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Thread: Gay or Fun?
09-27-08, 11:46 PM #1
Gay or Fun?
And no, Brad..it cannot be both.
A Shadowy, Wet World of Squirt-Gun Assassins
By MICHAEL WILSON
Published: September 26, 2008
It was as though Michael Deane, a 32-year-old transplant from London, did not get the memo that crime is way down in Manhattan. He looked like something out of “Death Wish” as he drove slowly past his Riverside Drive apartment in broad daylight, his bloodshot eyes darting from pedestrians to parked cars to old people sitting on park benches.
Near his building, a man washing windows with a bottle of Windex returned his stare, but Mr. Deane kept driving. Would getting sprayed with Windex kill him? Something to think about.
He had been sneaking around like a noir hero for two and a half weeks, finding new and shadowy exits to his regular places. He was tired from lack of sleep, and while it was early yet, he was looking forward to a stiff cocktail when he got upstairs.
But first he had to get there alive. He parked his car a couple of blocks away and started the treacherous walk, his only friend of late tucked under his black shirt, a curiously damp bulge.
His yellow-and-orange Uzi-style squirt gun.
Mr. Deane, a freelance audiovisual technician, was becoming a player to be reckoned with in this year’s StreetWars tournament. With only a few days left, he stood a fighting chance at being the last person standing, the $500 prize in one hand and his dripping gun in the other. But with the pool dwindling, his own would-be killer could not be far.
When StreetWars started on Sept. 7, each of the 250-plus contestants was handed a black envelope marked “Shadow Government,” with the name, home address, workplace, e-mail address, cellphone number and photograph of a player to kill by squirting. After each kill, the shooter acquires the dead rival’s target and begins stalking this new person, all the while looking over a shoulder for whoever is hunting him. It is permissible to shoot in self-defense.
“I told my doorman that if he sees anyone suspicious with a water pistol, then he’s not to let them in the building,” Mr. Deane said.
He shaved the beard he wore for the picture his pursuer is carrying. He is considering borrowing a wheelchair to use as part of a disguise. By Friday evening, he had logged four kills; he was one of 16 players left. “I’ve been walking around like a crazy person,” he said, “wondering when they’re going to get me.” His wife, who works promoting nightclubs, is very patient about the whole thing.
StreetWars was created in 2004 by Franz Aliquo, then a 28-year-old securities lawyer, as a cure for a boredom phase he was working through. Mr. Aliquo named himself Supreme Commander and, with a friend known as Mustache Commander and other helpers, has held several killing tournaments in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, London and Paris. The game resembles the 1980s campus phenomenon Assassin, itself a reminder of the 1985 film “Gotcha!” starring Anthony Edwards and his paintball gun.
The contestants are mostly in their 20s or early 30s, from what could be called the kickball set; about 35 percent in the current war are women. “We had a 76-year-old grandmother in San Francisco,” said Mr. Aliquo, who lives in Long Island City, Queens, and now is the events director at Thrillist.com, a Web site that distributes daily e-mailed lists of events in various cities. “She got two kills.”
This year’s New York battle began with combatants directed to arrive on a particular Chinatown street corner at midnight. Men with squirt guns led them in small groups to what the Supreme Commander described as “a real-live, working sweatshop” near Mulberry Street, where the Mustache Commander gave everyone an envelope and a shot of whiskey.
On Sunday, the game enters sudden death: however many are left hunt one another. A player can also win by killing the Supreme Commander, a legendarily elusive quarry.
Ezra Donellan, 22, who signed up as Agent Zeb, received a target on Staten Island, where he lives, and immediately turned to his computer for stalking assistance.
“I learn the most amazing things on the Internet without doing anything wrong at all,” he said. “No connections, no calling in favors.”
He and a teammate — up to five can play together — staked out the target’s apartment for an hour and a half on Sept. 8. They grew bored and thirsty, and drove to a nearby CVS for cold drinks.
“Randomly, he just pulls up,” Mr. Donellan said of his prey. What followed is best described as a low-speed chase.
“Up and down two highways on Staten Island, just going,” he recalled. “He thought he lost us and went back home. We beat him back to his house.” Mr. Donellan squirted the target as he parked his car.
