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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Brian Sloan on August 29, 2011
"A little bit better, but the theme sort of gets lost in the narrative."

Dreams, Part II

Just like everyone else, I experienced nightmares as a child. Most people talk about drowning or falling; most of mine dealt with surviving.
I watched a lot of Bond movies when I was younger; it's entirely possible that they effected my nightmares. Often times I'd be in a very regular dream, doing regular dream things, and suddenly, for some reason, I'd stumble upon something I wasn't supposed to hear. People would get angry. Guns would be drawn and shots would be fired, and I'd have to run. The strangest thing about these dreams isn't that I was running, it's that I consciously stopped running and systematically destroyed every one of my adversaries, either with guns or with my bare hands. It was totally animalistic and the beast inside of me reveled in it. The dreams were a manifestation of my early childhood battle--a battle with anger management.
Growing up, I lived in a house with 3 alpha-male dominant personalities--me, my younger brother, and my father. We all inherited anger management and superiority complexes from some common ancestor, so our house was more often a battlefield than a sanctuary. At school, my anger often got the better of me. There were several times when I was in a fight--but nothing ever came of it, because I was always provoked and who's going to tattle that the second shortest, scrawniest kid in class beat you up? Schoolyard politics saved me from a lot of trouble through the early years.
The more often I got in fights, the more often I had bad dreams, and the more rapidly my adrenal system would kick in when there was a hint of a scruff on the horizon. It lead to a lot of issues in Junior High School, but also solved a lot of issues as well. For every bloody nose I got, my friends and I were picked on less and less. I had a reputation--not a big one, but among people who had classes with me, I was known for being a kid you didn't want to mess with. You couldn't tell by looking at it, but I was a firebrand and it ended up offering my friends a lot of protection from bullies.
I started working on my anger problems, though, and got them under some semblance of control. High school came along and my reputation followed me pretty well--several kids of the year before me also knew of it, and so as freshman we were mostly left alone, except for one group of kids.
Seniors don't normally pick on freshmen--they're too busy not caring about school to do anything like that. But there was this one group of juniors and seniors--they were big and they were stoners. Every day at lunch they'd get high and after awhile they decided to start tormenting my group of friends. We're all nerds, so we're used to verbal stuff. We engaged in harmless banter for awhile, but it seemed to enrage the Potheads, as we called them, to further levels. They brought water balloons one day and spent all lunch hurling them at us. We giggled because they didn't hit us once (thanks, drugs, for giving people horrible aim!), and that apparently was the last straw. Blaming us for their terrible aim, the next day they started getting nasty.
These kids were large--200+ pounds each and every one of them was upwards of 5'8". At the time, I was exactly the opposite--in the red corner, standing 5' nothing and weighing in an impressive 95 pounds, I was the terror of the school. Yeah, you can stop snickering now.
They decided to play tough, and one of them picked on my Asian friend, Tonton, who's really really tall--I'd guess he was around 5'10 at the time. They pushed him and one of them slapped him lightly with a weed he pulled out of the ground. That was the last straw. I got really really angry--nobody pushes around my friends, and I walked over there slowly. Something about my posture made them notice my approach, and they all got quiet, except for the occasional nervous giggle. I put Tonton behind me and walked right up to the biggest one, got in his face and told him "If you ever touch my friends again I'll kick your ass." There was silence for about 15 seconds, then they laughed and backed up. One of them took a half-hearted swing at me with the plant; he missed and I didn't bother flinching to avoid his bad attempt. From then on, we were free from harassment from that group or any other.
So despite what I had thought, my anger hadn't been beaten--it had been curbed, and because I now controlled it, I saw that I could use it to fuel a lot of other things without getting berserk. I could use frustration to drive me to study harder, to run faster, and to be a more involved individual. I had taken that which was literally my worst nightmare and made it one of my best tools.

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