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Sunday, February 01, 2004

I wanted to play Scattergories so bad. But everyone else wanted to play Vampire Hunter.

Karen impatiently offered her sharp nails to remove the plastic still wrapped around the box.

Inside were lots of tiny things and a big thing. The big thing had a protective shell of cardboard armour. Not merely utilitarian; the cardboard had an aesthetic purpose - a bat silhouette cut into the paper.

Inside was the tower. Four C batteries would transform the game board into a labyrinth of werewolves and mist. Yet C batteries are impossible to find. Karen offered to accompany me to a gas station to get the batteries. Before we set off, I would examine all the electronica in the house. I was sure my flashlight or one of the phones used big batteries. But the flashlight batteries were D. Everything else in was AA. I came back and reported to the others. Then Rob saved the day, "We can use the AA batteries!"

I ran back to the phone. Using the two-knife trick, I removed four batteries. Then we needed a screwdriver to open the tower's battery door. My bluntest knife was useless, necessitating a trip to the basement toolbox. Luckily there was a screwdriver by the computer, saving me a visit to the really scary part of the basement.

Then Rob needed a pair of scissors. Off I went to look for the green-handled Romanian scissors. When I came back with the Taiwanese cutters, Rob and Jonesy already had three-quarters of the batteries wrapped in the styrofoam cut out from the takeout containers.

Exhausting their styrofoam supplies, they demanded the tower's cardboard armour.

"Just don't cut the bat - it'll make a good stencil."

Once all the batteries were nestled in the tower, Jonesy turned on the switch.

Nothing.

Jonesy flipped it open and shut it a few times. Finally it worked.

As the owner of the game, the instructions stated that I take the first turn. We played in the dark. In the end, it was Karen who killed Drakus, the 875-year-old vampire.

I remembered the Halloween tape only after we finished playing. We listened to the blood-curdling screams of someone being ravaged by dogs anyhow.

The funnest part was still the battery struggle.

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