Mickey is very eccentric and unique. She becomes partially blind when she's about four years old after having a "staring contest with the sun." In school she more than excels at math, but reading baffles her. She can come up with a great story, but with her terrible spelling skills she can can't write them down.


2. The Champion Starer

The Sims family had a reputation for being great at staring contests. Big eyes that could stare on forever was in their genes. And Mickey was no exception.

After seeing her dad Mark and brother Joel compete several times, at the age of just two she wanted to try it. She tugged on her dad's sleeve one day and said her first words: "Stehwing contest." Mark Sims looked at her in surprise. "Stehwing Contest!" she persisted.

"Okay," he finally said. Mickey grinned and, opening her big eyes wide, she looked into her dad's. He decided to go easy on her, and after about three seconds he blinked. Mickey knew her dad could do better. She didn't know how to say it, though, so once more she said, "Stehwing contest!" They stared at each other again, and, not expecting her to go very long without blinking, he kept his eyes open a few seconds longer than the previous time but still not to his full staring abilities. Mickey knew he was still going easy on her and made him keep doing staring contests with her until he stared as long as he could. Even as her dad felt his eyes drying up, lids about to close, Mickey's large, round eyes remained open and fixated on his pupils. Finally for just a millisecond his eyes closed and Mickey let out a squeal of victory. "Wow," he murmered.

 Soon Mickey went on to compete in staring contests with her brother, who was not as good at staring contests as his dad, and won every time. But staring contests with her dad and Joel were boring and unchallenging, and her mom nor any of her other siblings had the gift. At three years old she was ready for the biggest staring contest the Sims family had ever had.

With so many great starers in the Sims family, arguments often ensued about who was the best, which led to staring tournaments. Since before Mickey was born her father had been second only to her Aunt Roxanne, the undefeated staring tournament champion of the Sims family. For years she'd remained unchallenged, until Mark called her up when Mickey was three to tell her that she now had suitable competition. Since he didn't tell her, Roxanne assumed that the challenger was Mickey's brother. She couldn't have been more wrong.

The staring contest was hosted in Mickey Sims's living room, where several family members were crowded for the important event. Many of them were having their own staring contests, while those who weren't blood relatives of the Sims family stood by and watched in awe. Since her dad hadn't revealed Mickey as being the one challenging Roxanne's throne, the three year old remained mostly unnoticed, except for a few adults bending down baby talking her in annoying high pitched voices. After about ten minutes, Mark Sims's voice rang out above the chatter. "Has anyone seen Roxanne?"

Just then, accompanied by Mickey's mother, a middle aged woman with large eyes peeking out above tiny spectacles entered the living room. Her short brown curly hair was coated and crunchy with hairspray. Boredom and sarcasm were clear in her voice as without so much as a hello, Aunt Roxanne asked, "Where's the amazing challenger who thinks he can beat me?" She fixed her eyes on Joel, expecting it to be him. She didn't seem to think that there was one person in that room who could out-stare her. 

Mark took Mickey's small hand in his and made his way through the crowd to the entrance where Aunt Roxanne stood. "Mickey," he said. "This is your Aunt Roxanne."

Mickey looked her aunt straight in the eye and declared, "Stehwing contest!"

To Aunt Roxanne, something about the idea of this, this tiny young thing, having a staring contest with her, the Sims family ultimate champion, seemed absurd and humorous. She broke out in hysterical laughter. It mounted from lower pitched chuckles to high squeals. Mickey cringed as her aunt snorted in her incessant giggling. After the long bout of laughing paired with awkward silence from the rest of the family she stopped mid chuckle and regained her composure and straight face. "Enough of the jokes. Show me the challenger so that we can get on with this and I can get out of here."

"The challenger is right here," Mark said, motioning with his hands toward Mickey. Many of the family members were shocked. Some of them sighed and shook their heads, irritated at the prospect of driving all the way over there just to see Roxanne arrogantly achieve another easy victory. Aunt Roxanne looked surprised and frowned, but then shrugged.

