The Fugitive Kind

Chaos in Print

When I was a kid, I read a lot of Archie comics. There was this one that always stuck out in my mind. That was the one where Archie and Betty got really drunk one night and lost their virginity to each other. No! I kid! There was no such issue of Archie. The one I’m talking about was this one where the gang was playing this game. Reggie was going to go hide somewhere in town, and the rest of the gang had until sundown to find him. Of course, nothing can be simple in the world of comics. Reggie ate a bad doughnut from Pop’s, so the kids had to find him before he keeled over from food poisoning. Now, you are probably asking “Why does this story stick out? Get back to that Archie-doing-Betty thing.” It sticks out for one simple reason: I always wanted to play that game.

Think about it. It’s essentially extreme hide and seek. Rather than just hiding in your parents’ backyard, a whole town is your playground. Rather than one person searching for a group of people, it’s the one who is the hunted. This would be the ultimate test of individual resourcefulness. You’d be MacGyver for a day. Richard Kimbal in pursuit of the one-armed man. The hunter and the hunted. I’m getting giddy just thinking about it.

This has been dwelling a lot on my mind lately. I’ve already spent many a day dreamy afternoon devising strategies for my home town. There are essentially two strategies in something like this. You can either keep moving, or you can find a place to hide. If you choose to hide, then it had better be one damn good place. I’ve gone through my home town in my mind. Where would be the best places to hide? Who’s place is deserted, and wouldn’t notice me sneaking through the backyard? Is that place technically in town?

But then I start moving out of the town. There’s that provincial park just down the hill. Lots of trees. Lots of places to hide. Hah. I’ve been going to that park every summer ever since I was a boy. I know every square centimeter. They’d never find me in the park. But then, where’s the challenge in that? Knowing that I’d win? And besides, there are lots more challenges in the urban environment.

So I start plotting some more. I begin plotting strategies for smaller parts of large cities…like West Edmonton Mall. And then I start plotting strategies for small cities…like Camrose. Then, I plot strategies for every village, town, and city I’ve ever visited. I quite possibly think I could hide for days just about anywhere. But then, that’s where the sadness sets in.

I’ll never be able to test these strategies. How do you ask your friends to play a game like this? “Yeah, you hunt me down like a dog, and I see if I can hide from you. Yup, I’ll be in the whole town somewhere. No, I’m serious. C’mon, it’ll be fun. What do you mean, what’s the point? To see if I can hide from the cops if I’m ever accused of a crime I didn’t commit. No! I didn’t do anything illegal! This is just for fun. No, it’s not weird. I got it from an old issue of Archie!” See, it just doesn’t work that way. It’s a very bizarre game to ask people to play with you.

Seeing as to how I’m kind of becoming the developer of this game, I think I should start laying down some ground rules. Like in Fight Club. But before I lay down the rules, I guess I should name this game. Fugitive seems appropriate. So, let’s lay down some rules:

First rule of Fugitive: do not talk about Fugitive. Actually, feel free to talk about it. The more the merrier. I just couldn’t resist the cheap Fight Club joke.

Second rule of Fugitive: there will be only one Fugitive in a game. There will be a minimum of six hunters.

Third rule of Fugitive: there is a time limit. In villages (i.e. Entwistle), games only go for six hours. In towns/small cities (i.e. Camrose), nine hours. In large cities (i.e. Edmonton), twelve hours.

Fourth rule of Fugitive: the Fugitive gets a half-hour head start.

Fifth rule of Fugitive: when the game begins, the Fugitive can carry no gear with him/her, except the following: wrist watch (to know when the game ends), wallet, and an agreed upon amount of money. All other gear/equipment must be bought/stolen/borrowed during the game. Well, not stolen. I’d like to keep this legal.

Sixth rule of Fugitive: the game ends one of two ways. When a hunter makes physical contact with the Fugitive, the hunters win. If the Fugitive stays hidden until the time limit expires, the Fugitive wins.

Seventh rule of Fugitive: anything goes in tracking the Fugitive. Anything within the confines of the law, of course. I’d like to keep this legal.

Eighth rule of Fugitive: the Fugitive must stay within the boundaries of the agreed upon play area. i.e. the city, town, village.

Ninth rule of Fugitive: try not to barge through stranger’s homes. If it’s a friend’s house, feel free about asking for a hiding place. Cutting through a stranger’s backyard is a grey area, though, so be careful if you do that.

Ideally, the hunters should have some kind of communication system so they can talk to each other. It’s not necessary, but seems like it would be appropriate. Cell phones are all cheap enough, they could all have a cell phone. And that, would be the game.

So, what do you think? Do I have too much time on my hands, or what? I can tell you one thing, I’d last longer than Reggie. I think I will ask my friends to try this next time we meet. Now that I’ve got the rules all laid out, there’s only one to test it. Play it. Can you survive?