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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Paintballin'

Wearing sweatpants and a blue Kurt Cobain shirt wasn't the best fatigues to bring to war, but it didn't matter. The whistle blew and I saw paintballs flying toward me from three different directions. Narrowly escaping doing an action hero roll, my clothing was covered in mud and I fit in.

We charged toward the middle of the field, screams of pain from falling comrades. Franklin tries to beeline for the fortress, but the enemy has anticipated the move. Bill and Joel sent paintballs smacking against trees and cover. Franklin doesn't fall until only feet from the cover he was going toward. The enemy took the fort.

Kyle screams to lay down cover fire, so I blind fired over my cover toward the enemy hoping to keep them hidden. A ball exploded on my hopper spraying paint into my goggle. Kyle never did make his move, but I was left with the wound.

Matt and I fired round after round at each other. Our cover was maybe 45 feet apart. It was obvious that both of us were shooting through the blurred vision of ruined goggles. James arrived behind me as backup. Matt and James fired on each other, through and over my cover. The balls mostly shattered in the tree limbs and against the plywood cover I had found solace. For a moment I felt like the 101st Airborne in Bastongne in 1944. Limited supplies, wounded, getting shelled from both sides. (Of course this is nowhere near as heroic as the 101st Airborne) The paint rained on me, speckling me with brilliant orange colors, and I couldn't help but laugh. Matt and I shot each other at the exact same moment. It wouldn't be my last wound.

Later, we were assaulting the castle. Small view holes spat ammunition down the field where our cover was. It was hopeless, we were assaulting up a hill onto a heavily armed fortress. While three of them shot from inside the safety of the walls, two of their more mobile players flanked left and right. I took the guy on the right, spraying each other like two powerful wizards dueling with magic. We should've hit each other a dozen times, but because of the sheer adrenaline rush and will to survive we both had the balls merely whizzed by ears or ricocheted off of the metal barrels, creating audible dinks. For this moment, I was locked in combat with one person. The rest of the field disappeared.

Then in a moment of weakness I looked down to confirm my ammo count. SMACK! The sharp, pinpoint precision of a paintball broke the skin on top of my cranium. I stumbled backwards. It took several seconds and a second paintball striking my feet for me to throw my gun into the air and scream "I'm out." Dazed and wandering back to the "cemetery" I saw Joel running up the field toward Sallie. The last of our team surviving. She didn't have a chance. He came around her cover, grabbed her barrel, and said "you're out."

Long after my trigger finger stopped shaking, I'm now sitting in my underwear, eating half a strawberry pie, preparing for the soreness that has taken over. Tomorrow will be when be when the real pain sets in.

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