Wherefore Art Thou Assassin?

Abigail Lenhard

Throughout all of my freshman year, I have concurrently been experiencing what it’s like to go through senior year, not that that makes any sense, but because of my older sister Kate, I have felt like my firsts have been my lasts, though they’re rightfully hers. I have been vicariously living her life; I relish in the idea of being the oldest in the school, and I suspect that she has been using mine to relive the beginning too. However, no matter how many times I look for prom dresses or help her with the senior dance, I am not actually a part of it. When April rolled around, there finally came a senior ritual I could really assist her with: SENIOR ASSASSIN.

When it was first mentioned to me, I nodded along like I knew what the senior girls around me were talking about, unaware that it would later be influential, but when it came up the second time, I inquired as to what it was. Once I was informed, I was thrilled by the possibility of becoming an alternate persona, of becoming an assassin.

I soon found out that the rules were pretty simple, no matter how many unnecessary questions were asked in the Facebook group. There are multiple phases to the game, each with a decreasing time frame. The first one would last ten days, the second seven, and the third five. The enforcer must shoot their target without getting shot in order to advance to the next round. Once you assassinate your victim, their target is passed onto you, giving you the opportunity to keep up the hunt. If you are going for your target, they are allowed to shoot you in self defense, thus eliminating you. This rule is crucial though problematic; many duos get into a horrible dispute of who shot whom first. The school is a safe-zone, you may not get anyone on school grounds or at any school sanctioned events, also you are not allowed to attack when a person is at work. Otherwise, players may do whatever they want, just know that people can press charges and your excuse being, “I was playing a game,” isn’t a good reason for breaking in.  At the end of each phase, all of the names are scrambled and you are assigned a new person. In the end, the prevailing player wins most of the money that the commissioner collected, excluding some additional awards, such as that for most kills.

A player’s whole journey starts by entrusting the commissioner with the $10 needed to participate. From there, all you have to do is get a water gun and wait for your target. Your weapon choice is a large indicator of your success rate, and multiple runs to both Walmart and Target may be necessary to purchase all the ammunition needed. Obviously, any good assailant needs a classic super soaker, but a concealable pistol that fits in your pocket is more effective for sneak attacks. Needless to say, it’s best to purchase both.

On April 25th at 17:32:38 EST, Kate’s phone trilled with a text from Kayla: “Target is Harrison Carter.” Kate, who had been standing, immediately let out a gasp-shriek hybrid and dropped to the ground. I am not joking. The reason for the cry is that she knew nearly nothing about the football player, and her high for the game started to decline with the realization that hitting her mark would be harder than we had anticipated.

Once a person receives their target, they need to decide what path to take. Some people will go off the grid playing defense, others will go and play offense. If your prey trusts you, all you have to do is watch your back for the remainder of the ten days that comprise the first phase. If you don’t luck out and are assigned to someone who won’t put their guard down,you are left with the task of doing FBI-level recon. My sister and I knew the basics on Harrison –  hobbies, friends, his free periods –  but there were so many unanswered questions left that were essential to sniping him: Did he have a job?What time did he get home from lacrosse? Did he keep his car in a garage? – The list went on.

It was barely first period on the first day of the first round and I was already hearing rumors of ridiculous roof climbing and hiding under cars before school. The game had officially commenced.

The largest error a person can make in the game is going for their target and missing. This mishap reveals yourself to the target and wastes a valuable attempt at assassination. Unfortunately, this is what Kate’s first attempt lead to. I was positioned on the street in a car that wasn’t her usual one as stakeout. As soon as his black jeep pulled into the street after the varsity lacrosse game, I was to signal via text. I’ll fast forward through the details; just know that I was the only one who ended up getting shot, and it wasn’t even by Kate or Harrison.

Soon after that attempt we retreated home, and to our surprise, it turned out that we were being stalked, too. Someone in an unidentifiable car was staked outside of our house, not in an offensive way but rather doing an initial scope of our situation as we had done to Harrison. A day later we found out that our stalker was Patrick McDermott. Though we were only a few days into the game, he had quickly developed a reputation and was in the lead for most kills. What had been a reckless game of preying quickly became a cautious game of being preyed on. Because of the predator notoriety Patrick had gained, I now had my most crucial job: the lookout. Everyday before we left the house I had to do perimeter checks and clear the area to make sure it was safe for Kate to run out to her car, I was even bestowed my own handgun to have during my sweeps.

Once it was revealed both who we were being hunted by and who we were hunting, a classic alliance formed between Patrick and Harrison. No matter who the three people are, if the person being hunted (Harrison) helps the other assassin (Patrick) get out the middleman (Kate) then the other assassin will promise not to get the person being hunted until the reshuffling at the end of the phase.

Towards the end of the ten days, both of us had started to give up some hope and didn’t even try to scheme, but when there were only two hours left in the first round, Kate knew that she had successfully made it to the next one because  she had still avoided getting shot by Patrick.

The second round started on May 8th and ended on May 14th at midnight. 130 players were out, and 84 were still in when it commenced. The second round wasn’t shrouded in as much hype as the first with the leading cause for the eliminations being that players were not hitting their targets. The lack of success drastically reduced the number of players by almost 75%. The third round launched on Monday the 15th with only 22 remaining players and a five-day time frame. Monday being senior skip day made the game interesting because a lot of people were vulnerable, not protected by the property line of the school. This and the fact that I wasn’t there to help with perimeter sweeps lead to Kate’s disappointing defeat, ridding the pool of one more competitor. As of now, there are 21 people out there who have to watch their backs, but don’t bet all of your money on one player; this game is about to get interesting.

Stay tuned…