Massacred Watermelons

January 13, 2009
By Shawnee Griffin, Hartland, WI

“Come to the Darkside. We have cookies.” They also have air soft guns, video games, a digital camera, swords and imaginations. And watermelons.

Somewhere in the summer of 2004, Ryan S and best friend Gary M created a group where swordplay and trebuchet construction are welcomed. It started with two members and slowly grew as more of their friends wanted in. To become initiated, one must go to Gary’s house and receive a cookie. It is a formal initiation complete with black curtain and video camera. When initiated, the master says one important phrase: “Welcome to the Darkside. Here is your one and only cookie. Do with it as you will.”
“Yeah, we like to play with swords.”

Ryan Sizer explained about the “Swordplay Videos” he and the Darkside made. They include teenage boys slicing up watermelons, pineapples and a pumpkin with swords and small combat knives. All of this is done in Gary’s back yard.

“His parents are cool with it.”

Mine would not be. Sizer also goes on to tell how the Darkside made a trebuchet. A trebuchet is basically a small catapult. They dubbed their trebuchet “Excalibur”, and they have thrown bowling balls, fruit and smaller balls with it. Unfortunately, Excalibur became rotted and the boys had to tear it down.

The Darkside knows how to throw a party. They do not include any illegal activity though.

“We have air soft wars. The key is to wear black and be fast.”

Sizer tells how the Darkside must meet at Gary’s house sometime after seven. There, a bonfire waits, and so are a score of air soft guns. Air soft guns are harmless mock-weapons that use air to propel a small plastic bead. Sizer assures me they don’t hurt. Some of the boys choose to wear camouflage, others don all black. The goal is not to be seen. So, they have the war, sometimes a capture the flag, other times just a free-for-all. It’s a one shot kill game, so once you’re hit, you’re out.

The Darkside is a harmless group of friends, unless you’re a watermelon, who has unconventional things to play with. Currently, there are ten members of the Darkside, and they are always open to new members.

“Come to the Darkside, we have cookies.”

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