“Shoot her!” Jim screamed from the other side of the dodge box.
I had not noticed Kimberly creeping to where I was, because I was also creeping in on Charley, Kimberly’s boyfriend. They seem to have made it their eternal plan to use one of them as bait for the other to take the lure in, down.
They were becoming so good at the paintball game that the team they ever joined never lost a match. And they were already making a name for themselves as paintball killer couples.
Before I could turn back to her and take a shot, “Bang! Bang!! Bang!!!” She shouted. That was to say that I had been shot and she didn’t want to hurt me with a paintball because she was too close to me. And like that, I was out of the game.
“You have just been Kimmed,” she said excitedly in her usual mantra.
I was one of the last two that were left in the game in my team, so the game came to an end quickly after I was out of it. There was nowhere for Jim to hide after I was out. He was cornered, and paintball flew from every angle towards him.
The Paintball game became a thing between Jim and me since our finals in the college. We made acquaintance with Charley, his girlfriend Kimberly, the Wests (which comprised of Jake, Tyler and Todd West), Bob and his wife Linda, and Big Sam.
Charley and Kimberly had been in the boyfriend and girlfriend relationship since we first met them, and that was three years ago. How they managed to keep their relationship in one piece over the years was a mystery to me. Most relationships of our generation do not last more than a year, tops.
Bob and Linda always seemed to be arguing all the time. It was probably the reason why they lasted just two minutes during the game. As much as we enjoyed their screaming and shouting at each other, we were always coy to put them in our team. But outside of what they displayed to people, they loved each other dearly and were perfect for each other.
The Wests are three brothers who rarely left one another’s sights. They do things together as if they were triplets, which they were not. Jake is the first born, followed by Tyler, then Todd. Sometimes when they play against each other, they would refuse to shoot each other until one shouts at them that it was only a game. Or they get shot while staring at each other. So we mostly use them as bait, because they never last long in the game.
Big Sam is the most serious of us all. Big Sam would hide from the beginning of the game, trying so hard to stay till the end of the game, as if that was the most critical thing in the game, shooting no one in the process and hiding so he won’t get shot. He always ended up being shot and out of the game anyway.
Jim and I were the next serious two in the game. So we were always choosing each other first, just like Charley and Kimberly would do. Then we just picked three more each from the rest and led them to battle. And we do this once every month. Driving to the paintball field not far from the county park.
Just like always Charley and Kimberly had won this one again. In all the three years we had been coming here to play, my team had won only seven times in the last two years.
Jim and I decided we would need to strategize so that we could bring Charley and Kimberly down. We knew they would come with a new plan the next time we come to play. They seem always to do.
Jim and I spent the next one month planning for the next big game. We make plans, drew maps of the field, practiced how to dodge bullets and shoot accurately from a distance.
Every Saturday we would meet at Big Sam’s house. He had all the paintball gear at the back of his house, and we would practice.
Then we decided we could play Big Sam’s cowardice to our advantage. We prepared and waited so long for the end of the month. This time the month seemed to stretch longer than usual.
The Saturday came, and we went for the big game.
Jim and I chose Big Sam first and two of the Wests. Charley and Kimberly chose Bob and Linda and the last West.
So the game began. As usual, Bob and Linda started arguing about the best position to hide, giving their selves away. Jake must have seen that, and he was going in for the kill when Charley shot him.
Jim and I made the sign, Bob and Linda are the bait this time. So we made our plans around them.
We would try to take Charley out, and as soon as he is down the game will be over. But how we do that was still unclear. Charley was very clever.
The next time Bob and Linda started arguing, I asked Jim to cover me, and he took down Tyler who was coming for me while I took down Bob.
Linda was saying I told you so when Todd took her down.
I knew at that moment Charley was not in the scene, he must be going for Big Sam. I informed Jim about my observation with a gesture, and he understood.
But we had read wrong, he didn’t go for Big Sam but came for Todd, and he painted him.
So we were on three against two.
Charley made his first mistake as he opened his flank to lure Jim in, but this time we got the sign. Jim made a quick run to the next dodge box to show he was going for Charley, but only to expose Kimberly.
As she tried to make her move, I sent a long-range shot and got her. Her voice must have made Charley throw his guard down because Jim got him just then easily.
And we won another game after a long time.