Monday, April 25 was a temperate spring day when the mercury loitered around 50 degrees.
Meteorological beauhunk Sven Sundgaard's sunrise forecast had been spot on. Benighted air turned a tad nippy after suppertime. It must've been especially so for the enterprising teenagers assembled at Lynnhurst Park in Minneapolis. They'd marshaled to play "Assassins," the live-action game in which teams of Nerf gun-packing combatants vanquish each other with foam bullets.
On this night many a player would engage in battle naked.
According to a recent story in the Southwest Journal by Jim Walsh, the evening's recreational warfare commenced sometime past nine o'clock. It involved "hundreds of Washburn High School students," wrote Walsh, some of whom — "fifty… maybe more," according to the story - employed a sophisticated stratagem better known as nakedness.
The tactic was explained by one of the participants. "Nude Boy," a freshly minted grad, told Walsh that if a player chose to play nude, house rules said they couldn't be killed, and thus victory — are you smelling that? — would be all the more sweet.
“So because of the naked rule, that night after our choir concert, me and all my friends decided, ‘We’re all going to show up at Lynnhurst Park naked for the big battle; we’re just gonna shoot naked and kill everybody and they won’t be able to kill us,'" Nude Boy recounted to Walsh.
"But everybody else had that same idea too. We jumped out of the car and chased this guy who still had his clothes on, and some more naked people jumped out of a car and pretty soon you’ve got 50 naked kids running around Lynnhurst Park shooting each other with Nerf guns.”
The fun lasted no more than 45 minutes, according to Nude Boy, adding it halted when five squad cars appeared, the officers shooing the teens home.
"We saw red and white lights coming from the parkway, and people started taking off," Nude Boy continued. "I’m pretty sure there were still some cars full of naked kids when the cops showed up.”
But there weren't, according to Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board spokesperson Robin Smothers, who thinks the storyteller is guilty of creative license.
One city resident did make a 911 call to report "there were teenagers running around naked at Lynnhurst Park," according to Smothers, "but it was on Monday, [April] 11th, not the 25th."
A park police cadet arrived four minutes after the phoned complaint. Two more police cars were there a few minutes later. Somewhere along Lynnhurst's north side boundary, officials found not "hundreds," but two carloads of Richfield High School students. Despite wearing clothes, the adolescents were told to go home.
"It's a great story," says Smothers with a chuckle. "Unfortunately, what it appears we have here is… ah… what's the word?"
"Yes," she says, "embellishment."