“Where did he go?” I mumbled as I crouched a little lower behind the graffiti-covered wall. My heart beat a staccato rhythm inside my chest and sweat trickled in tiny rivulets down my back. I’d been hit from behind as I rounded a corner, but the enemy had evaded my return fire and now was nowhere to be seen. Pushing my hair back from my eyes, I squinted into the thick smoke. I knew that he was on the move, probably flanking me. I was too exposed here, had too many unguarded sides. And then there was the everpresent risk from above.
Suddenly, my partner, Terri, appeared through the haze, giving me the “all clear” signal. I burst from my hiding place, determined to put distance between myself and the menacing Viking. We moved stealthily through several corridors without meeting any resistance, then made directly for the base above. Just as we topped a ramp, certain that we were safe at last, he emerged from the shadows like a fierce Norse warrior of old, took careful aim, and fired.
My chest emitted a series of high-pitched tones and started vibrating. I had been tagged by the Viking. Again.
“Aww, maaaan! Mark! Can’t you shoot someone else?” Ten minutes later, as our whole laughing, sweating church group tumbled out of the LaserQuest staging area, I discovered that he had shot someone else. Lots of someones. He earned a record-setting 1040 points for that game–aided, no doubt, by the ten hits he scored on me. How humiliating. And since he also happens to be our family physician, I’ll probably have to put up with the gloating well into the flu season.
Not that he was the only one who found me in his laser sights last night. My own husband apparently had no second thoughts about targeting the mother of his children with his rather deadly accuracy. Even my sister tagged me a few times. She ended up faking an injury in the fourth round when the onslaught of my vengeance threatened to overwhelm her. So whatever she might say about me repeatedly firing at her while she was standing still and nursing her bleeding knuckles is a pack of scurrilous lies.
My favorite incident of the night occurred during the third game, when the thirty-and-over crowd teamed up against the younger, presumably faster set. We creamed them–wrinkles, gray hair and all. At one point, Paul and I were teamed up and two of the girls in our college group were crouched in an alley on the level below us. Leaning out above them, we tagged both of them several times before they realized why their packs kept going off. Heather finally looked at her readout to see my player name lit up on the screen. “It’s Katrina!” I heard her hiss to Cassie as she looked around. “Where is she?” Five feet over their heads, Paul and I giggled soundlessly. It was a supremely satisfying moment.
If you’ve never played laser tag, I highly recommend it. Set in a chaotic world of strobe lights and fake smoke, it is a heart-pumping, laughter-invoking, adrenaline rush of a workout, well worth the few dollars it costs to play.
Just be sure to go with friends (the type that will still be friends when it’s over!)