Thursday, September 18, 2008

Death by squirt gun

My friend F was carrying around a squirt gun for a couple of weeks. Not like one of those Super Soakers that I feared as a kid. The plastic, see-through, non-threatening kind that you played Wild West with. It's been in his jeans pocket the last two or three times we've hung out. Ok, whatever, people in NYC wear really weird accessories. Instead of packing heat he was packing H20...or something. But was weird was how possessive he was about it. Another friend asked to see it and F got really protective: "Oh no man. I need to have this thing on me at all times."

Then things got a bit weirder -- F wouldn't leave his apartment except to go to work. No hanging out. We wondered if he had a bad haircut, or if he was waiting for Time Warner to show up and install cable (buh-dum-chik!) or what. Friend P joked that maybe he'd lost his squirt gun and was mourning it. Whatever the issue was F seemed to emerge from it this week. We met up with him for drinks after work and he was back to his normal self. And sans squirt gun. He and I shared a taxi home and I had to know what the deal was. What was with the squirt gun, I asked. Oh yeah, he replied sheepishly, I was playing Street Wars.

The game works like this: people sign up to play and are sent the rules. Then they have to send certain information (the address of two places where they spend at least 2 hours a day, a photo, etc.) to the coordinators. Each player is then sent their "hit," a person they have to squirt to "kill." Certain places are off-limits for kills, like the subway. If you are killed, you're out and your assassin inherits your hit and vice versa. The last person left standing is declared the winner.

F has played the last two Street Wars in NYC. It sounds fun but really intense. He altered his route to the subway every day to evade his assassin and ordered in lunch every day. He worked late a lot and came to work early. And the weekends? Spent indoors as much as possible. To stalk his hit he woke up really early and staked out her apartment building. Personally, this would freak me out. But F said almost everyone he's played with has been really good-natured about the whole thing, laughing when they get killed and so on. F didn't make it too far -- he carried out one hit but was killed soon after.

"Did you run away when your assassin came after you?" I asked.
"Not really," F said. "I knew I was screwed -- he came running up as I was walking to work. I was cornered."
"It was a drive-by squirting!"
"Yeah, and he had this ridiculous pimped out super soaker-type thing."
"Pimped out?"
"It was gold."
"He had a gold super soaker??"
"Double-barreled too."
"He had a double-barreled gold pimped out super soaker? was a shotgun and one was a sniper soaker?" (Man, I have been playing way too many first-person shooter videogames lately.)
"Right. Long and short range. I was totally overmatched."

I didn't even know how to respond to that. F after all had a purple squirt gun that probably cost $4 at a drug store. He must have known I was thinking this, because he said, "You know, my gun may not look like much, but it was like the glock of squirt guns. Next year I'm going to pimp out my gun with a water balloon launcher."

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