Some of my favorite movies growing up in the ‘80s were set within the context of the Cold War – “Spies Like Us,” “Red Dawn,” and, of course, “War Games.” My sisters and I particularly enjoyed a film called “Gotcha!” about a college guy who becomes embroiled in a CIA undercover operation with a sultry Czech spy. Comedy and romance abound amid a deadly Soviet-era game of cat and mouse. Anyhoo, though you could easily contribute my childhood nostalgia to recent events, I’ve been drawn there through a phenomenon currently capturing the hearts and minds during should-be-studying time of hundreds of local high school seniors. It’s called Assassins, and it’s hilariously intense.
Rules vary from school to school, but the general idea is the same: For a small fee, kids enter into a pool of assassins and have seven days to take out their assigned mark with a water gun and avoid being “hit” themselves. Those who accomplish both tasks advance to the next round, with the sole survivor making bank. School, work and home are the only designated DMZs.
The girl who sniped my daughter was unbelievable. I foiled her first attempt when I discovered her tucked up against our garage and sounded the alarm. But then she enlisted her mom and waylaid Maddie at the dance studio, bursting forth from an inconspicuous minivan, Rambo-style. One of my students was dispatched at a McDonald’s drive-thru, and countless more have met their ends in vulnerable parking lots and driveways.
The Cold War may be over, friends, but its red-headed stepchild Assassins is alive and well in central Indiana teen-dom. Gotcha!