SOMEWHERE IN ARIZONA
AUGUST 11, 2022
It’s Thursday, August 11th, and we’re officially three days out from High Octane Wrestling’s Dead Or Alive PPV—an Old West-themed event emanating from the southeastern Arizona town of Tombstone, the site of the legendary Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Days earlier, after landing in the Phoenix Airport, they found a small town en route to Tombstone to do a bit of shopping and grab a bite to eat. The distance from the airport to Tombstone is only about three-and-a-half hours—an easy commute. Essentially one episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, which Shelley Greene listens to and espouses various nuggets of information pertaining to supplements, mainly nootropics, and why the government is grossly incompetent.
But Shelley Greene, despite being a self-proclaimed man of science and early adopter of technology, refused to consult Google Maps, instead opting to attempt to drive to a location he’d never before been in a state he’d never before visited. In the biz we call that a recipe for disaster.
And a disaster it was: they (namely Shelley) got horribly lost along the way, and that brings us to the following scene…
The rental car—a tan-coloured 2020 Toyota Camry—is pulled over onto the shoulder on a long stretch of desert highway, smoking billowing out from under the hood.
It’s just past noon; the sun beats down upon a shirtless STRONK Godson as he wastes precious energy and bodily fluids performing push-ups in the middle of the road, seemingly without a care in the world.
Shelley Greene, on the other hand, has tied his pants around his head, knotting the pant-legs over his forehead, to shield his head from the big, red, flaming tyrant in the sky. His bare legs, like pale toothpicks, child-like and completely hairless, carry him from the car to the centre of the highway and back again, over and over, as he stresses over his next move. His phone’s dead, with no way to charge it, and they haven’t seen another vehicle in hours.
A pair of vultures circle hungrily above him.
Greene: Big man, please, get out from under the damn sun! You’re going to get fucking heat stroke!
STRONK pops to his feet from a plank position and dusts his hands off on his camo fight shorts. He walks over to his manager.
STRONK: IT IS BALMY.
To Greene’s amazement, Godson doesn’t look the least bit affected by the oppressive heat. It’s 95 degrees out, and the big man is hardly sweating, which is incredibly unusual seeing as STRONK is always sweating. Not here, not now, though. Aside from his cheeks being a bit flush, he appears perfectly fine. Like his simple brain felt his body temperature begin to rise above acceptable levels and was just like nuh-uh!
Greene: (panicked) We’re gonna die out here! I’m sorry, Stronk Daddy. I really am. Hubris is a motherfucker.
Shelley drops to a seated position on the asphalt, tucking his head between his naked knees. The sun asks him if he wants some more UV goodness, and despite Shelley mentally pleading please, no more!, the sun says fuck that and somehow, someway, the temperature rises another two degrees.
STRONK: YOU SHOULD DRINK SOMETHING.
While STRONK starts doing squats, Shelley stands up and moves toward the trunk of the car.
Greene: You’re right! I’m probably just dehydrated. Damn heat’s making it so I can’t think straight. I’m, like, processing shit like someone with only slightly above average intelligence! I’ll have a drink of water and reassess the situation. Yes, that’s the ticket!
He pops the trunk and rummages for one of the many jugs of clean drinking water they’d bought back in the last town they stopped in after leaving the airport.
But… the water jugs are nowhere to be found.
Shit just went from bad to worse.
Slamming the trunk closed, he frantically moves to the back passenger’s side door, wrenching it open, hoping to find that their water had been moved by STRONK without his knowledge.
Okay. Now shit’s getting a bit precarious.
Greene: Hey, do you know where the, like… the sixteen gallons of water we bought is?
STRONK stops, mid-squat.
Thinks some more.
STRONK: STRONK DRANK IT. STRONK WAS THIRSTY. BEEF JERKY MAKES STRONK PARCHED.
Shelley looks at him like he must be joking, has to be joking… but knows instantly that he isn’t… because STRONK never jokes—he can barely comprehend the concept of humor. And so existential dread once again fills Greene, along with a healthy amount of anger that he forcefully tamps down inside him.
Greene: You drank… all that water? …When? …How? Why?
STRONK: STRONK ALREADY TOLD YOU. BEEF JERKY MADE STRONK THIRSTY. SO STRONK DRANK WATER. BUT THEN STRONK WAS STILL THIRSTY BECAUSE STRONK CONTINUED TO EAT THE JERKY. SO STRONK DRANK MORE WATER. THIS WENT ON AND ON FOR A LONG TIME WHILE YOU WERE BUSY TAKING A SHIT.
