A day in the life of a senior assassin

Caitlynn Hauw and Lucy Sullivan

While Audrey Tu (12) grasped her water gun close to her side, her partner Sophie Wallis (12) positioned her phone’s camera just beyond the wall. I, as their bait—the unfortunate student who rang the doorbell—stood quietly as a middle-aged woman came to the door. What was supposed to be a casual day of observation, quickly became hectic as I was convinced by Wallis to play the role of a staff writer on The Nexus who was writing a feature on members of Westview Theatre. Tu and Wallis, although initially planning on brutishly storming the house, saw me with a camera in hand and decided to take a more strategic approach. The woman’s puzzled look as I recited the cover story about Tu and Wallis’ targets Jordan and Sierra Choate (12), team Wonder Twins, and their extensive theater background confirmed my suspicions—Tu and Wallis had found the wrong house.

The members of the Cash Shi duo, Tu and Wallis, first met each other when they were two of the few sophomores in a Spanish 1-2 class filled predominantly with freshmen. When Wallis began to attend Tu’s church group, they became inseparable and Wallis would often attend Tu’s family reunions and dinners.

Westview seniors, like Tu and Wallis, eagerly participate each year in the game Senior Assassin. In this game, players are split into teams of two, and assigned another team to “target.” Participants must be wearing a pool floaty at all times while in public, or their “assassins” can eliminate them by squirting or pouring water on them.

Despite the uncertainty in the world today, Westview’s class of 2021 is not missing out on the fun. According to the game coordinator and 2021 Class President Brooke Gorman (12), her class would do all that it takes to play.

“I don’t think that there was ever really a question of [whether] it was going to happen or not,” Gorman said. “I think it’s because Senior Assassin is something that’s done every year, our class wasn’t going to be stopped from doing it.”

This year as seniors were frantically searching for their partners in this modified game, Tu knew immediately that she wanted Wallis as her partner.

“I knew that we could be on the same page about creating a strategy, finding our targets, and getting them out,” Tu said.

Four days prior to the attempted assassination, team Cash Shi scoured Rite Aid where they found the bright pink floaties that vibrantly accompanied their wrists and the bat-shaped water gun that would carry out the shooting.

To determine the location of their targets, they had to find a careful balance in order to keep the element of surprise intact.

“We tried to stalk their Instagram and figure out who their close friends were and then get in contact with the friends that we knew wouldn’t rat us out to them,” Tu said. “[Friends that were] just close enough to know where they live, but not close enough to let them know, ‘Hey, someone is targeting you right now.’”

Additionally, in their preparation, Tu and Wallis had to be mindful of the new rules that strictly followed COVID-19 guidelines.

Gorman explained that if played cautiously, seniors can effectively accomplish the objective of the game while keeping themselves and others safe.

“The biggest thing is that you have to wear your mask,” Gorman said. “If you’re trying to assassinate somebody and you don’t have your mask on, that will not count as an out. That’s one of the top rules listed in the rule document.”

On Sept. 12, team Cash Shi woke up at 12 p.m. to begin an eventful day of stalking their targets safely.

As Wallis entered Tu’s car with a mask on, the music blaring from the speakers transitioned from soft indie-pop to the more suitable “hype” music—rap.

Tu and Wallis chanted lyrics from Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP,” to fittingly, “Cash Sh*t” by Megan Thee Stallion.

As they arrived on their targets’ street, they silenced their music and carefully parked behind a tall hedge one house away from the targets’ house to scope out the area and fill their gun with water. They then concocted a plan to eliminate their targets. Their final plan was simple: I would lure the targets out, and the pair would strike.

During the first attempt of this plan, the confused woman behind the initial door I walked up to directed us to the house across the street. After Tu and Wallis gave themselves some time to recover from the embarrassment of their botched attempt, they walked to the right house this time.

I stood at the front door listening for minutes to the barking of the sisters’ dogs and the frantic shuffling inside before I was then greeted by Jordan. While I was explaining the development of my faux theater article, I peered down in alarm to see her floaty attached to her leg. As Jordan went to grab her mask, I frantically attempted to communicate to Tu and Wallis that Jordan was compromised, but they didn’t seem to understand my hand motions and whisper shouts from afar, so the plan to assassinate was still on.

After I conducted a four-minute-long fake interview, I cautiously led her to the garage area where she was squirted by Tu and recorded by Wallis.

Although shocked, Jordan motioned to the floaty that wrapped around her ankle in victory. The Wonder Twins and team Cash Shi briefly chatted and laughed amongst themselves about the “good try” that was the first attempt.

As Tu and Wallis cheerily waved goodbye to the Choate sisters, their smiles soon faded as they rushed to their car to continue plotting their next attempt against their targets.
However, with changes in leadership and a sudden end to the first wave, Tu and Wallis will not be targeting Jordan and Sierra anymore. Despite this, they hope to use the newfound knowledge from this experience to their advantage.

“Now we’re more motivated than ever because the stakes are higher so we’re ready to come back with more,”  Tu said.

Despite the competitiveness of this game, Tu said she believes the underlying intentions of it are positive.

“As the senior class, you should know the majority of your class by this time,” Tu said. “You have spent four years with them and you had classes with a lot of the students, but you really haven’t gotten to know them on a personal level. Having targets forces you to get to know them. I didn’t know anything about Sierra or Jordan, but now I know they are in theater, I know who they are friends with and their interests. You’re doing it for the game, you’re doing it to win, but it also comes with some sort of deeper connection.”

I echo this sentiment, as I not only was able to meet four seniors of varying backgrounds, but also a lovely woman who was kind enough to save team Cash Shi and me from an embarrassing disaster of a first attempt. Senior assassin has proven to not just be a game, but a means of connection and support in these uncertain times.