It was with some reluctance that I took William to Laser Quest last Saturday. For the uninitiated, this involves running around in a dark room, attempting to ‘shoot’ other people with a laser gun whilst avoiding them hitting the target on your vest. Usually the husband plays wingman to our boy’s cannon fodder approach to battle (“Hello! I’m William. Oh, I’m shot again.”) But this time he decided he wanted mummy to go.
We paid for two games and the first was surprisingly civilised. Apart from William and I, there was one other family, therefore we had lots of space and time to trot around. I even managed to get a few shots on target. (Admittedly, this was made easier because the other family included a teenage girl who had obviously been coerced into joining her mum and two small brothers. She was an easy target as she didn’t even bother to raise her gun the whole time she was in there.)
For our second game, we were joined by three other families. With dads. Suddenly everything changed; there were tactics, positions and battle formations. Us amateurs had no chance, no sooner had I recovered from one hit (you had to wait four seconds after being hit before your gun was active again) before I was hit and immobilised again. Sometimes I couldn’t even see where it came from. Put it this way, should there be an alien/zombie attack, I’ll be one of the first to bite the dust.
However, this new seriousness was infectious. I found myself hiding behind walls and firing through windows like a wannabe Charlie’s angel. I even took advantage of William’s propensity to run headlong into enemy fire by hanging back and picking off the small soldiers firing at him one by one. At one point I heard someone shout “Down! Down!” at my teammates – then realised it was me.
All in all, the boy and I had a great time together. Normally I’m a poor substitute for daddy in games of war, but something about the heavy vest, large gun and surrounding darkness brought out a whole new side to me. Quite a turnaround for a mother who declared her newborn son would never be allowed to play with guns.
I’m not getting too smug about my performance, though. After the game, I asked William who had been better to play laser tag with, me or daddy?
“You.” He said. “Because I can beat you on points more easily.”