Sixteen gallons of water: gone. In what had to have been no more than twenty minutes. It just seems… physically impossible for a human being to consume that much water and not, like, keel over and die, right? Or, at the very least, realize that they’ve had enough and no longer need to drink anymore!
Then again, this is STRONK we’re talking about here.
The man once ate three quarters of a bison for brunch. Then had lunch an hour later. Why? Because lunch is at noon on the dot. Hungry or not, lunch will be eaten.
Greene: Impossible! There must be at least one jug you didn’t finish…
Shelley’s face lights up.
His duffle bag!
He remembers the almost-full Fiji Water he bought at the airport!
His tongue feels like sandpaper, and he can barely produce any saliva at this point, but he can practically feel the water hit the back of his throat as he sets about dislodging his bag from behind the driver’s seat. He drops it on the asphalt (next to where STRONK stands) and unzips it.
Greene: WHAT THE FUCK!
STRONK: FINALLY YOU STOP WHISPERING AND TALK LIKE A MAN.
Shelley’s hand shakes with rage as he pulls out the bottle of Fiji Water—only it no longer contains clear, delicious, overpriced water… no, it’s filled to the top with a dark yellow liquid.
Greene: …Did you… piss… in my water, bro?
STRONK: NO. STRONK POURED OUT YOUR WATER AND THEN PISSED IN THE BOTTLE.
Greene: Why, though!? Why would you do that!?
STRONK: STRONK DRANK ALL THAT WATER AND NEEDED TO EXPEL URINE FROM HIS PENIS.
Shelley thinks about how fucked-up it will be if he dies of dehydration. He doesn’t have the energy to argue with the King Stallion right now, but can’t help himself from continuing to probe for answers. If he’s going to die out here, he at least wants to know why.
Greene: Why wouldn’t you just piss, like, anywhere else around here? How did you think, after drinking sixteen gallons of water, that it’d all fit, on the way out, in a 500 fucking millilitre bottle?
The former HOTv and LSD champion scratches his head.
STRONK: STRONK REALIZED THAT VERY QUICKLY. YES. MATH TO STRONK IS LIKE BEING A MAN TO YOU—IT DOES NOT COME NATURALLY.
Greene can’t help but wonder how the hell STRONK’s piss is still so damn yellow. After drinking that much water, it should be… well… pretty much water!
A moment goes by, and Shelley’s demeanour changes. He’s no longer angry—there’s no point, after all, as there’s nothing he can do to correct the situation.
A look of calm acceptance crosses over his face. He shakes his head and curses under his breath.
He’s just so fucking thirsty…
He unscrews the cap on the water bottle, the smell of STRONK’s steroid-infused piss stinging his nostrils, gagging him.
Greene: I want you to know I love you, big man, but right here, right now, I fucking hate you.
His head tilts back. The water bottle goes up and inverts as he presses the opening to his chapped lips, ‘tornado-ing’ the bottle to get the piss to swirl around and shoot straight down his throat as expeditiously as possible.
STRONK: ARE YOU STILL THIRSTY?
The colour drains from Shelley’s face. Every second or two he looks on the verge of spewing his guts. In between dry heaves, he manages to respond.
Greene: I feel fucking sick.
STRONK reaches through the driver’s side window and grabs something from the glove compartment:
A full, unopened bottle of blue Gatorade.
STRONK: YOU SHOULD DRINK THIS THEN.
Greene looks at the Gatorade, then at STRONK. Back to the Gatorade. Then back to STRONK. Over and over and over, again.
He could seriously fucking cry right now.
Greene: Why didn’t—
He looks at Stronk Daddy, who’s completely oblivious to how ill-timed his proffering of the Gatorade is.
Greene: Forget it. Give me that. Fuck my life…
Hours later, just as Shelley Greene was beginning to hallucinate (and not in the way he typically likes to trip), an old grizzled man in a pickup truck happened upon them and offered to give them a lift.
Shelley sits up front next to the driver, while STRONK rides in the flatbed, letting the wind blow through his long black hair, at least the portion that hangs down from his “Dump Truck Specialist” ball cap.
Greene: Thanks again for stopping, Jim. I thought we were goners back there.
The old man nods his head. He knows this area well and understands how dangerous being stuck outside without shelter or water can be. In fact, he lost a brother to the Arizona desert. His brother’s still alive, but his brain got fried by the sun to the point where he now thinks he’s a cactus.
Jim: Don’t’cha worry, young fella. I geddit. It’s hell on earth ‘round these parts on a hot summer’s day. What brings you and the muscle man to Arizona? You say you’re headed to Tombstone?
