivered. STRONK, however, continues to drive the blade of his forearm into a inanimate object’s windpipe.
This whole time… he’s staring daggers directly into Greene’s eyes. Shelley’s very uncomfortable, feels an imminent sense of fatalistic danger.
Greene: Say something. Please. I know I screwed up… I screwed up big time…
The neck of the stone bust EXPLODES, sending a cloud of white dust into the air around it and shooting small shards of stone in every direction.
The head falls to the carpeted floor intact.
The LSD Champion, blank-faced, picks up the head in his right hand, holding it for a moment like he’s about to recite ‘To be or not to be…’
Then he knuckleballs the fucker through the bay window of their living room. (Sidebar: STRONK has broken A LOT of windows.)
STRONK: IT IS DONE. THAT WAS MUCH EASIER THAN STRONK EXPECTED.
STRONK coolly walks past a frozen-in-fear Shelley, heading toward the staircase.
STRONK: STRONK MUST SHIT. GOOD BYE.
STRONK AND SHELLEY’S HOUSE
SOMEWHERE IN MINNESOTA
JULY 15th, 2022
Shelley follows STRONK through the house, desperately trying to convey a message to him but STRONK won’t listen. Between constant feedings of MONGO the bull, telling him (Shelley) to Tweet something out, gluttonous eating, and impromptu weightlifting, STRONK’s distracted and uncommunicative. A castle with a manned wall, a gator-infested mote, and a dragon on the inside. Not something to be pressed past a certain acceptable point.
STRONK stands at the kitchen counter, chopping a large cooked pig into twenty-pound chunks. Snack time for MONGO.
Shelley’s hand falls on STRONK’s wrist, halting the upward motion of the blade.
Greene: I gotta tell you something I already told you but you, of course, weren’t listening. But you need to hear this.
Greene: I got a call from Jace yesterday… I tried to inform you immediately of the situation, but you were… uhh… focused on other things. Brass tacks, the long and short of it is that due to incompetence on the part of the storage facility manager, or perhaps a lack of oversight on my part I guess, all our STRONKUMMS meat has gone bad. As in, not fit for human consumption. Shit, to hear Jace tell it, it’s not fit for MONGO consumption. Basically, we lost all our inventory. We won’t be able to sell it, so the company is effectively bankrupt.
Images of what STRONK perceives to be the archetypal meat business magnate, that which he’d dreamed of becoming, flood his mind in a instant, all at once: STRONK in an ill-fitting tuxedo standing atop a tall podium, shouting orders into a megaphone like a carnival barker to hordes of poorly treated worker drones; STRONK behind a desk with his feet up, a large brick-like mobile phone pressed to his ear, while lackeys funnel into his office in single-file, each presenting a different variation of the traditional STRONKUMMS recipe; and STRONK wrestling the Monopoly Man in a domed cage basket-weaved with razor wire. The colour simultaneously washes from the images and he is left with no hopes and dreams. At least he can still be a championship-calibre pro wrestler. At least there’s that.
Meanwhile, Shelley is in a permanent state of flinching, bracing for either a verbal or physical onslaught from the Stronkest Man Alive.
Just then, Shelley’s phone vibrates. He snatches it from his pocket and notices that Jace Parker Davidson is FaceTiming him. The Literal Secretary of Defence sees this and shows an unusual amount of subdued excitement despite just being told his dreams have rotted away like his precious STRONKUMMS.
STRONK: WHY IS JACE CALLING? DOES HE WANT TO GO TO THE BUTCHER SHOP AND PICK UP HUMAN WOMEN AGAIN?
Shelley turns away from STRONK while answering the FaceTime. STRONK circles around him, waiting to greet his good buddy Jace when he appears.
Jace Parker Davidson’s face flashes onto the screen. And despite the way his last phone call with Shelley concluded, he’s smiling.
Jace: Stronky Baby! Good to see you, champ!
STRONK: HELLO JACE PARKER DAVIDSON.
Jace: What’s up, fellas?
Greene: Oh, you know, the usual—trying to conjure a way out from under a massive pile of high-interest debt while simultaneously searching for a guy that will haul tonnes and tonnes of semi-rotten camel hump meat to the dump. Y’know, typical Friday.
Jace: What if I told you that I found someone to take it all off our hands at a tidy little margin?
Shelley feels a sense of optimism for the first time in twenty-four hours. The knot in his stomach begins to loosen.