"Whatever," she said. "This shouldn't take long."

Soon two chairs were set up in the center of the living room. With difficulty, Mickey mounted the tall chair, feet dangling while Roxanne sat in the one across, gazing skeptically at her. The odd part of it all was that the ones who had the least interest in the staring contest were the ones competing in it. Mickey, being only three years old, thought that it was just any old staring contest. Roxanne didn't believe that Mickey would really be any competition to her. They both looked a bit bored. 

"Ready?" A Sims family member shouted and the living room was silent. Aunt Roxanne removed her glasses and handed them to a nearby family member. Despite the fact that she looked completely uninterested, she was a bit excited. It would be fun, she thought, to crush this little egotistical thing that thought she could beat, of all people, Roxanne Sims at a staring contest.  

"Set?" Mickey looked around at all the spectators, who were gazing intently at the competitors. She smiled and waved at a few of them.

"STARE!" Mickey and Aunt Roxanne opened their big eyes and looked into each others'. Young, round, bright green eyes staring into bigger and older milk chocolate colored ones, and vice versa. For the first few seconds it was silent. Then, starting to realize that this kid was doing better than they thought, rooting and cheering started to come from the crowd. The first person, a young woman holding a baby, had to ask Mark, "What's the little kid's name again?"

"Mickey," Mr. Sims replied.

"Go Mickey!" she cheered. Others soon joined in. Though most of them didn't really know Mickey, given the choice between a mean, arrogant woman and a little girl they of course chose the latter. Some of them felt bad for Aunt Roxanne and began to cheer her name as well in between shouts of "Go Mickey!" Those at the edges of the room behind all the rest of the Sims family members were mostly quiet, trying to jump and stand on tippy-toes to see the action.

Roxanne and Mickey gripped the edges of their chairs, neither daring to look away from the others' eyes. Not even stealing a tiny glance at the cheering crowd in the living room, they focused intently on each others' pupils. For awhile that was all it was. Nothing but large eyes gazing without blinking.

Aunt Roxanne began to get a bit worried. She'd obviously underestimated Mickey's staring abilities. Eventually she felt her eyes drying up and the urge to blink. Stop it, she thought to herself. Concentrate. If Mickey was experiencing any of the same symptoms, she wasn't showing it. Her round green eyes were just as wide and open as before, betraying nothing.

Everyone was too busy watching and cheering to keep track of the time. It felt like it took years. Seconds seemed to be minutes and minutes, hours. Mickey and Aunt Roxanne could feel their eyes getting drier, lids threatening to fall. When Roxanne could see that Mickey was wanting to blink, she smiled. She had been stupid to worry. This kid couldn't stare for much longer.

But then it happened. Gasps shot up from the crowd. The cheering became silent like dominoes. First it was those in the front, who could see the best, then those behind them and those behind them until all was quiet. Had they imagined it? Everyone, Aunt Roxanne included, was caught off guard when she blinked. Mickey squealed in victory, just like she had with her first real staring contest with her dad. Roxanne appeared frustrated at first. This did not just happen. This did not just happen. I did not just blink. I did not just get beat by that little brat. This did not just happen. These thoughts whirled around in her head, turning into a tornado. Roxanne took staring contests seriously. She could not have gotten beat by a three year old.

In the same way everyone had become silent everyone surround Mickey, cheering. Mark made his way through the crowd and picked her up so that all the people could see her. There was immense applause, screaming and yelling. Soon the look of anger disappeared from Roxanne's face and she looked bored again, clapping slowly. She came up to Mickey, and with a slight smile said, "Nice job, kid." But the message in her eyes was clear. 

Next time you're going down.

Roxanne left and the rest of them went to Mickey's favorite restaurant for pie to celebrate her huge accomplishment. That night, though she was too young to fully understand her title and its meaning, the Sims Family Staring Contest Champion went to bed later than she'd ever been allowed and then got up earlier that morning than she'd ever gotten up before, ready to start the biggest staring contest she'd ever competed in and make the biggest mistake of her life.



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