Greene: Yeah, the big man is teaming with a friend of his to challenge for the tag team titles. Shit’s real prestigious. They’re actually retiring the current set of straps for an even better set of straps. There are six other men in the match as well, but they all suck. Like, seriously. You’d hate them.
Jim nods, keeping his eyes on the road ahead.
Jim: Ahyuuup. That sounds like it’s gonna be a big ‘un. I haven’t watched a wrestling match since Big Ernie Steele fought Homeless Gord Fetterman to a six-hour draw in a cornfield down Mississippi way.
Greene: Well, hopefully our match doesn’t go quite as long as that… Stronk Daddy back there is built for the sprint, not the marathon.
In the flatbed of the truck, STRONK surveys his surroundings as they whiz on by. At some point, his newly acquired “Dump Truck Specialist” ball cap goes flying off his head, lost forever. He frowns.
Now how will people know he specializes in dump trucks (which is apparently code for the human female butt)?
Off in the distance he spies are large, lumpy tree, and for some reason thinks of Robernette Carey. He sees a small, likely rabid dog humping it, and thinks of Conor Fuse. He’s never wanted to pummel a puppy into a fine dust before, but he does right now.
Jim: Ahyuuup. Why don’t I drive yas all the way to Tombstone? Maybe you can get me a ticket or something?
Greene: Absolutely. That sounds like a fair trade.
As Shelley says this, he knows he has no intention of following through on his end of the deal. Screw this pickup truck driving imbecile. They’ll ghost him the second the truck rolls to a full stop.
STRONK IS IN A PLACE CALLED TOMBSTONE.
IT IS VERY HOT AND STRONK’S ASS IS VERY SWEATY.
STRONK HAS BEEN USING SHELLEY’S SOCKS TO SOAK UP THE SWEAT. STRONK HAS NOT INFORMED SHELLEY OF THIS AND SHELLEY JUST SAID THAT HIS FEET SMELL FUNNY BUT THERE IS NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT IT.
DEAD OR ALIVE IS ALMOST HERE AND JACE PARKER DAVIDSON AND STRONK WILL FIGHT SIX OTHER HUMANS IN A TOWN THAT LOOKS LIKE A MOVIE THAT PLAYED ON TV ONCE UPON A TIME.
STRONK DID NOT WIN HIS TAG TEAM MATCH AGAINST XANDER AZULA AND BRIAN HOLLYWOOD BECAUSE FLAG MAN WAS NOT THERE BECAUSE HE WAS BEING BEATEN UP BY THE TERRIBLE STEVE SOLEX.
STRONK FAILED TO WIN THE MATCH AND STRONK FAILED TO PROTECT FLAG MAN. NEITHER OF THOSE THINGS ARE GOOD.
STRONK HAS NOT BEEN HAPPY. STRONK FEELS BAD BECAUSE STRONK LET DOWN PAPA BEST. STRONK CAN MAKE IT UP TO HIM BY BRINGING THE HOTv TAG TEAM TITLES HOME TO THE BOARD. AND SO STRONK AND JACE PARKER DAVIDSON WILL DO THAT. IT MUST BE DONE.
BUT IT WILL NOT BE EASY FOR STRONK AND JACE PARKER DAVIDSON.
ROBERNETTE IS TEAMING WITH CONOR FUSE WHO STRONK DISLIKES VERY MUCH. MAYBE MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE EXCEPT CHRIS KOSTOFF. ROBERNETTE GAVE STRONK HALF A COW BUT HAS NOT SPOKEN TO STRONK SINCE AND THAT MEANS SHE IS MAD AT STRONK. CONOR FUSE MAY BE TO BLAME OR IT COULD BE THAT STRONK DID SOMETHING TO MAKE HER MAD. STRONK HAS A HARD TIME REMEMBERING THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN THE PAST AND SO MAYBE STRONK DID SOMETHING BAD. STRONK DOES NOT KNOW AND THAT IS THE WORST PART.
JACE PARKER DAVIDSON IS A GREAT TAG TEAM PARTNER. HE TOOK THE LSD TITLE BACK FROM THE BIRD MAN AND STRONK IS HAPPY FOR HIM BUT STRONK ALSO WISHES STRONK WAS STILL CHAMPION.
