Imagine stepping outside your front door, knowing that an assassin is after you, but you don't know when or where the hit could happen.
The vast majority of people can feel relief that they're not important enough to be assassinated, but quite a few Londoners have volunteered for three weeks of anxiety by taking part in StreetWars, a water pistol assassination tournament, taking place in London at the moment. Players get the name, photo, home and work address of their assasination target, who they then have to track down and eliminate by shooting them with a water pistol. All while trying to avoid being assassinated by someone else...
I interviewed Egbert, who is currently taking part in the tournament, but was unwilling to reveal his real name to avoid attention. The first round of the competition will end at midnight on Monday and Egbert is celebrating the fact that he has eliminated both of his assigned targets and has survived a failed assasination attempt.
"Some guy tried to get me outside work, but he missed and fell off his bike," he said.
Egbert has taken measures to avoid being assassinated en route to and from work (although he was unwilling to reveal the measures) and has stopped going out for lunch -- assassination targets are safe within their office complex, but outside they're fair game.
As for tracking down your victim, the StreetWars Web site says "you can hunt your target down any way you see fit; you can pose as a delivery person and jack them when they open the door, disguise yourself and take them out on the street, etc."
Civilian casualties, however, are not allowed. "You are assassins not hit men. The Shadow Government expects our agents to kill with precision, stealth and style. Random blastings are not respected. You must hit your target intentionally," says the Web site.
Egbert was unwilling to reveal how he took out his first two victims, but advised that those wishing to take part should arm themselves with a stealth water pistol. "A small water pistol with a good range is best -- something that's concealable," he said.
The Met Police and the British Transport Police have criticised the game, saying that waterguns could be mistaken as firearms, but Egbert pointed out that the only weapon allowed by the tournament organisers are brightly coloured super-soakers. Participants would be well advised to stay away from attacking their targets on the Underground though, as police have said they could face criminal charges.
The StreetWars tournament is expected to end by midnight on 15 August, although it may descend to a 'one week sudden death tournament' if more than one player is still alive by that date. The entrants to the tournament each paid Â£40, and the winner will scoop up a grand prize of Â£500. But as Egbert says, "It's not about the money..." -Ingrid Marson