Today is the big day I prove to everyone down by the pond that I’m tough enough to be here, and you know what that means: challenging the toughest guy at the pond to a staring contest. The toughest guy at the pond is the Sun.

 

Competition is about intimidation. I walk out having drank 63 oz of pond water and I’m pissing wildly in every direction, but with nearly no force. I can only maintain the pee for thirty minutes, so I rip off my shades and stare directly into the Sun. It bursts into flames. Nice, a point for me. I burst into flames. We’ll count that as a point for me as well. 

 

Halfway through the contest I realize I’m getting a phone call. Halfway through the phone call I realize it’s the sound of the flames, and that I should cool down if I’m to continue staring into the Sun. I try distraction and blow a kiss towards the Sun. He doesn’t blink, but the pond people go wild. For those keeping score, it’s seventeen-to-one in my favor. Match point. 

 

All the pond people gather around and take sides. Pond Henry and Pond Leah start filling their goodie bags with tiger lillies. They’re backing me. All of the Pond Vietnamese monks begin lighting themselves on fire. They’re backing me as well. 

 

After a light eternity, I blink. The Sun blinks. We both go blind. We call it a draw, but the pond people seem to think otherwise. The point system works in reverse so it looks like I’ve ended up with twenty-five bonus points while the Sun has burst into flames.

 

I hear the pond people chanting my name in celebration. It’s uplifting, but would be more so if my name weren’t “Fuck The Sun, Fuck That Damn Sun, Fuck Everyone Who Ever Doubted You, Fuck the Whole System In Fact! Even More So, Fuck God! Fuck All of the Gods! Specifically, Fuck The Sun God! I’m not scared to say it: Fuck God! There! I said it!”

 

It is a very common name by the pond, so they may have been chanting to someone else.