JACE PARKER DAVIDSON AND SHELLEY GREENE HAVE TOLD STRONK HOW HORRIBLE AND BAD ROBERNETTE IS. THEY SAY SHE WANTS TO DESTROY STRONK AND THEN HAVE DIRTY SEX WITH CONOR FUSE WHILE STRONK IS TIED TO THE ROPES AND STRONK CAN SEE AND SMELL EVERYTHING AS IT HAPPENS. THIS MAKES STRONK VERY UPSET. CONOR FUSE CANNOT HANDLE A HUMAN WOMAN LIKE ROBERNETTE. SHE WILL BREAK HIM IN HALF AND THAT WILL BE THE END OF CONOR FUSE. SO STRONK WONDERS WHY STRONK CARES SO MUCH. STRONK CRUSHES EVERYONE AND IS VERY GOOD AT CRUSHING EVERYONE BUT STRONK DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME DESIRE TO CRUSH ROBERNETTE.
THIS IS A VERY CONFUSING TIME FOR STRONK.
AT LEAST STRONK HAS JACE PARKER DAVIDSON. ALSO SHELLEY GREENE BUT THAT IS NOT AS GOOD AS JACE PARKER DAVIDSON BECAUSE SHELLEY SUCKS AT MOST THINGS EXCEPT COOKING AND BUYING PLANE TICKETS AND REMEMBERING TO PAY TO KEEP THE LIGHTS ON.
JOE BERGMAN AND STEVE HARRISON ARE ALSO IN THE MATCH AND ARE THE CHAMPIONS. STRONK DOES NOT CARE ABOUT JOE BERGMAN BUT QUIETLY HATES STEVE HARRISON BECAUSE STEVE HARRISON IS TRYING TO MAKE STRONK NOT THE NUMBER-ONE RANKED HUMAN.
STRONK WANTS TO CRUNCH STEVE HARRISON’S BODY AND RUIN HIS INSIDE MUSCLES AND HOPEFULLY HIS THINKING MUSCLES TOO AND LEAVE NO DOUBT THAT STRONK IS THE GREATEST AND MOST DOMINANT MAN IN H-O-W NOT INCLUDING FLAG MAN.
MONGO THE BULL HAS ARRIVED IN TOMBSTONE AS WELL AND MONGO IS ROAD-WEARY AND ANGRY BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN UNDERFED DURING HIS JOURNEY. STRONK WILL RIDE MONGO TO THE RING ON SUNDAY AND HOPEFULLY MONGO DOES NOT GO CRAZY AND MURDER THE FANS AND ANYONE ELSE BESIDES CONOR FUSE AND MAYBE STEVE HARRISON. STRONK DOES NOT WISH FOR MONGO TO GORE AND RIP APART XANDER AZULA AND BRIAN HOLLYWOOD BUT IF MONGO DOES DO THAT NO ONE WILL CARE. SHELLEY BOUGHT STRONK WHAT IS CALLED A SADDLE FOR MONGO BUT STRONK WILL NOT USE IT BECAUSE MONGO WILL BE PISSED. STRONK WILL RIDE MONGO BARE THE WAY IT WAS MEANT TO BE.
ALSO STRONK JUST FOUND OUT THAT STRONK AND JACE PARKER DAVIDSON NEED TO GO AND GET THE BELTS FROM SOME UP-HIGH PLACE. STRONK CANNOT SIMPLY USE THE LOOP HOLD TO MAKE HIS OPPONENTS BE NOT AWAKE BUT ALSO NOT FULLY DEAD SO THAT WILL REQUIRE WHAT STRONK HAS LEARNED IS CALLED AN ADJUSTMENT.
STRONKUMMS WILL BE EATEN BY THE POUND AND PROTEIN SHAKE WILL BE DRANK FROM FANCY GLASSES AND PAPA BEST WILL BE THERE FOR THE CELEBRATION AND HE WILL SAY GOOD JOB TO STRONK AND JACE PARKER DAVIDSON.
STRONK’S FRIENDS WILL ALL WIN AT DEAD OR ALIVE AND THEN THINGS WILL BE NOT TERRIBLE OR CONFUSING FOR STRONK ANYMORE.
AND THAT IS GOOD BECAUSE THINGS BEING TERRIBLE AND CONFUSING IS REALLY TERRIBLE AND CONFUSING TO STRONK.
STRONK MUST GO FEED MONGO NOW AND CHANGE BUTT-SOCKS AND THEN RIDE MONGO AROUND TO TIRE HIM OUT SO HE DOES NOT EAT A SMALL HUMAN CHILD. SHELLEY TOLD STRONK THAT IF MONGO EATS A SMALL HUMAN CHILD PEOPLE WILL BE UPSET AND MONGO COULD BE MURDERED.
A cheap wooden table sits erected in the middle of a small patch of grass. The sun’s just dipping down over the horizon. STRONK, Shelley Greene, and Jace Parker Davidson sit at the table.
