The following is a tale of assassins, of deception, of high speed car chases, balloon grenades, and of guns β€” lethal guns filled with vicious H20. It's no surprise that the participants of StreetWars, a water pistol competition operated by a "Shadow Government," are described as mostly being in their 20s and 30s and part of the "kickball set." The premise is simple: kill or be killed. But the lengths that these ruthless men and women β€” yes, they claim 35% of the participants are female! β€” go to in order to avoid a watery death varies. Some players like the 32-year old Michael Deane don't take any chances and enroll others to help in their menacing game of lies and deceit.

β€œI told my doorman that if he sees anyone suspicious with a water pistol, then he’s not to let them in the building,” Mr. Deane said.

He shaved the beard he wore for the picture his pursuer is carrying. He is considering borrowing a wheelchair to use as part of a disguise. By Friday evening, he had logged four kills; he was one of 16 players left. β€œI’ve been walking around like a crazy person,” he said, β€œwondering when they’re going to get me.” His wife, who works promoting nightclubs, is very patient about the whole thing.

While Mr Deane appears to be a well trained assassin, not everyone has his killer instinct. One of his victims may have given up his life prematurely:

I could have run into this building and security would have let me in,” he said, pointing back toward the university. β€œI didn’t feel like it. I’m in two grad programs right now. I don’t have the time.”

Two grad school programs and playing in water pistol competitions. That sounds about right. I once played a similar ice-breaker game of Assassin during my freshman orientation week of college. We viewed it less as a sovereign mission and more of, well, an excuse to talk to hot girls. Yeah, it didn't help. >>The Shadowy , Wet World of Squirt-Gun Assassins [NYTimes]