Daniel P. Barron

Assassins Game

Monday, March 28, 2016 

This gun has six kills. I bought it at the Roger’s Campground gift store shortly after registering with Japhet Stevens in his PorcFest Assassins Game. Here’s how it works: everyone who signs up gets assigned a target that they need to squirt with water without anyone else noticing. When you “kill” your target, he tells you who his target is and you keep hunting. The game goes until the week is over, or until you’re the last man standing. You can’t hit someone between midnight and 8 A.M. You can’t hit someone at an official event. If you figure out your assassin, you can “stun” him for an hour by squirting him. It’s a great conversation starter; the most effective way to rack up kills is to go around asking everyone if they’ve seen so-and-so. Assassins game turns everyone at the festival into a potential threat. You go to the bathroom with your gun drawn. You look over your shoulder constantly. You start to imagine complex conspiracies that never existed. Or at least, that’s how I play. The game is my primary motivation for attending PorcFest; it adds a magical layer to every other activity.

Year One

This guy is apparently a big-ish name i in the circle of culty juveniles that probably won’t be attending anymore as an act of solidarity with their banned king. He’s also the first and only person to ever kill me! Pictured is my poor attempt at collecting intelligence; he revealed himself to me in a post-midnight assassination attempt. I knew the rules quite well, and had already let my guard down; that’s the only reason he was able to sneak up on me. Still, the attempt on my life was jarring enough to temporarily trick me into believing I had died. We stood and talked about the game for a bit, when it eventually occurred to me that the whole thing didn’t count and that I should take a picture of him so that I’d know who to look out for the next day. Unfortunately for me, he realized this too just as I was taking the picture. It didn’t matter though; I saw his face, and managed to keep him away until the very end of the week. A couple of hours before the game ended on the last day, he found me unaware and distracted in a big crowd at the bonfire. ii I was celebrating having finally killed my own target, and didn’t notice Andrew sneaking up beside me. Well played! I even helped him track down the empty camp site of what would have been my next target.

Here’s another somewhat well known guy; he ran Hunter’s Fire and Ice concession stand in Agora Valley. Despite his notoriety, and despite the fact that he was a regular member of the poker table at which I spent most of my time, it took me most of the week just to identify him. This story and the one preceding it took place during PorcFest XI: my first year, and what I believe was also the first year of Assassins Game. The next year had a very sophisticated set up with a website and pictures of each participant, but the first year we were only emailed a name and a vague description. So I found myself taking this photograph on the very last day in a crude attempt at collecting intelligence. Pictured is my target manning his beverage station, his daughter right behind him. I literally stalked him for the rest of the day until evening. This constituted conspicuously standing around his campsite, smoking cigars and hand-rolled cigarettes in an attempt to look casual. The guy just wouldn’t leave; I had no choice. There was one time when I was sure he caught me: he finally walked away, alone, carrying a bag of ice to someone else’s site. I followed close behind, unsure where he was headed and determined to get him before he reached wherever. He must have realized how stupid it was go go out alone, because he turned back immediately. I continued walking past him, convinced he had figured me out. For the rest of they day he remained in and around his RV with his daughter. I stood there for hours. Nobody was going to say I didn’t try. The effort was not in vain: I heard him get up from bed, and saw through the blinds that he was approaching the door. I drew my water pistol and aimed it directly at his sole exit, making a gamble that his daughter hadn’t followed. My strategy worked! He let out a loud “aahhh!” as I struck him in the chest; I heard more yelling behind me as I sprinted away, determined not to be seen by any would-be witnesses. I met up with him later to confirm the kill.

Year Two

I tied for first place with five kills last year. My first target was a boy named Cameron. I think his parents ran the “underground bunker” campsite, or at least that’s where I finally got him. The thing was this converted shipping container placed on display with a staircase leading up and then down. I had been keeping an eye on him for some time; his site was near to one of the poker sites, so I was able to play while also keeping tabs on my target. When I saw him go up into that thing all alone, I jumped up from the table and ran over. I picked up some of the literature as if I cared whatever it was, and the proprietors asked if I’d like to take a look inside. Of course I would! Without hesitation I climbed up those stairs, and drew my gun on the descent. “Is your name Cameron?” I asked. “Yes,” he replied. “You’re dead,” I said while hitting him in the chest. iii And so began my post-assassination selfie spree.

Next in line was a guy named Pepe. Funny thing is, I got some intelligence leading me to believe he was “the naked guy.” iv Sure enough they looked rather similar. I even followed and squirted this wrong guy; he had a good laugh when I explained what it was about. Oh, another funny thing! A guy v who I thought was Pepe’s friend turned out to be the only person at the whole festival who also had a business card with his GPG public key fingerprint on it. I struck up a conversation with him after losing Pepe in the crowd at the end of a speech in the main pavilion. vi Turns out he didn’t know my target and had no idea about the game we were playing, but it serves as an example of how great a conversation starter this thing is. Anyway, I caught up with Pepe later that afternoon; he was walking with a friend, and made the mistake of parting ways momentarily. He walked along one side of a large tent, so I sprinted down the other side of the tent to meet him on the corner. I would have struck him from behind, but he seemed to realize the error of going out alone, and at the last moment turned to face me. My gun was already drawn, but I made like I was introducing myself. “Oh hi, are you Pepe? ‘Cause you’re dead.”

My third kill was a special one: the girlfriend of the host of the game! My intelligence gathering informed me that she was an especially paranoid player; I had to be extra cautious in tracking her. If there are any photographs of me at the big Friday night dance, vii they will depict me with a hand in my pocket and a serious look on my face. viii I was there for one reason: to kill! Vivi was in attendance, and I still had a few hours left in the second-to-last day of the festival. Unfortunately, she got away in the darkness after leaving the main dance tent. I made an attempt to find her, but instead found an after-party of sorts on another camp site. ix It wasn’t until the next day, immediately after the group photo, that I took Vivi out. In the commotion of people going every which way, I simply followed behind her just long enough to get a shot on her back. Just in case someone saw, I kept walking. After a couple minutes I caught back up with her to confirm the kill.

