“Okay, you ready?” Mark asked.
“Ready.” nodded Rachel.
“Ready.” Pete answered, eyes focused, a look of extreme concentration on his face.
Mark looked at the both and nodded. “Go!”
Pete and Rachel both burst into a rapid walk as they left the alley and entered the busy Saturday high street bustling with shoppers. Pete immediately hugged the right hand wall and walked quickly past the shop entrances. Rachel quickly crossed to the other side, ducking behind the blue tarp of a market stall in the middle of the high street that made it even busier than usual. She then walked between the back of two stalls, making sure not to catch herself on any power cables or get spotted by the market sellers and emerged back into the crowd, only the see Pete duck round from behind a stand outside a shoe shop and dive into the crowd. The game was most definitely on!
Pete quickly turned sideways as he stepped between two flows of human traffic heading in opposite directions and then spun on his heels and followed a fast-moving mother pushing a pram. Rachel followed, taking advantage of his wake but the gap was quickly closed by more traffic and so she sidestepped into a slipstream and walked briskly past a McDonalds, joining the stream of shoppers exiting the market stand.
Pete suddenly found himself in the midst of a congestion. An old lady on a scooter had stopped at a market stall and had put a complete stop to the whole flow of traffic on this side of the street, halting the mother and pram in their path. Desperate, he looked for an opening and saw one, ducking into a shop and back out again, taking advantage of it’s triangular store front to allow him manoeuvre past the obstruction and into a clear patch. He walked as fast as he could without running, catching up Rachel and shadowing her, staying in her wake as she dodged through the heavy crowd heading towards the pedestrian crossing at the end of the high street. They headed towards a tree and Pete broke off, sliding behind a meat seller’s refrigerated van and past the railing separating the high street from the road intersecting it. As he stepped out from behind the meat van and onto the crossing, Rachel appeared, ducking beneath the raised arms of a couple, to some odd looks, and taking a step onto the knobbly tiles of the crossing area where Mark was waiting for both of them.
“So who won?” Rachel said, panting as she leaned against the railings to catch her breath.
“It was me, come on, it had to be.” Pete said between breaths of his own.
Mark grinned. “Nope.”
“YES!” Rachel yelled before collapsing against the railings again.
“NO!” cried Pete.
“It was a draw.”
Rachel and Pete both turned, their faces a picture of disbelief, to stare at Mark’s grinning face.
“No I’m not. Both of you took a step on the tile at the same time. It’s a draw.”
Pete blinked and turned to rest a hand on Rachel’s shoulder. “Well young Padawan, it seems the Student has equalled the Master.”
Ignoring this, Pete continued. “But can the Student surpass the Master? A rematch, I’ll race you back, starting now!”
Rachel pushed herself off the railing and into the crowd, as Pete just stood there.
“That was mean, Pete.” Mark laughed.
They saw a red bop of hair turn around in the crowd and jump up to reveal Rachel’s face glaring back at them.
She made her way back through the crowd and punched Pete in the arm, which he took with a laugh. They crossed over the crossing and headed into Burger King.
After they ordered their food and had sat down to eat, they began talking.
“You know, this should totally be a sport.” Pete said through a mouthful of cheeseburger.
“What, stuffing your face?” Rachel said, sticking out her tongue before returning to her wrap.
“Crowd-dodging? Is that what we’re calling this now?” Mark said, slurping up some cola through a straw, “I think crowd-surfing sounds better.”
“Crowd-surfing is already taken, that’s what they do at concerts and stuff.”
Mark and Pete looked at Rachel as if she had three heads.
“What? Crowds move like a herd, and we blend through them.”
“No. Just no. That sounds wrong on just about every level there is.” Mark said.
“Well I like it.” Rachel pouted and hid behind her milkshake,
“No, I think crowd-dodging it is.”
The trio finished up their meal and began the walk back to Mark’s place where he lived on the Quay with his Dad.
“So how would you make it a sport? Like, _actually_ a sport. Wouldn’t it be, I dunno, some stupid health and safety thing? We _are_ dodging through a live crowd of people.” Mark said.
“You could hire a bunch of actors, do it in one of those fake towns like the military has for tests and whatnot.” suggested Rachel.
“What? No! That’s ruin it if people _knew_ we were dodging through them, it’d take all the fun out of it!”
“Well I don’t see how it can work then.” Mark shrugged.
“You could just run it as an underground sport.” Pete suggested.
“Like Fight Club?”
“Yeah! You could even commentate on it, use CCTV footage, there’s cameras everywhere around here we could get the footage from under the data protection act.”
“Meh.” Rachel muttered. “It wouldn’t be very good quality, we’d need proper cameras setup in like, all the peoples flats above the high street or something.”
“We could use head-cams!”
“Hey, yeah, that’s a great idea! Then we could put it on youtube or something!”
As soon as they got inside, they started searching eBay for cameras.