Sisyphus

Sisyphus

Posted on September 23, 2022 at 9:08 pm by Stronk Godson

Open—we see the world through the eyes of a child.  

Looking down into a puddle, we glimpse  a young boy with an amateurish bowl cut and a dim expression staring back at us.  

“Go ahead, STRONK!  Show these sixth graders what’s what!”

We look to our right: a boy in a Power Rangers sweater grips our shoulder tightly, surrounded by other small children, standing in the middle of an elementary school playground.  The clouds above are grey and the crispness in the air signals we’re deep in the throes of fall.

“Can’t nobody lift Plymouth, Kyle!” another kid—visibly troubled, eyebrows singed clean off, smoking a cigarette butt pilfered from an older brother’s ash tray—counters to hoops and hollers from the adolescent crowd encircling them. 

“Yeah!  Nobody can lift it!” calls someone from the back.

“STRONK can!”  The young boy releases his grip on our shoulder and looks us dead in the eye.  “Show ‘em, STRONK!”

Kyle’s our best friend.  His parents bought him a thing that looks like a radio but plays pictures on a big box and these pictures are controlled by Kyle.  There was a blue racoon that was about that jingle money.  The one and only time we got a look at it, our imagination ran wild.  What is this sorcery, we thought?  That evening, Kyle’s parents made bacon and eggs for dinner and told us we could have seconds and thirds if we wanted.  And of course we did.  It was the best day of our life.  

And so if Kyle asks us to lift a rock, no matter the size or the circumstances surrounding the request, we lift the damn rock.  Best friends support each other, always.

We pivot, holding out our hands, revealing knuckles wrapped haphazardly with duct-tape.  

A different kid—an underling of the popular Kyle—holds out a zip-lock bag of crushed Sweet Tarts.  Our hands submerge in the blue-and-pink dust.  The kid seals the opening air-tight around our wrists and shakes the bag to ensure maximum coverage.

Anticipation amongst the children builds and builds; they hope to witness a seemingly impossible feat of strength.

We pull our freshly chalked hands out of the bag and turn toward expectant faces.

Our knees bend as we hunker down, our sugary sweet mitts clasping around the awkwardly shaped rock.  The rock’s so massive we can’t lace our fingers together, so we just hug the rock close to our chest, utilizing nothing but arm strength, and brace our feet.  Feet covered by faded, tattered, no-name sneakers fished out of a goodwill bin—the subject of much taunting over the course of the past school year.

We’d been homeschooled all our life.  After months of incessant pestering, pestering that earned many a beating in response, Papa Godson relented and agreed to send us to school with the other kids in the area.  

But the moment we stepped foot into a classroom, it was apparent that everyone had already established tightly-guarded friend circles, and there was no room for the shy, partially-mute weird kid with the preternaturally large muscles (for a fifth grader), dressed in clothes that look like they were stolen off the corpse of a dwarf bodybuilder lacking any fashion sense.  

Lifting heavier and heavier things, like an ever escalating nuclear arms race between warring nations, is how we’ve earned their respect gradually over time.  Torn-up hands, sore back, sprained thumbs, all frequent consequences of these exhibitions.

And this, Plymouth as it’s called, is the ultimate test of strength in the schoolyard.  No one’s managed to lift it, not even knee high off the ground.  A former janitor—a forty-year-old who played second-string running back on his high school football team—tried to pick it up and throw it through the principal’s office window to settle a long-standing grudge… but ripped his back apart irreparably and spent three days laying and suffering next to the swing set over a weekend in October. He was discovered the following Monday morning.  

The kids begin to chant our name:  “STRONK!  STRONK!  STRONK!”  It makes us feel accepted, something we’ve wanted for as long as we can remember.

Powered by the enthusiasm and support of our friends, we move our hands underneath the rock, and bend our knees as we prepare for the final phase of the lift.  The overhead press.

Using every bit of strength in our body, ignoring the pain in our knees and lower back, we jerk the rock up and straighten out our arms. 

Gasps.  Audible gasps.  

Arms trembling, perspiration crystallizing on our forehead, we fortify ourselves while the crowd of children counts the seconds as they tick by.

All the blood in our body feels like it has collected in our head.  We want to break the ten-second mark to solidify the lift as one to never again be attempted.  We want to set the bar so high no one will ever be able to clear it.

“Bag tag!”

