Dead Man Stare by Nathan Spong (485 Words)

I've always had this "look", apparently. When I was two or three, my parents were worried I wasn't developing and, fearing some kind of condition they took me for some tests. Everything came back fine; apparently my natural expression is to just look really serious. As I got older some of the kids at school used to tease me for it and locally I was well known to everyone as "Zombie". When I became a teenager, even some of the adults called it me and when you think about how horrid children can be to each other, I think I got away quite lightly. With hindsight it was probably pretty cool. Nowadays people simply refer to it as the Dead Man Stare.

Let me explain to you first of all that I don't "do" anything. I don't raise my eyebrows, I don't frown, I don't try and look angry. It's just my natural facial expression. People describe the Dead Man Stare in a number of ways and as it's their perception, who am I to correct them? Some people have said that I have the vacant look of the recently deceased, while others think that I carry myself with the solemnity an undertaker. My favourite though is the suggestion that I stare into the souls of people and see evil. That I only have to look at somebody to know they are out to deceive, and that I can see right through it. Yet for every one of those people that thinks these things, I think there must be countless others that just think I look, well, serious.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't play up to it. I've been doing this job for years now and I've seen all the excuses. From the desperate workshy, to the busy commuter, to the drunk who wants to fight, to the "don't you know who I am?" brigade. They've all passed this way and they've all tried to deceive me and as far as I know, they've all failed. I catch them all. Whether there really is anything to my stare or not I don't know, but I certainly use it to my advantage.

This brings us to today. The whole of human life is waiting for me. To catch me out. To make me look foolish. There are busy housewives, there are rich bankers, there are students, some lazy, some studious. Any or all of them has the potential to set out to deceive me and it's down to me to stop them. They'll fail of course. They'll all come face to face with the Dead Man Stare and something inside them will give them away. I don't even need to pressure people, I'll look at them, they'll know I know, and they'll crack. And so with a weary sigh I rise to my feet and open my door.

"All tickets from Nottingham please."

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