It is only by the grace of god and some sort of divine intervention that I write this today without a metal rod protruding from my forehead.
Fourteen kids, two homes without parental supervision and a set of metal lawn darts was all it took for us to dream up a game so terrifying and properly menacing that it would haunt all the participants until the moment they died.
To this DAY, if I hear something coming at me from above my first instinct is to serpentine wildly to avoid being impaled.
People sometimes wonder why colorfully adorned heavy metal projectiles – that were thrown into the air and came down with alarming regularity right into the soft flesh of small children – were ever invented.
I figure it’s the same group who put real chemistry sets and exploding cans of snakes on the market, but that’s a whole other story right there.
Apparently, one day when we were sitting around in our youthful ignorance, the devil decided to come down and make use of idle hands by whispering the location of lawn darts into our ears, and pointing out to us a place where there was no parental supervision and a six-foot high fence.
“There” coaxed Satan, ” you delightful little rogues must stand on one side of the fence while a ‘chosen one’ (read-the smart one) tosses a lawn dart high into the sky and over the wall, while the others scatter wildly trying to avoid being speared to the ground and sent to the hospital or dying on the spot!’ Now GO!”
With that parting shot, Satan scurried away on his hoofed feet dragging the unfortunate souls who had a contract expire that week, but not before turning to remind us that we should, “make sure to call out when the dart is coming to give them chance, it’s only fair”.
At that point he disappeared in a fiery blast of sulphuric acid and yellow smoke, back to his raging inferno in the third circle.
Left to our own devices, our ‘chosen one’ tossed the first projectile of death from the anonymity of his perch behind the fence and high into the air, announcing in a shrill scream “READY OR NOT, HERE IT COMES!”
Tiny bodies flew everywhere trying furiously to avoid the shiny metal point, our adrenaline pumping so high that we were like scattershot marbles dropped on a smooth surface – going everywhere fast.
Dart after dart – red, blue, yellow, red, blue,yellow.
They hit the ground with a loud sickening thud as the business end sunk easily into the cold ground.
I kept imagining both my arms nailed to the ground by two lucky shots and me being unable to get up and run from the kill throw that would be aimed straight for my small skull.
I’m not sure why it took me two rounds of terror roulette before I stepped away to see what the other kids were having for lunch, or maybe it was the sound of the ice cream man coming around the bend. Whatever it was that tore me away, I now consider it an act of divine intervention.
Somewhere, deep in the recesses of the scorched earth netherworld, I’m sure there were a few guys with pitchforks and horns having a real laugh at my expense.
I think I smell sulphur.