Suddenly, we feel a blinding pain, which breaks our focus, if only for a split second.

Our best friend Kyle swatted us in the testicles.  Hard.  There was nothing playful about it.

The rock drops with a visceral CRACK!landing on top of our head.

The children become awash of colours and the playground equipment appears to change shape.  A ringing in our ears drowns out the belly-busting laughter of our so-called friends.  We receive no pats on the back, nor are we lifted onto their shoulders and paraded around the school like a rock-conquering hero.

We don’t even garner a shred of concern, not from anyone, and especially not Kyle, not even as a torrent of blood cascades down over our face from the top of our head like a freshly cracked egg.  We’re confused, afraid, unsure of what’s happening.  It hurts and then it doesn’t.  We get sleepy.

“STRONK’s such an idiot!  What a dork!”

The kid with the singed eyebrows and filter-smoking habit squawks, “Look, everyone!  STRONK got his period!

No one knows what that is or what it means, but nevertheless respond with laughter, pointing and mocking.

Then everything goes black.  

“If I told’ja once, damnit, I told’ja  a thousand million times!  I don’t own any security cameras!  This is a quiet suburban street, I never thought I’d need ‘em!”

The poor man in the Brooks Brothers clearance ensemble lay in the dirt beside his award-winning rose bush on the front lawn of his house.  He cowers beneath the shirtless behemoth as it reaches for the double-windsor sloppily tied around his neck.

“Listen, Mr. Godson,” the man gasps, digging in his pants pocket.  He holds out his phone, proffering it like some kind of bargaining chip.  “I know just the guy to call!  His contact details are in my phone!  Look for Fred!  He’s the best, I swear!  I used him on my second wife!”

An ice cream truck slowly rolls by, its familiar jingle summoning every sugar-addicted kid within five blocks, at least those with a few bucks cash in their pocket.

The truck inconveniently parks in front of the lawn where the King Stallion assaults his tax accountant neighbour, strangling him with his own Hermes tie.  This produces a small audience for the Tuesday afternoon lynching.  

IF YOU KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT THE SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF THE GREAT AND POWERFUL MONGO, MAY YOU SPEAK IT NOW.

The man wheezes, sucking desperately for air, the silk noose constricting around his neck, pinching his jugular.  Arms flail, lashing from side to side involuntarily, legs stiff, toes pointed.  He stares up at the midday sun.  Wonders, as the world seems to shrink into a pinprick, if he remembered to take the boneless skinless chicken breasts out of the fridge to thaw for dinner.  He didn’t.  Fuck.  Meredith’s going to be so cheesed.

ANSWER STRONK.

“Leave my daddy alone!”

STRONK turns his head to the right and finds a small human child—not fresh out the womb; no, cooked by cold hard reality for at least nine years or so—standing next to him with tears in its eyes.  Big, ugly tears released by intermittent wet sobs and snorts.

The kid has a tiny garden rock lifted above its head.  Looking like a mini-trebuchet, reeling back to unleash a half pound of mineral fury.

STRONK is vexed by the image of the kid hoisting the rock.

He loosens his grip on the tie a bit—but doesn’t fully let go.

“STRONK?” the boy says, a look of wonderment and awe washing over his face.  The kid looks down at his STRONK AF tee shirt, then studies the three hundred pounder’s visage.  “It is you!  I didn’t know you lived next door!”

With his last gasp of air, the strangulation victim gazes into the big man’s cold, unsympathetic eyes, and pleads, “Please!  Don’t hurt my son!”

STRONK releases his grip on the tie completely and his neighbour collapses into a pile of cheap, quivering clothes on the grass, choking down gulps of air as he rubs his throat.  

Godson looks the kid up and down.  

“YOU NEED TO FOCUS MORE ON COMPOUND LIFTS, SMALL HUMAN.  YOUR THIGHS LOOK WEAK.

He scuffs off in the direction of his house, leaving the kid standing there confused. 

The familiar powder blue Cadillac Deville races down a residential Minnesotan street, straddling the centerline at first before shifting to the right lane.  Smoke billows out from the driver’s side window.  

Danzig’s Mother roars from the aftermarket sound system.  Abdullah “The Boy” Choi, formerly known as Shelley “By Golly” Greene, white-knuckles the steering wheel, banging his head to the music.  A lit joint dangles from the corner of his mouth.  Under ordinary circumstances, STRONK Godson, riding shotty, would be face-smashingly belligerent about the usage of illegal narcotics in his vicinity.  But lately, he just don’t give’ah fuck.

