Banditos Misteriosos Bring Civil War to Boston

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Filed under: Satire

Tinfoiled again: Epic squirt-gun battle proves fierce fun
by Gabrielle T. Dunn and Ryan Kost, Globe Correspondents
Boston.com
August 17, 2008

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The Yankees gathered near the Hatch Shell in blue shirts and cocked hats. The British assembled south of the Esplanade in red shirts and makeshift war helmets.

The blue Colonials faced their general, an American flag duct-taped into a Betsy Ross original waving behind him.

“Give us liberty or give us death!” the general called to the crowd, a flag bandanna on his arm, a tri-cornered hat on his head and a tiny green squirt gun in his hand.

“Company,” he shouted, “move out!”

The slightly anachronistic reenactment of the Revolutionary War was a summer farewell by the Banditos Misteriosos, a group of a dozen twentysomethings whose goal is to create wacky events throughout Boston. Banditos Misteriosos, formed in December by mostly Brandeis University graduates, held its first event that month – a pillow fight downtown with more than 50 people, followed later with a Boston Common scavenger hunt and a silent dance party at Faneuil Hall.

Bailey, one of the organizers, who would not share her last name because the group is, after all, “Misterioso” – said they wanted to “give people a good day and a good story.”

About 900 people signed up on the group’s website, she said, and more than 200 showed up to fight.

“I think we’re going to win,” said Erin Good, one of the Yankee troops. “I’m ready to get a little down and dirty.”

The 24-year-old Somerville resident had signed up for the showdown more than a month ago and found out in an e-mail late last night she would be a patriot in this squirt-gun reenactment. “Whoever organized this is awesome,” she said.

Meanwhile, a British flag, tied to two sticks, waved over the crowd of redcoats.

Amid cries of “Let’s go to war!” and “Follow the general!” the “British” army began to march. They held their guns cocked. A flute and drum set the beat and led them to the battlefield.

Gerard Deplessis, 11, marched to war with a brand new squirt gun from Kmart. “It holds almost a gallon of water,” he said. “We’re expecting all-out war.”

The sixth-grader from Braintree walked alongside his father, Guy, their matching white and purple guns at the ready.

The color-coded armies met in the middle of the Esplanade – a short horse ride away from the original site of the Battle of Bunker Hill, part of the Siege of Boston – the Charles River as their backdrop. The two sides glared at one another. Drummers banged and a flutist played “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” The blue Colonials chanted, “U-S-A!”

“Step forward!” the red-coat general yelled to his troops. “Fire!”

The streams of water fell short.

“This isn’t working” he shouted again. “Charge!”

And so they did. Red mixed with blue and blue with red in an epic squirt-gun battle.

Innocent bystanders stopped to watch the battle unfold, confused but intrigued.

“We saw the red and blue congregating and figured it out,” said Tamara Wexler, 37, who watched from the path next to the battlefield. “I was just waiting for them to clash. We couldn’t leave until we saw it.”

“I think the Yanks won,” said Joan Cirrito, a visitor from Tucson. She might have been a little biased; she had come to watch two of her grandchildren in the melee.

After about 10 minutes of combat, four Banditos, dressed in silver spray-painted cardboard and tinfoil, walked onto the water bottle-strewn battlefield. The teams regrouped.

“We are robots from the future,” one said into a megaphone. “We come in peace. With bubbles.”

Soon everyone began to fill the air with translucent bubbles.

But the cease-fire was not to last. Some troops ran to the Charles for a quick refill. Five minutes later, each side began calling for attack. “Go back to England!” the Yankees yelled.

On the sideline, Dave Kinahan and his son, Luke, 3, Brits in matching hats, reloaded their Hydro Blitz water cannon.

“His godfather got him the gun as a gift but he’s not strong enough to hold it on his own yet,” said Kinahan, of West Roxbury, who had scrawled in marker on the back of his red T-shirt “Monarchy Rules, Colonists Drool.” Kinahan bent down to ask Luke if he was ready to get back in the battle.

Luke grabbed a corner of the gun. “Let’s go shoot people,” he said.

Related Articles:

  • Pranksters re-enact Civil War with squirt guns, Simply Dumb, August 17, 2008
  • Odd News:War re-enactment all wet with squirt-guns UPI.com, August 17, 2008
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