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A large proportion of the air inside me is knocked out as my belly hits the dirt and I slide the three yards along until the top of my head strikes the gnarly tree stump that I had been aiming for. “Fucking Ow!” I utter as I come to an abrupt and uncoordinated stop, quietly though so not to give my position away to those yellow bastards who are waiting for us somewhere over the ridge up ahead. I had been in-country for only about thirty-three minutes and already I had come under fire from the enemy. Even now, as I crouched for cover behind the stump, I could hear the high-pitched screams of the projectiles flying over head, snapping tree branches and showering me with leaves, making the dust pitch-up and dance momentarily as the shot buried itself into it. As I waited for support to come up on my six my mind wandered back in time to the briefing the Commander had given my unit just before we were deployed.

“Listen chaps. This is a dirty conflict. Hell, they’re all dirty conflicts, but this one is as goddamn mucky as I’ve ever seen it and I seen it pretty goddamn mucky. Hurumph. So, you gotta stick together as a unit in the field of operations, watch each other’s back, keep your heads down and be sneaky bastards. I ain’t gonna shit you, some of you won’t be making it all the way through. Some of you are going to die. Just make sure you take two of them with you. That’s it, saddle up and move out!”

I steal a peek around the stump and see one of those yellow bastards taking a bead on my position. I pull my head back just in time as I hear two, three, four shots striking the wood behind my back. I’m pinned down, can’t move out of here until I get some support. I check my gun, check the magazine, test the trigger, in preparation for some royal bloodletting just as soon as my unit catches up with me. Where the fuck are they? I can hear whispering coming from the enemy’s positions. They are getting closer and still no sign of any backup. Goddamn it, perhaps they were cut off or got themselves lost or maybe they’re all dead, lying in a heap somewhere in the bush. Well, fuck it, I’m not going to wait here to get my nuts shot off! I’m going to charge those bastards, do like the Commander said and take as many with me as I can, down to rot and burn in the hell awaiting every soldier. I move myself around so I am facing the enemy, stick my head out to the right of the stump and then pull it back as I see one yellow scum fire at me from behind that hump and hear another let loose some flying death and pain over to the left. I bend my neck and bring the barrel of my gun up and rest my forehead upon it. I say a quick prayer, take a breath, grit my teeth, and then launch myself up and over the stump.

Everything slows as if someone has spilt a jar of honey onto the cogs of time. I can see the heads of three of those yellow devils and they are all aiming at me. I can see the shots flying through the air like I was Neo and I was in control of the Matrix. Something hits my helmet and I stumble slightly but keep running forwards. I think I am screaming something incoherent and full of hatred. I can feel wetness pour into my ear and I loose the hearing from it and I think I’ve been shot in the head, I’m going to die. My momentum carries me onwards and I reach the first ridge and run up it and come face to face with the enemy. I pull hard on the trigger and I feel my gun buck in my hands as I pour death down onto this person. I hear them grunt several times and then they must be dead because the body stops jerking. I shot someone, killed them on the field of combat. Just as this thought sinks in and fills me with a surprisingly warm sensation of satisfaction I hear the actions being cocked on guns behind me and before I can turn I feel the hits in my legs, back and neck and then I am falling forwards onto the body in front of me to join it in the gloom and ignominy of an early death.

I have no idea how long my body lies there but about five minutes later and a shout goes up: “Time up! Yellows win, Blues lose by three players. Put your guns on safety and meet back at the camp for burgers and drinks. The next game starts in forty minutes.”

“Ya loser!” says the body under mine.

“Yeah, well, who shot who?! I seem to remember blowing you away.” I reply as I push myself to my feet and then reach down to help Debbie up.

“That was just a set-up. A sacrifice. I lured you out and Will and Tammy slaughtered you. There is nothing I won’t do for the Yellow flag!”

I look over my shoulder and see the pink paint covering most of my back. “Jesus Christ, I hope this shit comes out. Ow! Fuck! My back is covered in bruises. Just wait ‘til I get Willem in my sights!”

Yeah, so, went paintballing for the first time ever a couple of weeks ago with a bunch of friends as a diversionary tactic for Jack’s surprise B’day party. The sun was out, the location was green and wooded and ideal for the scene of multiple pogroms of the Yellows on the Blues. Most of us swore our allegiance to the Land of Blue whilst Willem and Tammy and her friends united with the ranks of the Jaundiced who proceeded to efficiently slaughter us. The fact that the Yellows had five seasoned players who were all using hand signals and knew the terrain alarmingly well (“Head for D-9 bunker!”) as well as Willem, who unsurprisingly turned out to be a master sniper, all hastened the many deaths of us Blues in the early games but not so much as Marlon, fighting for the blues but seemingly unable to go for one game without mercilessly shooting a fellow comrade in the back of the head. The three brothers Chris, Jamie and Marcus worked as a tight unit as did Cris, Jase, Jack (who was Rambo) and I but we all got shot incessantly and our side was losing drastically on points.

Things started to change after lunch as us beginners all started to find our Warrior Spirit and after a valiantly fought last ditch stand at our base in the Jungle, there were high fives and shouting and firing of paintballs into the air. There was no stopping us from that point on. Shit, well, yeah, I should mention that just after lunch the girls and Will left leaving the Yellows four men down. Who cares though, all is fair in Love and Paintball! Eventually it all came down to the last game which we managed to win comprehensively. The yellows argued briefly afterwards that they had lost it because of Jason and his threats to beat two of them to death with the gas-cylinder on his gun if he saw any of them cheating again. I heard it all and I think he worded it somewhat like this “You two little pricks better fucking lie down and die the next time I hit you or I’m gonna beat fuck out of you!” Said by Jason towering above them in their small bunker, I know they were thinking that they hadn't signed up for this at all. “Just some friendly paintballing in the woods, please, god, keep this gun-toting maniac away from us!”

Very much fun indeed. Booyakka.


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