Shelley wears a poorly fitted suit he bought at a thrift store; Jace, his usual garb along with a somewhat ironic tuxedo tee shirt; and Godson, nothing but his worn-out camo fight shorts and a bow tie around his neck. They are having a business dinner—a meeting of the STRONKUMMS executive team and future HOTv Tag Team Champions—in advance of Sunday’s Dead Or Alive event.
MONGO THE BULL stands at the table, as well, every so often letting out a violent huff of air from his nose. His blood-red eyes are fixed on Shelley Greene—they’ve not left his torso, where the vital organs are, since they sat down.
Greene: Can I ask why I’m the only one here being served STRONKUMMS?
STRONK looks down at his plate: a delicious, 64 oz steak, catered by a small restaurant Shelley found nearby. On Jace’s plate is a smaller but equally delicious-looking ribeye and baked potato.
Shelley stares at the… thing… in front of him, fearful that if he cuts into it too hastily some putrid juice might shoot up and hit him in the eye, rendering him permanently blind and potentially infirm.
Jace: STRONK and I have literally eaten what is considered to be the maximum amount of STRONKUMMS recommended for human consumption. We’ve got all the nutritional benefits from it we need. Got to let our bodies reset before we can indulge in our own delectable product. You, however, still ain’t tasted it.
Shelley is incredulous. He likes Jace, but he doesn’t buy his bullshit.
Greene: That’s funny, Jace. I don’t recall you ever having eaten a STRONKUMM.
Jace: I eat ‘em all the time, what’re you on about? I fucking eat ‘em for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sometimes I blend one up with my pre-workout before I head to the gym.
STRONK: THAT IS VERY SMART JACE PARKER DAVIDSON. YOU LOVE STRONKUMMS ALMOST AS MUCH AS STRONK DOES.
Jace: More, one could say. I mean, you love STRONKUMMS, but I literally would punch my own mother in the face for one. I love them shits, baby.
STRONK: STRONK’S MOTHER IS DEAD.
Jace: And may she rest in peace.
Jace’s cell phone suddenly rings beside him. He looks down at the number on the screen and picks it up.
Jace: Gents, I’ve gotta take this. Sorry. I’ll be back.
Jace sees Shelley side-eying his ribeye.
Jace: I’ll be back for that. You eat your STRONKUMM—it’ll put some hair on that chest of yours, kiddo.
After JPD turns and walks off, Shelley looks over at STRONK, who’s busy stuffing chunk after chunk of barely cooked beef into his maw. He gulps it down like a duck, hardly chewing. Shelley picks up a stemless wine glass filled with a decent (at best) merlot.
Greene: To us—the greatest duo the wrestling world has ever seen!
Stronk Daddy swallows a mouthful of food.
STRONK: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
Greene: It’s called a toast, big man. We clink glasses in acknowledgement of what we’ve accomplished together and the successes we’ve shared.
STRONK: STRONK THINKS JACE PARKER DAVIDSON SHOULD BE HERE FOR THIS “TOAST.”
Greene: We’ll do another one when he gets back, for fuck’s sake. Just clink glasses with me. It’s bad juju if you don’t.
STRONK doesn’t know what “juju” is, but picks up the wine glass next to his gigantic plate—his glass filled with protein shake (since he doesn’t drink alcohol). His arm extends like a rattlesnake snapping toward its prey, and the two wine glasses collide and shatter upon impact.
Stronk Daddy, unperturbed, tosses his broken glass aside, and picks up a shaker cup with more protein shake in it. Shelley, meanwhile, is left picking broken shards of glass from his STRONKUMM.
Greene: You know, I thought travelling to the Ukraine was bad, but I really fucking hate Arizona. Why can’t Lee host a sci-fi-themed pay-per-view? Who the fuck likes westerns anymore?
Godson pauses, looking out over the town. Shelley wanted to have dinner directly in the town where Dead Or Alive will take place in order to help orient STRONK and JPD to where they’ll do battle on Sunday. STRONK doesn’t know what Shelley means by “sci-fi” but assumes it’s nerd shit.
Truthfully, STRONK likes the vibe of the town. There’s no blinking lights. No loud noises. It’s relatively peaceful at this time of night.
STRONK looks down at his plate—licked clean. He throws the plate aside and stands up.
STRONK: MONGO. LET’S RIDE.
With that, STRONK vaults onto the monstrous bull’s back. The bull kicks up it’s front legs, narrowly missing Shelley’s head, then turns and gallops off into the distance.