The next target was a woman, and the hunting was a bit bumpier. “My partner and I were parked down her block, and we got rolled up on by undercover narcotics officers,” Mr. Donellan said. “They got out and shined their flashlights and asked us what we were doing. My partner said: ‘Just chilling. Well, actually, we’re stalking this girl.’ I just looked at him, like, ‘Really, man?’ And they were like, ‘What are you talking about?’ ”
The players explained — “We showed him our water guns, we showed him our IDs” — and the officers left. His partner shot the woman outside the Cargo Cafe bar on Staten Island on Sept. 13.
But Mr. Donellan was not long for this world, his watery death literally around the corner early on the morning of Sept. 16: “He ran up the block with no shoes on, with his umbrella in one hand” — to shield against enemy fire — “and a squirt gun in the other, and he shot me.”
The first attempt by Mr. Deane, the Englishman with four kills, involved the game’s version of a hand grenade: a water balloon. He went to the East Village home of his target, only to find it on the same block as the Ninth Precinct police station house. It was Sept. 11, and when officers spilled outside for a memorial service, they saw a scruffy character in a black trench coat holding a water balloon.
“I couldn’t take it, and ended up waiting on the end of the corner,” he said. The woman emerged, but when he threw the balloon, it did not break. He fled.
Mr. Deane returned the next day, his black coat blending in nicely with some sketchy Goth sorts sitting around, and he squirted two women on the same team. A week later, he found his next target as she left her apartment in Harlem: “She came out from her bottom flat and I jumped to the gate and shot her. Simple as that.”
Next was a Yeshiva University student about whom Mr. Deane knew next to nothing. The Internet was little help: “He’s a fencer. That’s all I found out about him.”
Mr. Deane parked outside the apartment building of the target, Dylan Kurlansky, 23, on Laurel Hill Terrace on Tuesday morning, and settled in for a stakeout, his gun and a Tupperware container of water balloons at his side.
Less than an hour passed before Mr. Kurlansky approached. Mr. Deane got out of the car, gun behind his back, walked over and fired. Maybe it’s true, what they say in the movies, that this sort of thing hardens a man over time; it sure seemed to Mr. Deane that this was getting easier.
As for the victim, his feelings could best be summarized as: What took you so long?
“I could have run into this building and security would have let me in,” he said, pointing back toward the university. “I didn’t feel like it. I’m in two grad programs right now. I don’t have the time.”
Mr. Kurlansky passed along a tip about Mr. Deane’s next prey — “She takes the A train to work every morning” — but seemed pleased to be out of the life. A friend who was not playing the game had been squirted by a stranger. He spent the first week carrying a water pistol wherever he went, a regular Bogey, but with what looked like bladder issues: “I dropped it, and a piece broke off, and I’d put it in my pocket and have this big leak down my leg.”
Mr. Deane went home after the kill Tuesday, walking hurriedly down Riverside Drive. A man who appeared to be in his 20s sat alone on the Riverside Park wall, smoking a cigarette. “That’s what I’m worried about,” he said. “That guy’s just sitting over there.” But the man did not make a move.
Another man on a bench opened a briefcase in his lap. But inside was what looked like a Bible.
Mr. Deane made it to his building. Through a window, he could see men loitering in the lobby, staring at the ceiling. But they appeared to be changing a light bulb.
He entered, and the door closed behind him.
More Articles in New York Region » A version of this article appeared in print on September 27, 2008, on page B1 of the New York edition.
09-27-08, 11:48 PM #2
09-28-08, 12:02 AM #3
09-28-08, 12:08 AM #4
Fun! Not that there would be anything wrong with being gay.
09-28-08, 12:14 AM #5
"When you feel dog tired at night, it may be because you've growled all day long."
09-28-08, 10:25 AM #6
Could be lots of fun.
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."
-- Ambrose Redmoon
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09-28-08, 11:42 AM #7
FUN!"never bring paws to a gunfight" - Jenna
09-28-08, 11:46 AM #8
This is just begging for lawsuits from relatives of those who actually do melt when sprayed with water (like, say, the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz).
09-28-08, 12:39 PM #9\\` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
`` ` ` ` (3--(____)
"...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
09-28-08, 01:16 PM #10
Looks like fun. I'd do it. Of course you better be careful not to switch up your real gun with the squirt gun.Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.
That which does not kill me, better start fucking running.
If I lived every day like it was my last, the body count would be staggering.
I intend to go in harm's way. -John Paul Jones
Hunt the wolf, and bring light to the dark places that others fear to go. LT COL Dave Grossman
09-28-08, 10:10 PM #11
Fun. If I had the time.Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
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