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Saber Skills: Finding Peace Through Mindless Hacking
There comes a time in the life of every man in which he must soothe some inner urge to commit a random act of violence, regardless of severity. Even the most dedicated of pacifists must compromise their doctrine to bring harm to their fellow man; the spirit of dominance and competition plagues all mankind. Weapons usually assist them in their quest to beat the living crap out of somebody, and in my experience I have found that a lightsaber, an elegant weapon for a more civilized age, does that job without taking a life or provoking a prison sentence. Usually the plastic swords forged by Hasbro serve my purpose well, but the original design brought forth by George Lucas would no doubt provide the ultimate satisfaction. To deal with the dull-witted soul that is my brother, Joshua, I regularly engage in epic lightsaber combat with him. Yet there has been one instance in which our serial bouts of poor swordplay proved itself to be rather dangerous.
I recall it to be a balmy summer day, about late July--perfect fighting weather. Josh and I weren’t doing much around the house, just watching some CSI reruns and consuming massive amounts of junk food. As usual, boredom got the better of us and we ventured our way into the outside world where this unusual thing called sunshine was.
Being eleven years of age, my pursuit of quenching boredom ended up spawning it. I was never an athlete; rather, couch-potato royalty. I have never understood the value of spending hours throwing a ball around and sweating your guts out. But I understand that no attempts to better your physical self will result in premature death; I truly have no interest in that. So, I, against my nature, agreed to play catch with my brother.
The game began blandly, tossing a sphere covered with animal hide back and forth in a primitive manner. After ten minutes or so of said activity, my brother, for some reason, took it upon himself to start throwing the ball like it was his first time. In result, I ended up playing dodge ball.
Not willing to snap just for his paltry amusement, I threw back the ball decently, a true agent of good sportsmanship. This did nothing. The ball was still hurled at me like I was a caribou deserving of Sarah Palin’s buckshot; it sang a deadly song as it whistled centimeters past my leg. However, persevering if only for a little while, I still retained sanity.
“Josh,” I warned, “stop fooling around!”
All I received in response a lopsided grin that spoke volumes. My brother was indeed messing with me and would not quit in the nearby future.
I managed to catch a few of his so called “throws” which stung my hand to the point of numbing, but was still dancing around the yard looking like a drunken fool. I was growing tired, so I held my hand up to pause the game.
I didn’t even get a chance to bend over before all the breath was knocked out of me. I fell to my knees, a fiery ring of pain blossoming in my stomach. A few moments passed where I did nothing but clutch my abdomen, groaning. Eventually, I got up, looked at the ball near me, then to my brother, who was erupting in maniacal fits of laughter.
He found pleasure in my pain; naturally, I objected.
“What the hell, Josh!”
A bigger grin on his part.
At that second, murderous desires awoke within me. I wanted to tear him up into little pieces and donate him to Meow Mix to be baked inside kibble.
“I have every right to punch you right now,” I shrieked, “prepare to die!”
Charging at him like a bull that had its unmentionables shot at with a BB gun, I plowed into him with all my weight. He was a pin knocked flat by a bowling ball; I covered his face with a continuous flurry of punches. After a few good minutes of a sound beating, I regained my mind and climbed off of him.
I stood over him, admiring the decorating I had administered to his face--I didn’t do that bad of a job. His face was a collage of the most beautiful shades of purple.
Josh, being the tank he is, eventually climbed off the ground. But he did something unexpected: he didn’t tackle me. Instead, he just smiled, and dusted himself off. He cracked his knuckles, then: “How barbaric, Nathaniel! Let’s settle this like true gentlemen: with a duel.”
“Sure,” I agreed, “it’s your ass that’s gonna be kicked, not mine.”
Without another word between us we rushed back into the house to retrieve our deadly weapons. I selected an Obi-Wan hilt, which was slim and allowed for a lot of wide sweeping. Mostly it was good for nipping at fingers, which is essential for disarming one’s opponent--thus bringing a duel to an early close. I twirled it wildly around my room for a moment, nearly busting a lamp, then packed it down and attached it to my belt loop. I took a calming breath, then dashed to the backyard.
My brother was waiting for me, his green Skywalker saber held defensively at his side. I drew my sword and thumbed the button. A meter of bright blue--bruised white by previous fights--sprang from the hilt with the help of a few forceful flicks. I pointed my
blade towards him, a beckoning gesture that bid him to fight.
There was only silence as we circled about each other, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Eternities passed by in unbearable seconds; I couldn’t take it. I whipped my saber around my head and aimed a striking blow to his head.
My flesh jiggled on its skeletal frame due to Josh’s abrupt parry of my attack. In an instant, he recovered and began to lash out by biting at my legs. I stumbled back and tried to avoid him, but my shins soon felt his wrath.
I began lunging at him hoping to catch him in the stomach. Yet he treated my attempts of ill-will as they were nothing and returned the favor by driving me back.
Fury rose up within me, making my throat tighten, and I let loose a whooping war cry. Rage consumed me and once again I entered an angry void in which there would be no soon return.
My blue instrument was a blur and inflicted my will upon Josh. I gave him several sharp raps on the arms and whacked him a good one to the head.
I made the mistake of allowing him to recover. One thing about Josh that never ceases to amaze me is his ability to become angrier than I could ever dream of being. I knew that when I saw his face contort into a foul expression that made me shiver that it was time to bail.
A deep growling rumbled behind me as I scampered, and that made me only run the harder. I had a feeling that this wouldn’t end well.
Frantic, I made way to the closest haven of refuge--the shed. I didn’t hide inside it; rather, embracing my inner idiot, I scaled it.
Unfortunately, Josh knew how to climb too.
The battle was now transferred to a rooftop. We kept on fighting, unaware what we were exposing ourselves to, caught up in the action.
Josh was the one with more gumption to fight and needless to say, he gained the upper hand. Before I could even blink, I was at the edge of the roof--a step away from falling.
There was a pause; for the briefest moment we both gained insight into the reality of the situation. That enlightenment was tarnished, however, when I turned into Mr. Hollywood and slipped my foot under Josh’s leg. He fell, fingers brushing the roof, and he met the ground with a sickening thud.
Later that day, I spent the evening in the hospital, where Josh was being fit for a cast; it turned out that he had broken both his arm and collar bone. I received an artistic verbal thrashing from parents, who had deemed it fit for both of us to be grounded. There would be no TV, computer, bike riding or hanging out with friends for six months. In addition to this sentence, all chores were raised to ridiculous proportion--no easy-going summer vacation existed henceforth.
I look back on this duel with extreme regret. I apologized several times to Josh after the incident and as expected he was a bit cold on the matter. Months would pass, life would go on as usual, and there would be no horseplay between us. Yet when our sentence had reached completion and Josh had healed up, we began acting like brothers again.
Occurring more or less a year from the day of our incident, there is a day that shall forever be in my memory, starting when I was sitting down watching the news. While heeding the sage advice to wear sunscreen from a portly lobster of a meteorologist, I felt something hit my lap. It was my lightsaber. I looked up and there was Josh, weapon in hand. With a mischievous grin slapped across his face, he proclaimed: “Rematch!”