Friday, October 22, 2010

Back in the Bulk - Blind Ninja Attack

After far too long a delay since the last update, here's a fresh tale for you to enjoy from my freshman year of college, living in Bulkie Hall. You may remember a few of the people involved from our previous tale, Elevator Darts. Ben Stantz and John "P.J." Reaver are once again important characters, as is Clive McEnroe, who was so kind as to share the stories of Right Angles Pizza with us long ago. Clive is a man of small and agile build, both brilliant and insane. His instincts are those of a small forest animal, always alert for the need to leap to safety from larger threats. Also of central importance is Jon "B.J." Hummer (The B.J. is for British Jon -- while not actually British, Jon did talk constantly about the time he spent abroad in England). B.J. was alright at first but got kind of annoying, he had kind of a skulky creepy thing going on. He was generally a pain in the ass by this point, and most of us didn't like him always trying to hang around us. Brendan Tourney, L.J. Seabiscuit, and Greg Hammel were all involved to a lesser extent as well.

One day, Clive McEnroe came back to the floor with a sleep mask. You know, like the type people wear over their eyes to block out light and sleep. This was evidently a mask marketed towards women, because it was powder blue and said like, "Princess" or something on it. Clive did not buy this mask, he found it. He found it in a parking lot. And thought he should bring it home so we could wear it. On our faces.

It was going to take more than his suggestion that we all try it on to get us to try it on. It was going to take a wiffle bat. Don't misunderstand me, we were not threatened with a toy bat. This wouldn't have been Clive's style, and it wouldn't have worked. Nearly any of us would've suffered one or two hits before taking it away and beating his ass back with it (because that's what friends are for). No, this wiffle bat was more of a "carrot" than a "stick". You see, ninjas are awesome. Like, really awesome. They are totally sweet.

A game was quickly designed for play with a crowd of idiots, a discarded sleep mask, and a wiffle bat. This game was Blind Ninja Attack. The rules are simple. First, someone volunteers to be the Blind Ninja. This person is blindfolded, spun in a circle, and given a bat. Then everyone else runs and hides around the floor and tries not to be killed by the Zatoichi-esque assailant. There's really nowhere to hide on a dorm floor hallway, so mostly we just tried to remain quiet as we moved around.

Ben, acting as he often did as a voice of moderate reason, decided that the risks of Trevor Cloak, our sometimes-friendly, sometimes-tyrannical RA disliking our game and ruining our fun were high, so we came up with a system. If anyone spotted Trevor, they were to say, quite loudly "Hey [BLIND NINJA'S NAME HERE], hows it going?". This would be the signal to stop playing and hide our equipment.

For the first round, Clive volunteered to be our ninja assassin. Being a nimble little guy with sharp hearing, he wasted no time in orienting and striking down great big P.J. I mean, John was huge and slow-moving, so it was an easy win for Clive. P.J. became the next Blind Ninja. He spun and we spread out away from him. John moved slowly in cycles, first listening, then orienting, then moving, then possibly swinging the bat. In order. Like a video game boss. He was fairly easy to avoid. But I miscalculated. I allowed myself to be backed into a dead end of the hallway (there were four dead ends, the floor was laid out roughly squarely with a dead end hallway at each corner). I tried my best to be silent, but John knew he was slowly, slowly closing in on someone. I prepared to kick the radiator to distract him then try to bolt past him, but fate intervened.

John's missed swings made noise. B.J. was always listening for sounds that we might be having fun so he could glom on and de-fun things a bit. And this time was no exception. Our showdown was occurring right outside his door. The door opened. B.J.'s face poked out. "Hey guys, what are you doing?" John heard a human voice. His ears perked up. He turned his head. He readied his swing. If B.J. had any clue whatsoever what was about to happen, he would've had plenty of time to dodge or close the door. But who suspects a Blind Ninja Attack?

John, swinging the wiffle bat with one massive arm in an downward arc, smashed B.J. right in the face. As he was knocked back and the door swung closed, we heard, "Oh god, my face!" and then did not see or hear B.J. for the rest of the day. P.J. took his mask off, thinking he'd won, not realizing he struck a bystander. Awesomely.

In any event, his turn was over, and Clive wanted another go. This time everyone got away from him more quickly, knowing that he was fast and extremely reactive to his surroundings. His tiny woodland animal instincts took over and he stopped distinguishing sounds, striking viciously at any noise. There was one noise he did not hear, however. And that was a toilet in the bathroom flushing. Trevor had been in the crapper this whole time, blissfully unaware of what was going on. Ben, passing by the bathroom door, heard the flush and saw Trevor exit the stall and start washing his hands. It was time to end the game.

Ben approached Clive and called the code-phrase. "Hey, Clive, how's it going?" Loud. Awkward. No chance it could be mistaken for conversation. But Clive was not hearing words, only noise. As Trevor exited the bathroom, he saw a perfect shot of Clive striking three times to Ben's arms and torso. "Ow. OW. OW! Quit it!!" But it was too late to quit. Trevor had seen our contraband toys and confiscated our wiffle bat. He would later return it, along with all sorts of toys he took away one magical day months later (we think he was told he wasn't actually allowed to confiscate and keep our things if they weren't actually disallowed in the dorms), but for now, it was gone.

Clive was allowed to keep the sleep mask.