In June 2017, The Citron Review published my account of a bar fight, from the perspective of someone waiting for the first punch to be thrown. Reprinted for you now:
How To Blink
by DL Shirey
I’m nose to nose with a guy who has a neck tattoo. It wouldn’t be fair to let you imagine some seedy joint filled with bikers and angry drunks. It’s a spotless cantina in a Mexican chain restaurant and the tattoo in question is that of a cartoon duck. Even though my opponent and his posse look like they walked out of an algebra class, looks can be deceiving.
Be he mathlete or meth-head, I never start the fight. I look into my opponent’s eyes and concentrate on blinking normally. That and not being the first to talk. If Donald Duck, here, speaks before throwing-down, chances are he’s looking for an out. I am happy to de-escalate, welcome it, actually. However, I am always prepared to counter.