The soft-top drops on the Caddie.  The wind blows through Choi’s greasy, shampoo-eschewing, shoulder-length hair, as Danzig belts out a word of caution to a hypothetical father: If you wanna bang heads with me!  

“Believe me, bappa, I’ve been losing sleep since MONGO’s untimely demise,” says Choi, squinting at the road ahead, trying to keep the car from careening off into a ditch.  He’s desperately been in need of glasses for quite some time, but refuses to get them, because then, and only then, in his mind, would he truly be a nerd.  “I’m deeply affected by it.  I’ve self-diagnosed with PTSD, but where’s my love and admiration?”

Choi flicks the last remnants of a joint off into the bushes while the car pushes reckless-endangerment levels of speed in a school district.  He subsequently and expeditiously lights an American Spirit.  He sucks down half the smoke in two ravenous drags, exhales through a coke-perforated nose.  Finishes the cig, then sparks another.

STRONK sits up on the edge of the passenger’s side door.  Abdullah watches him like a hawk, fearful that his mighty meal ticket might go flying off onto the shoulder of the road, or into some ditch, where he would be left half submerged in trash and filth and muck.  A fate unbefitting a former and future champion.  Choi would have to hose him off in the yard and tell him fibs about how the mud exfoliates the skin and this setback is just an eventual springboard to yadda yadda yadda.  Fuck off.

The King Stallion clutches the now-infamous MONGO femur.  Clutches it so hard his fingertips permanently indent in the bone.  A forensics expert could lift his prints off it.

Etched into the bone are two dates:  the bottom date is the date STRONK found MONGO with his brains blown out in early September 2022, and the top date just reads “ALWAYS” in illegible, non-English, STRONK calligraphy.  In his mind, MONGO was never not alive.  He’d existed since the mountains were young.  STRONK also pricked the end of his finger and traced his blood through the carvings in the bone, sealing the death warrant of one Conor Fuse.  That’s what Choi said, anyway.  Blood in, blood out, it’s the way of the warrior, or something. 

The car rips around a corner, pops up momentarily onto two wheels, settles with a crash, weaves wildly from one side of the road to the other and back again.

Choi manages to stabilize the vehicle, though not before pissing a little in his designer drop-crotch sweatpants (going commando means a direct breach).  He ratchets down the speed twenty clicks or so.  Takes a deep breath.

As they zoom past a row of upper middle class homes, set a good distance from the curb, STRONK tips the end of the femur over his right shoulder.  

He swings.  

A mailbox EXPLODES in a hail of scrap metal and unpaid bills.  Choi’s head jolts in the direction of the disturbance; he taps what STRONK’s about instantaneously and nods his head floppily in a show of support and admiration.

“Oh yeah!  Blast ‘dem bill boxes, baby boi!  I heard about people doing this.  People with friends.  High school shenanigans.  Booze-fueled tomfoolery.  …Heard it was a lot of fun.” Abdullah gazes longingly up into the sky—and almost swerves into an oncoming car in the process.

He jerks the car back to safety in the correct lane.

STRONK aims, rears back, and annihilates two more mailboxes in quick succession.  An errant metal flag—tiny, red, previously affixed to a mailbox—lodges itself in Godson’s shoulder.  He unflinchingly notices the protuberance, shrugs, and yanks it out.  Strangely, no blood seeps from the inch long (and very deep) laceration.  Stronk Daddy looks at it sternly and the blood makes the smart choice to remain tucked away, all cozy and warm in his body.

Every mailbox that wizzes by—that STRONK obliterates with a homerun swing—bears the mark of Conor Fuse.  He imagines himself, armed with MONGO’s femur, caving in Fuse’s head and mortar-and-pestling his brains into the ring canvas.

Soon.

No STRONK promo this week, folx.  The big man’s got too much on his mind.

Mind’s all a-jumble of thoughts and feelings.  

Y’know, that pussy shit.  

Yup.  

He’s still all twisted up about MONGO being shot in the head at point blank range.

Still.  

I know, I don’t get it either!  It’s like, get over it, bro, we’re tired of hearing you cry about your dead fucking bull.  Move on.

