Interview With A Hero

Cover guy ROLPH STENGUN speaks EXCLUSIVELY to EVIL MAGAZINE on his glamorous movie star lifestyle, his career switch to real life action hero and what it’s like being an arch nemesis to Dexter Snide and the rest of the EVIL UNLTD (TM) gang.

Heroes need villains, to test their courage, and to throw down challenge after challenge in their path that they can overcome and emerge triumphant at the end of their ordeal. Villains, on the other hand, need heroes like a hole in the head. But where there are villains there will surely be heroes, and one such hole in the head is Rolph Stengun.

Dubbed the Muscles from Nova Stockholm by the media and often referred to as ‘you bastard’ by the likes of Dexter Snide, Stengun who is unfeasibly large and blond has also been described as a stereotypical Swede. Although Snide has been quick to point out that nobody has ever clarified as to whether they mean the nationality or the vegetable.

This might be considered unflattering by some, but Stengun takes it all in his stride, which is considerable, and any that’s left over he takes on the chin, which is also formidable. He could also if required take it in the pecs, the abs or indeed on any other part of his body which is, well, you get the picture. He carries himself as a man who’s more than simply comfortable with his body image – he’s proud of it and prepared to show it off at every opportunity. Something this reporter wishes he had been warned about prior to conducting the interview.

It’s Stengun who fires the first salvo in our conversation.

RS: Am I making you nervous? Ha ha! I have that effect on a lot of people. You would prefer I just go topless?

EM: If you don’t mind.

He obligingly slips on some speedos. For some reason I can’t help thinking of the Battle of the Bulge and wishing I was a war correspondent.

RS: Okay. I didn’t realise this was going to be so formal. So. Shoot. (Makes a pistol out of his hand.) Ha. Not really. Ask your questions.

EM: Right, so, what’s it like being an archnemesis?

RS: Is that what I am?

EM: To the villains, yes.

RS: Wait. I was told this interview was about me.

He looks at me like he’s deciding whether to call his agent or pull an automatic.

EM: It is, it’s just – well, let me put it this way, you’re a hero. An action hero. And obviously that makes you a nemesis to villains. Which is a good thing. So all I’m asking really is, well, what’s that like?

RS: It’s okay. It’s what I do.

I feel like I’m not quite getting through.

EM: Well, isn’t it exciting? A thrill? I mean, the constant danger, the –

RS: There is no danger. (points at his chest) I am the constant danger. Other heroes, they may get scared. They might wet their pants. But look at mine, do you see any damp patches? Do you?

It is beyond my humble writing abilities to convey my discomfort at this juncture.

EM: Um, uh, the thing is, that’s not what I –

RS: Other heroes these days, they are all kitty cats.

EM: Excuse me?

RS: Kitties. Cats. You know.

Realisation dawns.

EM: Oh. You mean pussies?

RS: I am allowed to say that in this publication? Okay. But anyway, they are soft and weak. Too many see violence as a last resort.

EM: And you don’t?

RS: Make violence your first resort, what other resorts do you need?

EM: You don’t believe in compassion then?

RS: Unless it is a make of very large gun? No, I didn’t think so. If more heroes were prepared to use violence there would be less villains. It is simple maths.

At this point I am tempted to put Stengun’s mathematical ability to the test, but I look down and notice ‘maths’ is on the list of proscribed topics for the interview. Quite near the top.

EM: But surely you agree, a hero needs some measure of compassion as part of his or her motivation? In order to care about the people he or she saves?

RS: First of all, Mr Clever Clogs, a hero is a man. There is no he and she with heroes. The female is a heroine and her job is different. Second of all, the only motivation a hero needs is to know what is right and wrong and which one to wipe out. Villains are scum – like that scum you get around the toilet bowl, okay?

EM: Er, limescale?

RS: Right. Limescale. And nobody wants that.

EM: So you see yourself as a, er, toilet cleaner

RS: Yes. But not one of those weak-butt products that make all these claims but do not shift a thing. No. I am more like one of those really powerful detergents. Like that one with the bird neck.

EM: Toilet duck?

RS: Yes. The duck. That gets under the rim. I am very thorough. I kill a hundred percent of all known germs.

EM: Fair enough. Since we’re on the subject of cleaning products, what do you say to those who have suggested you are ‘a bit OCD?’

RS: (Laughs) Well, I am an optically recognisable character, so yes, I guess they can say that.

EM: (Laughs politely) Um, yes, it actually refers to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

At this point Mr Stengun frowns. This goes on for some time.

RS: They say I am ‘a bit Obsessive Compulsive Disorder’? That does not make any sense. These people have grammatical problems. But listen, I tell you what, between you and me, I am obsessive and compulsive – but about order, not disorder. You know, doing all my own stunts in the movies taught me a lot about health and safety. And long after the production crew had gone home I would be busy cleaning up after the filming. Sugar glass everywhere and they use petroleum in a lot of those explosions. It can get very messy.

EM: Yes, I gather you earned yourself quite a reputation on set. There were rumours that it had something to do with your decision to quit, uh, acting and apply the skills you’d learned to heroic deeds in the real universe.

RS: What? Who told you that? No. That was a decision I came to myself over the course of many years.

EM: Goodness, it sounds like you really struggled with the pros and cons

RS: Not really. Decisions just take that kind of time.

I smile.

EM: And now you just struggle with the cons.

RS: No. What have I said? Some of the villains put up a fight but the struggle is always over very quickly.

EM: Forgive me for saying so, but you make the life of an action hero sound very, well, dull.

RS: No, there is a lot of job satisfaction. And the firepower is great.

For a moment he smiles like he’s imagining guns had breasts. Then I realise that this man would probably dispense with the breasts in favour of a couple of extra mags of HEAP rounds. He returns from this momentary dream-like state to become suddenly uber-serious.

RS: But I am responsible. I do not want to lead young people into a dangerous profession.

EM: But you said there was no danger.

RS: To me. Young people would be pussies. What? Don’t look at me like that. You said I could say that. Pussies.

EM: Yes, I only wonder if you’re being a little unfair. I mean, some youngsters might have what it takes, mightn’t they? So what would you say to those who did perhaps fancy a career as an action hero?

RS: Maybe if they tried out a few violent video games first. See how they go.

There is a pause as I wonder how on earth to wind up this interview.

EM: Right, so, maybe we can go back to my original question. Can you give us some idea of what it’s it like being an archnemesis?

There is another pause as he gives the matter much thought.

RS: Well, I suppose it is like being an ordinary nemesis but you bend over backwards to defeat the villains.

I am struck with the impression that perhaps this man is smarter than he appears on the surface. I decide to compliment him on his good humour.

EM: That’s not bad.

RS: What is?

EM: Your joke. You made a good joke.

RS: I did?

Rolph Stengun. QED.

 


SAF 2009

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