THE RESURRECTION OF RICHARD SANDRAK
(AUTHOR’S NOTE: Many of this Forum’s members will remember former “muscle kid” Richard Sandrak, better known to some as “Little Hercules.” It is now unfortunately well-known that his father forced the younger Sandrak to become a bodybuilder, even to the point of forcing his son to take steroid injections before he was even old enough to understand their effects upon him. Eventually, his father’s abuse of his wife forced young Richard to turn his father in to the authorities. He was subsequently tried, convicted, and imprisoned on a variety of criminal charges, including both child abuse and domestic violence. Upon completing his sentence, Richard’s father was summarily deported back to his native Russia, and forbidden to ever return to the United States. Today, neither Richard nor his mother have any contact whatever with the man who brutally forced him to “muscle up.” In fact, he has abandoned bodybuilding altogether. Today, he is a stunt double at Universal Studios in Hollywood. This story explores what MIGHT happen if Richard chose, of his own free will, to return to bodybuilding. I hope you find this story—which, let me emphasize, IS FICTION—to be both enjoyable and thought-provoking.)
It had been an unusual day for Richard Sandrak. The 25-year-old stuntman had been called upon to re-visit a world he thought he had left behind forever—the world of bodybuilding. A number of unhappy memories had come flooding back to him as a result of a conversation he had had with one of Universal Studios’ casting directors—memories of steroid injections, forced workouts and dietary regimens, and—worst of all—verbal and physical abuse of his mother by his greedy, ambitious father, to such a point that Richard himself had been forced to call the police and have his father arrested. He had then been tried, convicted, and sentenced to imprisonment on a variety of charges, after which the elder Sandrak had been summarily deported back to his native Russia, and was now forever barred from ever re-turning to America. Needless to say, Richard’s mother had long since divorced her husband. Since his father’s deportation, Richard and his mother had both made a point of cutting off all contact with the man who had put them both through what could only be described as “Hell on Earth.”
Today, however, had been different. On arriving at work for the day, Richard had been called into the office of one of Universal Studios’ most prominent casting directors. Much to his surprise, he had been informed that he was under consideration for a leading role in a new series of motion pictures. While the series was still in the early stages of development, the role would almost certainly require any actor portraying it to have a physique that was well-developed, to say the least. The director explained that Richard had been selected for consideration in view of his past “bodybuilding experience,” as the director had phrased it.
Richard, however, was not interested, and he told the director so in no uncertain terms. In the process, he gave more details about his childhood experiences than he normally would have to a comparative stranger. He then abruptly terminated the interview and went home for the day, trembling in every limb. On reaching his apartment, he slammed the door shut behind him, locked it, then went to his bedroom, and fell to his knees beside his bed, crying hysterically. It was not until over an hour had passed that Richard was finally able to begin to pray about what had happened. He poured out his heart and soul to God, begging Him for guidance and help in making sense of it all, and, more importantly, what to do about it. Then, totally exhausted, both physically and emotionally, he climbed into bed, pulled the cover up to his chin, and fell into a deep, deep sleep.
It was nearly four hours later that Richard finally rose from his bed, largely due to the insistent knocking he heard at his apartment door. When he opened it, a shamefaced casting director stood before him. “I’m sorry, Richard,” he began. “I honestly had no idea that you had been through that kind of abuse when you were growing up. Of course, I would never dream of asking you to go through anything like that again. What I had in mind was more of a natural, drug-free bodybuilding regimen, especially since there are any number of new supplements now on the market for bodybuilders. Even so, if you truly feel that something like this is not for you, we’ll respect your decision.” As Richard sighed with relief, the director put a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Take the rest of the day off,” he advised, “think it over, and you can let us know of your decision when you come back in the morning. We’ll still have plenty of other work you can do, regardless.” Richard nodded his agreement, and the director left to return to his office.
Closing the door, Richard went to his kitchen, where he had a couple of tuna sandwiches and a glass of milk for lunch. As he ate, he carefully considered the director’s words. He had long since forsworn ever using any form of drugs or steroids for athletic purposes again as long as he lived, and he had no intention of changing that decision. Still, the director was right about the availability of new supplements, some of which, Richard knew, had been, and still were, achieving remarkable results for a number of rising young athletes, including several whom he was personally acquainted with. He decided to talk the matter over with some of them, and see what they said, before he made a final decision.
After lunch, Richard drove to a gym he knew was frequented by the young athletes he wanted to talk to. Without exception, they all assured him that there were a number of new supplements now on the market that were capable of helping him build his muscles back up as big as he could possibly want, without requiring the use of steroids. Among the most popular and potent of these were a group of supplements based on a plant with the scientific name of moringa oleifera, said by many nutritionists to be the single most nutrient-rich plant on the planet. The supplements utilizing this species had not been available when Richard was growing up, which was why he had never heard of them before.
