The Staring Contest by Nicholas Solis
Maybe they can master the dreaded “criss-cross”? Or how about beadily staring “all…day…LONG!” Go ahead, take a breath—you’ll need it. Remember, no cheating and no tricks—you’ll have to win this contest fair and square. Burning eyes, bathroom breaks, itchy eyelids, or getting tired are no excuses! The staring-contest champion challenges “you” to take the dare—who will win the no-blink throwdown? Solis’ metafictive game of chicken scorns all thought of surrender. Drawing on a generous supply of bravado, the pretentious protagonist pulls no punches. Even in defeat, the relentless eyes make it a best two out of three. With nothing more than stark white backgrounds, bold black circles with one black dot apiece within them, and two scraggily black lines, defiance blazes forth from the pages. The scribbles transform into acrobatic eyebrows. The black circles collapse, elongate, and dance asymmetrically across an invisible face. The black dots, corralled by relentless rings of stygian darkness, seem to be able to move freely, independent of each other.