When I was scoutmaster, we had our meetings on Tuesday nights. The girls of the same age had activities at the same time. On one Tuesday a month, the boys and girls met together and had an activity. The boys and girls would trade off who was in charge, and this time it was the girls’ turn.
“Tell your boys that they need to each wear a white T-shirt this Tuesday,” Kay, the girls’ leader, said.
“What are we doing?” I asked.
“We want to keep that a secret until you get there,” she replied.
Keeping it a secret usually meant it was an activity the girls were dying to do, and the boys would rather not. But I passed the word along. The boys wanted to know what we were doing, but I couldn’t tell them.
“They did say there would be good treats, though,” I replied.
“It better not be karaoke singing again,” Gordy replied. “That was just too weird.”
“Only because you can’t sing,” Mort replied.
“Yeah, well, when you got up there, I thought somebody’s calf must have gotten stuck in the fence and was bawling for its mother,” Gordy replied.
“Okay, okay,” I said. “I’m sure it will be fun. So, wear your white T-shirt and come prepared to have a good time.”
When Tuesday came, we had a good turnout, partly because everyone was curious about what we were doing. When we got into the church activity hall, Kay announced the activity.
“Tonight, we are going to play blacklight volleyball,” she said.
She flipped off the lights and turned on the blacklight. Suddenly, everyone looked like a floating T-shirt. I could see very little else. Some of the young people had white tennis shoes, and they stood out, too. Those people looked like running feet below a floating shirt.
“So, where’s the ball?” Gordy called out in the darkness.
“I have it,” Kay said. She tossed it up. “See it.”
But we didn’t see it, so Kay turned the lights back on. “I thought for sure it would glow in the blacklight,” Kay said.
The volleyball was kind of a grayish-white color. But whether it was the color or the material it was made of, it did not reflect the black light. Kay was desperate to salvage the activity. She looked around, trying to think of what to do, then she apparently hit on a plan.
Gordy was her son, and she said to him, “Gordy, give me your shirt. You can go shirtless to play tonight.”
“That will be a disgusting sight,” Mort said.
“It will be dark,” Kay replied, not catching the sarcasm.
Kay took the ball and wrapped it in Gordy’s shirt. She then wrapped a bunch of clear tape around it to ensure it stayed. The teams were formed with half the boys and half the girls on each team. The lights were shut off, and the game began. It was kind of fun to see the glowing ball moving back and forth and trying to hit it without running into a floating T-shirt. Gordy was on the other team, and his white shoes were all I could see of him.
As the game progressed, the shirt began unraveling from the ball. Mort was near the net, and the ball was coming straight toward him when the shirt fell off the ball completely. But he had already determined its trajectory. He jumped and made a perfect hit into what he thought was an open space on the other side of the net.
He hadn’t seen Gordy’s shoes there, and Gordy couldn’t see the invisible ball coming. Suddenly, there was a loud smack and an even louder thud. The lights were quickly turned on, and Gordy, with a puffy black eye beginning to show, was lying dazed on the floor.
“I’m sorry,” Mort said. “I couldn’t see you.”
The game was called, and everyone moved to the kitchen for ice-cream sandwiches.
Kay was frustrated that she couldn’t find an icepack for her son. I handed her my ice cream sandwich.
“Try this,” I said. “The truly edible icepack.”