Sunday, January 3, 2010

Growing Up In Purgatory

Ah high school the cauldron of hormones, blackboards and... more hormones.

I went to Brockton High School. Brockton had (and still has) an Uber-High School. Not Uber in a good way of course. My graduation class tallied about 900. The beautiful campus resembled a Super-Max prison and rumor had it the school sank slightly each year since it was built in a swamp.

What was I doing in high school?

Honor Society?

Artistic Endeavors?


No. Why would I be doing such "worthless" activities?

I was playing Killer.

For those of you who had no life in high school you already know about Killer. For you "healthy normal types" here's a primer.

Killer is a game originally designed by Steve Jackson. Mr Jackson has developed a myriad of games for the Geekier portion of the population.

(It's important to remember that I am old. When I was in high school there was no such thing as "Geek Chic".)

These games ranged from strictly strategy (Ogre anyone?) to role playing (think Dungeons and Dragon-esque).

Killer was different.

It is a live action game which means it borders on being a sport.

You may think, "Hey that's great! You put down your twenty sided dice and get out your parent's basement."

You would be wrong.

The object of the game is to kill the other players (ergo the name... Killer). You would have a list of people who were playing and they were open targets 24 hours a day 7 days a week until the game ended with one player left.

There was one basic rule:

You can't actually hurt anybody.

This lead to a variety of weapons and tactics...

Exlax in chocolate milk (poison).

Poisonous rubber snakes in book bags.

Me? Call me old school but I liked shooting people. Every player had a weapon to protect themselves and each weapon said something about the player's character.

One of my buddies had a single-shot suction cup dart pistol. It had decent range, good reliability and it was a precise weapon. The problem of course was that you had to reload the pistol after every shot.

Another buddy had a pistol that shot small plastic discs. This thing shot really fast and far but the discs scattered everywhere nilly-willy.

In a pretend fire fight willy-nilly is bad.

My choice was a Zip gun. The pistol shot small yellow balls. It shot far and precise but the thing had a tendency to jam. A quick shake of the pistol usually got the thing working again. It was also small and easy to conceal.

You may call this next story about Killer funny or sad (or both... it is Purgatory).

One of my friends (we'll call him Target from here on in) worked at a Burger King near Brockton High School. I had a good idea of his hours. Seeing that my social schedule was free that particular Saturday (I know it's hard to imagine) I staked out the Burger King. There was a fine rain that afternoon with the scent of saturated fat thick in the air. My plan was to hang outside at the supermarket close by and periodically do a sweep around the restaurant.

I'm not going to lie to you. This took time.

A few hours in and I was doing one of my sweeps and there was Target.

It was beautiful.

I hit the frackin' jackpot.

Target was taking out the trash. Both hands held transparent bags of the King's refuse.

Now I could've just started firing, but Goddammit I had spent a lot of time in the rain so I wanted a splash of panache.

I levied my pistol at him and called out his name.

He turned horrified...

I fired...

My gun jammed.

Target dropped his bags and went for the disc gun in his sock.

I hit my pistol to unjam it and shot.

I missed.

Target had his disc gun out. I was in trouble.

He shot and a disc spun off chaotically past me.

I summoned all of my Black-Ops training. I aimed carefully and squeezed the trigger.

The pellet landed in my buddy's chest and he was "dead".

I walked over and consoled him on his loss.

He recognized it was a good kill.

Did I go on to win that game?


I got killed a few days later at the Department of Motor Vehicles when I was about to take the road test for my license (I failed that time).

Meh?... That's life.

If I was a student today playing Killer in our post-Columbine world the authorities would probably have my miserable self heavily sedated.

But that's life in Purgatory.


  1. Ah... thanks for that stroll down amnesia lane. I remember playing but don't remember ever actually killing anyone. Chances are I died almost immediately. Probably suicide. Those games are pretty stressful. I do remember a day-long session at DW Fields Park at which Brian Dorocot (sp?) hid in a ditch and consequently got covered by leaches. Yet, as memory serves, he was completely unfazed by said leaches (?!).
    Ah, youth. Stupid, stupid, youth.

  2. I don't remember Brian D getting covered by leaches. Most of my feeble mental capacity was focused on staying hidden.


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