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I stood before the doors dressed in black, with a gun in my right hand and my finger on the trigger. I was prepared to do battle for my family – I would make my guys proud of me. The doors opened and we all surged forward, and into the fray.

Big Guy (aka Blue) was our point person – we were to follow him. His friend, Red, would bring up the rear. The rest of us, Little Guy (aka Black Ninja) and his friend, Racequit, Hubby (aka K) and I were supposed to stay in the middle. But when we moved out, Hubby was not behind me. He got caught in the base so we waited for him because we would never leave a man behind.

The “enemy” swarmed through the door, many stopping as soon as they entered the arena to look around, while others shot at anything that breathed. I told them to keep moving and most listened; maybe they recognized my commanding “Mom” voice?

Once K. arrived, Blue started forward and up a ramp to the left, but there was a group of ankle-biters waiting to ambush us, so he turned and headed to the centre ring. In those first few seconds, despite our careful plans, we managed to get separated. Blue and I looked for the others but we were in a hot zone and had to keep moving. We hoped Red was with them and we’d meet again soon.

I followed Blue, closely guarding his back and watching for snipers. “1:00 o’clock” I yelled, and Blue swung around in time to nail a stunned father in a white tee. Light clothing is a big mistake when there’s black lighting. We quickly inched our way forward, moving as a single unit.

We set stationed ourselves at a half-way point on a series of ramps. I watched Blue’s back and the right flank, which included 2 winding pathways and the ramp leading up. Blue guarded the left flank and fired across the room. Before long the others found us and we set up our home base. I continued to guard the right flank while K, being taller than me, could watch Blue’s back and shoot across the room as well. Red took the left flank, and we stationed the boys in the middle. At one point, Black Ninja was being targeted by 2 girls up close, and I went to his rescue. Nobody messes with my boy.

Before long we had acquired new recruits. While the youngest in our motley crew was 6 and liked to wander away, he always returned and looking into my eyes with his baby blues, would remind me with a gentle lisp, that he was on my team.

Blue got restless and went on a tour of duty so I took his place at the front, shooting across the way while still watching my right flank. I found out later that Black Ninja and Racequit also went on unannounced tours and may have suffered friendly fire as a result!

I shot Old Grandma and Old Grandma2, two little girls, coming up the ramp. They stood in front of me shaking their laser guns, trying to make them reset faster so they could shoot me (or so they told me). I said “like this” and shot their guns again. They whined in their high-pitched girly voices, and I suggested they “keep moving”. They did   but they didn’t get far. It turned out that they were the same girls that had ganged up on Little Guy, and now he was settling the score. When I recounted this story later over gingerale and potato chips, someone suggested I was “heartless”. What can I say? War is hell!

Before long the adrenaline was fading, my trigger finger was getting sore, and I was hot. I was tired of the slaughter and I knew that soon I was going to get sloppy. This battle felt like it had lasted significantly longer than the first one. And then the buzzer sounded. It was time to disarm, regroup, and call it a day!

When the final tallies were publicized, my moniker “PoisonRose” was in 6th place (out of 33; I placed 8th in the first game out of 22). It was the best of our brigade. My accuracy was lower than the first game but my score (and the number of shots fired) was higher. I had moved around less, which meant fewer ambushes by unruly gangs of mouthy 8 year olds. I confess, the brattier the kid, the more I took great pleasure in firing.

We had played and fought in Laserquest together, not just as a team, but as a family.

Happy Birthday (party) Little Guy!