My fourth kill was a kid named Dax, and he had been taking the game extremely seriously all week. He was the type to walk with a friend at all times. As it turns out, getting a kill is rather trivial once you get the hang of it. They even knew I was playing the game; they saw me brandishing a gun all week, but they just figured I wasn’t after them. And well.. I hadn’t been after them all week, until I was! Getting the kill was as simple as walking up along side them, squirting the one in the back while the other was looking away. I didn’t want to risk any shenanigans, so I played a bit of the lawyer. After waiting about a minute, I came back over to them and got the friend to admit that he hadn’t seen anything before I confessed to the deed.

My final kill was quite the spectacle. As it turns out, the whole week of my paranoid suspicions and constantly keeping my gun drawn were mostly in vain. The assassin assigned to kill me had not bothered to look up her target until the very end of the week. In fact, it was me who looked it up for her! You can imagine my surprise when my own face showed up on my phone after typing in her user ID. The girl was part of a pack of kids that had been helping me collect intelligence on my own targets throughout the week. She even had a twin sister, and didn’t waste the opportunity to try the old trick-you-into-thinking-you-stunned-your-assassin-but-really-it-was-her-twin-sister clothing-swap stunt. I didn’t fall for it, but I applaud the effort. At one point she chased me to the outskirts of the camp ground. I already knew from previous investigation that my own target was staying in one of the permanent buildings out there. Actually it was his own friends who ratted him out; they were happy to help me and even offered to conspire against him! So here I am running from my own assassin and towards my own target. I used the chase as an excuse to get into his site. Of course his friends were already in on it so they went along with the whole charade. He was noticeably nervous about me being there with my gun drawn, even looking frantically for his own gun. As he went inside to find it, the friends all looked away, and I struck him right there in his own room. Haha!

  1. He goes by the handle “Shire Dude.” ^
  2. There’s a big communal fire in the midst of the official event tents. It’s a nice place to walk to and from when you need a break from poker, and sometimes you meet a celebritarian there. That year in fact, I met four somewhat well known public figures each for the second time. I had previously met Jeff Berwick at a karaoke after-party following an event called “Anarchy in the NYC.”

    Vermin Supreme I had previously met at PaulFest in 2012: a week-long thing in Florida leading up to the Republican National Convention in which last-minute rule changes to keep Ron Paul out were hastily voted into place; rule changes which are today responsible for the Trump phenomenon. This time I had a chance to speak with him, and learned that he’s a socialist that doesn’t care much for guns — kinda out of place at PorcFest where a third of those in attendance open carry at all times.

    Then there was Tatiana Morose, a singer songwriter who is well known in the “liberty movement.” She was there promoting some altcoin of hers — at the time it was a very trendy thing to copy the bitcoin codebase and change a few variables. I had met her previously at the aforementioned karaoke after-party; she was the one hosting it. She even lead a pack of anarchists through the New York subway system to find a bar that would have us, as the originally booked location decided to charge an entrance fee at the last minute.

    Also from that karaoke party was Bob Murphy. I guess he really likes singing because he was the host of the PorcFest official karaoke event. The thing totally sucked; I wasted precious poker time waiting in line only to find out I could only chose from the most recent terrible pop songs.

    I also got to meet Michael W. Dean for the first time down by the bonfire. I helped him hand out his stupid meme buttons. Later on during one of his live broadcasts, I got invited on the air to talk very briefly about bitcoin. I said something about how dumb it was for people to be spending the things on hotdogs and coffee. There was also a time when I found him sitting at a closed-up Agora Valley shop, puffing on his vape; I explained the WoT and GPG, thinking he’d be gung-ho to join the thing since he was so vocal in promoting namecoin. Nope. Guy doesn’t actually care about encryption unless it it can be crudely tied to his stupid radio show.

    On a related note, I got to meet Ben Stone, The Bad Quaker. It was his podcast with Michael called “Anarchy Gumbo” that sorta got me started on the whole liberty scene. We talked about The Bible for a bit; as it turns out, he doesn’t claim to believe in it.

    Derrick J. Freeman. Met him for the first time early in the week, before the place got too busy. He’s known for being a homosexual, and an all-around annoyance to his neighbors in Keene, New Hampshire. There was some crappy “movie” he released — a melange of clips of him doing things like smoking weed in front of police to provoke arrest and calling it “activism.” ^

  3. And let me tell you, that’s the absolute best way to get a kill: looking your target in the eye. Takes some serious planning, or in this case a bit of luck. ^
  4. There was a guy who got a reputation for walking around nude; I even observed him bathing out in the open at his campsite in the deep recesses of the RV section branded “adult section” by PorcFest organizers. ^
  5. Fare of Tunes.org^
  6. Also found in the main pavilion: Bernard von NotHaus, creator of the Liberty Dollar. His speech was the one official event I made note to go and see that year. Unfortunately, it took place the day after the all-night poker table; I had trouble staying awake through the whole thing, but managed to grab his attention at the end for this shot. Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin, has credited von NotHaus as being one of his inspirations. ^
  7. Buzz’s Big Gay Dance Party ^
  8. Except in the case where I had the photograph taken. While waiting around for Vivi to leave the dance tent, I made conversation with a couple of liberty loving ladies. You may recognize Paige of Maidsafe, and M.K. of Freedom Feens. ^
  9. Jordan Page, the guy known for writing a bunch of songs about Ron Paul and even singing them at official campaign events, was doing a live show at someone’s site. ^