You too can be a space soldier…

Even though I couldn’t quite call myself a ‘struggling musician” or a “starving artist”, I still consider myself a “dirt broke workin’ girl.” Given that self-classification, I’m always on the hunt for good cheap entertainment. I can only afford the $12 tickets to the Alamo so often, and paying extreme cover charges to see live music puts quite a dent in my budget spreadsheet (which isn’t really a spreadsheet at all…its more of a running tab I keep in the corner of my brain).

Hence the reason I found myself, along with 3 other tight-for-cash friends, suiting up in heavy LED-ridden gear that smelled like the sticky fingers of greasy children. Lazer Tag. Or, more appropriately: BLAZER TAG!

Since Thursday night is 2-for-1 night for students, we all rifled through our respective junk drawers and old purses to find our more-than-expired student ids. After a quick pit stop at Dans Hamburgers (which, by the way, was of mediocre quality…but the quality of people watching more than compensated for any lack of burger wonder), we fought over 4 lanes of traffic to end up at Blazer Tag- an asymmetrical grey building with an ominously vacant parking lot on the south side of 290.

Because of our burger stop, we were ten minutes late and missed the roundup for the 8:30pm game. While techno music and the screams of children echoed from somewhere in the distance, Jason got spanked by the Fun Rock (a frighteningly unsupervised rock climbing wall that rotates and tilts… ), Patrick practiced his best pinball moves (this takes strategy!) and Natalie and I shed all self-dignity and challenged each other to Ultimate Dance Moves.

When it was time for the 9:00pm game, a mumbly under-enthused voice came on the loudspeaker calling us into the Briefing Room.

It must have been past all those kids’ curfews, because when we entered the briefing room, there were only 3 other people there- also in their 20s. I was a little disappointed I wasn’t going to get the opportunity to make easy targets of awkward prepubescents or to scare the crap out of 7 year olds…but I quickly got over it. Some guy named Marshall walked into the briefing room and outlined the rules of the game. It was intense- there was star wars sound effects, pulsing lights, and a certain air of intensity. After seeing that none of us were little kids, Marshal kind gave up on the whole act and started trying to crack jokes instead. It didn’t work.

We were corralled into an adjacent room, where our Lazer packs were hung against the wall. As I pulled the lazer pack over my shoulders and wrapped my fingers around the Lazer gun, I felt like an intergalactic warrior suiting up for space battle. Or not.

The doors to the arena were opened, the lights were dimmed and house music started playing. The games had begun.

The first 4 or 5 minutes were a firefest- shooting fish in a bucket! Everyone was still adjusting their eyes to the darkness, trying to shield themselves from the downpour of lazer beams.

The next 20 minutes were made up of crawling on the ground, leaping out of the trails of lazers, shooting those you once called friends, hearing screams and the sounds of Lazer-death in the background, being ambushed by the barrel of a big plastic gun and trying not to have an asthma attack from all the running.

The 25 minutes were all-too-soon over, and we hustled our sweaty bodies back into the gear room. We unsuited, laughed at each others sweaty faces and went to the lobby to pick up our score cards. The score cards outlined every detail of the game- how many times you shot a certain player, which player shot you the most and what your hit ration and accuracy were. I came in fourth— out of 7. Which makes me average, right?

The boys were basking in their first and second-place glory (oooh, great guys. You beat a bunch of girls at lazer Tag. Tough guys, coming through!) so we went and grabbed a celebratory beer at Opal Divines down the road. It was a school night after all, so we called it quits after one round and 30 minutes of Lazer Tag recap and headed back to our homes.

It only cost $3 for the game and $3 for the beer. Not bad for a Thursday night. Oh and its quite the work out… when’s the last time you crawled around and crouched low to the ground for 25 minutes? Its Sunday and my legs are still sore. And yes, I’m a wimp.

But for 25 minutes and $3, I was an intergalactic soldier with deadly lazer beams.

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