Kids in Car Wars

by Chad Russell

HTMLized by Bob Apthorpe
''I wanna machine gun! It's my turn on the machine guns! I had the rocket launcher last time!''

''No you didn't! It's my turn! I had the spikes ALL WEEK! Daddy!''

''Now look, boys, I'll tell you what. I'll take the link off and you can BOTH have an MG, okay? . . .''

The current entry of the Roadie's Guide to Trucker Terminology and CB Slang has the following entry:

Little Leaguer
- Child or juvenile autoduellist

In this day and age of licensed and legalized road combat, it is important not to neglect the family aspect of automotive recreation. Vacations to the beach, buses to school and to camp, Sunday drives to see Aunt Mary and Uncle Joe - all are traditional parts of Americana. And today's youngsters, either by accident or design, are oftenincluded in the adult world of autoduelling.

The average youngster only weighs 75 pounds in body armor and has 4 damage points; 2 for the armor, 2 for the kid. Due to their smaller stature, children only take up one space when acting as gunners (laws in North American countries except Louisiana prohibit operation of a motor vehicle by anyone under 14, and their feet can't reach teh pedals anyway . . .). However, due to inherent hand/eye coordination, honed by hours of playing video games, all kids have a minimum Gunner-3 rating. This rating is subsequently lost upon reaching puberty (approximately age 13), however, for reasons, not readily explained. . .

These youngsters are not without their drawbacks, though. Any vehicle in which a ''little leaguer'' is riding, either as a gunner or as a regular passenger, must stop at every truck stop or rest area encountered. Also due to an almost uncontrollable trigger-happiness, little league gunners must shoot at any hostile target within 30'. If more than one enemy is available, little leaguers tend to shoot the most dangerous one. Also note that kids are prone to ''practice'' when not closely supervised (on stop signs, mile posts, billboards, et cetera).

A youngster can only effectively carry two grenades' worth of personal equipment, but most parents will (or should) think twice before giving a kid a hand weapon. Instead, slingshots are common. At 20 dollars apiece, and with a virtually unlimited ammunition supply, the typical version does one point of damage (only to pedestrians and tires are affected), and hits on 8+. Another commonly used item is a violently shaken and unopened can of soda. When opened (a firing action), the foam can cover a windshield with the same effect as a paint sprayer, but the hindering effect only lasts for one second (long enough for Mom to bring the laser to bear . . .). Soda-can foam has a range of 1" and requires a 9+ on 2d6 to hit.

Finally, parents should remember that it is important to keep an accurate, updated record of you son's or daughter's combats and kills. Such a ledger can be a source of pride and praise from friends and relatives, while truly outstanding marks can be caounted toward the Boy Scout Commandos ''Gunnery'' Merit Badge.