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The Spoon Game is a rite of passage, a con, a prank, and a blood sport all at once. To play The Spoon Game, you will need:

  • 3 metal spoons, preferably tablespoon size or larger. These must all be metal, and virtually identical.
  • A semi-public area with high traffic. Your goal should be to draw a crowd larger than just the instigators. At St. Andrew's, the hallways of the junior boys' dorms were perfect.
  • A small "seed" crowd of at least three or four. The ability to bullshit convincingly, or a reputation for being a trendsetter is highly valued.
  • "The Champ" - you can play this two ways: the champ can be a large, burly guy, or the prettiest, daintiest, cutest girl in the crowd. The Spoon Game is a typically male pursuit, so girls make great bait.
  • "The Challenger" - someone who can feign serious pain. If your Champ is a girl, make this the biggest, burliest guy in the group. If your Champ is big and burly, make this a smaller guy. You may need more than one challenger, so have an understudy prepared.
  • "The Complete and Utter Rat Bastard" - fast hands and expressive eyes help, plus charisma. The ability to pressure the rest of the crowd to cheer for whomever he selects with raised eyebrows and a knowing smile is a must. This is your m.c., your ringleader, and an utter rat bastard.
  • Some money (optional!!) - If you play The Spoon Game for money, you are a complete prick, and you'd better be prepared to relinquish your winnings or suffer the consequences when your mark finds out what you've done.
  • "The Mark" - sucker, stooge, fish, dummy, goat... there are hundreds of words for this poor unfortunate individual, and when The Spoon Game is over, there will probably be a few more. Make sure he's not around when you do the setup, and make sure he is around when it comes time to make your move.

The Set-Up

The Champ and The Challenger face each other on hands and knees with spoons clenched straight out between their teeth, as though each were carrying an egg in the spoon. To an onlooker, it may appear to be a bizarre form of fencing. The crowd mills around, cheering for one or both; since The Challenger is the underdog here, most will be cheering for him.

An innocent bystander comes along, and stops to see what's going on. Believe me, they'll ask someone--"What's up?"

"Bart is just kicking Chad's ass."1

"Watch his technique. See those neck muscles? He used to be a headbanger in the eighties, and damn, did it pay off." At this point, Bart (The Champ) lets loose a bestial growl and snaps his head forward, causing his spoon to impact on top of Chad's head. Chad grimaces and curses, spoon still clenched between his teeth. Chad shakes it off, winds up, and retalitates with his spoon on Bart's head.

"See that? Chad's losing steam. Any second now, he's gonna drop his spoon, and the game will be over."

And the bystander is sucked in.

Enter The Sucker

A crowd has gathered, the cheering is loud and raucous. If enough time has gone by, "The Challenger" has almost certainly lost and been replaced by another of the in crowd, although two good players can keep the suspense of a match up by creating highs and lows in the action, where Chad almost brings it back together, or where Bart misses one of his swings, and Chad has a chance to recover... play this one by ear, but keep the crowd together. The Complete and Utter Rat Bastard might even want to send an innocent bystander--not one of your original crowd--to go get the mark: "He's been waiting to see Bart lose for weeks!" or "You know how he feels about Ashley! He'd kill to see her win." Never mind that the mark hasn't ever heard of this game. The messenger will almost certainly botch the message, and your mark will show up.

"Hey, J.R.! Welcome to The Spoon Game!" says The Complete and Utter Rat Bastard. J.R. smiles awkwardly and approaches to see what's going on. "Bart's just about to win! You've gotta take him down, the rest of us have already lost."

"I don't know how to play The Spoon Game," J.R. confesses.
"Oh, it's easy! Watch, they just take turns whaling on each other's head with the spoons. You'd get first hit if you played. Come on, didn't you used to play (insert sport or musical instrument here)?"
"Yeah, but what--"
"Then your (back/neck/teeth/jaw/tongue/whatever) are going to be so much more developed that his! You're the only one who can take him!"

At this point, it is the job of The Complete and Utter Rat Bastard to get The Mark to play. Those members of your crowd who know the secret should also pressure him to play. Those who don't may volunteer to step in; use them as comparative fodder to boost The Mark's ego: "No way, you don't have the ________ skills that he does!"

When The Mark puts the spoon between his teeth and crouches face-to-face with the Champ, it's time to unveil

The Twist

The Mark takes his best shot at the Champ, as promised. The Champ--who until now appeared invincible--whimpers, squeals, or whines in pain. Your Mark needs to believe that he, in a stroke of Beginner's Luck, has discovered that he has the Spoon-Fu of a seasoned veteran, due to his having played (whatever) back in the day. This guarantees that, no matter what, he'll stand in and suck it up for the next part, the best part, where you finally get to unveil what a Complete and Utter Rat Bastard you have among you.

The Complete and Utter Rat Bastard stands behind The Mark, and takes the third spoon out--that's right, the third spoon. Remember, I said you needed three? As The Champ winds up for his first shot, he lifts his head, swings down, and completely on purpose, misses. He can tilt the spoon up toward the vertical so that it never even comes close, but it needs to look real, because


as the spoon misses his head, The Complete and Utter Rat Bastard nails the Mark's forehead with the third spoon. The crowd will go wild. If the Mark doesn't drop his spoon right then and there, he's hooked.

At this point, the con is blown for everyone in the crowd, so milk it for what it's worth. Get them to cheer for the Mark, to mumble disapprovingly at The Champ's "lucky" shots, to wince and holler at The Mark's latent skills. Keep him in the game as long as you can.

If you're playing for money, be prepared to pay it all back when someone in the crowd tips him off. If not, you can let The Mark down easy, or even bring him in on the joke by letting any new innocent bystander who shows up take his place.

The Spoon Game is worth a ton of laughs, but clearly at someone else's expense; make sure that your mark is a good sport about it, or drunk enough that he doesn't care.

  1. names changed to protect the innocent.

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