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The Sergeant was mad as hell.
There he was, trying to drown a hangover in grease at the campus Carl’s Junior in peace and head-pounding quiet, when these loud, irritating morons came running through the food court at full speed. The first asshole was wearing a brightly colored neon arm band and carrying a plastic toy dart gun. The second asshole, chasing him, was wearing the same band but on his head like an insufferable junior high summer camp counselor. Except the guy had pale, disgusting makeup smeared on his face.
The first asshole made the mistake of tripping on Sarge’s backpack. As he fell, he screamed and fired several foam darts upwards, missing wildly. His pursuer leapt on the opportunity, pouncing on the pudgy boy like a shrieking house cat.
Sarge clotheslined him.
“Oof,” the kid grunted, the wind knocked out of his gut by the fierce collision with Sarge’s outstretched arm.
“If you two want to have gay sex with each other, is it too much to ask that you refrain from jumping your shifty bones in fucking public?”
“It’s not…gay sex…” the kid gasped, holding his side. “It’s Humans versus Zombies.”
“I don’t care what the fuck it is,” explained Sarge, “this is a restaurant, and I’m trying to fucking eat.”
“Sorry, we were just—”
“GET THE FUCK OUT AND LET ME FINISH MY DAMN ARTERY-BLOCKER IN PEACE,” Sarge howled.
The boys ran away as fast as they could. Everyone else in Carl’s Junior applauded.
“The fuck is this campus coming to?”
“Someone’s got to put the fear of God in those stupid nerds,” yelled the Sergeant, pounding on the table. “I say we slam back a couple AMFs, bust out Scrub’s paintball guns, and light ’em up.”
“We could get one of us to dress up like we were playing the game and then, uh, follow him around in the bushes like bait,” suggested Scrub.
“I like your thinking. Let’s gear up, boys,” Sarge howled. “I’m instituting martial law on this campus.”
“We can be ‘Seal Team Dicks’,” added Dobbs.
“I was thinking more like humans versus zombies versus assholes.”
“Are you serious?”
The fraternity dining room went quiet. Everyone turned to face the Medic, who was sitting at the end of the table. He was older, back to school on the GI Bill, and had an air of serious admiration and respect around the house.
“You want to go crawling around at night, in all black, with paintball guns?” the Medic repeated.
“Actually, I was going to suggest Nixon masks,” said Scrub.
“You’re going to get arrested.”
The Medic turned towards the Sergeant.
“Why are you so worked up about this?”
“A bunch of nerds running around with Nerf guns shooting at people,” stammered the Sergeant. “Pisses me the fuck off. Good men didn’t give their lives for this country so that fucks like that could trample all over it.”
The Medic bristled.
“Calm down, Sarge. You’re a fucking reservist. And in fact, I know guys who died for EXACTLY that reason, so people could have the freedom to be assholes. Paintball guns are not the answer.”
“I guess we’ll use water-balloons then.”
The Medic picked up his plate and walked out of the room.
“Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.”
The night air was warm and deceptively clear as Sarge and the boys tracked and ambushed several humans versus zombies players under the cover of darkness. They were wearing all black, and a mixture of rubber Nixon and Reagan masks. They were silent. Silence and death.
Suddenly, Sarge and the boys stopped cold, crouching in the bushes. In a well-lit clearing ahead on the edge of the Quad, seven individuals wearing a mixture of urban and camo tactical vests with ballistic helmets and fatigues came rushing out from under cover of some trees. They ran to the stairs of a nearby building, barking harsh and nonsensical military codes.
“Recon Unit. Recon Unit. Hostiles sighted on my six. What’s your twenty? Contact! Contact!” a large, bearded, fat man screamed into an orange walkie talkie.
Sarge blinked with disbelief. Despite the tactical gear, none of this rag tag squad looked like any of them could complete even the most basic PT. Furthermore, they were carrying Nerf guns with expanded magazines, tactical scopes, clips, and bi-pods.
As bad as the kids were playing the game in Carl’s Junior and elsewhere, these guys were something else.
“Commander,” cried one of the nerds.
“What is it, Lewis?”
“Reports of hostile zombies on the right flank of the library quad.”
“Let’s move out.”
The nerds took off running across the Quad.
The Sergeant grinned, motioning to the boys to tail them. This was better than Christmas.
The Medic was walking across the Quad after doing some late night studying in the library for one of his Biochem classes.
It was a warm summer night, and a breeze filtered softly through the trees.
The Medic loved the gentle quiet between the buildings in the deep of the evening.
Suddenly, an uproar of shouts and yelling erupted from the distance. The Medic’s vision curved around to his hearing and bent to cover the 360 degree periphery. Unspeakable horrors had trained him to see around corners. As the yelling intensified, the Medic felt his heart seize, his hand reaching for something that he didn’t have to carry anymore.
The Fat Commander’s squad came running at full speed, Nerf guns trained at level, moving in point. They charged directly at the Medic and almost collided with him.
“Excuse me, what are you doing?” the Medic asked.
“Civilian!” one of the squad yelled.
The fat one coughed.
“Hold,” he commanded. “We’re in the middle of a raid operation. We’re attempting to contact and eliminate hostile targets.”
The Medic looked confused.
“It’s Humans versus Zombies,” another squad member mentioned helpfully.
“Kyle, how many times I have told you not to break fucking character?!” moaned the fat one. “Sir, we are the premier Human Defense Force on this campus. It is our goal that no humans fall to the zombie menace. You’re safe with us.”
“Oh,” said the Medic. “It’s like a role playing game.”
The squad looked shocked. The fat one, in particular, huffed derisively.
“It’s NOT a role playing game…this is a very strategic training exercise! We’re wearing military grade gear, and practicing actual military tactics used by Navy SEALs!”
The Medic stared.
“It looks like you bought that stuff off a paintball website, and your ‘tactics’ are nothing like what actual service members use in the field.”
“Oh really? What do you know about military operations?!” the fat one accused.
“I was a field medic in the US Marine Corps and served two tours of duty in Afghanistan,” the Medic responded tersely. “I have friends who gave their lives for you to have the freedom to do this kind of bullshit. That’s your right, and that’s what we fought for, but all I ask is that you be respectful of people whose combat experiences might be triggered by your actions.”
The rest of the nerds looked down awkwardly and the fat one muttered.
“Whatever, dude. I wasn’t the one who signed up to go kill Arabs for cheap oil.”
“What the fuck did you just say?” the Medic shot back with a chilling, low growl.
That’s when he saw a glint in the darkness under the trees. Sarge and the boys, ready and waiting.
“You know what?” the Medic said, changing his tone, “be safe out there tonight.”
“Thank you, civilian,” intoned the Fat Commander skeptically. “Squad! Move out!”
The Medic stayed where he was, but turned around and from instinct, counted paces.
From behind him, a chorus of screams as Sarge’s water-balloons hit their targets.
“Fucking nerds,” the Medic muttered as he walked back to the house..
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