It has finally happened. Judgement day has arrived for you as an eleven-year old on the school playground. Today, surrounded by a circle of peers, your worst dream has come true.
You have just been the recipient of none other than The Gosh-Awful, Horrifying, Hateful, Make Your Hair Stand on End, Cursed, Detestable, Life Threatening, Triple Dog Dare.
The class bully has demanded that you approach the new girl in the 8th grade, and kiss her. The clincher? Her boyfriend is a 240-lb. linebacker for the football team. Your heart beats like an abused bass drum, and your mouth has suddenly turned into the Sahara Desert.
Options are quickly considered and discarded. Turn tail and run home to your Mother? Inwardly shuddering, you see yourself crossing the stage 7 years later to receive your diploma with cries of “Mama’s Boy!” ringing in your ears.
Sliding a glance at the playground monitor, you wonder if you could make it to his side before the pack brings you down. Mocking cries of “Tattletale!” reverberate through your mind.” Ugh. Definitely, second grade.
Is it possible to puff out your chest and call his bluff? Risking a quick glance into your antagonist’s eyes, you see a gleam of madness. Bluff him? No way. He looks like he wrestles alligators after school just for the fun of it.
It seems there is nothing humanly possible left for you to do, but to agree to the challenge. Taking a deep breath for courage, you try to keep your voice from quivering and cracking as you state with false bravado that you accept the dare.
As you slowly turn to walk across the playground, you begin to consider what the results could be. Number one, you could attempt the dare, and fail miserably, in which case you might be in for a lengthy hospital stay.
Number two, you succeed, thereby winning the undying love of the little red headed girl that previously has not given you the time of day. As an added bonus, you prove your opponent less intelligent than the science room mascot, the common garden slug.
The warmth generated by this blissful image suddenly dissipates, and in its place, you are standing before a headstone. You risk a quick peek, only to find yourself gasping aloud in horror. The chiseled letters and numbers spell out your name, and today’s date.
Scenes from your short life pass before your eyes. Your dog, Max and you, playing Frisbee at the park. Ghost stories told with your best friends around a campfire in the back yard. Riding the roller coaster at Kings Island, and screaming your head off. No. Do not think about screams. You may be screaming in pain before too long.
As your mental bubble bursts upon that last thought, you find yourself standing before the new girl and her burly boyfriend. “Yeah? What do you want, punk?” the behemoth snarls at you, as he lowers his massive head within 2 inches of your face.
Recoiling in horror at his onion-laden breath, you realize that you are totally insane. Nothing could be worth being mauled by this killer. Not even the admiration of the little red headed girl. Yet, with this sudden knowledge of temporary insanity, you also become flushed with an exhilarating sense of freedom. “What the hey! No one lives forever.” Buoyed by this streak of unimaginable courage you never knew you possessed, you move in for the kill.
With a mighty right handed swing in the boyfriend’s direction, you connect with flesh! POW! Right in the kisser! As you throw a victorious look over your shoulder at your nemesis, you grab the girl, pucker up, and give her the wettest, sloppiest kiss you can imagine.
UGH! Talk about halitosis! You just thought her boyfriend’s breath was bad! And Hairy! “Good grief, does this chick EVER shave?" you think crazily to yourself.
"Oh no, she must like it, she’s LICKING ME in the ear! Back off!” you scream in disgust.
Scrambling from her clutches, you suddenly find yourself sitting on the floor by your bed. Standing over top of you, wearing a stupid grin, is your dog Max. As the boyfriend’s shrieks dissolve into your alarm clock’s buzzer, you realize that you have survived. It was all just a dream.
Pulling yourself up onto the edge of the bed, you sigh in relief, then quickly stiffen in fear. It was all just a dream, but what if the dream was prophetic?