|Arrived: 12:52||Solved: 13:33||Hints? No||Official Game Control site: Magic_Lasso|
Overfelt Gardens was a medium-sized park. In there, we were supposed to meet some Justice Unlimited personnel. As we walked through the gates and into the park, I did not see any Justice Unlimited personnel. I saw Justin Graham of Team Blinded By Science. He wasn't wearing his team trademark lab coat; he was carrying it. And he was carrying a bright yellow rope. And he looked like he had been working hard. Justin was a fast strong runner. Any exercise that would cause him to remove his coat would probably kill me. What would the Justice Unlimited personnel ask us to do?
This was a big park in which to find someone, even someone wearing a superhero costume. We decided to split up to search, keeping in touch by walkie-talkie. We moved out, looking for people in superhero outfits. I walked past picnicers, walkers, and kids practicing wu shu, but no Justice Unlimited personnel. Then there was chatter on the walkie-talkies: we had found the Justice Unlimited guy. And he was saying something about the more people we had, the better. So we needed to gather where he was.
So I was walking over and the team was converging on some spot, and I was still keeping half an eye out for Justice Unlimited people when the guy in the t-shirt looked back at me and smiled. I looked back. Why was he smiling? I kept walking. I took a step, a step obliquely towards him. His smile widened. And he took off running, running away from me. Now I saw his t-shirt--it had the word "WICKED" on it in home-made-looking letters. Oh my, he was probably part of the game.
"I got a wicked man running, here!" I yelled. Part of Team Mystic Fish gave chase. I gave chase. I was going to catch this guy no problem--he was curving wide around a tree; I would cut the corner to cut him off--I found myself stuck behind a barrier of foliage. Oh, so that's why he went around this tree. And then I saw the most curious thing--it was John Owens of Team Advil, running at full clip after the "WICKED" guy; and John Owens was carrying a bright yellow rope. I extracted myself, ran two steps, and stopped. I was done in. I was bonked.
I am hazy on the chronology here. Over the next several minutes, I helped search the park, and found out what was going on. The J.U. people told us to find a "magic lasso"--a yellow rope. Then we would take that rope to the J.U. people, who would would "re-charge" it. This lasso was like Wonder Woman's: it would force people to tell the truth. But only for 20 yes-or-no questions. The guy in the "WICKED" shirt was an evil henchman. We would capture him with the lasso, ask him 20 yes-or-no questions, and then let him go. We would find out the name of his boss. If 20 questions was not enough, we would have to re-charge our lasso again and catch him again. That's why John Owens had run after the "WICKED" shirt guy. I was not looking forward to chasing that guy. He was speedy.
Someone on the team found our lasso, and the place to charge it up. I admitted that I was too exhausted to run, but offered to carry the backpacks of those who still had energy. We walked over to where a team was interrogating the evil henchman.
When we had arrived in the Gardens, there had been few other teams. Now some teams had gathered, and the chasing was different. As each team finished interrogating the henchman, several teams waited to catch him next. Now a few people wouldn't have to chase him across the park--but they had to jump fast to catch him before another team did.
Alexandra knew that we needed to plan our first 20 questions. We gathered in a circle. We wanted to let the word puzzlers do their thing. And then we looked up and saw the tail end of a fracas.
The henchman had started running. A couple of teams had started after him. One team had caught him--but something had gone wrong. One member of the team was down on the ground. Had someone twisted an ankle? Maybe it wasn't too serious.
But maybe it was serious enough such that the henchman was ready to take things down a notch. When Team Mystic Fish was ready to chase him, he didn't run.
Alexandra shot questions at him.
Here, I would have asked "Is it D?" "Is it C?" but Alexandra didn't. She figured that we could figure that out from context, and moved on to the second letter: Between N and Z, between N and R, a vowel (O!). Third letter: Between A and M, between A and F, a consonant. This was a good approach. By the time we ran out of questions, we knew we were looking for "DOCTOR DE..." something. We let the henchman go, let some other team catch him.
Someone headed over to the lasso-recharging station. The rest of us made sure kept an eye on the henchman. But then we saw that team who had a man down--they were still there. Two able-bodied team-mates were picking him up off of the ground. They were supporting him, helping him to walk. I stared like a zombie. David snapped us out of it, said: "There's gotta be something we can do for this guy." Soon I was helping to carry him to a bench.
It occurred to me that while I waited for my teammate to return with the magic lasso, I could take a pee at the conveniently close public restroom. On the way in, I had a quick sip at the water fountain. Wow, that water tasted great. I drank some more. Wow, what great water. I drank some more.
And then I went in and took a pee. It hurt. It did not hurt a lot, but it hurt more than taking a pee should. I was not distressed about it. I was not analyzing the situation at all.
When I emerged from the restroom, Team Mystic Fish was on the move. They had caught the henchman. They had finished questioning him. They had called up Game Control with the answer. Soon we were back in the van.
Flash forward: The morning after the game I thought: Right then. I should have had the sense to eat something right then. What do you do when you're bonking? You eat something. What do you do when you don't pee clear? You drink something. I'd been so frazzled that this simple rule had been lost. I had only had the sense to drink something because I nearly stumbled over the water fountain, I thought. And when I was bonking, I didn't have the sense to eat a sandwich. When I thought the phrase "eat a sandwich", that triggered another memory.
Flash back:At BANG V's after-party, Alexandra and I chatted with some Game folk, including Linda Holman of Team Scoobies. She mentioned that one of her duties during 24+ hour games was to conduct sandwich checks. That is, she looked around her group to see who was starting to droop. "You! You need a sandwich. And you! You need a sandwich!" I thought Who are these goofballs? They don't even know when they're hungry? I was surprised when Alexandra told me that the Scoobies were one of the best teams.
Holy moly, I thought, I totally needed someone to tell me that I needed a sandwich. Linda Holman was brilliant. I was a goofball.
It was mid-day and the sun beat down on the van. The people who had called Game Control said that we were heading for a parking garage. I sat back and listened as Ilse told us the way. I didn't think I was starving.
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