SIMPLY unable to resist a ‘stare dare’ challenge, or on occasion initiating one himself, Lorne always kept an eye out, while walking around town, for the rare guy with that particular appearance which screamed out the Hollywood cliché, machismo motto, “make my day.” Furthermore, Lorne did so regardless of knowing that practicing such a habitual, dangerous, foolhardy game would eventually, perhaps even imminently, get him or the other guy severely injured or killed, all for his dose of adrenalin rush to which he was accustomed to receiving from such stare dares. But there was no sure way of knowing in advance if the potential stare dare challenge walking towards him would be his last—only after the dare had been initiated and carried out to its conclusion, whatever it may include.
Lorne felt that reacting to a stare dare involved common sense and was straightforward enough using man’s naturally built-in ‘tough guy’ instincts. To avoid inadvertently initiating a stare dare also involved common sense yet there still was the one rule typically easily understood.
Although it all could still result in one guy nursing a bruised ego and/or eye if (even well intentioned) conduct is misconstrued, quite simply if two guys approaching each other, say, on a city sidewalk, are destined to imminently pass right by one another (with a typical couple of feet in between them), the guy who supposedly just intended to glance towards the other guy however catches the guy already staring at him, the latter is to be allowed to stare back until the other guy looks away.
But Lorne often didn’t play by the rule, and he wouldn’t feel any more compelled to do so had it been written in a large, hardbound book available to read at any bookstore and public library. In fact, he would often initiate a stare dare, then he’d audaciously maintain his glare at the other guy (who, by the rule, had the ‘right of way’ to stare back and maintain such until the initiator himself looked away). As the guy would briefly glance at Lorne, who was still staring at him, and felt intimidated into avoiding a verbal, perhaps followed by a physical, confrontation, the guy would then look away as the two passed each other—all occurring just before Lorne, as a finale, turned his head and continued eyeing the guy, just for good measure.
All of Lorne’s friends and worried family members could clearly see that he was really pushing his luck by recklessly stare dare challenging big guys through his blatant breaking of the rule—very dangerous behavior, especially given his extreme nearsightedness, which is crippling without his expensive glasses. For, someday, the other guy may simultaneously brazenly break the rule, or simply respond in kind to Lorne’s open contempt for his targets’ own sense of self-esteem. As luck would have it, Lorne came upon just such a match while spending an afternoon downtown.
ONE can conceivably consider such a potentially precarious situation as ‘the perfect storm,’ this case being that in which two anomalous yet equally intense conditions (i.e. two guys who are very angry over unjust treatment) collide together at a crossing in a very bad point in space-time.
To avoid confusion, for many years Lorne was aware that his hazardous anti-social behavior was the result of the Rubic’s Cube sized chip on his shoulder, with itself being directly linked to his compulsion to over-compensate—i.e. aggressiveness, plus interest—for the large quantity of bullying that he barely endured in his youth. Even worse, if Lorne happened to also be in a bad mood on the same day that he initiated a stare dare challenge, he allowed his bad mood to considerably exacerbate the confrontational situation—all regardless of knowing that such a dish as the stare dare challenge was one best served cold.
On this one ‘bad day,’ Lorne strongly felt that he was unjustly verbally assaulted by an unruly, female fellow bus passenger; even worse, one against whom he knew that he could not physically retaliate, for it was against his congenital nature to ‘hit a girl.’ Indeed, Lorne, especially as a boy, was always the kind to take fisticuffs from the girls, doing naught but his best to manoeuver around or deflect their swings.
Thus, that afternoon, Lorne was left with only burning bitterness and frustration.
The other, significant condition was the approaching guy who was slightly larger than Lorne in all three dimensions, though his size didn’t act as a ‘fear factor’ problem for Lorne, who simply psychologically compensated for the guy’s extra size by setting his ‘efforts meter mark’ a bit higher. Inside the fast approaching guy’s mind was an infestation of fury over a cheating common-law wife, who also took him for virtually everything he had, including every penny that he put towards their joint bank account.
Hence, he was stuck in an enraged state of mind and more than willing to teach a good lesson to the next guy who just looked at him sideways—or atypically of the societal norm of a quick glance before returning to looking straight ahead.
With only a few meters away from passing right by each other, Lorne—once again willing to break the stare dare rule thus pushing the envelope of his luck—initiated a stare dare challenge with the other guy, who quickly noticed Lorne’s unwarranted glare and in just turn connected his glare with Lorne’s.
Although the game rule dictated that the onus is on Lorne to look away, both he and the other guy instead turned their heads to maintain the glare lock for as long as possible.
The other guy stopped while still staring at Lorne, then rhetorically asked agitatedly, “Do you have a problem, pal?”
“Yeah, I do,” Lorne replied, also agitatedly, as he always responded in such scenarios. “You’re staring.”
“You stared first, pal, and kept on staring,” the guy explained before stating his ultimatum. “So, either you walk away with your tail between your legs, or I bust your head.”
With the irony of his naked aggression and the crucifix’s intended symbolism of Christ-like sacrifice, compassion and pacifism apparently lost on him, Lorne grinned as he lifted his silver necklace and crucifix trinket and dropped them down the inside of his T-shirt just before doing his own explaining.
