Cookout in Omaha: Day 3

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Saturday was the day of the big cookout. We started things off with a trip down to the Old Market to sample wares from the farmer’s market. We tried some beef jerky, pastries, and homemade root beer, and Vivian bought a basil plant for her mom that kept things fairly aromatic wherever we went. We stopped by Spaghetti Works for a little lunch outdoors, and then tried to see how many comic generators we could fit inside a phone booth (almost all of us, as it turns out). We had the chance to walk through a few art galleries in the Old Market Passageway before heading on back to the house.

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The weekend forecast had included scattered showers, so we weren’t entirely sure where our cookout was going to be, but by late afternoon we were fairly sure it wasn’t going to rain again, so we all headed off to Haworth park for a little grilling. It was the first time since 2006 that we’d actually had a cookout at the cookout — the other events were so large that we held them at hotel ballrooms and had them catered. Vivian and I managed the charcoal grill and cooked up some tasty hamburgers for everybody. Telly made a “ghetto kite” out of a stick and a plastic Walmart bag, and we all took a turn on the swings, feeling like kids again. Later on, we used the coals afterward to roast some gooey marshmallow s’mores together (a tricky feat, keeping the marshmallows free of ash and soot from underneath the grill).

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After dinner, we got to abuse the playground equipment a little more, testing the spiral slide to see how many of us could fit on it at one time. We also had a group of kids give us a good spin on the merry-go-round, testing the integrity of my stomach to see whether I could keep down an extra-large cheeseburger as we slowly approached mach-1. I always feel like a kid again when I hang out with my comic crew.

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Back home, Aeridius served us some Buttery Nipples — a drink Vivian seems to like primarily so she can say the name — and then everybody gathered in the basement for some late-night role-playing. Vorticus played game master for the “PDQ” style game. The rest of us voted on “bikers of the apocalypse” for our campaign setting and then proceeded to write up a colorful cast of characters. I created a “one-eyed monster” whose primary function was to sneak around just long enough to get into trouble, while Vivian created a fighter with a Trap-Jaw style arm with interchangeable weapons. Naturally, we doodled up profile sketches of our characters as we defended our compound against a band of ice cream thieves before following them back to their hideout.

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