Well, as annoying as it is to have to watch him skulk about all day long, occasionally threatening our neighbours or the people we encounter in town, it’s working like a damn charm to drive a wedge between STRONK and that fat bitch Robernette.

STRONK already wants to pretty much murder the fuck outta Conor Fuse.  On the real, too.  If Jace and I can only get him to see Carey for what she truly is, all the pieces of the puzzle will fit together, and we will become an unstoppable force!

Feelings hold real men back.  A bald kickboxer living in Romania taught me that.  The media tries to paint him to be some kind of misogynist, or like a human trafficker, just wild and crazy claims, shots across the bow kinda shit.  He’s a great guy, though I’ve never met him.  That nugget of truth cost me fifty dollars and it’s still the best money I’ve ever spent to this day.

Feelings have been holding the big man back.  I recognize that now.  Jace recognizes it.  Untapped potential.  Oh, what he could be if only he’d let go of those pesky morals of his.  The bodies we could crush.  The money we could make.  The women we could simultaneously impregnate and maybe, just maybe, not ever know who’s the daddy and so we raise each other’s sons like they were our own.

I go deep enough and I’ll talk that big bastard into marrying me and take half his shit.  Of course, I’m joking—right?  Heh.

This week we have Carey’s old boo Scottywood in a one-on-one match.

I don’t know their backstory because I turn off the TV whenever Scottywood appears. 

Did they used to fuggg?  Was that their thing?  Fucking and punching? 

Christ, can you only imagine the orifice stank emanating from that grotesque display of wanton bedroom perversion between those two?  I just threw up in my mouth a little.  Still, I’d rather walk around with a mouthful of puke, swishing it around between my teeth like Listerine, really savouring it, than come within a hundred feet of that decaying, beat-up snatch.  Yuck!

Scottywood, you’re a fucking geek.  And that’s coming from Abdullah fucking Choi, bruh.

Were you bullied in high school?  Did the jocks toss footballs at your nuts, pulverizing them over the course of three torturous years, rendering you basically a eunuch?  Because that’d explain why you seem to have no balls.  Either that, or Carey has ‘em tucked away in her grotty gash.

And it’d also explain the state of arrested development in which you find yourself.  Just a stupid, cringe-inducing edge lord with Hot Topic piercings and a face not even a mother could love.

Oh, and you’re the drizzling shits in the ring. 

You and Scott Stevens are practically in your own universe, tugging each other off with barbed wire mittens, laughing and leaking whateverthefuckcomesout all over the place while you try to scrape together a shred of relevancy.

Sorry ‘bout your luck, DOOD, but you ain’t gettin’ no shine off the King fucking Stallion this week.  Not this week.  Not any week!

I will say this… to your, uh, credit, I guess? …you’ve been around for a whiiiiiiiiiiiile.

You’re like a frozen steak that you find buried in the back of the freezer when you’re packing shit for a move.  It looks rugged—which is a polite way of saying cruelly ravaged by time.  But if you threw that bitch in a pan with a little butter and garlic, you’d probably find that, shit, it’s still edible!

The thing’s just tough as shit and not very satisfying.

That’s you, Scottywood.

Past your prime, got a bit of an odour about you, you’re not much to look at, but you are tough and gristly.  Take solace in the fact at least you have something.

But unfortunately, toughness ain’t enough.  Not in 2022 HOW.  The talent’s passed you by.  Toughness won’t beat STRONK Daddy.  It wasn’t enough for Kostoff.  It wasn’t enough for GenoCyde.  It wasn’t even enough for Darin Zion, whom everyone respects in the locker room and certainly doesn’t treat like a walking punchline.  

STRONK is gonna tear through you on Sunday, Scotty.

You may not go down easy—I expect you won’t—but rest assured, fuckface, you WILL go down.  They all do.  All it takes is time.  Eventually you’ll find yourself in the Loop Hold with STRONK’s gargantuan arms wrapped around your neck and it’ll be lights out from there!

Rest easy, mate—and don’t worry, STRONKUMMS LLC will take good care of your on-again/off-again, will-they/won’t-they whore while you’re recovering in the hospital from STRONK-inflicted wounds!  

Shit!  You stay in there long enough and maybe we’ll see if we can’t reunite the lovely couple in the ICU!

I’m such a good fucking person it’s sickening.

One day I’ll put myself first.