The next day, Richard drove back to work as usual. After checking in, he went to the casting director’s office to talk the matter over with him. The director was relieved to see that his young stuntman was in a far better frame of mind than he had been the day before. They discussed his situation and came up with a development plan that suited both of them right down to the ground. Richard would resume his bodybuilding regimen, but this time he would use only the moringa-based supplements he had heard about, which would be obtained for him by the studio. No steroids of any kind would be used. From the very start, Richard would be under the supervision of both a studio doctor and a licensed, certified personal trainer, both of whom would monitor his progress, and would either modify or call a halt to the regimen if either one felt it necessary. For his part, Richard would always retain the absolute right to call off the arrangement if he was not happy with the results. In the meantime, the development of the new series would continue, with Richard being the first on the list of candidates to be considered for a starring role. Until then, he would continue his stunt work, as well as a regular schedule of work-outs both at the studios and at the gym where he had first found out about the supplements. In order to obtain the best possible pricing, Richard would sign up as a distributor for the supplements in question, although the studio would actually pay for them, subject to the manufacturer’s approval.
Once the details had been hammered out to Richard’s satisfaction, a formal contract was prepared be-tween Richard and Universal Studios for the development project. After it had been reviewed and approved by his manager and his lawyers, Richard and the director both signed the contract, and shook hands on the bargain. As Richard left the office, he actually felt himself tingling with excitement at the prospect of “muscling up” again. Unlike his previous bodybuilding experience, however, this time he was in control, rather than his father, and he would decide how big he wanted to get, rather than having his father constantly injecting him with steroids in an effort to accelerate and amplify his muscle growth beyond all reason, thereby risking potentially dangerous side effects that could damage his health for years to come. This time around, he would avoid using steroids or any other form of per-formance-enhancing drugs altogether. Instead, he would make exclusive use of food supplements which were designed and intended to improve his health overall, as well as help his muscles to grow to their fullest natural potential. With a feeling of mastery over his situation such as he had never had before, he headed for the gym to contact the young bodybuilder whom he had first spoken to about the moringa-based supplements and sign up under him to become a distributor. It would be up to the studio to conclude the remaining arrangements.
Once the basic arrangements were firmly in place, Richard set about resuming his bodybuilding career. To his surprise and delight, his body responded to his new regimen with the most explosive muscle growth he had ever dreamed of. As his muscles grew bigger and stronger, Richard’s overall energy level went higher and higher. From the very start, his continuing efforts were recorded on film for use in the projected series, which Richard had readily agreed to. It took only a few weeks for the thick layer of fat he had allowed to accumulate over his muscles to melt away and disappear, leaving behind an increasingly impressive physique which soon progressed to a level that was awe-inspiring. It wasn’t long, in fact, before Richard was actively being urged by his training partners, and even his personal trainers, to at least consider actively competing for any of several different titles. Richard, however, was not entirely enthusiastic about such a scenario, due to the increased prospect of being manipulated into using drugs, to say nothing of the politics involved. He was greatly relieved when, after a frank and honest discussion of the issues involved, they agreed to back off on the idea. The studio made a point of filming these discussions, feeling that the public should be made aware of these issues and the pressures they brought to bear on today’s young bodybuilders. For his part, Richard gladly agreed.
By the time six months had passed, Richard’s muscles had grown so big that his physique was being referred to as “just plain freaky.” The studio felt that he was more than ready to portray the character they had originally had in mind, and so, for that matter, did Richard himself. To his shock and bitter disappointment, however, an internal power struggle at Universal, over which neither Richard nor the director had any control, resulted in the abrupt cancellation of the development project altogether. Angered and embittered by the entire affair, the former “Little Hercules,” now big enough to be referred to as “Ultra-Mega-Maxi-SUPER Hercules,” resigned from Universal altogether, never to return. (By this time, he was earning more from his supplement sales and from personal appearances than he ever had at Universal anyway.)
With his career as a stuntman now behind him, Richard concentrated his efforts on building up his supplement business and his physique. His muscles continued to grow bigger and bigger and bigger. In fact, his muscles grew bigger and faster now than they ever had before—and he actually loved it! One major reason was that he was now in full control of his career and his destiny, instead of his father or the studio dictating what he should do. As his muscles and his income continued to grow, Richard began dressing in outfits that were increasingly lavish. He subsequently bought his own gym, and a horse ranch as well, where, with the aid of qualified instructors, he taught young boys and girls, especially from underprivileged or abusive backgrounds, how to make use of bodybuilding to rebuild and reshape their destinies. In connection with his efforts, both Richard and his mother both participated in abuse counseling, as he was determined never to follow in his sire’s abusive footsteps.
To top it all off, and to his great joy, Richard met, and later married, an extreme femuscle lady whose ideals and principles were identical to his own. Now entering his 30’s, Richard Sandrak was finally able to look forward to a happy and fulfilling life.