Hide and Seek Tag

My allergies!
We used to play this game I invented called "Hide and Seek Tag." When I say "we" I mean the girl and boy next door, and my brother and I. My brother was always a year younger than me (kind of strange how that always seems to happen with younger brothers), and all the neighborhood kids were about the same age as we were. In any case, this game was exactly what it sounds like. First you hide and seek, and then when found, you run for the hills. It's a manhunt, with one on the lam and everyone else, "it," like a kind of reverse-tag. The girl was one year younger than me and at least two years more mature (kind of strange how that always seems to happen with girls), and for that reason only, I always seemed to be the one on the lam, forcing everyone to chase me.

And I didn't exactly play fair. Even when hiding, I was constantly on the move. You got to be, because you want them to totally exhaust every potential hide out and have to come calling you out, "okay, we give up!" You want the girl rolling her eyes. After all, it's only fun when you're the only one really having fun, right? Well, that is, until they just left me in the poison ivy patch to go off and enjoy their summer afternoons in other ways. I didn't come out of my calamine cocoon for a week, and nobody missed out on the fun except me.

The neighborhood was a maze of fences, cars, backyards, basements, trees and shrubs, and I found a way to exploit them all for hours onto dusk on many an after school afternoon. The bush beside the front steps of the neighbor's house was a great spot. They could literally stand over you and not see you. This was real jungle warfare, poison ivy or not... allergy to poison ivy or not. Getting caught was worse. Don't give up on me soldier! And yes, clearly we were soldiers because what else would you be if you were carrying around a gun that looks like a Super Soaker?

The girls kind of ruled the neighborhood just because they could get us in trouble, but we boys actually lived in it. We had more fun out there in the neighborhood with our own war games, hopping over fences and stomping on flowers. The Martians had landed! They were everywhere. They were girls in disguise! “Quick men! Kill the aliens!” Oh man, we swarmed that girl next door good once. My brother even soaked her with his squirt gun. Defeated! We exchanged high-fives as she ran off back to her house dripping wet.

“Success men! Let’s get another one!” I used to lead the charge. I always loved anything scifi. So we'd go find another one while she was in her backyard over at Steven's place in her swimsuit. We'd creep along in the bushes beside their house like Rambo, even wearing the bandanas, our guns set to maximum soak. She’d be out there just sitting by her swimming pool in her blue swimsuit, just doing that thing girls do where they lay in the sun. She wouldn’t see us coming!

“Right men, now listen up,” I'd whisper to the next-door boy with the stammer, “this one’s sexy. No lollygagging! We got a job to do! Get in, kill, and get out! Understand?”

“Sir yes sir,” he'd whisper.

“Lock and load. I’ll see you on the other side, on the count of three…” I'd whisper, but he'd just go right ahead and charge her.

AAHHHHH! I ran right up to her that day by the pool and just started soaking her with my squirt gun fully loaded. She jumped up and screamed, “What that! Get away from me!” '

I strand over her on either side and give her a good blast in the face and then take off running. Mike comes up behind and blasts her good in the back. Then the real fun begins. The chase it on!

“Run! Run! Go! Abort mission! Abort mission! Target is not destroyed! Repeat, target is not destroyed! Send for back up! Whoa!” I keep talking into my pretend walkie-talkie on my sleeve as she chases me all around the backyard like crazy. I go after him and try to help but then he goes and hops the back fence, so then she turns on me, pissed as all hell and coming at me like a bulldog!

“Man down!” I yell as I take off for the bushes, only to be yanked back by my shirt collar, kicked in the ass, and then pushed straight down into those thick bushes. Damn did that sting. We got away though. We lived to tell the tale. We took off running down the street, out of ammo. We had to fill up our guns for another round back at the bathroom sink at his place.

“Who next?” he asks.

“Bridget,” I say. Two aliens down. Two to go. That’s always a blast.

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