Triple Dog Dare

3-dogs  My writing critique group just had a holiday contest and potluck, this is my submission below. We all had to write a story about the lighthouse in the picture below and this mystery: Every year on the same night, a light shines from the frozen lighthouse. Our story about this mystery had to use at least 4 of these words: abandoned, compass, flag, reindeer, captain, pickaxe, baked beams. Maximum 400 words or less. AND…the story must have a holiday/this time of year theme. Was tons of fun and I incorporated my favorite Holiday season movie!


My name’s Ralphie and in 1963 I shot my eye out.  Reminiscent of something you’ve seen on TV, you say? No…that wasn’t the truth. Well, the triple dog dare and the flag pole incident was but I swear on my mother’s grave what I’m about to tell you is the cold hard truth.

Every boy schemes to get his hands on one of these beauties: The Holy Grail of Christmas Gifts, the Red Ryder 200 shot air rifle. Every 10 year old boy must survive this rite of passage with full eyesight intact. One thing is certain, that boys’ daydreams and their wild wild ways have remained the same for hundreds of years.


I played it cool with subtle hints for months. Ads left lying around for my unsuspecting parents to stumble upon backed with a plea to the almighty Santa and, eventually, directly to my parents.

The same classic mantra followed, echoed throughout the world by hundreds of mothers, “No, You’ll shoot your eye out. BB guns are dangerous.”

“But mommmmmmmm. At least I’m not asking for a pickaxe.” I’d say.

It all started Christmas morning, 1963. I had completely given up on ever seeing a Red Ryder 200 shot air rifle under the tree. But, there it was. I tore through the box and held the rifle like a solemn offering. My eyes glazed over, and before another word was uttered, I grabbed my little brother and flew out the door with rifle in tow.

I hung the target, my hands shaking as I squinted, looking down the nose of the rifle.

“Pffffffffft.” Missed.

“Pfffffffft.” Nailed it. And in that instant, fire seeped into my eye. The bullet had ricocheted off the pole penetrating it’s target, my eye.

I know you’re thinking, but that’s not really what happened. That’s not what happened in the movie.

Our town was Port O’Malley, formerly a small summer fishing resort now in the midst of a second coming from the offshore oil boom that took place along the coast. The abandoned lighthouse, once owned by a captain, a reminder of the prosperous years when the affluent built beach front holiday homes for summer holidays, beckoned delinquents of all ages. That’s where where I went for my first shooting practice.

“Please, for whatever is holy, for all the life I have left in me, please don’t let my parents find out.”

And in that moment, the once dormant light shone and my eyesight returned.

Now, every morning, on Christmas, the light shines. It shines for the eyesight of every 10 year old boy, who, on this day, have had the unfortunate incident of shooting their eye out.



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