Jace: The Beldwaldi Boys. Australian backcountry terrorist group now holed up in Uzbekistan. Their usual meat guy fell through, so ol’ Jacey swooped in to lend a helping hand.
STRONK: WHO DO THEY TERRORIZE?
Jace: Trains, mostly. They just hop on, scare the shit outta some people, hand out their ‘literature’, then fuck back off to their hidey-hole. Don’t even take nothing, if you can believe it.
Jace: Right!? Anyway, they’re gonna buy it all up. Which means STRONKUMMS lives on! We’ll use the money we make on the deal to replenish our stock and find a place that, y’know, isn’t just meant for storing old discount mattresses. We escaped certain death—narrowly, of course, but we did escape!
Shelley’s gaze lowers; he feels like he could cry tears of joy.
Greene: Thanks for calling, Jacey. That’s terrific news.
STRONK: JACE PARKER DAVIDSON HAS BEEN PROMOTED TO SENIOR CHIEF BRAND OFFICER AND INTERIM CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER.
Shelley looks at STRONK, confused.
Greene: I’ve been meaning to ask you… do you know what any of those C-suite jobs actually do, or did you just hear someone mention them at some point?
STRONK: THEY SELL MEAT.
Greene: Good enough, I guess…. Anyway, thanks for the update, Jace. You’re a life-saver. Literally. We’ll see you at CHAOS.
Jace: Take care, boys!
The FaceTime drops. Shelley heaves a sigh of relief.
STRONK MUST DESTROY THE BIRD MAN OR ELSE PAPA BEST WILL BE SAD.
STRONK HAS BEEN THINKING WHILE STRONK HAS BEEN LIFTING WHICH IS A DANGEROUS THING TO DO. AND STRONK THINKS THAT BIRD MAN IS BEING LED INTO MAYBE A TRAP.
WHICH IS GOOD FOR STRONK. NOT GOOD FOR BIRD MAN.
STRONK KNOWS YOU DO NOT WANT TO WRESTLE HIM AGAIN. ONCE WAS ENOUGH FOR YOUR FRAIL OLD BODY. BUT YOU ARE UNDERWEIGHT AND CRAVE THE WEIGHT THE GOLD PROVIDES.
BUT YOU CANNOT HAVE THE GOLD THAT PROVIDES THE WEIGHT THAT KEEPS STRONK OVER THREE BILLS. YOU CANNOT TAKE IT AWAY FROM THE STRONKEST MAN ALIVE. YOU ARE FOOLISH TO EVEN TRY. BUT STRONK RESPECTS THE BALLS IT TAKES TO DO BATTLE WITH STRONK AGAIN.
THIS MATCH IS A NO DQ MATCH. STRONK CAN HIT YOU WITH ANY NUMBER OF THINGS. YOU SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT THESE STRONK-SIZE FISTS MOST OF ALL. ALSO MAYBE A STOP SIGN. OR A CONCESSION STAND.
STRONK MAY DECIDE TO CRUNCH YOUR BODY WITH HIS BANNED BODY DYSMORPHIA. OR STRONK MAY DECIDE TO SEND DEATH FROM ABOVE. OR STRONK MAY CHOKE YOU OUT AND THEN TIE YOU IN SEVERAL KNOTS. THEY WILL CALL A SAILOR MAN TO UNDO THE KNOTS STRONK PUTS YOU IN.
PAPA BEST HAS GIVEN STRONK THE WORLD AND EVERYTHING IN IT. MONGO IS THE FIRST THING STRONK HAS LIKED SINCE STRONK’S DOG VELCRO DIED. MONGO WAS MEANT TO FIGHT IN THE ARENA MUCH THE SAME AS THE KING STALLION. ONE DAY STRONK AND MONGO MAY FIGHT TOGETHER SIDE-BY-SIDE OR STRONK-ON-MONGO.
BUT IT WILL NOT BE THIS SUNDAY. STRONK WILL GO THIS ONE ALONE. MONGO IS NOT READY—MAYBE BY DEAD OR ALIVE.
SHELLEY WILL BE THERE BUT HE EMMITS NOODLE-BOY PHEROMONES—THEY WEAKEN STRONK BUT THANKFULLY STRONK HAS LOTS OF STRENGTH TO SPARE.
STRONK MUST BREAK YOU.