Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.
Welcome to ADHD.
[You in the Real World, be sure to click on the red underlined hyperlinks! And know these accounts are true … without exaggeration!]
Are you going to do this, Blackie? asks Screen Two in surprise.
“Does it bother you I’m about to laser another human?” I reply.
Not at all, responds Four with a laugh. But will you really do it to an entire team dressed in your favorite color?
Moments ago I had been sitting with that very same Orange Team, peering across the darkened room deep inside Scene 75, a giant entertainment center in Dayton, Ohio. The barely visible smiles of Blue Team twin sister Dianne and my daughter, Leah, softened my resolve to shoot first and ask questions later.
Paybacks are tough! growls Six, trying to keep me determined. But those two “smiles” sent you to this side so they could unite against you. Give them both barrels!
“Actually, Six, the laser pistol has just one barrel. But I get the idea.”
“This is my light song,” sings Three to a current pop tune, “my dark as night song, my long shots right song….”
Before I even plan my first shot, the “referee” walks in, counts heads and says to me, “You join Blue Team.” Di and Leah protest loudly, but I have been demoted to their less-than-colorful side.
Forced to gun down your beloved Orange, balks Five.
A door opens and our blue squadron files into a second room. We strap on “armored” vests that have many illuminated target triangles which will blink out when we’ve been compromised by Team Tangerine.
Does calling them some color other than orange help you focus? wonders Three.
Into a third room now, this one filled with glowing fluorescent walls. Beside me a father excitedly calls to his three young sons, “Over here, boys! Let’s power up!”
Clearly he had heard the ref explain how to become – briefly – invulnerable to Orange Team’s firepower: simply lean one’s vest against brightly lit recharging stations.
Smirks Three, Too bad that dad and his boys do not realize they simply lean against brightly lit neon signs.
Suddenly myriad (and very precise) green beams flood the area. My entire vest goes dark. You are shot! shouts Five. Game on!
A lifetime later, the vest regains its powerful glow. I spin to face my enemy, yet go dark once more. Several disempowering shots later, Screen One suggests, Look up. Please look up.
Lined along previously unseen steps to a second floor, orange assassins strafe me the millisecond my vest re-activates. Hide, urges Three, whistling at my slow reflexes.
I peer around a wall. “Headshot,” my vest’s tiny voicebox prattles about the wound I just received. “Headshot. Headshot. Headshot.”
Screen Six sighs. Black, take off your glow-in-the-dark orange glasses. Please.
Lady Di fares no better. “Why isn’t my gun working?” she wails repeatedly. Leah scoots to her side. “Aunt Di, you’re standing behind a wall with a window.” Leah points and says, “That guy’s shooting you right through it.”
Game over too soon, we race into daylight to see our scores. “Inferno” Leah is last at 34. I, the unseeing “FireSeer,” am barely ahead at the 26th position. Di, the “Colander Kid,” captures an impossible-to-grasp ninth place!
You stepped into an alternate reality, assures One. No other explanation.
To the go-cart races, then, where Dianne starts at lead pole and skillfully maintains it. Or does, gasps Two, until that blonde Woman in Red roars past all. She smashes into Di, causing a three-way crash – Blackwell bodies everywhere! – that Red somehow escapes.
Slightly shaken and very stirred, we return to laser tag. Family females again insist I be on the Orange Team. A new “ref” walks in, counts, sends me back to Bluesville.
Far bolder this time, we flood orange turf and destroy their power station.
Actually, counters Six, you tried, but you shoot another neon sign.
Moving Marine-like, “Vortex” Leah snags fourth place. I, the eerie “Eclipse,” scoot up to 14th. Thrilled, we quickly turn to Di, who keeps her eyes downcast and murmurs, “I’m not even telling you.”
Go-carts one last time. I start as lead vehicle and allow no one to pass me. The entire race, Six proudly hails as Two loudly wails, Ol’ Red in this race, too?
But Red is not among us. Ever so smoothly, I finish in first.
Better check the scoreboard, Black, moans unhappy Four. I do, and it lies, claiming Leah – that “Vortex” victor – actually recorded the fastest lap times.
Then the entire scoreboard changes its electronic display, unexpectedly showing a photo taken during registration. Winner Leah’s million-pixel smug grin flashes. In mock disgust I try to turn away but …
Look right into real Leah’s million-watt smug grin, laughs Two.
Postscript: I find myself pinned down by several Orange Team shooters. Their exceptional accuracy causes my vest to blink on and off like Christmas lights. How will I escape the corner into which they’ve driven me?
Three times he powers up. Three times he proclaims my doom. Three times he blinks out. On his last try, regular lights come up and all lasers take instant naps.
Little shoulders sag as a disappointed face studies a lifeless gun. “Never got you,” he laments and slowly walks away …
Revealing the laughing Leah who had been hiding behind him, cheers Six.
* * * * *
This Is My Fight Song [Rachel Platten]
Speaking of consistent headshots …