Note: This is the third in a series of posts about the first meeting between three online friends.
At Moksha Gren’s home — affectionately dubbed “the Grenstead,” we marveled at how we all looked in three dimensions. I was a bit surprised that we stood so close to the same height. Though I had more hair than either of them, my tall forehead helped even up the reflection score.
We were treated to the presence of Moonshot and Norah, the ladies of the house, and Arlo the dog. Toddler Norah — a true cutie pie — entertained us by sliding around on the hardwood floor in her slippers and sporting the camouflage hat she picked from the store shelves. Moonshot entertained us by keeping Moksha in check. In his defense, it was unfair that Simon and I didn’t have our wives on hand to do the same.
The foosball table called to us from the sunroom. Moksha had the best answer, dispatching Simon and me like the rank amateurs we were. I learned that letting go of the grip to spin the players is not acceptable. Note to self: do not expect to win foosball against anyone who actually owns a table.
After lunch at a local microbrewery, we hung out at the house before heading out to play Demolition Ball. Have you ever seen this? Labeled “whirlyball” and probably other names around the USA, it is a combination of basketball, jai-alai, and bumper cars. Moreso than basketball, the goal resembles Pyramid in the new “Battlestar Galactica.” I probably lost some of you just then, but stay with me. There’s suprisingly little sci-fi content from here on out.
The first thing I noticed when stepping onto the electrified Demolition Ball court was a burnt electronics smell. I began to understand why the safety video had instructed us to avoid picking up the ball with our hands.
Several of Moksha and Moonshot’s friends showed up to make two teams of five. Simon and I joined Red while Moksha and Moonshot went Yellow.
In the ensuing hour we got bumped, harrassed, and harangued as we tried to master the game. Our team won once. After I complained about my “scoop” being defective, leading scorer Moksha swapped his for mine. His performance got worse while mine improved tenfold. I scored on two of my next two attempts and had much better luck passing to my teammates on fast breaks.
Fast being relative, of course. Click the play button (and give it a moment) on the video below to see the action.
Watching strangers to get the idea; Simon misses the buzzer-beater.
(if you can’t view this in the browser, then download it)
The fun over after what seemed woefully short of an hour, for a mere five bucks more we played Lazertag. And got destroyed.
Seven of us took on 10 little kids, none more than chest-high on me. Our biggest mistake was in letting them enter the battle arena first. Without any idea where they had gone, we burst through the doors a couple minutes later and proceeded to get the crap kicked out of us.
The kids had gained the higher ground by walking up a long, sharply curved ramp to an observation deck. The walls were high enough that only their shoulders and their phasers were available as targets (yes, the staff called them “phasers,” so stop giving me a hard time). Meanwhile, they had clear shots at our back and chest targets, too.
A few of us tried charging the high ground, but with the six-second recycle time on our phasers, we were helpless. Had we rushed them all at once we might have had a chance, but the onslaught was so merciless that we dispersed like desparate rats in a flooding ship’s hold.
One kid, I suppose feeling sorry for me, approached and said, “You can just hold down the trigger and it will keep firing.”
I swallowed my pride and said, “Thanks.”
Outside, after the 15 minutes of lopsided carnage, the kids talked with us as we compared our scoring printouts. A man perhaps five years my senior walked up and addressed them. “Are these the old men you said you beat?” he said.
The man and the boys then climbed into a stretch limousine SUV.
“Hey, do you think seven of us could tip over that limo?” said one of Moksha’s longtime friends.
We all laughed, fairly sure he was joking.
Friday had started out great, with three firsts for me in one day — meeting Simon, playing demolition ball, and playing lazertag. That night we joked and laughed and played a zombies card game. Just like old pals.
I truly had no idea what wonders awaited us.