I bought the gun on a hot, midsummer afternoon in Jerusalem. A fight had broken out on the city streets, and kids wielding neon squirt guns were everywhere, firing on anyone who dared take up arms. I dunked my pistol—a sweet, atomic-yellow piece about the size of my palm—into a plastic bucket and felt a stream of water trace down my back. Game on, Israel.
The informal water fight was something of a summer ritual in Jerusalem. On Fridays, a few hours before the Shabbat holiday, it served as a kind of communal release to welcome the weekend and cut through the heat. Kids took to the streets, soaking each other to the tune of gleeful shrieks, and shop owners put out tubs of water and sold tiny plastic weapons for a few shekels apiece. Pick up a gun and you were part of the mayhem. Tourists, happily, included.
Every summer in our patch of desert a few thousand miles away, the heat becomes an oppressor. Come mid-July, the weather is a reason to stay inside and blast the AC. The city feels like an oven, like some higher power is holding a magnifying glass up to the sun and waiting to see us sizzle. Forget drinks on the patio; I’ll have my beer inside the refrigerator—with a side of ice, please.
This year, I want to fight back. Let’s break free from our stucco apartments and take back the streets from that bitch we call summer. Let’s find a 100-plus-degree day and 100 friends and turn Downtown into a neon carnival dripping with water and laughter. Let’s soak our neighbors and drench total strangers. Let’s point our water guns to the sky and make it rain.
When it does, I’ll be the girl in the middle of the mess—Super Soaker in hand, smile on face, basking in watery awesomeness imported from a city on the other side of the world.