“You see, I need my specs to see the location of your face if I’m to beat it in; so, if you break them, I’m going to take out your two, upper front teeth with my ‘knuckle buster’ in recompense. I refer to it as ‘the break-even effect’.” Lorne, meanwhile, twisted from side to side a large chunk of silver ring on his forefinger; it indeed could easily enough break teeth, assuming it landed straight-on and hard enough. “Again, just so you’re clearly informed, I will not knock out your two front teeth, since they can be reinserted by any competent dentist; rather I’ll break each of the two, leaving their crooked stubs unbearably sensitive, thus you in great pain until they can be expensively capped.”
“Hey, dittos on that, pal,” the other guy responded to Lorne’s bold threat with his own smirk and twists of his gold ring, albeit clearly not as large as Lorne’s.
“Just so you’re clear, first I’m going to bust your ‘specs,’ then your two front teeth, then lastly your head.”
The guy then stepped up so close to Lorne, their faces were but five inches apart.
“It’s your move,” the guy informed Lorne, who fired back even more forcefully, “I never play white and move first. In a psychological sense, I perform far better when I play black and react.”
Each stared hard into the other’s eyes for about fifteen seconds before Lorne’s opponent chanced “playing white.” Giving Lorne a firm shove to his chest, causing him to slightly stumble backwards, Lorne quickly regained his footing position and returned the initiating assault, plus some interest.
And that was it.
Throwing a lightning headlock onto Lorne, the guy knocked his glasses a half-dozen feet to where stood gawking bystanders, which consisted of both the bloodthirsty and the bewildered. Exacerbating Lorne’s fast-paced losing status were the guy’s four blows to Lorne’s face, one of which would leave Lorne with a day-after shiner.
But that was when the winning/losing status briefly changed as do so many such fights go, for Lorne ‘saw red’—not red as in blood (not quite yet, anyway), but red as in his own blind rage. He so very suddenly forced his own head out of the guy’s oppressive arm wrap, the guy barely blinked before finding his head held down firmly in a damaging position. With the guy’s head held tight by the hair within Lorne’s unrelenting grasp and having received a steady lightening succession of seven uppercuts, all was halted by a couple of large-guerrilla Good Samaritans. Indeed, their intervention spared Lorne’s brief nemesis from receiving—besides his bloodied nose, a split lip and facial lacerations (the latter mostly due to Lorne’s huge ring—a further hammering to his entire head, accompanied by the bouncing about within his skull of his brain.
“Mind your own business, you fucking assholes!” Lorne, breathing a bit heavy, blared at the self-anointed referees, before he again bellowed, “Are you only going to stick your big noses in the ring when I’m on top with the advantage?!”
“Hey—enough’s enough,” insisted one Samaritan, holding out to Lorne his glasses, intact. “You’ve bloodied him up. What more do you feel the need to prove?”
“Well, he moved first—he shoved me!” Lorne retorted. “The next move, and maybe even the last move, is therefore rightfully mine.”
The Samaritan then went silent for a few seconds while looking down at Lorne’s T-shirt, precisely where his crucifix-trinket necklace was hanging just minutes prior.
“I noticed you hiding your ‘Christianity’ under your shirt when … ”
“I’m not ‘hiding’ it,” Lorne interrupted. “I put it there so it wouldn’t get snapped off my neck. It’s too expensive for me to fix every time I get into … whatever.”
“But why do you even wear it? You’re obviously not a follower of Christ’s teachings, especially the true pacifism.”
“I wear it first and foremost as jewelry and, secondly, as a symbol of what I’d attempt to be, had I it in me what one needs to even bother trying.”
And that was definitely one of those times that Lorne was a million miles away from being Christ-like, a great state of real humane being that the silver trinkets typically signified.
Although he insidiously motioned via his body language that he was calming down, Lorne instead leapt at the already injured guy, who was busy wiping the drying blood from his face, and sucker punched him into his temple.
However, the guy himself then instantly saw more red than the small stain of dried blood on the back of his hand. He lunged into Lorne’s lower torso, forcing Lorne’s back hard into an adjacent cement-block wall.
Immediately, the guy, armed with his 10K gold ring, powerfully thrust his fist into Lorne’s mouth, which procured a notable crack, with the latter’s head thrown backwards into the cement-block wall.
Both having stopped to catch their breath, Lorne could be seen feeling with his tongue what was left of his left, (upper) front tooth.
“Ooww! Shit !” he pretty much squealed, just before again emphasizing the excruciating hit-a-nerve pain inside his mouth. “Ooww! Fuck me!”
Lorne then felt the stub of his half-tooth with his finger to confirm what he readily expected.
“My tooth’s broken,” he noted the obvious, prior to inadvertently sucking cool air into his mouth, thus again igniting a hit-a-nerve sensation within the broken tooth’s stub like a firecracker. “Oh, fucking Moses!!” he bellowed, placing his hand over his throbbing mouth.
“Fuck this!” declared Lorne, succumbing to his ‘victorious’ foe. “I’m outta here.”
From appearances, Lorne indeed did walk away with his figurative tail between his legs; he was the one whose tooth got knuckle busted.
But I’m gone just for now, he mentally noted. I’ll swallow my pride and not focus on my anger or need for vengeance.
Actually, as it turned out, Lorne henceforth went about making stare dare challenges—or not—strictly according to such dares’ just rule.■
[Frank G Sterle Jr, April 2013]